Malfatto: Imperfect Design for Better Products

In the world of product design, things have been shaken up pretty thoroughly in the last 50 years. Previously, different localities throughout the world had their own particular style of product, and this variety helped spread demand so that everyone got a piece of the action. It also helped users see their products as special, and encouraged them to protect, repair, and use them longer -- which is great for reducing waste. Material ConneXion is sponsoring a conference to try to bring some of this back. With globalization contributing to a more and more homogenous marketplace, and with mass-production switching easily from one product style to another, it is increasingly hard for low-volume producers to differentiate their products. On top of that, the lack of uniqueness in products can decrease personal attachment, and encourage high consumption and high waste buying habits.

With that in mind Material ConneXion, presents Malfatto: Imperfect Design for a Better World? "Malfatto" is Italian for "poorly made"—a tongue-in-cheek designation of an approach to design that privileges controlled experimentation, the hand of the maker, and materials research that is not directly related to industrial thinking. Advocated perhaps most passionately by the Italian architect and industrial designer Gaetano Pesce--who introduced the concept forty years ago, when slick, machine-perfected Italian design ruled--malfatto is an idea whose time has come.

"Why are we faced with a maze of utilitarian objects which all look alike? No wonder world-class manufacturers persist in the idolatry of branding to distinguish their products from the competitors'," says Material ConneXion Founder and President George M. Beylerian.

Speakers include Gaetano Pesce, Li Edelkoort, Kardash Onnig, John Thackara, as well as leaders from buisness like James Ludwig (Creative Director of Steelcase North America), Scott Henderson (Principal and Founder of Scott Henderson Inc. and Mint), Scott Wilson (Global Creative Director for Nike Explorer Group).

"Malfatto: Imperfect Design for a Better World" will be held on Friday, May 13, 2005 from 10am to 5pm, Tishman Auditorium, 66 W. 12th Street, New York City.

Admission is $200 for the general public ($250 after April 29), $180 for Material ConneXion clients and University faculty ($225 after April 29), $100 for students. All attendies will recieve a ticket to The ICFF Furniture and design fair which is going on at the same time.

To purchase tickets, call (212) 842-2050, or e-mail the Conference Department at

:: Malfatto design conference by Material ConneXion [by DM]