make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend

make your fridays matter

Words that matter: Diwergo’s ‘Oases of Inclusion’ at Milan Design Week 2024
Embracing all perspectives, shaping tomorrow: Diwergo’s Oases of Inclusion at MDW 2024
Image: Courtesy of Total Tool Milano, Giulio Ceppi, Federico Antognozzi and Elena Ferrando

Words that matter: Diwergo’s ‘Oases of Inclusion’ at Milan Design Week 2024

Experience the power of design and words at Diwergo’s Oases at MDW 2024, where aphorisms by Antonio Malafarina spark conversations on inclusion and diversity

by Aarthi Mohan
Published on : Apr 20, 2024

Words. They are like leaves carried by the wind, sometimes gentle, sometimes harsh. We wield them daily, hoping to convey our thoughts and emotions accurately, yet often falling short. But within each word lies a universe of meaning, a history, a context, a future. They are the essence of consciousness, shaping our understanding of the world and each other. This fundamental truth guides everything that Milan-based practice, Diwergo does. A company founded by four individuals passionate about communication, entrepreneurship and design. Their collective purpose? To harness the power of words for the greater good.

Diwergo’s mission is clear: to offer concise, functional, and innovative tools for communication, while also humanising technology and design for both commercial and charitable purposes. Led by the creative mind, Antonio Giuseppe Malafarina, their aphorisms challenge social norms, emphasising on the importance of inclusivity, sustainability, and embracing diversity. These aren't your typical clichés; they're profound thoughts condensed into quick, impactful messages that resonate with everyone. Diwergo provides aphorisms and resources that encourage us all to reflect and recognise the significance of each individual in the journey of progress.

Step into the Oases of Inclusion at the Brera Design District where Malafarina's aphorisms serve as poignant reflections on the beauty of human diversity. Despite his passing during the design phase, his words continue to resonate, inviting visitors to contemplate the experiences of those who are different, whether by nature or choice. Exclusively crafted for the ongoing Milan Design Week 2024, the design exhibition transforms into a sacred sanctuary for introspection and dialogue, fostering a deeper understanding of inclusivity.

Antonio Malafarina, is a visionary who wore many hats as a journalist, blogger, science communicator, poet, and expert in new technologies. With a portfolio boasting over 600 articles on disability and diversity, his legacy thrives within these walls. As honorary president of the Mantovani Castorina foundation and head of various esteemed committees and awards, his dedication to inclusion is palpable. At the Oases, his presence is felt through every aphorism, guiding visitors on a journey towards a more inclusive world at this year’s design week.

Each Oasis is thoughtfully crafted to cultivate an environment of openness and togetherness. The five seats in each design installation transcend mere functionality, symbolising unity and interconnectedness. Integrated with household objects and adorned with Malafarina’s aphorisms, they become tangible manifestations of his vision to "spread words to promote actions."

The Oasis, made possible through the steel rod seating system produced by KINDOF can be configured in many ways, allowing for flexibility in design based on context of use to different environments and purposes. Whether placed side by side or positioned in a circular formation, the oases create spaces for dialogue and connection, fostering a sense of community amidst diversity. Aphorisms, designed with typography suitable for individuals with dyslexia and visual impairments, grace the steel tops suspended on the backs of the seats at the design fair. Alternatively, they are engraved on elements serving as support bases for bags and objects, rather than for holding beverages.

The first creation, situated in front of the Basilica of Santa Maria dell'Incoronata and bearing the patronage of the Municipality of Milan, Italy during the design festival, serves as a beacon of hope in the city. As visitors gather around these Oases, they are enveloped in a sense of belonging, reminded of the shared humanity that unites us all. This sense of unity is enhanced through collaborations with partners such as Alessi and Tahuma. Diwergo amplifies the reach of Malafarina's words, embedding them into everyday objects and communal spaces, expanding on the mission of promoting empathy and understanding at the design event.

Partnering with Diwergo, Alessi, renowned for its innovative designs, crafted the Girotondo collection, called “Inclusion is a magic word. When it exists it vanishes”. Speaking on how the collection was conceived with the Benefit company, Alberto Alessi, president of Alessi shares, "The collaboration came about naturally, because even though we operate in different territories, the principles are basically the same. Our joint efforts yielded in a collection of product designs ranging from a series of jars, trays, centrepieces to stainless steel panels bearing different aphorisms such as "The tray is democratic: it brings everything on the same level”, “A jar doesn’t close, it protects, which serves as vehicles for spreading a message of inclusion and unity”.

Incorporating iconic silhouettes to convey verbal concepts has been a creative endeavour embraced by many. Think of the Rolling Stones' tongue or the silhouette of the Empire State Building or the bitten apple of information technology; each symbol instantly evokes a sense of meaning and emotion, challenging us to confront our own perceptions of self and others, to embrace the magic of inclusion. Now, imagine aphorisms carefully crafted within these recognisable outlines, complemented by characters designed to amplify the message's impact. These aren't just words, they are hanging messages, drawing attention to resonant themes such as the celebration of uniqueness amidst narcissism. The design exhibit also features Tahuma's laser-shaped stainless steel panels, which offer further avenues for reflection on themes of self-awareness and identity. Bearing aphorisms from the "Narcissists are born and become" collection, these panels, adorned with evocative messages such as "I don't win. I triumph," serve as domestic communicative elements, sparking conversation and reflection in community spaces.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of modern life, poetry remains a timeless vessel for human expression. Diwergo recognises the profound impact of poetry as a means of communication, transcending barriers of language and culture. Through evocative verse and poignant imagery, poetry has the ability to touch hearts, stir emotions, and spark meaningful dialogue. In the Oasis of Inclusion, poetry takes centre stage, weaving a tapestry of words that celebrates diversity and promotes understanding. Each line serves as a gentle reminder of our shared humanity, inviting visitors to pause, reflect, and connect on a deeper level. As the world continues to evolve, poetry stands as a beacon of hope, offering solace and inspiration to all who seek it.

Stay tuned to STIR's coverage of Milan Design Week 2024which showcases the best of exhibitions, studios, designers, installations, brands and events to look out for. Explore EuroCucina and all the design districts—Fuorisalone, 5vie Design Week, Isola Design Week, Brera Design District and Porta Venezia Design District.

What do you think?

Comments Added Successfully!