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Do You Know Why Design Can Be Good For People?
It is the part of the world that we call our home and place of the heart.
Feature 05 Apr 2023

It is resuming its tenth edition, 5VIE Design Week, the widespread event dedicated to collectible design, high craftmanship and all the cross-contaminations between art and creativity in the heart of Milan, in the area between Corso Magenta, Sant’Ambrogio, and Colonne di San Lorenzo. Taking place between 17 and 23 April, we spoke to Ernesta Del Cogliano, 5VIE co-founder, to learn more about this year’s upcoming edition.

Explain 5VIE to newbies in 2 sentences.

First and foremost, it is the part of the world that we call our home and place of the heart.
It is also a territorial marketing project based in the historical center of the city of Milan, which draws on culture and design as means for the activation and promotion of the area.

Ernesta Del Cogliano

What is the theme of the 5VIE art and design district’s 2023 program?

Our theme this year is: Design for Good. The exhibitions we present this year address complex themes such as spirituality, the relationship with nature, communication, love, and gratitude.
The idea came from an urgency that we felt very strongly, to recover a dimension of connection and empathy with people. To bring back the focus on the human relations as the basis for every activity. This is something we firmly believe in.

How can design be good for people?

When artists and designers express their inner world with their creations, they bring us in a completely new dimension of sharing. Creativity has the power to connect people, speaking a universal language made of signs and emotions. On the other side, we must always remember that all our daily activities, including designing, rely on a dense network of relationships and connections, and that it is in our relationship with others that we can grow as human beings.

Who are some of the notable artists and designers who will be participating in the 5VIE productions, and what are the criteria through which they have been selected?

We chose to work with curators and designers we have a feeling with, to reinforce this concept of valuing relationships.
We thus have some long-term collaborations, such as with Maria Cristina Didero, who is curating a show by Greek sisters duo on•entropy; Lebanese designer Richard Yasmine, who will work together with another artist and friend, Sebastiano Deva, on an immersive installation dedicated to nature; and with designer Sara Ricciardi, to whom I feel very close because we both come from the same small city in Southern Italy.
Other productions this year are novelties that we wanted to experiment with, out of an affinity of intent and sentiment, such as with Anna Carnick, who curates an exhibition dedicated to gratitude, and with Swiss artist Johannes Willi that presents his Chronic Pain Orchestra.

Johannes-Willi, ChronicPainOrchestra
Photography by Katalin Deér

You have several active partnerships this year, how do you collaborate with local businesses and organizations?

We like to set up tailored discourses with each of our partners. Most of them come from what we call our “design family”, people that have been in the industry for a while and that every year partner up with us having their headquarters in our district. But there are also some novelties, such as the friends from DOPO?, a cultural hub on the outskirts of Milan that this year will house a kind of “embassy” of 5VIE in Corvetto. We also want to mention the precious support of the businesses, galleries and restaurants of the area that are part of our network, since we also work as a district promoting local businesses with events and centralized communication throughout the year.

Name 5 Milan-based creatives or designers we should have under our radar.

That’s a tough one! I’d say: Roberto Sironi, Osanna Visconti, Astrid Luglio, Tellurico, Sara Ricciardi.

Sara Ricciardi, Human Mandala

What role does 5VIE play in promoting Milan as a hub for art and design?

We work a lot on fostering the development of an Italian collectible scene, but also on promoting the Italian lifestyle which is for us an asset just as important as design is. Strolling around the city admiring Roman ruins and Paleo-Christian churches, stopping by a cafè to have a good gelato or aperitivo… this is fundamental for us, in a city like Milan, to also live the warmth and hospitality of the people while feeding business and creativity!

What are your plans and hopes for the future of the Design Week?

We really hope to see other players of design week embracing this philosophy, that sees work and design as a tool for living a more fulfilling and profound life, for connecting deeper with others. Relation and care really are the key to sustainability, inclusion, and conscious growth.

Interview by Arianna Ambrosetti

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