Milano Genius, route to Hong Kong and viceversa

Milan represents a convenient and meaningful frame to promote an interesting vision of Italian Genius that could be considered by asian counterparts an highvalue potential not only for quality of contents, but also for those aspects that can be assumed internationally as system and industry cooperation’s opportunities.

The first edition of Milano Genius (2019) supported by IIC Osaka included well framed and specially selected contents about contemporary arts and visual arts, music (three nights live concert that promoted the music of Jannacci, Vecchioni, Gaber), photography (about Milan in development with special photo-works by Andrea Cherchi author of Semplicemente Milano) performing arts (in occasion of 50th anniversary from first performance of Mistero Buffo by Dario Fo we hosted Mistero Buffo in Osaka with video introduction by Jacopo Fo)

In particular for the design section, it has offered the opportunity for Japanese designers (first edition was mainly focused on cultural and institutional relations between Milano and Osaka) to be part of contest and exhibit activities in Osaka in conjunction with the Italian Design Day and to take part in the Milan Design Week 2019 – Milano Fuorisalone – with the patronage of the Milan and Osaka Municipality.

Fifteen original design prototypes have been selected and exhibited at the prestigious Superstudio, one of the Fuorisalone main location, in the center of Milan.

With the aim to continue the cultural dialogues and cooperation between Italy and Asia, and reinforced by the successful project Design made in Osaka, Milano Genius is now planning to expand its exchange intent with the project “Design made in Hong Kong”. (click here to check well detailed concept and step plan of realisation)

The project objective, sustained by IIC Hong Kong directed by Stefano Fossati, is the realisation and promotion of creative projects on the Design thematic front, fostering the encounter with industry, brands and institutions to enhance opportunities of a global development and cooperation for the emerging generation’s creativity, supported by institutions and businesses.

The project offers designers, business and institutions partners from Hong Kong the opportunity to present their projects in Hong Kong and during the prestigious Design Week in Milan, and to obtain a free service of product placement, communication and promotion. This creating the platform to gain international visibility and recognition.

Design made in Hong Kong project operates from February 2020 to April 2021
The initial phase aim to identify institutions, Universities and industries to explore and define partnerships and sponsorships for the projects development. In accordance with parties involved the curator will create a ‘Proposal for Creativity’ with proposed themes reflecting the Hong Kong culture and the involved parties expertise. The organisers will support, facilitate and coordinate the projects development from concept to fruition.

Beyond the frame introduced above, the cross cultural cooperation between Italy and Hong Kong can be reinforced with a secondary “Call for Creative Professionals – The Italian workshop in Hong Kong” that can introduce high level contents from Italy about the selected topic spread in Hong Kong. This call can is announced and managed by Asian Studies Group partnered organisation in Milano Genius format, involving post degree young professionals in Italy (in particular with joint support by important institutes operating in the field with base in Milan as done before with Brera Academy or IED)

The “Call for Creative Professionals – The Italian workshop in Hong Kong” from Italy will be sustained by Milano Genius in Hong Kong through the Italian Institute of Culture Hong Kong as concrete opportunity to present a workshop selected by commission of experts among drafts and introductions collected in the next months.

The candidate who will get selected in the Call for Creative Professionale, will be able to attend and to manage directly special workshop in October 2020 in Hong Kong under co-organisation of the event by IIC Hong Kong. (location and introduction will be kindly offered by institutional partner)

Well detailed info about the phases of execution of this project are available here

Milano Genius 2019: Organizers, Patronizing cities and Designers meet each other at Palazzo Marino.

By Kevin Carrara

The Milano Design Week represents for Milano Genius 2019 an opportunity to strengthen institutional and cultural ties between the two twinned cities of Milan and Osaka. The project, produced by the Italian Cultural Institute in Osaka and coordinated by Asian Studies Group, allowed young and talented designers to exhibit their works, selected under different themes, located to three important partners:

Take a Seat in Superstudio Group.

Design and Planet in Asian Studies Group.

Cool Japan in Corte dei Miracoli.

The joint efforts of the organizers, the patronizing cities and the partners resulted in an important event on April 8. Last Monday, the figures who have invested more in Milano Genius 2019 met with the designers involved in the project at Palazzo Marino in Milan:

Paolo Cacciato, President of Asian Studies Group.

Yuji Amamiya, General Consul of Japan in Milan.

Silvia La Ferla, Chief of the International Relations and Cooperation Development office of the city of Milan.

Gisella Borioli, CEO of Superstudio Group.

Federico Filippo Fagotto, Director of Corte dei Miracoli.

The Meeting

Paolo Cacciato, as co-organizer of the event, summarized the project Milano Genius 2019 and the value that it represents for the two twinned Municipal Cities of Osaka and Milan. He emphasized the importance that ASG has always given to creativity and young talent: he has always tried his best in order to create opportunities to express such qualities. He also pointed out already planned events in Osaka of culinary, musical and artistic nature.

During the ceremony, the guests had the pleasure to hear a speech from Yuji Amamiya, the General Consul of Japan in Milan, in which he stated how much proud he is of the project:

It has been a great joy for me and this Consolate to learn that in occasion of the Milano Design Week there would have been hold an event like this one, capable of representing a starting point for youth Japanese artists and designers and for their international activities.

Silvia La Ferla pointed out the relevance of Milano Genius in order to enforce and strengthen the relation between Milan and Osaka and how cultural and creative exchange are the foundations for a greater mutual understanding necessary to create, together, projects and tools that benefit both realities. Then, the Municipality of Milan donated to each designer some images of Milan of past years, believing that the medieval beauty of the city will help them remember the wonderful collaboration that took place here.

Federico Filippo Fagotto talked about the importance that he gives to art and creativity. Furthermore, he spoke about his pride and joy regarding the wonderful collaboration that Corte dei Miracoli found working alongside Asian Studies Group, a long-standing collaboration that began with a casual meeting between him and Paolo Cacciato. A fortuitous event full of opportunities, personal growth and mutual benefit.

Last but not least, Gisella Borioli pointed out how she started her personal relation with Japan during Osaka Expo 1970 and how her personal passion could finally be applied in a creatively and valid project. Working with Japanese designers has allowed her to absorb part of their culture while encouraging new collaborations in the future.

At the end of the institutional speeches, certificates of participation in the Milano Genius 2019 project were delivered to every designer by the individual partners. The involvement of cultural partners, city institutions and young creative people is a winning formula that benefits and brings honor to all those involved.

Design And Planet at Asian Studies Group: Japanese approach to environmental sustainability

April is the month of Design for Milano Genius 2019. The last of the themes of the Open Call, Design Made in Osaka, a project produced by Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka and coordinated by Asian Studies Group, is presented at Milano Design Week 2019 under the name of Design and Planet with a focus on the delicate but important theme of eco-sustainability.

As for the European presented in Osaka on November 3rd 2018 at the Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka, this time Milano Genius 2019 allows young Japanese designers to introduce their own work on the theme of environment and sustainability, so as to favor a renewed cultural exchange between Osaka and Milan, twin cities.

Despite the small number of projects selected for this theme, they are closely linked by two different ways of approaching the topic, with a style that reflects the difference in age and path of the artists.

The selected works will be exhibited at the colorful theatrical space of Corte dei Miracoli (Via Mortara 4, Milan) and at the Milan headquarters of Asian Studies Group (Via Eustachi 9, Milan) from 9th to 14th April partecipating to Milano Design Week 2019.

Mayumi Kuwayama with “Molecules”

Mayumi Kuwayama is a contemporary artist born in Osaka. Despite her young age she does installation art and object creation in various spaces such as hotels, shops and department stores. In collaboration with Re: fa, a Japanese company that creates innovative chairs and sofas but that also replaces them by old design pieces and fabrics, has given life to “Molecules” a chair created by the union of small fragments of recycled fabric coming from industrial and home processing.

All the pieces, joined together, like many small molecules, allow the structure of the seat to vary continuously and in an agile way, depending on how it is assembled, to satisfy the desire of personalization of each of us.

The flexibility of the work and the recycled material, assembled in a rather simple but carefully studied manner, have allowed the reuse of otherwise useless material giving them new life and new possibilities of expression.

Mayumi Kuwayama and Re: Fa have therefore given a particularly modern look to the issue of eco-sustainability. An eco-sustainability that meets the needs of contemporary man who requires customization and the possibility of changing the environment, even the seat, according to his taste.

Wataru Kurogi With “Endangered Insect”

Under a completely different perspective, the work of Wataru Kurogi, a 22-year-old student attending to design course at the Art University in Osaka, called Endangered Insect attempted to show the extraordinary beauty of some endangered species generally not advertised and welcomed by the general public.

In fact, when we think about endangered animals, we underestimate the importance and beauty of small-size animals. This is especially true for insects that most people feel disgusted with.

This project allows the audience to appreciate such species that are frequently forgotten by the public and the attention of the media rather for the large mammals featured in numerous films and documentaries.

A design that wants to attract attention and presents a theme under a different vision from the common perspective. Despite the very young age, the designer’s eyes have shown a strong ability to know and see the environment in its most intrinsic beauty, an ability usually belonging to individuals of a more advanced age. A design that therefore wants to amaze and, above all, to teach.

Two artists from two different generations who dialogue with each other and who want to emphasize the importance of eco-sustainability both in inanimate things and in animate beings.

Cool Japan at Corte dei Miracoli: Unusual Everyday Objects

Milano Genius 2019 continues to propose high-quality artistic content and Milan Design Week 2019 happens to be the next scheduled event.

Our project, produced by the “Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka” and coordinated by “Asian  Studies Group” as far as Milan is concerned, will significantly take part during the “Design Week” from April 9th to April 14th thanks to the participation of a specially selected group of Japanese designers.

Milano Genius works with “Corte dei Miracoli” within the “Design made in Osaka” project, for one of the three themes of the event, the one named “Cool Japan”.

Differing from “Take a seat” and “Design and Planet” (respectively presented at Superstudio and ASG headquarters in Milan in the same period), “Cool Japan” deals with many artifacts created by talented Japanese artists, whose works have been selected by the organizers of the event. Afterwords the designers will have the possibility to exhibit their projects within such a prestigious event as the “Design Week”.

“Cool Japan” will allow you to appreciate contemporary works in a typically Japanese style with reference to cultural pop dimension.

The artists we are going to present now, together with Mayumi Kuwayama and her work “Molecules“, will participate on April 8th 2019 at 7.00 pm, at the “Milano Meets Osaka through Designers“, an event organized at “Corte dei Miracoli” (Via Mortara 4, Milan).

estratto milano meets osaka

It will be a special preview where you can find an official presentation and interesting themed networking.


Product designer, he graduated from the “Sogo College of Design in Osaka”, Japan, and worked at the experimental design laboratory HERS. He then worked as a freelance product designer based in Osaka since 2010. He currently designs appliances, furniture, lighting, toys and many other products; his aim is to inspire the public through his creations.

Terrace family is the collectino that you will find at Corte dei Miracoli


The design succeeds in combining relaxation, culture and natural elements. In his work we find an important presence of wood that forms the basis of the structure and great care in combinig materials with praticality,in order to offer a moment of relax and can also place books and magazines in the inside of the work in the name of multifunctionality so that art is not an end in itself but useful and valuable.


This is a piece of art drawn on paper called foil with watercolor technique; once the foil is cut (strip shape), a weaving machine creates a fabric whose pattern “rebuilds” the painting using silk thread and a piece of cloth. This Nishijin manufactured fabric is then transformed in clothes.

The top of the foil is also coated with gold leaf since the aim of the artist is to express the color and the gloss of Japan’s original painting materials.

As a result, we can appreciate the work from all perspectives: clothing brands, contemporary art, traditional crafts, Japanese culture, aesthetic and functionality.


Brush art uses a writing shodo brush. The “Japanese shodo” was popular long time ago and it was used to add color to a protected calligraphy. Now the aim of the artist is to establish a new culture extending the application of this technique to all the words. Beautiful kanji fonts are used to add color and the artist expresses herself with calligraphy skills. Brush art expresses softness, kindness and sometimes powerfulness. It adds an artistic point of view, gradation and multicolor use.


These texture cards feature the embossing technique. Users can perceive information by only using the sense of touch. All information has been converted. For example black means concavity and red means convexity. The cards are double layered avoiding signs to be exposed at the back side. These features allow users to play equally, without support, even though people are not able to read braille.

Given such premises, Milano Genius 2019 continues its successful journey among culture, creativity and innovation. Now all that we have to do is wait and discover what is going to happen

Design made in Osaka, when design meets innovation and sustainability

Design represents a fundamental theme within Milano Genius 2019 and the “Design made in Osaka” project. After the Italian Design Day 2019 produced by Italian Institute of Culture, our activities will continue to propose high quality content regarding design starting from these upcoming weeks. 

As a result, from March 4th at the Osaka City Hall with introduction by IIC Osaka,  will be hosted special exhibitions to present design artworks by young Japanese designers who have previously been selected. More specifically this first week (from March 4th to March 11th) will be dedicated to a series of panels, already presented during last year Italian Design week in Italy regarding the theme “Design and Planet”.

Design and Planet panels

The following week (March 11th– March 15th) will then be dedicated to propose the main aim of Milano Genius itself: helping young Japanese designers to reach a wider and international audience and present artworks that celebrate innovation, creativity and sustainability. Our Design made in Osaka project has in fact selected artworks that belong to three different themes, being “Design and Planet”, “Take a Seat” and “Cool Japan”.

Osaka City Hall

These same artworks will then be presented in Italy at different locations, after being first exhibited at the Municipality of Osaka.

With regard to “Take a Seat”, on March 1st the Italian Design Day in Osaka produced by Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka has seen the participation of the official Ambassador for the city Gisella Borioli, who already introduced this topic, supported by the Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka and coordinated by Asian Studies Group. The CEO-owner of Superstudio Group hosted a speech during which she discussed not only the process that has led to the urban redevelopment of the Tortona district, once suburban, but she also presented the designers whose artworks has been chosen within the Switch on Your Creativity hub (6th edition) and that will be part of Milan Design Week at Superstudio in April. 

As the name suggests, “Take a Seat” deals with any kind of seating artifact, that shows particular features concerning materials or developing process. In particular, the artworks “with Bamboo” by Akino Iida, “Exist Chair” by Luna Naito and “Venation” by Mayumi Kuwayama resulted to be the selected seats that better enclosed the spirit of the project.

Venation by Mayumi Kuwayama

Concerning, on the other hand, the “Cool Japan” theme, we were looking for interior objects/pieces which could express distinctive features of contemporary Japan or help to understand it in an interpretative key which was also innovative, lively, artistic and charming for its esthetic or use.

Among the different project proposed, the selected ones are Kamata Shinku with “Brush Art Japan”, Masaki Murata with “Terrace Family”, Matsumoto Riku with “Bush”, Ryuichi Matsuoka with “Takatoraya Shirt” and Shinichi Tanaka with “The Playing Card”.  The exhibition of this artworks will take place at “La Corte dei Miracoli” in Milan, location of the artistic residence of Asian Studies Group (ASG-Res).

The Playing Card by Shinichi Tanaka

Last but not least, Design and Planet proposes once again the main theme of sustainability through the pieces “Endangered Insects” by Wataru Kurogi and “Molecules” by Re:Fa and Mayumi Kuwayama at the headquarters of Asian Studies Group in Milan, via Eustachi (Porta Venezia area).

Our activities within Milano Genius 2019 therefore continue within the following months, predicting stimulating artistic opportunities for both visitors and designers.   

Osaka panders Milan through the Italian Design Day 2019 to discuss urban redevelopment

Scheduled for March 1st at 5.30 pm at the Knowledge Salon (Knowledge Capital) in Osaka, the Italian Design Day 2019 is ready to start, as a cultural initiative supported by the Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka and in collaboration with Asian Studies Group.

Special attention during the IDD 2019 will be paid on a talk presentation by its official Design Ambassador Gisella Borioli, Owner-CEO of Superstudio Group and creator of the international event dedicated to contemporary design called Superdesign Show.

In her talk, the nominated Ambassador for the city of Osaka will analyze the process of urban redevelopment started by Superstudio in an area like the milanese Tortona district, originally considered suburban and now converted into the archetype of fashion&design district, that has been able to redefine the concept of design for the entire milanese environment.

Gisella Borioli

This important urban rebirth also contributes to strengthen the bond between Osaka and Milan, both cities of EXPO that share a twinning status too, with the former city that conceives the latter as an example to look up to. As a result, the redevelopment of such a degraded area  is studied by the prefecture as a extraordinary case of economic and urban upgrading that is worth special attention.

Furthermore, the location chosen for the event seems anything but random. As its own name suggests, the development of Knowledge Salon was in fact part of a redevelopment project for “the last prime land in a city center,” and attracted much public attention, as it was specifically created to celebrate knowledge of any kind.

Knowledge Salon (Capital Knowledge)

As a consequence, the example given by Milan and the Tortona district represented an important path to follow for the city of Osaka, which started its action with the construction of the Knowledge Salon, whose biggest aim is to become a hub for innovative contents and to enhance the high potential of The Umekita district (Osaka station North district).

By using cutting-edge knowledge as a resource under the theme of proposing, experiencing, and learning future lives, Knowledge Capital fosters a variety of creative and innovative contents that significantly contribute to the prestige of the city.

Both municipalities of Osaka and Milan have gathered the important that such innovative projects can bring to Milan, not only nationally but also internationally speaking. That is why the Municipality of Milan decided to grant Milano Genius 2019 the patronage although the event does not physically occur in the Italian country.

In addition, during the talk there will also be discussed the importance of Japanese design artworks exhibited at Superdesign Show over the years thanks to a speech by Chiara Ferella Falda, Director of Communication and Special Projects of Superstudio. Last but certainly not least,  the “Take a Seat” project in collaboration with Asian Studies Group will be deepened too.  

Given such preconditions, the Italian Design Day 2019 with its theme “The City of the Future” forewarns a stimulating discussion about the importance of design in urban redevelopment as well as an occasion of cultural comparison and exchange for both realities that share different styles and cultures.

The making of Milano Genius logo and direct call with its creator

Milano Genius 2019 is finally ready to present its official logo and to reveal the creative process behind its creation through the words of Arianna Galuppo, designer of the logo.

As an important cultural project, Milano Genius wants not only to enhance and reinforce the artistic cooperation between Italy and Japan, but also to create opportunities and international visibility for many young artists involved in the artistic development of the event.

This is surely the case of young and talented Italian designer Arianna Galuppo, graduated with honour in Design at Libera Academy of Fine Arts and specially chosen for the creation of the official logo for Milano Genius, who now presents her work by explaining what led her to its creation.

When asked about the reasons for her participation to the project, Arianna claims that “Milan and Osaka are united by what would seem to differentiate them the most: the world of art, design and music. This is what, initially, intrigued me most about the possibility to participate, as creator of the logo, to the project.

The collaboration with Milano Genius surely represents a great opportunity for her to  “to get involved in a real work project to practice what I have studied at university. I am honoured to contribute with my logo to this collaboration, which will certainly be positive and valuable for both the cities and for anyone who will take part in it.”

As a result, Milano Genius 2019 and Switch On Your Creativity 6th Edition, the creative accelerator of which it is part, encourage  youthful creativity by involving young designers, like Arianna, to develop cultural projects and to give them the experience necessary to enter into the world of work.

Talking about the concrete inspiration for the design of the logo, she explains that “The project has three main characteristics on which I had to focus my attention while developing the logo. The first is the ambition of Milan Genius 2019 to act as an international representative of contemporary art and culture that makes Italy great all over the world and recognizes it as a driving force of creativity. The second is the need to enhance, in particular, the metropolitan city of Milan as a privileged symbol of design, art, and of course Italian music. Finally, the need to highlight the modernity and dynamism that the project needs to test itself in a foreign cultural environment.”   

In the creation of the logo Arianna felt necessary to include traditional elements of our identity such as the Italian flag and the Milan Cathedral, as “symbols that brings together people and nations in a united cultural community”.  

As for the general style adopted for the logo, she concludes by explaining that “ to express the effort of Milano Genius 2019 to project itself in a modern and dynamic way in cultural contemporaneity of various and numerous foreign environments, I thought to use a minimalist and essential style in order to make the logo adaptable to all the cultural environments in which it will be presented.”

The logo is therefore not only the official symbol of Milano Genius, but also a tangible reminder of what the project stands for: cultural exchange beyond geographic barriers and the celebration of cultural expressions of any kind.

Milan Design Week: Superstudio Group for Milano Genius, launches “Take a Seat” theme.

Let us to introduce today the partner for Design Days in Osaka for that concerns one of the three calls for design, launched in collaboration with Osaka City as part of Milano Genius 2019 for specific project named Design Made in Osaka

Superstudio Group, with its two locations Superstudio Più and Superstudio 13, has been the initiator, since 2000, of the project that has brought design out of the institutional headquarter of the Exhibition, proposing other modalities to spread it, during the event of Design Week in April, in the Tortona District, to then being extended to the entire city. An actual urban phenomenon also imitated by other Milanese areas and studied as case

history in the entire world.

superstudio più

superstudio 13

Superdesign attracts 130.000 visitors, professionals but also simple design lovers as well as Italian and foreign students, with the possibility to access free guided tours open to all citizens. The exclusive press office, located at the doorway of Superstudio Più, registers more than 2.000 journalists, over 40 partner headlines, and a press release on the event with more than 200 articles on our event.


Design Days in Osaka and Milan Design Week

take a seat

With regard to the collaboration between Superstudio and Milano Genius on the project “Design made in Osaka” (with official presentation during the Design Days in Osaka on March 1 st ), we propose the theme “TAKE A SEAT” for the Call for Creativity and its related competition.

Superstudio will be responsible for the selection of the projects gathered by Asian Studies Group, co-organizer with IIC Osaka of Milano Genius, and it will freely host chairs and seats created in real scale (prototypes or elements already in production) at Superdesign Show, the big event of Superstudio during Milan Design Week (April 8 th -14 th ).

The exact number of seats hosted and the exact location of the exposition will be defined only following the selection made by the artistic direction of Superstudio.


– The chair is the archetype of furniture

– The chair is needed not only to seat down

– Chairs are required to eat, to work, to study, to relax, to chat, to write, to fix, to experiment, to cook, to work with the computer, to teach, to confess, to cuddle, to lean against, etc….

– Every culture employs chairs

– The chair is history

– The chair is a cultural expression

– The chair speaks about aesthetics, usage, art, reason, madness, technology, tradition,

innovation, economy, status, taste, ethics, sustainability, sensibility, materials, progress, desires, dreams, etc…

– The chair talks about us

Why, considering all types of chairs existing in the world, have we asked designers in Osaka to take on chairs yet again?

Because we would like to invite participants to explore more deeply the object “chair”, also breaking the barriers of common sense and production to propose, if possible, prototypes coherent with the Japanese vision , cultural intersections, new technologies, common and possible uses of the chair.

We find it interesting how new generations concerning design, in a country that pays so much attention to aesthetics, ethics, traditions, future, human being, new technology and sustainability, could offer new interpretations to a product that has existed since forever.

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