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Seven notes on the context of the projects
1. The first time I saw a piece of Riccardo Blumer’s teaching work we were at a workshop Riccardo held in Treviso together with other designers. There were “young design”-style coffee tables and
various cheapjack objects everywhere, proposed by other teams.
In Blumer’s room: broomcorn brushes holding up rather unlikely surfaces, an object floating pointlessly in a tank etc.

2. Years later, when I was looking for somebody with ideas to pass on to young people in an attempt to set up a school which would at least be “intelligent”, I sought him out by inviting him to San Marino.
After exchanging a few words on the mobile to persuade him to get involved, we spent three months for two summers in a row up on Titanio hill, attempting to convey ideas and not just products to first-year kids, who wanted to be designers when they grew up.

3. Dining together every Thursday evening, we tried to take stock of matters, slowing down our work rates and discussing a bit of everything.
Thanks to Riccardo I realised how you could love material and so when, together with Massimo Brignoni, we took him on a visit to an iron foundry in the Marches region, I could see a glimmer of curiosity in his eyes, which eventually led him to design his own cast-iron chairs.

4. During the first year Riccardo filled the school with sandwiches, locust beans and “other stuff to eat”, constructing elements capable of holding the weight of a chair.
During the second year, on the other hand, he suggested taking a look at leather.
We joined together our courses being held at the same time and, “something new” at our academy, the students on both courses worked together on the same topic, driven along by Riccardo in conjunction with
Matteo Borghi and Massimo Brignoni. The results are published in this book. ("La pelle come limite"  a cura di Riccardo Blumer , Corraini editore Mantova)

5. Plenty of thought was given to basic design, taking a fresh look at the experiments from Bauhaus and Ulm.
The various teaching activities on Blumer’s basic course constantly changed “topic”, carrying out all kinds of stratified experiments but with certain peculiar features.
Blumer got his students to get to grip material, understanding its logic and moving beyond any preconceived vision.
The text on leather (a transcription of his first lecture) is exemplary in its capacity to divert attention from a stereotyped, obvious point of view of material, so that we are forced to confront other possible meanings and arouse curiosity.
Curiosity is the main aim of a design course.
Learning how to understand the potential of our art is useless unless it is the fruit of our curiosity for what surrounds us.
But curiosity cannot be “taught”, it can only be aroused.

6. The wealth and variety of “objects” produced by the courses testifies in itself to the effectiveness of this teaching approach.
But the most important aspect of all these objects is that they are not “products”.
They are not prototypes of possible goods.
They cannot be turned into consumer products.
They are research.
Research in order to try and understand.

7. Riccardo Blumer is one of a numerous group of designers who work “on a contract” at university to cover for the (now systematic) absence of organised teaching staff.
But he has certain tr aits which make him stand out from the rest.
He does not treat the university as a place where he can pass on his own “tricks of the trade” with absent- minded confidence, but as a place where he can experiment along with the students on new ways of
trying to understand.
He sees the university not as a place for passing on knowledge but as an opportunity to learn.
Nowadays, unfortunately, all this is rare.