Editorial #08

A new cycle starts for PAD with issue n. 8.

Having mainly devoted the first seven issues to the evolution of design in the countries of the Mediterranean area, and having obtained a major nod with the inception in the ADI Index, PAD starts afresh. With issue 8, it changes its acronym in Pages on Arts & Design and dons a new package. While the journal’s focus is still on design in the Mediterranean countries, it relies on a new ‘diffuse’ network of collaborators and writers at large who will shed light on the hot issues emerging in the design field, particularly in the Maghreb and Mashrek regions.

The title inaugurating PAD’s new cycle is The Mediterranean of Women.

The design activities that women are involved in – their surveys, thoughts and words – in the Mediterranean area are the aspects forming the central theme of this issue. While it is far from easy to approach, the editorial committee considered, and still considers in its current lineup, that such theme is worth the effort.

Indeed, PAD had announced its intention to explore women’s creativity and design capabilities in the countries of the Mediterranean area as early as 2008. Issues n. 4 and n. 5 presented female designers who developed a wide range of activities (from textile to furniture designs, from jewelry to graphic design) in various regions of the area. Their work illustrated how, in the countries of the Southern as well as the Northern coast of the Mediterranean basin, the arts and crafts production typical of the Mediterranean tradition flourishes alongside expressions of full-fledged modernity, developed by women with great passion and pride.

Designers, artisans, artists, photographers, film-makers, women who have been able to integrate their creative abilities in their professional activity thus becoming agents of transformation and models for future generations. Well aware of their rights, these women challenge the stereotypes forced on them by their cultures by choosing difficult trajectories of integration and empowerment in the profession and in society. They are well-determined to question and challenge themselves, and to be an active part of the Mediterranean communities’ economical, social, and cultural development.

The issue’s first article is (Women’s) design will save the (Arab) world by Gianni di Matteo – an adaption in the female of “Design will save the (arab) world”, the provocation Ahmad Humeid – the Jordan architect and founder of Redesign Arabia, proposed in the manifesto/appeal addressed to the creative communities in his country. The article presents a good number of Arab women striving to conquer center stage in the international design scene.

The following articles present projects developed by women in various fields: agro-industrial design for the Ametlla+ design built in the Island of Mallorca explained by its author, designer Barbara Flaquer; social design for the Master dissertation of Turkish designer Eda Kose; contemporary art and use of calligraphy in the works of Arab artists who voice the words and thoughts of women and the contradictions of world and society ; academic research applied to the study of female stereotypes recurring in advertising and marketing.

This last article, by Valeria Bucchetti, is the connection introducing a focus section about the evolution of Gender Studies in the Western world. This section starts with an interview with Cheryl Buckley, a historian of British design who, while analyzing the work of female ceramists in the Midlands from 1870 through 1955, has developed a theory according to which patriarchal society is responsible for erasing women from the history of design. With permission from MIT Press, we publish Cheryl Buckley’s article Made in Patriarchy: Toward a Feminist Analysis of Women and Design, printed in Design Issues vol. III, N. 2 in 1986. We propose both the original version and the Italian translation hoping to renew interest in an issue that so far has failed to make an impact in the Mediterranean countries.

As usual, the main section is complemented by additional features.

This issue includes photographic reportages, among other things, about the Milan Furniture Fair and a report on the thriving design scene in Croatia.

The issue is completed by news from the Mediterranean presenting the numerous events that will enliven the new scene of design in the next few weeks and months.

Finally, I hope that arts and design will fill our readers’ summer and urge them to write to propose topics they care about, and recommend emerging ideas and new projects that embrace the cultural, technical, social and economical innovation the Mediterranean region so clearly needs.


Cover photo: © Fabio Gambina, Palermo, June 2012

About the author(s):

Architect MsD and PhD in Industrial Design, Marinella Ferrara is a senior researcher of Politecnico di Milano (Design Department) and an assistant professor at the Design School of the same institution. Her research are directed to the relationship between design and technological innovation. She is the author of several books and essays that link micro‐stories to the macrostructures for rethinking of the relationship between design and materials as a dynamics of the socio-technical innovation process.She is investigating in order to define the strategic role of design as driver for innovation trought interdisciplinary process. She has opened a personal focus on Mediterranean Design considered as emblematic expression of the contemporary geo‐political complessity. Other topics are: self-production design, relationship between design and crafts, the women’s Design in the mediterranean countries.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *