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Prada Frames at Milan Design Week 2023

Prada Frames Looks at Materials in Flux at Milan Design Week

Following its inaugural edition last year, the Prada Frames symposium returned to Milan Design Week, hosting three days of conversations with a lineup of researchers, scholars, experts, and innovators. From April 17 to 19 at the Teatro Filodrammatici, the brand joined special guests to look at the relationship between the environment and the world of design, where the overarching theme “Materials in Flux” informed a lineup of six presentations, curated by Formafantasma.  

Prada Frames at Milan Design Week 2023 Prada Frames at Milan Design Week 2023, courtesy of Prada.

Driven by the fashion house’s investment in ethical aesthetics and low-impact production, the series was informed by the research of British anthropologist Tim Ingold—Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen,Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh—who studies human interactions with their environments. This work was the foundation for presentations titled “Conceptualizing,” “Contextualizing,” “Designing,” “Valuating,” “Governing,” and “Re-Inhabiting,” which all took place in front of beautifully-curated visual projections to match.

Prada Frames at Milan Design Week 2023 Prada Frames at Milan Design Week 2023, courtesy of Prada.

The symposium launched this week with the session “Conceptualizing,” posing questions about the value systems of waste accumulation. After the program was introduced by Ingold, visitors heard from Anna Anguissola on archaeological fieldwork and the information it provides before a discussion between Hans Ulrich Obrist and Eduardo Kohn closed out the session. Later that day, Prada Frames hosted its second session, “Contextualizing,” to learn about the current systems and infrastructures in place regarding the flow of materials and landfill systems. This saw Justin McGuirk, Patrick O’Hare, and Josh Lewpawsky sharing an overview before Elizabeth Povinelli and Elvira Dyangani Ose came together in conversation, touching upon ideas of “superabundance” and repurposing practices.

On the second day, the session “Designing” featured presentations by people in the design world who work to redefine the relationship between matter and ecosystems. This included a presentation by Fiona Raby and Anthony Dunne, Michael Thompson, who discussed cityscapes and waste accumulation, and words from Lara Gilmore, Paola Antonelli, and Alice Rawsthorn Then, the discussion dove into ideas like responsible material extraction and the possibilities of repurposing waste during “Valuating,” which welcomed words, presentations, and dialogue from Lydia Kallipoliti, Rory Holmes, Emmie Massias, Carolin Schelkle, Rocio Crosetto Brizzio, Ana Paola Hernandez Derbez, Sumayya Vally, and Natalia Grabowska.

Prada Frames during Milan Design Week 2023 Mark Wigley and Beatriz Colomina at Prada Frames during Milan Design Week 2023, photo by Lorenzo Palizzolo/Getty Images for Prada, courtesy of Prada.

On the third day, “Governing” invited Blanca Callén, Grace Akese, Bas van Abel, Veena Sahajwalla, and Alice Rawsthorn to speak about electronic waste management and recirculation through a succession of presentations and dialogue. This included Callén discussing her own projects on repairs, van Abel drawing connections between circular economics and technology, and the inventor Sahajwalla and design critic Rawstorn discussing waste management and other topics. Finally, that afternoon, the series ended after the “Re-Inhabiting” session. Here, Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley shared their knowledge, Sandra Poulson and Natalia Grabowska touched on wastelands and unwanted materials, Arno Brandlhuber and Olaf Grawert of B+ touched on architectural byproducts, and Sophie Chao shared her field research on interspecies alliances.

Prada Frames at Milan Design Week 2023 Prada Frames at Milan Design Week 2023, courtesy of Prada.

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