The designer’s suit

Alessandro Mendini, 2003

This is a suit of which only two were made. It will hardly ever be worn; it is merely a document. The decoration of the fabric was designed by me, and is a print of different company logos: they are the foremost companies I have worked for throughout the years. This suit is a uniform, a memory dedicated to the people I work with enthusiastically and devotedly. It is a symbol of the joys and hard work that those friends have meant to me and I have meant to them. Thinking about this long road, I muse over how designing for industries is a bit Faustian, it’s a dilemma, it’s really like selling one’s soul to Mephistopheles. I am not talking about the conflict between good and bad, between salvation and damnation. I am talking about a pact that is in itself impure and confusing. Industry and designer are problematic couples by definition and inseparable by constitution; their offspring (the resulting objects) are always a little illegitimate. There is love, but it is violent and is made up of eternal conflict. The objectives are split and, in the depths of their nature, will never coincide. Slowly, slowly, my mind has been fragmented into labels, my body has been turned into a patchwork of griffes, my imagination has become a mosaic of the logos of the companies I have worked for.
And so I belong to everyone, yet no one in particular, often not even to myself. Am I a traitor, maybe? These are the considerations that motivated me to make myself an “The designer’s suit”. Just to be able to take it off sometimes, when I want to work calmly and in all freedom. When I need to replace the cold hardness, the masquerade of products, with the fragile truth of my tales.