Thoughts on a 'Niche' in our homes and lives, for Recession Design

Crafted for the event 'Design Fai da Te 2.0' meaning 'DIY Design 2.0' with the theme of 'design against the economic crisis'.

by Michele De Lucchi
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This was part of the event 'Design Fai da Te 2.0' meaning 'DIY Design 2.0' against the effects of the economic crisis.

It encouraged Michele, Andrea Branzi, Alessandro Mendini e Aldo Cibic to create a simplistic sustainable design that, following the instructions freely downloadable from the web, anyone can build with low-cost materials, readily available from a hardware/DIY store.

The message of the 'Niche' is to reduce the overabundance of objects of poor quality and cluttered spaces. The continuing act of accumulating in an uncontrolled manner is a serious act of irresponsibility that is detrimental to our planet and its sustainability. Against the compulsive production, against the growing mountains of waste and against the inevitability of pollution, "The niche" comes from the act of removing and adding where there is already a lot. It is an object that takes shape through carving and emptying the existing matter, it refuses redundancy and creates an empty space. Perhaps for this reason, it has more freedom, more humanity.

Maybe we should all take a moment to reflect and think how we are going to build OUR own 'Niche', both in our home and even in our minds!

    • Michele De Lucchi

      Michele De Lucchi


      Milan / Italy

      Michele De Lucchi was born in Ferrara in 1951. After graduating from the School of Architecture in Florence, he worked as a teaching assistant for Adolfo Natalini. At the time, he came into contact with the radical design movement and founded the Cavart group, gaining him notoriety and boosting his future career. He then moved to Milan, where he became friends with Ettore Sottsass, with whom he worked in one of the most representative groups of 1980s post-modernism. The Memphis group was a collective committed to creating a new language by playing with the recovery of 1970s kitsch elements favouring plastic and laminated materials, with a clear bent for rational industrial production. De Lucchi also took part in other significant collective experiences at the time, like Centrokappa and Alchimia. Thanks to Ettore Sottsass, starting in 1979, De Lucchi began his collaboration with Olivetti as a design consultant for Syntesis in Massa. Then, in 1984, he went to Ivrea, becoming the head of the Olivetti design office from 1988 to 2002. In parallel to his work with Olivetti, the architect continued to work independently. He won such prestigious commissions as the design of the Deutsche Bank and Poste Italiane offices, and Intesa San Paolo, for which he was involved in the creation of the bank's credit cards, and the design of the Piazza della Scala office in Milan. In 1989, he received the prestigious Compasso d'Oro award for the Artemide "Tolomeo" lamp - the result of the concept of innovating the classic pantograph table lamp, an object created with a declared technical and functional purpose recalling the imagery of the office and design, making it an elegant and modern furnishing accessory. "Tolomeo" also refers to historic design icons like the FontanArte "Naska Loris" from 1933 and Jac Jacobsen's 1937 "Luxo" - later made famous by the Pixar logo. It was immediately destined to become a best-seller. His collaboration with Artemide led to the creation of many other lamps and the extensive Tolomeo collection. They include Castore, Dioscuri, Ipno, Logico. De Lucchi has also collaborated with Alias, De Padova, Poltrona Frau, Caimi, Glas Italia, iGuzzini, Danese and De Castelli. In 1990, he established his own brand, Produzione Privata, to create furnishing complements and accessories. He did not abandon his activity as a designer, which involved him in exhibition and museum design, for example, for the Neues Museum in Berlin. He also restored the Design Museum at the Triennale in Milan and the former Agip service station in Piazzale Accursio in Milan. Starting in 2017, Michele De Lucchi was editor-in-chief of Domus magazine with an editorial line characterised by a mix of disciplines and content ranging from Design to Philosophy, and the constant investigation of space and objects in relation to human needs.)