Contemporary Authentic

A design driven system and brand for an innovative activation of Milanese Masters Knowledge, towards Expo 2015

Brochure download

Synthetic description

The Project “Contemporary Authentic Milano”, developed by the research group Design for Cultural Heritage of Politecnico di Milano, aims at experimenting and developing a possible design driven innovative system for exploiting the typical craft and performative knowledge of endangered masters still active in Milano.

The Milanese masters and their knowledge in its different form (performative and productive) are considered an endangered intangible Heritage that needs to be activated (from documentation to transmission, from fruition to use) and promoted under the brand of “Contemporary Authentic Milano”.

The project promotes a concept of knowledge activation that is based on “human relations”, which means facilitating the sharing, transformation, re-production and incorporation of this traditional knowledge in contemporary forms and processes of cultural offer, essentially by establishing relations between the masters and the local community and the entrepreneurial system. To do this, Contemporary Authentic Milano, starts from a documentation action aimed at both the safeguarding and the understanding of these typical milanese identity features through the development of a web based visual and multimedia catalogue (repertory) of the masters and their knowledge; then, it adopts a territorial approach addressing local sustainable development too, turning this catalogue in a system of diffused events and laboratories celebrating the masters and helping them in establishing new relations and innovative re-contextualisation of their knowledge in the contemporary system.

The project aims to verify and validate, through a prototype scaled action, its methodology and processes, possibly finalized to a replicability on a larger scale.

Research activities and results

Contemporary Authentic Milano is structured in order to perform and pursue a coherent set of activities and results, not strictly chronological:

  1. Building of the Contemporary Authentic Milano brand, designed in order to raise the awareness on the projects and to provide from the beginning of the research a common visual identity and communication strategy for all the involved masters, events and results of the project;
  2. Development of the “List of Endangered Milanese Masters”, collected according to criteria of typicality and identity and meant to be improved by time;
  3. Documentation of the selected endangered masters, in order to experiment modalities to record their knowledge and process and to produce narrative formats and info-graphic (photo, video) for their fruition, divulgation and transmission.
  4. Development of a web repository in order to provide an easy and free access to all the documentation materials realised during the research about the Milanese masters endangered list;
  5. Envisioning and conceptualisation of a design driven model for the masters and their knowledge activation: methodology, processes, set of events, actions and tools
  6. Pilot events (“convivia”, workshops, meeting with enterprises…) designed according the above conceptual model, to facilitate and support the sharing of knowledge among the masters and their community and their incorporation and re-contextualisation in the contemporary system.

These activities will results, as a whole, in a design driven innovative and participative “Master’s Knowledge Activation Strategy” based on knowledge sharing and transmission and supported by specific actions and tools at different territorial scales and towards various actors and potential stakeholders, thus preserving the masters’knowledge from disappearing and finalised to increase local promotion and tourist attraction too.

Research objectives and outcomes

The following are the foreseen outputs of the projects:

  1. Repertory of good pratices of knowledge activation: case studies and good practices (on local and international basis) of projects on masters valorisations;
  2. List of endangered Milanese Masters: list of Milanese masters worth of documentation.
  3. Strategies and modalities of knowledge active-action: design driven (innovative and participative) conceptual models for the masters and their knowledge activation;
  4. Events of knowledge active-action: real promotional events and interventions (exhibitions, convivia, workshops…) involving the masters and the community;
  5. Development of “Contemporary Authentic Milano” brand: a visual identity and communication strategy to promote and disseminate the project within the context of Expo 2015 in Milano.