As the world, with its industries and workers, with its inhabitants and desires, is undergoing a continuous and perpetual change, we are experiencing a new movement called neo-nomadism. This concept reveals the physical and physiological movements and journeys we embark on every day. Some do it for work, love, or pleasure, but moving is a constant part of our lives, of our thinking and creative process. 

Lake Como Design Festival 2022 (17 – 25 September), the event’s fourth edition, focuses on the concept of neo-nomadism, exploring the movement of people between digital and real life through the lenses of the economic and climate crises, and examining how these migratory processes influence the creative industry. 

paper lamps in Como Palazzo during Lake Como Design Festival 2022
A display by Galerie Philia at Casa Bianca

‘The theme seemed particularly interesting this year, also in light of all the changes that are taking place around us: nomadism has always identified human history and thanks to the movement of people, stratifications have been created that allow us to have such a deep and kaleidoscopic culture,’ comments Lorenzo Butti, Lake Como Design Festival creator and artistic director. ‘We are now experimenting with new forms of nomadism that live alongside the more "traditional" ones, increasingly linked to economic disparities between the various parts of the world and to climate change. The aim was to do a survey in art, design and creativity in general to understand how this new nomadism affects artistic expressions.’

Lake Como Design Festival 2022: the highlights

Exhibition ‘Erranti’ in palazzo during Lake Como Design Festival 2022
‘Erranti’, exhibition view

Taking place in the historic city centre of Como, this year’s edition presents a rich programme of exhibitions, talks, installations, and events. These include the collective exhibition ‘Erranti’, showcasing 20 international artists, curated by professor and author Francesca Alfano Miglietti; ‘In Search of Lost Time’, a collective project realised together with Movimento Club; an installation at Casa Bianca, in collaboration with Galerie Philia; and a series of ‘refreshment design talks’ that will dig deeper into neo-nomadism – a programme giving its audience food for thought. 

‘[Design is] a happy and rebellious journey,’ says Alfano Miglietti. ‘And a journey often shows us unpredictable and unexpected corners and sides. Design for me has always been an almost personal relationship with individual authors, a way of creating other weaves and other rhizomes. [Philosopher] Gilles Deleuze wrote: "In a rhizome you enter from any part, each point connects with any other, it is composed of moving directions, without outside and without end, only an inside from which it grows and overflows, without ever depending on or deriving from a unit; without subject or object."’

Contemporary design at Museo Delle Scienze during Lake Como Design Festival 2022
Contemporary design selection at Museo Delle Scienze

Journalist Prashanth Cattaneo, curator of Como Design Festival’s talk section, has put together a series of conversations exploring neo-nomadism from different perspectives. However, one underlying question that characterises this programme is ‘whether it is possible to engage in a discussion on neo-nomadism starting out from those who remain; those who choose not to move from their place.’ The idea of travelling, staying, and the creative process as a journey to embark on are just a few of the themes that will be tackled in the programme – which includes Studio Calvi Brambilla, Ivan Bargna, Studio Wok, Tommaso Melilli among others. This extensive series of panel discussions will take place at the Portico del Broletto, Palazzo Broletto, while the festival expands to other nearby venues. 

‘“Erranti” is the theme that runs through the exhibition, as wandering is the history of human beings, a history of movements, diversity and exchanges,’ comments Alfano Miglietti. ‘We ourselves are all crossroads, both biologically and culturally.’ It will be interesting to understand how this message is passed to the audience in Como: speaking of which, the curator adds: ‘I expect the works to become mechanisms of joy and authenticity, of poetry and reflection, but in truth, I don’t know what will come to the public; the public is made up of different individuals. I hope the exhibition can stimulate the uniqueness that exists in anyone.’  This year’s Lake Como Design Festival will definitely make us wander and wonder. §

pink room with white sofa
Movimento Club at Villa Gallia