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What if you could predict the future of design?

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"1367" began as a collaborative project between Istituto Marangoni Design School students and alumni in 2020, the disruptive year of the pandemic. The aim was to spot the emerging trends that redefine our contemporary scenario in this phase of significant change, providing valuable food for thought to ignite the designers’ creativity.

The project drew on the research conducted during the 2020/2021/2022 academic years by students from the school’s three departments: product, visual and interior design. This enabled the team to identify five macro drivers of change with huge cross-sectoral relevance, called “major arcana”, and fifteen contemporary design trends, the “minor arcana”.

Tarot cards based on the "major arcana" macro drivers of change, created by alumna Costanza Coscia

Tarot cards based on the "major arcana" macro drivers of change, created by alumna Costanza Coscia

The metaphor of the tarot deck was the result of a brainstorming session I had with Elena Marinoni, Programme Leader for the Visual Design Department at Istituto Marangoni Design School in Milan, the leading trend forecaster of the project. We realised that trend forecasting might resemble, on some level, the mysticism of predicting the future, hence our research into tarot card reading began. 

Tarots are an ancient traditional ploy used to predict the future and inspire hypothetical thinking; curiously enough, they originated back in 1367 in northern Italy, later spreading across Europe as an esoteric ritual.

With Elena Marinoni’s help, the students’ research findings were summarised and explained concisely, and I had the job of expressing them creatively through tarot cards.

Tarot cards based on the "minor arcana" macro drivers of change, created by alumna Costanza Coscia

Some of the tarot cards based on the "minor arcana" macro drivers of change, created by alumna Costanza Coscia

The 1367 tarot cards echo the typical features of traditional decks but with a modern twist to keep in line with emerging design trends.

Some of the research findings explored are design trends that have been slowly emerging since 2020 with the advent of COVID-19, and that blew up completely in 2022. Solarpunk, for example, is an eco-futurist movement stemming from speculative fiction that seeks to answer the question “What does a sustainable civilization look like and how can we get there?” A revolt of hope against despair and dystopic narratives, Solarpunk’s vision is of an ecological society beyond war, domination and artificial scarcity, where technology is used for human-centric ends.

Tarot cards based on the "minor arcana" macro drivers of change, created by alumna Costanza Coscia

Some of the tarot cards based on the "minor arcana" macro drivers of change, created by alumna Costanza Coscia

Elusive privacy, on the other hand, is about elitism through invisibility and a sense of understated discretion resulting from the use of private layout zones, camouflage materials, mirrored finishes. From tech products to fully equipped basements, seclusion becomes more and more synonymous with security and hidden comfort.

With COVID-19 came disruption, and that gave rise to a Counterculture revival. A new wave of political and social upheaval has led to the resurgence of underground subcultures such as punk and grunge. An anti-establishment sentiment, challenging traditional norms in a search for identity and freedom of expression, is on the rise as a countereffect to consumerism and the polishedness of the Instagram aesthetic.

Actually, drawing up the tarots was definitely a creative challenge – trying to summarise and express these abstract concepts creatively without being too obvious or on the nose was the most challenging part of the project. But once the sketches were made and approved, developing the line art and colouring was the moment when creativity could truly shine.

Twenty tarots to finish is no easy feat, but the result was achieved with love and hard work. The most challenging part was when the project was selected for the Superstudio exhibition during the current Milano Design Week, celebrating the 60th Salone del Mobile Milano; this meant I had to animate every single tarot card. 

The “1367 • Divining Design Trends” exhibition at Superstudio on 27, Via Tortona. In this phygital installation, a virtual fortune teller will read the cards of future design trends

The “1367 • Divining Design Trends” exhibition at Superstudio on 27, Via Tortona. In this phygital installation, a virtual fortune teller will read the cards of future design trends 

Now, in the context of the Fuorisalone, you can experience these tarot cards in a fully interactive exhibition at Superstudio, designed by Istituto Marangoni design alumnus Silvio Pompei. The installation consists of three enigmatic totems resembling crystal-like monoliths, propelled out of a parallel, other-worldly dimension and landed on earth to generate anticipation.

Visitors standing in front of the central monolith are invited to have their palms read to know what trends the future holds for them.

 

 

Constanza Coscia
Visual Design and Communications alumna, Milan

 

School
MILANO DESIGN
Course
Programme
undergraduate-BA (Hons) Degrees · 3-Year courses