Lujo y diseño
Giovanni Cutolo (Turin, 1939), a geometer and economist, experienced first hand the genesis and worldwide dissemination of the so-called "Italian design" from the end of the 1960s. His professional experience in the commercial management of brands, such as Artemide, bulthaup, La Cornue, Natuzzi and Vitra, has not prevented him from carrying out an intense intellectual activity as a translator (of Umberto Eco into Portuguese; or of Oswaldo de Andrade into Italian), a consultant (a partner of Ettore Sottsass, Alessandro Mendini, Andrea Branzi, Massimo Morozzi and Clino Trini Castelli in Consulenti Design Milano), a reflective journalist of the time (founder of the magazines "Modo" and "GapCasa"), the organizer of various exhibitions (in Verona, Milan and Paris), a lecturer at the Design Faculty of the Politecnico of Milan and the author of several books of essays on design, including "L Edonista Virtuoso" (1989), a publication of such importance that it was nominated for the Compasso d Oro of that year, being the first book to deserve such recognition in the intense history of the prize.
Giovanni Cutolo reflects on the cultural effects of design on the structures of its distribution and on the habits and ways of its consumption. And then a new consumer comes out, who is well-informed and cultured, the “virtuous hedonist.” This new consumer of design has enough self-confidence to organize his wishes, thus he creates value through his capability to select among the tangle of banal products offered in the market. A value that can be measured by the influence the consumer has on retailers, designers and producers. Under this unusual circumstance, where the clever consumer is that who “designs” his consumption and has the power to affect the offer, the present book represents a meaningful step. It is here where the notion of luxury turns up: design has replaced the social function that art and crafts held in preindustrial times: the relationship between design and beauty, the construction of taste and a new type of luxury. A luxury that is ever more immaterial, more cultural (the luxury of silence, of nature, of what is simple). Maybe more virtuous?