Mr. De Lucchi, you have been working successfully as a designer for more than thirty years now, and have experienced a number of different eras. Where does design stand today?
Design is truly a kind of witness to history. Design documents the spirit of the age. Today we are at a very exciting stage, because there is no specific style. To me that's great, because as soon as a style develops there's no longer any progress.
After your architecture studies you worked for Alchymia, together with Ettore Sottsass, Andrea Branzi, Paola Navone and others. Alchymia is regarded as the predecessor group for Memphis, the group which in the Eighties created an international sensation with its projects.
Alchymia was something special, because it was the first design movement which based itself on the conceptual art of the late Sixties and the Seventies. That was a period when artists put down their paintbrushes and began a debate on their activities, their tasks and the significance of art. This movement also had an influence on architecture and design, instigated in particular by Peter Cook and Archigram. You could say that there was no design for almost ten years.
What exactly did you and your colleagues do during this time?
We debated, we staged happenings, developed metaphors. An attempt was made to approach architecture and design once more in an interdisciplinary manner. This was a fundamental development, because it describes the social idea of the architect. All at once our role as architects changed radically. We were no longer just technicians whose job it was to produce drawings and build houses - the intellectual debate became more and more important.
First Chair and End Table by Michele De Lucchi for Memphis, 1983