Aldo Cibic

Aldo Cibic


Cibic Workshop

A designer and scholar active since the late 1970s, Aldo Cibic (1955) was initially self-taught. His career took off in 1980 when he moved to Milan to join Ettore Sottsass’s studio, and soon became one of the partners.
In 1981, he was one of the founding members of the Memphis group, the influential movement that questioned Modernism and re-established design, which left a mark at the time and on the subsequent evolution of design and architecture. Cibic was part of Memphis until its dissolution in 1987.

His design experience working alongside Sottsass and designers from all over the world involved with the Memphis movement prompted Cibic to continue the process of experimentation, letting himself be guided by formal intuition and driven by emotion, which became an increasingly important aspect of design from the 1980s onwards. The result is a mixture of styles and vocabularies that cannot be identified with a signature.
In addition to working as a designer for leading Italian and foreign companies, in 1989 he founded Cibic & Partners, the studio where he also developed architectural and interior design projects.
During this period, he taught at the Domus Academy.

In keeping with his idea of a more human, less heroic form of design, Cibic chose not only to design objects for the home, but also to produce them, pursuing “a reflection on a more personal concept of creativity” (Vv.Aa., Aldo Cibic Designer, Skira 1999).
This is how his first independent project was born, “Standard” (1991), a self-produced collection that was presented to the public at his loft in Milan, with which he launched a tradition of impromptu exhibitions as a way to test projects and guide research.
The architect recently called it “that sits halfway between De Padova and IKEA” (G. Ricci, Domus).

Projects such as “The Solid Side” (in cooperation with Philips Corporate Design at the Domus Academy, 1995), “CitizenCity” (2003) and “New Stories New Design” (2004) “promoted a dynamic relationship between people and space and provided a new space design method based on social interactions” (Brera Design District).
The subsequent “Microrealities” (2004) and “Rethinking Happiness” (2010), which were both showcased at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, also invented “contemporary storytelling aimed at increasing the opportunities for meeting, debate and sharing in the life of the community”.

Defined by the author as “an opportunity to produce identity and a sense of belonging in the suburbs”, Microrealities is a “project about places and people”.
In turn, “Rethinking Happiness” is a set “of contemporary storytelling inventions aimed at increasing the opportunities for meeting, debate and sharing in the life of the community, by involving architects, agronomists, designers, sociologists and energy experts” (it.wikipedia).
In 2015, Cibic was the curator of the Venice Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale with the exhibition Looking ahead. The evolution of the art of making. 9 stories from Veneto: digital – not only digital.
His analysis of architecture led him to consider the issue of sustainability in a broad sense, studying planning of land use and living environments and contributing to defining the discipline known as “service design”.
Theorized on Domus since 1995, service design was showcased in 2004, before “emerging in 2007 in business forms such as Uber or AirBnb”.

Over the last decade, Cibic’s projects and those of his studio have been specifically aimed “at enhancing whole local areas and defining a new cultural, emotional and environmental awareness of public space”.
Cibicworkshop, his laboratory, focuses on individuals with their complex system of relationships and constant propensity for change. This is made possible “by applying investigative research to design (…) and observing the built environment from a different perspective and on a different scale”.

As for the future of architecture and design, he stated that both “must have the intelligence, the curiosity and the humility to decide how they should combine and tackle critical issues – the environment, technology and society, which in the end are intertwined. We need to look to our future. Otherwise, we risk our work becoming mannered”.

Aldo Cibic is an honorary professor at Tongji University in Shanghai and has taught at several universities: in addition to the Domus Academy, he has taught at the Polytechnic University of Milan, IUAV in Venice, and UNSAM Universidad Nacional de San Martìn in Buenos Aires. He lectured at the Royal College of Art in London, Vassar College in New York State, RISD Rhode Island School of Design, MIT in Boston and the Parsons The New School for Design in New York.
Cibic is currently based both in Italy and China, and in 2019 Alessandro Mendini included him on Domus, in the guide to the world’s best architects (“100+ best architecture firms 2019”).