The Lost Graduation Show allows young talent to shine

Wallpaper* talks to curator Anniina Koivu about The Lost Graduation Show, her Supersalone showcase of 170 graduate projects, empowering a new generation of designers

Three t shirts in a row getting progressively dirtier
Composting Test
(Image credit: © Benjamin Bichsel)

The name itself is evocative: ‘The Lost Graduation Show’. Considered one of the most anticipated exhibitions at Supersalone, the event curated by Anniina Koivu showcases around 170 projects by students from all around the globe, who graduated between 2020 and 2021 – in many respects, two lost years for a new generation of designers that were not able to physically show their work to the industry or the public.

A first for Salone del Mobile, the idea to give these graduates a platform inside the fair attracted hundreds of schools from 59 countries, which responded to the open call. ‘The original open call was for final prototypes, or prototypes that the general public could understand, not just renderings or technical projects, and I think we succeeded very well in showing these ideas in a very physical and feasible way,’ says Koivu.

Woman getting injection

(Image credit: © Benjamin Bichsel)

Tapestries hanging on wall

Top, Cerón López and López Velasco; and above, Amna Yandarbin

(Image credit: © Benjamin Bichsel)

The Lost Graduation Show: projects that inspire

The projects span from a portable kit for refugees, to clean reusable menstruation pads, and a street lamp with an insect-friendly light spectrum; from toys for children with sensory needs, to a forgotten textile craft from a pre-Partition India, and an interactive installation on the price of death in every nation in the world.

RobustNest, a portable incubator for new-born babies in sub-Saharan countries, won one of the the Best of Class 2020/21 Awards, together with a single-material syringe, and a new use of oyster shells, among others: ‘I think that the jury looked very carefully for projects which go beyond ideas,’ Koivu says.

Empowering grad students while giving them such a platform made Koivu reflect on three specific directions: ‘First, we cannot necessarily speak any more about nationally located design, because the topics that the designers are touching are universal and global. Second, because of the pandemic, young designers didn’t have access to production facilities and it has been more difficult for them to get into the design industry, so they had to show a very positive proactive attitude. Third, a crisis can be a very positive trigger for rethinking things and for new, innovative ideas.’

Luggage rack

Leo Koda

(Image credit: © Benjamin Bichsel)

Tables and chairs against a wall

Chiaki Yoshihara

(Image credit: © Benjamin Bichsel)

Cartoon of people working at desk

Chillemi&Riva & Ubertosi+Yegenoglu

(Image credit: © Benjamin Bichsel)

A boat against a river

Matteo Brasili

(Image credit: © Benjamin Bichsel)

Metal holders

Giulia Braglia

(Image credit: © Benjamin Bichsel)

Jar with rice in

Xueyu Ji

(Image credit: © Benjamin Bichsel)

Woman sat at a table

(Image credit: © Benjamin Bichsel)

table with red legs

Charlotte Krzentowski

(Image credit: © Benjamin Bichsel)


Cristina Kiran Piotti is an Italian-Indian freelance journalist. After completing her studies in journalism in Milan, she pursued a master's degree in the economic relations between Italy and India at the Ca' Foscari Challenge School in Venice. She splits her time between Milan and Mumbai and, since 2008, she has concentrated her work mostly on design, current affairs, and culture stories, often drawing on her enduring passion for geopolitics. She writes for several publications in both English and Italian, and she is a consultant for communication firms and publishing houses.