A Militancy in Anti-Design
Ugo la Pietra
Architect by training but also, artists and designer Ugo la Pietra has always been a critical observer of the real world. He can be valued for having explored, analysed and redesigned reality with rare insight and intellect revealing the contradictions inherent in culture and society. His entire activity, which is so varied and complex as to be difficult to pin down in theoretical terms of criticism and discipline, should be seen as a long militancy in anti-design.
Nowadays his career spans half a century and he has accomplished great moments of contemporary history, with Brera as the capital of culture in the sixties, the years of protest in the seventies, and the advent of mass media and their effects on the psychological and domestic world of the eighties.
The most unexplored but also radical aspect was however his militancy towards the globalisation of the world, before the notion had gained ground, by moving towards the world of craftsmanship throughout the country. In those days the mainstream considered it to be more of a non value than a source of manual skills and culture, and the viable alternative for the design system that it has since turned out to be.
La Pietra makes everyday life and conduct his field of action and debate, using himself, his body, his friends, his house, his town and his country – always with a touch of irony and sarcasm – to tell of the relationship between individual and environment. Here “environment” is never considered in strictly urban or environmental terms, but rather as the phenomenology of reality, expanding the significance not only of the design context but also of all the emotional, anthropological and existential baggage it brings into our lives.