Silvio Pietro Angori, CEO and Managing Director of Pininfarina S.p.A., regularly provides presentations on the subjects of art, design, culture and entrepreneurship. Here are some excerpts from his essay in the Digital Journal on how the coronavirus pandemic will shape new experiences in different aspects of life through new designs.
History of pandemics and the impact on Design
Pandemics are intertwined with the history of humankind. Through the centuries, viral outbreaks caused the decimation of entire populations, and the fall of long-established political powers.
They equally brought about the creation of new economic orders and growth, leading to the development of new technologies which created the conditions for cultural exuberance. Take for example, the Plague outbreak which devastated Europe in the mid-fourteen century resulting in a dramatic and long-lasting economic depression.
Subsequently, unprecedented economic growth diffused wealth, leading to the Renaissance in Italy and to the creation of masterpieces of geniuses such as Michelangelo, Bernini, Raffaella, Leonardo and many others we admire today. History seems to prove that catastrophes open the path to new beginnings and are sources of unexplored opportunities that significantly increase the well-being of people.
Changing Urban Planning
In the last 30 years, urban planning has leveraged two principles: density and mass transit. From now on, when designing the new town square or concert hall, we will have to face an ever-evolving dilemma: should we favor social distancing, or foster social interaction? While cities are beginning to reopen, a series of precautions to significantly limit the aggregation of people are being implemented, continuing the concept of social distancing. Our responsibility, through design, is to facilitate the experience of interaction but embrace latest AI and 5G technologies (like thermal scanners, pedestrian monitoring, dynamic flow management, rapid access to testing and emergency facilities) to mitigate the risks of contagion, but to “humanize” them through Design at the same time.