Ezio Manzini Portrait
Who is Ezio Manzini?

Ezio Manzini - designer, engineer, architect, educator and author - is one of the most important thinkers in design today. The manuscripts available here and much of the work listed in our bibliography are accessible reading for students of design. Sustainable design theory can be daunting for newcomers, but previous knowledge in this field is not a prerequisite for understanding and implementing Manzini's ideas.

The articles in these pages discuss themes important to the EcoDesign Foundation's D|Mat and Sustainments projects. Manzini's works are based on strategic design and design for sustainability, with a focus on scenario building and solution development. He acknowledges the influential role design can play in changing our ways of thinking and living. Manzini challenges designers to re-orient creativity towards sustainable solutions. He presents insightful commentary on the nature and complexity of our designed world and offers practical sustainable 'scenarios'. Manzini's design strategies address the pressing issue of the culture of consumption and require thinking beyond 'the product'. He defines a number of 'leapfrog' strategies and Product-Service Systems that suggest ways of fulfilling consumer needs that need not involve material, tangible products. He also posits a new way of seeing our tangible products, as objects that must be sustained and supported within a wider system so that their embodied energy can be optimised. These strategies demand innovative design thinking with the ability to confront and overcome cultural and economic norms. They are the means of encouraging the dematerialisation of consumption through design.

Ezio Manzini is currently professor of Industrial Design at the Milan Polytechnic and Chair Professor of Design under the Distinguished Scholars Scheme at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He has held the position of Director of Design at the Domus Academy in Milan and has been involved in several international commissions, expert panels and working groups including the Scientific Panel of the National Environmental Agency (1998 – 2000) and the Expert Group on Competitive and Sustainable Production (2000). He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Industrial Ecology (USA), the Journal for Sustainable Product Design (UK), and the Eternally Yours Foundation (The Netherlands). As well as a number of books, he has written for many international magazines and has been responsible for several research papers for public bodies and private companies. Professor Manzini recently established the Chinese Network for Design for Sustainability. Other recent research activities include:

  • Strategies towards the sustainable household, within the Environment and Climate Programme of DG XI of the European Community (1998 – 2000).

  • The role of Industrial Design in product innovation: the Italian Design System, from local resources to global markets, for the Italian Ministry of University and of Scientific and Technological Research (1999 - 2000)

  • Strategic design and Design for sustainability in China, programme of research promoted by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2000-2001)

  • HiCS, Highly Customerised Solutions, within the Growth Programme of the European Community (2001, 2004)