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Stefano Boeri

— Interview with Stefano Boeri, Domus Chief Editor


Stefano Boeri is an architect, urban planner and editor-in-chief of Domus. He runs the design firm Boeri Studio and co-founded Multiplicity, an interdisciplinary research group that explores issues of urban transformation. His research centers around the interface of architecture and urbanism with a focus on new conditions for the European City.

-referenced from

Interview Ideas

  • European cities are interconnected through buildings and infrastructure
  • Three characteristics of European cities:
    • Superimposition - everything done in addition to the existing and nothing is ever completely cancelled out
    • Metabolization - a strong capacity to adopt new concepts of space, and to then iterate and export those concepts.
    • Polyarchy - power for intervention is decentralized, many smaller groups that are able to intervene and cause change
  • New designs in terms of having dialogue with the past through reinterpretation and not compromise
  • Three dimensions of design: Communicative design, design as a tradition, and design for survival
  • The intangibility of Interaction Design

Video/Key Quotes

  1. European City Connectionsopen link
  2. Metabolizationopen link
  3. Polyarchyopen link
  4. Governing Multiplicityopen link
  5. A Dialogue Between the Old and Newopen link
  6. Three Dimensions of Designopen link
  7. Communicative Designopen link
  8. Design In Terms of Traditionopen link
  9. Design As a Way to Surviveopen link
  10. Opinion About Interaction Designopen link

What We Learned

Boeri is very knowledgeable in the urban and macro scale point of view of design and is able to articulate the complexities of how design effects the world in a bottom up approach. The characteristics of European cities had parallels with the papers that were written by our last year's research group. It quite clearly outlines the reasoning why Milan is/was the innovation engine for design. Although we may have been aware of the three characteristics, we learned from Boeri how they work together and are key to the success of European cities. His three design dimensions also allowed us to think about the various basis of designs. Complexity was the main theme of his ideas where various parts come together, intermingle, iterate and produce something. It was definitely interesting and a bit surprising when he expressed his interest in Canada's multiculturalism. It made us realize the unique opportunity we have as Canadians to be able to observe the different cultures that we expose ourselves through immigration.

What was perhaps more surprising was his view on Interaction Design. His criticisms of it were definitely an eye opener in our views toward it. We definitely understood his point of view and mistrust in Interaction Design. He perhaps feared that the methodology and theories of Interaction Design will lead to the standardization of design processes, which may remove the instinctive and human nature side of design that creates individually unique designs. Furthermore, he believes that it is too focused on process and may perhaps neglect the goal: "to create an object used by thousands of people". This was definitely something we would take into account.