Global Tools

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Planned as a series of experimental design laboratories or counter‐school of architecture and design, its Italian founder members appeared on the May 1973 cover of the design magazine Casabella, edited by one of the group's members, Alessandro Mendini, and a focal point for the diffusion of many avant‐garde ideas. One of the original aims was to find a means of disseminating information about creative ideas and networks that was equivalent to an almost contemporary American ‘bible’ of alternative living, The Whole Earth Catalogue. The latter sought to provide individuals and communities with mail order access to the technologies, equipment, and knowledge necessary for independent living in the late 1960s and 1970s. Global Tools' ideas were much more open‐ended and unpredictable: through an anticipated series of seminars (on such themes as ‘The Body’, ‘Construction’, ‘Communication’, ‘Survival’) and the planned establishment of a number of free laboratories in Milan, Florence, Rome, Naples, and Padua, Global Tools sought to establish the conditions to free up individual creative energy from the logical constraints that had constrained it for centuries. The membership of Global Tools included Ettore Sottsass, Mendini, Gaetano Pesce, and members of the radical groups Archizoom and Superstudio. Global Tools' ideas were outlined in the January 1975 edition of Casabella but, within months, the group had folded before the seminar programmes had progressed beyond the first session devoted to ‘The Body’. Nonetheless the debates and discussions surrounding its formation provided a platform for the formation of Studio Alchimia and Memphis.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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