Domus Academy

Domus Academy
Domus Academy
DomusAcademy_LOGO.tif alt text
Logo of Domus Academy
Established December 1982
Type Private School
President David Graves
Dean Alberto Bonisoli
Postgraduates more than 400
Location Milan, Italy

Domus Academy is an international postgraduate school of design based in Milan, Italy. Domus Academy offers master courses and advanced short courses in the field of design, fashion, architecture, interior design and management. It was founded in 1982 as the first institutionalized school in Milan majoring in Design. Strongly rooted in Italy, Domus Academy works in an international perspective, in order to enrich, spread and update the design culture. It has drawn students from Japan, Korea and other Far East nations, from North and South America, Western and Eastern Europe, Australia and the Middle East.



Domus Academy was founded 1983 by Maria Grazia Mazzochi,[1] who observed that Italian design was spreading all over, while in Italy the culture of it was illogically missing. In those years, in fact, the growth of the Italian design industry and the fame it was arousing abroad, it was due to some individual designers working in their studios, but not sharing their knowledge, nor teaching design in a formalized way. Along with Pierre Restany,[2] Valerio Castelli, Alessandro Guerriero and Andrea Branzi.[3][3] Maria Grazia Mazzochi created Domus Academy with the purpose of making of it an exclusive institute whose aim was to make companies and students interact, combining different cultures with their peculiar experiences. Foremost this environment would work at real-world projects on the most important aspects of contemporary life. The international student diversity, not only enriched the school but also spurred a dynamic exchange of ideas and a healthy intellectual dialogue that are still a hallmark of Domus Academy. The stream of ideas brought from the leading designers of the world - such as Ettore Sottsass,[4] Alessandro Mendini, ClinoTrini Castelli, Denis Santachiara, Philip Starck,[5] Isao Hosoe, Mario Bellini, Achille Castiglioni, Rodolfo Bonetto, Vico Magistretti, Bruno Munari[6] who have come to Domus Academy during its first years - it was very fruitful in encouraging a collaboration between the designers operating in the well-established product design field and those working in the new design disciplines. Domus Academy launched a pioneering and revolutionary method of instruction providing that designers, psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists held lectures. This sophisticated and humanistic approach considered processes more important than results, and placed a priority on focusing on the human being for any kind of project. An important belief of Domus Academy, in fact, concerned that responsible design must begin with preliminary research on materials, the environment, function and service. Still nowadays the school has remained faithful to one of its founding principles: that rather than just offering solutions, design has the responsibility of revealing problems. In other words, design must be problem setting not just problem solving. This philosophy remains a touchstone for the school and is one of the leading reasons graduate students in design continue to be drawn to Domus Academy. In 2009 Domus Academy joined the Laureate International Universities network,[7] a global leader in higher education for art and design. It has a global reputation for investing and growing the institutions part of its network, creating a truly multicultural career-oriented educational experience.

Structure and Masters

The Master Courses organized by Domus Academy are addressed to young graduates with diverse educational backgrounds and are accredited by the University of Wales.[8] A restricted number of students is selected on a resume and portfolio basis. The programs follow a typical Domus Academy approach, giving each student the opportunity to develop, in collaboration with the faculty, professionals and internationally known visiting professors, the knowledge and experience needed for designers to work at a professional level, as well as a prestigious and worldwide renowned qualification. Domus Academy offers eleven Masters Courses based in Milan, grouped under seven departments:



Domus Academy Campus

Domus Academy is set in Milan, the worldwide capital for fashion and design. Milan has ancient roots, as the rest of Italy, still visible from its centre rich of high and peculiar palazzos, churches and monuments; at the same time though, Milan can be easily considered as the ‘one’ which is always 'one step ahead': a laboratory of artistic experiments and a building site for social behaviour that is continuously changing. All its contradictions, the ancient and the modern, the trends and the counter-trends, the fashion and the underground, the middle class and the working class living all together, leaded Milan to impose itself as a magnetic point for designers, artists, photographers and models, which brought to call it “the city of glamour” (everywhere in the city, in fact, there are the most important flagship stores of fashion, like Versace, Armani and Valentino, and for design like Cappellini, Driade, Kartell). There are plenty of innovative and creative boutiques of emerging labels and chic concept stores, like the furniture companies and handicraft businesses turning out the highest quality products. Every year, Milan hosts the Fashion Week and the International Furniture Fair which transform the city into a huge showroom where exhibitions, performances, parties and conferences involve and entertain lots of international guests, all day long. Exploring this city means being part of many thrilling, cultural and artistic events, part of a thriving contemporary art scene made by world-class fashion studios, architecture firms, communication and media production companies which generate a creative and inspiring environment like none other within Italy.

In summer 2011, Domus Academy will move in a new building within a specialized art and design education campus in the Navigli area, one of the most liveliest places in Milan where you find many interesting shops, restaurants and markets.

From the rib of Domus Magazine

Everybody knows Domus Magazine, but not all know that its history it’s related to the history of Domus Academy. The magazine was founded in Milan in 1928 by Gio Ponti,[9] a young designer from La Rinascente, who was destined to become one of the most important architects of the twentieth century. The following year, a young man who would go on to prove himself in the publishing world, Gianni Mazzocchi, put all his savings in the magazine and over two years bought up most of its shares. At the beginning of the 1980s Domus was edited by Alessandro Mendini who had previously been the editor of Casabella and Modo; and the art director was Ettore Sottsas Jr. Mazzocchi’s two daughters were also working at the publishing house: Giovanna was following in her father’s footsteps in publishing; Maria Grazia had been on the editorial staff of the magazine since 1973. Almost every day the magazine received large quantities of letters from students and young architects all over the world who wanted to come to Italy to study design, given that the country was by then considered the homeland of the ‘blue-print’ thanks to the talent of some of the great designers who established themselves in the seventies. The paradox, in fact, was that Italian design had met with success all over the world, despite the absence of any design faculty of international renown in our country. On the vanguard at the time for its focus on corporate image there was the huge company Olivetti, which indeed it was not a university. There were The Umanitaria - an old Milanese institution – which had founded its school of design, then the Scuola Politecnica di Design, where Bruno Munari, Max Huber, Isao Hosoe and Narciso Silvestrini taught; the Istituto Europeo di Design, which offered preparation courses with a pragmatic approach and clear disposition towards ‘doing’. But none of them had an international reputation nor did they offer any postgraduate courses. It was the young foreigners’ requests to Domus magazine that gave Maria Grazia Mazzocchi, along with Alessandro Mendini and Alessandro Guerriero, the idea of founding an international, postgraduate design school that would not merely teach graphic arts; they had several meetings with Ettore Sottsass and out of them came the project of founding Domus Academy. The details were finalised in United States, where they had met Pierre Restany – theorist and art critic of the Nouveau Réalsime - who suggested appointing Andrea Branzi as the first director, and who proposed the name of the school: Domus Academy, evocative of the world-famous magazine.[3]


The most of Domus Academy Masters Courses are validated and awarded by the University of Wales[8][8] – which according to the British Legislation are fully recognized within the U.K. The Domus Academy Master Certificate, awarded at the end of each Master course upon successful completion of the program, states the specialization achieved. The achievement of the Certificate depends on the successful completion of the Master program. The Master Degree awarded by the University of Wales to students who have been matriculated by the same University and who successfully completed the validated Master program has a value of 180 U.K. Credits. For applicants who wish to enter one of the Domus Academy Master Courses, the English Language requirement is IELTS 5.0 or Equivalent.

Ranking and Awards

In 1994 Domus Academy was awarded to Compasso d'Oro[10][10] for the career for the quality of its teaching and publishing, for its constant attention to borderline themes, from humanization of technology to exploring the relationship between design and fashion, from reflection on the sociology of design to design management and to design of services. In 2009, Domus Academy was nominated for the third time by Business Week magazine as one of the best schools of design in the world. Students from Domus Academy have been selected in international contests like ITS, Next Generation/ Milan Fashion Week, Vogue Talents, Who’s on Next and Red Dot Award. Domus Academy projects have been exhibited in Venice Architectural Biennial[11][11] 2004 and 2010 and at Centre Pompidou,[12][12] Paris.

Notes and references

  1. ^ Maria Grazia Mazzochi, was born in she was born in Milan, on February 24th, 1945. After the diploma in Classical studies, she graduated in Philosophy. From 1973 to 1983 she collaborated in the writing of the magazine Domus starting with the Design Industry section, up to the Art Forum one. Journalist since 1978, in 1994 she founded "Il nuovo Mondo" the monthly magazine of culture and politics. In 1982 she founded Domus Academy, whom entire share capital she finally took over in 2007.
  2. ^ Pierre Restany (24 June 1930 – 29 May 2003), was an internationally known French art critic and cultural philosopher. In 1960 he created the idea and coined the term "Nouveau Réalisme" with Yves Klein during a group show in the Apollinaire gallery in Milan. It was an idea that united a group of French and Italian artists. Nouveau Realisme was the European answer to the American Neo-Dada of Fluxus and Pop Art. Alessandro Mendini (born 1931 in Milan) is an Italian designer and architect. He played an important part in the development of Italian design. He also worked, aside from his artistic career, for Casabella, Modo and Domus magazines.
  3. ^ a b c "Domus Academy - History". 
  4. ^ Ettore Sottsass (14 September 1917 – 31 December 2007) was an Italian architect and designer of the late 20th century. His body of designs included furniture, jewellery, glass, lighting and office machine design.
  5. ^ Philippe Patrick Starck (born January 18, 1949, Paris) is a French product designer and probably the best known designer in the New Design style. His designs range from interior designs to mass produced consumer goods such as toothbrushes, chairs, and even houses.
  6. ^ Bruno Munari (October 24, 1907, Milan – September 30, 1998, Milan) was an Italian artist and designer, who contributed fundamentals to many fields of visual arts (painting, sculpture, film, industrial design, graphic design) and non visual arts (literature, poetry) with his research on games, didactic method and creativity.
  7. ^ Laureate International Universities is a network of institutions of higher education in 28 countries, leader in medical and health sciences education, hospitality management, architecture, art and design.
  8. ^ a b c "Domus Academy - University of Wales". 
  9. ^ Gio Ponti (18 November 1891, Milan - 16 September 1979, Milan) was one of the most important Italian architects, industrial designers, furniture designers, artists, and publishers of the twentieth century.
  10. ^ a b "Compasso d'oro". 
  11. ^ a b "Venice Biennal". 
  12. ^ a b "Centre Pompidou". 


  • Il Design parla Italiano, Vent'anni di Domus Academy Design Speaks Italian, Domus Academy Story by Gian Luigi Falabrino published in 2004 by Libri Scheiwiller, Milano, Italy
  • Knowledge Emergence: Social, Technical, and Evolutionary Dimensions of Knowledge Creation by Ikujiro Nonaka, Toshihiro Nishiguchi

External links

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