“Be Human: designing with empathy” is the theme of the Brera Design District 2018, the first and most important design district in Milan.
On the occasion of the week of  2018, on stage in Milan from April 17th to April 22nd, Brera DesignDistrict presents the 9th edition of its Design Week.

Last year Brera Design District hosted 180 events (of the 1500 held in the whole Fuorisalone) and involved 300 companies with an overall number of more than 300,000 visitors. Brera Design District every year offers a rich calendar of events besides promoting special projects and cultural initiatives. And like every year, it will propose a format including the choice of a theme and the Lezioni di Design award. During the Brera Design Days produced by Studiolabo in October 2017 there has been much talk around the theme of empathy, which was one of the most debated topics from several perspectives.
Hence the inspiration that led the organization to the choice of the theme: “Be Human: designing with empathy”.

«Empathy, meant as ability to take the perspective of the other, involves several fields of our society, including design, whose mission is to combine usefulness and beauty»

Knowing the users deeply is always the starting point when designing a product. Empathy, is the ability to put oneself in someone else’s shoes and understand his/her needs before creating solutions, is key for the work of a designer. In a more and more digitalised present and in a future dominated by artificial intelligence, empathy will be a scarce resource representing a factor of success for products and services: no robots will ever be able to replace it.

In this view, this year the Lezioni di Design award was given to Constance Gennari, founder – together with Marianne Gosset – and creative director of The Socialite Family, a platform that by telling personal stories reveals daily objects and places connecting design with the lifestyle of contemporary families. In an engaging overlap of content and container, the readers will identify themselves with the characters described in the stories, but also with their houses and with their favourite pieces. Empathy and identification were the starting point for the creation of a brand inspired by the most iconic objects photographed in domestic interiors located in Paris, London, Milan and New York and described on the web and on social networks.

If in the design field empathy is the engine starting the creative phase, emotions are often the direct result of it. This is a key point in the current debate around design: emotion is potentially inherent in every object and designer knows that the emotional dimension of objects can (and must) be designed.

This year BDD ambassadors are , and Daniele Lagotalents who believe in the emotional side of design and in the empathy between objects, places and people. Cristina Celestino, with her delicate, emotional, evocative aesthetic and design vision, combines her architectural background with a fine personal taste for beauty. Another of the female ambassadors is Elena Salmistraro, who puts the artistic aspect at the core to raise sensations and feed the soul through design as well as to convey her poetic inspiration. Finally, the third ambassador is Daniele , who has always considered design as the planning of experiences and was the first to change the patterns of design with , founded in Brera in 2009 – and proposed again today – symbol of the interaction between project, product and people.

Again this year, in the setting of Brera Design Apartment (via Palermo 1 – free entry from April 17th to April 22nd  from 12 a.m. to 7 p.m.), something special was organised, designed and realised by independent curator Raffaella Guidobono. The rooms of this typical Milanese house develop a path that focuses on design and fine craftsmanship showing the new collections of Maddalena Selvini, Stories_of_Italy, Agustina Bottoni, Cynthia Vilchez Castiglioni, Sour design for Bottega Nove and Leftover for StudioF. Set up in partnership with the companies present in the Brera Design Apartment including , , Davide Groppi, and , the interiors host out-of-scale furnishings and coverings, hand-made objects resulting from artisanal processes carried out in the Italian districts of Nove and Murano with old techniques still used nowadays: sandblasting, chamfering, melting and drilling to make unique elements. Soapstone productions, blown glass, Limoges porcelain, brass and hand-split solid wood, timeless manufacturing techniques based on tailor-made designs with the help of simple tools along with new-generation machinery for cabinet-making.

In parallel with all the above, 12 designers were invited to create a new piece for the launch of , the first collection of objects that takes the city as a symbol. An exercise on the memory of a radical but yet pop place, encapsulating Milan in useful and limited-edition products purchasable in the apartment itself and online at milanosouvenir.com. The products range from a brooch evoking the Last Supper to porcelain sequin-magnets as a synthesis of Fashion and a chest for saffron in honour of risotto, but we don’t want to revel more. A place to discover during the days of Fuorisalone, Souvenir Milano offers the view of new icons of the city signed by Stories_of_Italy, Maddalena Selvini, Cynthia Vilchez Castiglioni, Agustina Bottoni, Astrid Luglio, Sara Ricciardi, Giulio Ceppi, Giovanna Carboni, Sour for Bottega Nove, Leftover for StudioF, Giulio Iacchetti and Gio Tirotto.

Stay tuned! We will  take you inside the action visiting the most important events, guiding you through the behind the scenes.