Domus Academy was founded in response to a paradox.
Since the beginning of the European Renaissance in the 14th century, the Italian design industry has developed its international influence to become one of the most influential industries in the world. Yet, except for informal learning and tutoring that took place in the studios of individual designers, for a long time in Milan there was no one to teach design in a formalized way. There were also no institutions specifically dedicated to design offering postgraduate courses.
In 1983, Maria Grazia Mazzocchi saw this as a tremendous opportunity to fill the design education void. So, along with Pierre Restany (one of the most important art critics of the 20th century), Alessandro Mendini, Valerio Castelli, Alessandro Guerriero and Andrea Branzi she founded Domus Academy.
From the very beginning, Domus Academy was designed to be a unique institution. The founders envisioned a school where different cultures and experiences would meet and exchange, and where education and research would be closely integrated. They planned a center that would promote an open environment conducive to reflection and criticism, and that would bring together students and companies to pursue real-world projects on the most important aspects of contemporary life.
First and foremost, Domus Academy is a post-graduate school, offering one-year master courses in a wide variety of design specializations.
It has also always been an international school, open to students and teachers from all over the world. And right from the start, the school has attracted a highly diverse international enrollment.
In addition to students from Italy, Domus Academy 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. This rich international student diversity added a real richness to the school and spurred a dynamic exchange of ideas and a healthy intellectual confrontation that are still a hallmark of Domus Academy.
During the first years Domus Academy invited leading designers such as Sottsass, Mendini, Trini Castelli, Santachiara, Starck, Hosoe, Bellini, Castiglioni, Bonetto, Magistretti, Munari. The stream of ideas they brought with them was very fruitful in encouraging collaboration between designers who operated in well-established product design fields and those operating in the new design disciplines.
In addition to the above-mentioned design leaders, Domus Academy invited more than five hundred visiting professors to hold lectures, and o rganised seminars in various countries.
Strongly rooted in Italy, Domus Academy works in an international perspective, in order to enrich, spread and update the design culture. Domus Academy is a real point of connection between design, fashion and management culture.