The Lost Graduation Show was an exhibition that took place during Supersalone, a special event of the Salone del Mobile.Milano 2021 in the second week of September. It focuses on the work graduates in 2020 and 2021 from design schools from all around the world.
This generation of designers lost two years due to the pandemic and could not physically show their designs to professionals and the public.
Significant interest was expressed and almost 300 schools from 59 countries responded to the invitation issued in June. For the Lost Graduation Show exhibition were selected 170 prototypes (instead of rendering or technical projects) of students from 48 design schools from 22 different countries. The exhibition was curated by Anniina Koivu.
The aim of the whole Supersalone, including the project The Lost Graduation Show, was sustainability. The task was to create a temporary exhibition in which no materials are wasted. Conceived as a standardized landscape, the installation was based around a single material, modular and locally sourced Ytong autoclaved aerated concrete blocks supplied by Xella Italia. Once disassembled, all the components will be ploughed back into the construction production cycle. The Lost Graduation Show exhibition covered an area of 2,000 square meters and used 9,000 bricks.
The prototypes at the exhibition showed the variety of themes explored, included some new topics and new fields of work. Only some of the presented projects are a tool for caring loads on shoulders, beach toys, toys for autistic children, food packaging, furniture for outdoor space, wearable bent for ballet dancers, ….a portable kit for refugees, a street lamp with an insect-friendly light spectrum and many others.
In terms of representation, it stands out topics from the medical sector, considered from different perspectives: as necessary medical instruments, as medical therapy, as new performances of medical devices ... medical aids or new materials for medical purposes. Such projects are the result of understanding the needs of society by designers in these difficult times. The topics that young creatives touched on are similar all over the world in Germany, Italy, Mexico, ... Great Britain, Poland ..., as social problems, especially when it comes to health problems, are universal.
The approach to the design is almost always multidisciplinary, dealing not only with form and function but with the research process towards new technologies, new materials, new production methods.
Young designers focused on materials research in the sense of sustainability of materials, development of the new performances of materials or repurposing of materials.They also explored the future of the production process from the standpoint of future technologies, the combination of traditional techniques with advanced technologies, the development of small-scale production and even a DIY approach.
It was possible to investigate the exhibited projects fiscally in Pavilions 2 and 4 at Rho Fiera, or to follow the Show on 'digital platform'.
The Best of Class 2020/21 Award
The Best of Class 2020/21 Award is designed to encourage the development of young talents and their innovation. The jury consisting of international experts, has selected the best projects presented at The Lost Graduation Show. They assessed the prototypes on exhibit and assigned awards to the best research projects and products not only for their design but the message they embody relating to sustainable, technological and communicative elements. The prize for the three winners of the award, will be to participate in the edition of SaloneSatellite 2022.
Fabien Roy (ECAL) designed incubator RobustNest developed in collaboration with EPFL’s EssentialTech Center in 2020. It is a neonatal incubator adapted for use in adverse conditions and district hospitals.
RobustNest is suitable for transporting patients in vehicles as it can withstand frequent power cuts thanks to its thermal battery. This technical solution provides all the conditions, especially the temperature necessary for transporting babies. It is also important that RobustNest components can be replaced locally, making maintenance easy.
The design of this medical instrument gives an accurate answer to a universal need. By connecting design and technological solutions, Fabien Roy helps save the lives of newborns in all parts of the world and all conditions.
Simon Gehring from the ABK Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Stuttgart) designed Regrowth table. Through this research project, he explored the connection between computational design and leftover materials within the forestry industry.
Branches are viewed in their natural form, rather than seen as a standardized unit of wood. The table embodies the growth story of its material, a dynamic process that can be read in the static object. This table represents the paradigm of a new form of craftsmanship that harmoniously combines natural elements, environmental sustainability and arithmetical calculation to generate an original and unique object.
Traditional material& New potential
Pierre Murot from ENSCI LES ATELIERS designed The Fil Rouge project (2020) consists of extruded clay objects. This project was developed from experimental research on the clay extrusion process carried out at the Durand brickworks (the Dordogne region). The results showcased at the fair demonstrate a new aesthetic for the material. The extrusion technique further boosts the formal potential of terracotta, prefiguring new and original uses.
Medical instruments&Environmentally friendly materials
Helix is strong enough to substitute the steel needle and flexible to make it possible for a compatible plunger to deliver the vaccine. The prefilled vaccination syringes made of Helix facilitate the activities of medical personnel.
Helix optimizes the disposal processes, making storage easier and safer. A single material syringe prevents complete separation of various materials, which helps reduce space, power and necessary infrastructure for its incineration. When compacted, Helix occupies almost 50% less material and 70% less space and can be incinerated in larger numbers due to their size, saving energy. The Helix syringe project seeks to create a modification in these disposable devices so that the waste produced during medical activities does not affect the environment.
The design of this syringe answers some up to date needs and confirms how important are materials in the design process.
An art object & Narrative tool
Amna Yandarbin from VCU ARTS Qatar designed the collection of silk headscarves Yolkkh – The Story of My People, with illustrations about the personal history of her family. Through eleven scarves, she expresses specific scenes and moments and the inconveniences that came with life: war, loss, trauma, migration, difficulties around the sense of belonging, female emancipation, independence and hope. The story is not only personal, it is a story of her small Noxci community and its people. This story is also global because there are many other minority cultures worldwide with the same or similar stories.
With one fashion item, Amna Yandarbin wanted to preserve her native identity and spread awareness. She confirms that an art object with its visual narrative can be the way to connect with audiences and convey an idea. Furthermore, she wishes to inspire other communities worldwide to share their stories.
Mathilde Lafaill from ECAL realized IMPRIME, A Medical Research Project.In her work, she is usually interested in the design of everyday objects and in the case of IMPRIME she used personalized tablets as a base for her creative work. It is expected that in the future the tablets will be produced locally and will be generated by the software based on personal clinical data requirements (dosage, release profile and number of active substances). Mathilde dealt with customized medicine from a new standpoint, exploring the potential for new visual and formal qualities for drugs. Each pill is custom-made in a unique shape with new three-dimensional printing applied. This way, she creates a playful and poetic design of tablets.
With such drug design, Mathilde tries to transform our daily routine in the use of objects into pleasure, including pills.
The project is the result of in-depth research. Reddo is a new material of modular nature and with organic forms, which transforms oyster shells into 3D printed structures. The aim of the project is focused on creating underwater beds to grow Posidonia, a plant that provides shelter and food for aquatic fauna. This project expresses the ability to indicate new directions for research into creating new products for regenerating coral reefs, using organic waste material such as the shells of oysters from Spain’s largest mussel farm.
Salone del Mobile. Milano again this year supported design schools in these difficult times that bring changes to the economy as a whole, including the furnishing and design sector. Young designers took an opportunity and came with a positive attitude, bringing their best research projects, products and experiments.
They hoped that supersalone and The Lost Graduation Show would be an opportunity for many of them to find their place in the professional world. The road from idea to industrial production is very long and requires many factors to be met. Only some of the presented projects and experiments will become an industrial product. In any case, The Lost Graduation Show was a positive experience for all young participants and a starting point for new generations of designers.