The Most Visionary Postgraduate Design School


Graduation Ceremony 2019

26 July 2019

The Graduation Ceremony of Domus Academy Students took place on 23rd July. We were glad to have accompanied students throughout this exciting year up to the threshold of their new career paths, and were very proud to see all of them successfully achieving the Master’s Degree.

We would like to share with you below, the inspiring speech by Anne Cotte, Students’ Representative, to her fellows students about Designers of the World.

Congratulations to all of our graduate students, and all the best wishes for a bright future.

“Ciao a tutti. From a modest ‘one cappuccino please’ to a clumsy ‘posso avere un cappuccino per favore’, we went through a whole unexpected journey.

Unfortunately, most of us didn’t become fluent in Italian, but we learnt the confidence to master this sentence, holding our hand up in the sky, as if we gained the right to pronounce it. As we have all waited for this day to come, I believe we have all also feared it because it means saying goodbye to a gigantic 11 rooms building, that we all grew to love, despite a wild alien-controlled crazy shutter system and a coffee machine that was amused at making students salivate in front of their stuck Kinder Bueno bar, holding on to its beloved 47 spot as a bad cliffhanger on the last episode of any drama tv show. 

So, I was told a few weeks back that this year’s graduation speech topic would be designers of the world. It didn’t take me long to realise that this was basically another way of glamorously describing our cohort of little designer padawans as there is hardly more representative of the ‘world’ than all the students of these master programs. 

For me, Domus Academy is a micro-representation of the world, a miniverse with its own set of design trends and personas that go along their customer journey and encounter some pain points they aspire to resolve. And as much as I enjoy the power of free will, let me try to define what would be the 5 lessons to future us, aspiring designers of the world, that would be the basis of the constitution of the Kingdom of Domus, if we had to inaugurate it on a throne made out of all the coffee cups found in 00 room the night before final presentation.

  1.  Nothing is as important as the people we meet.

We are all incredibly lucky to be here. Lucky to have parents, close friends, scholarships or even ourselves to believe in us enough to invest in our future and most importantly, our connections. Everyone was told beforehand we were coming in an international school, but I believe no one grasped completely how rich the background of our class would be, until we got, on the first day, the little paper with our classmates name and country of origin, and I silently said ‘au revoir’ to my French grammar, to my parent’s greatest despair. Through the wonders and joys of group projects, we learnt how to speak the 6,910th world language, commonly known as body language, apparently more powerful at making human beings fight than communicate, but that in the end, brought us to create design projects we never thought would come to life and make friends from all around the globe to visit and collaborate with.

  1. It’s not because you don’t know that you cannot learn.

As a good friend of mine told me the other day, it’s not by writing on post-its that you become a designer. As much as we learned to master the art of well-placed keywords and made up stories around concepts we were alone to believe in, we developed this fine ability to try to unveil the purpose of anything, even when there might be none. And as far as a cynic as I can be, the biggest learning Domus and its students taught me for the future is to embrace this long and challenging process of learning and discovering, by running an extra mile for a project you believe in, being enthusiastic, curious and open to other opinions.

  1. Don’t get stuck in stereotypes

I’m pretty sure we all arrived with an idea of how each of us would work, think and act before even having the chance to say hi. And even more than between us, we got to Italy our heads full of images of us on the back of a Vespa, driven by Luigi, and how our body will become 100% Barilla sponsored. Which, for the last one, is actually pretty accurate. 

  1. Always be humble

We all came to Domus with our little suitcase of knowledge and expectations of how it would be, of what a design school in Milan would teach us. But we tend to close ourselves in the little box of where we come from, what we studied, or the specific skills we had to ask ourselves for 10 min if we should put a 4 out of 5 or a 3 out of 5 on our cv before handing it in. But it takes a 5 min conversation with someone next to us to understand that there is no greater intelligence than the one of listening, sharing, being passionate but also learning and taking criticism from every single person and opinion around us. Well except maybe the ones from the people that still use times new roman and powerpoints.

  1. Be ready to adapt

A few people have talked to me about this really cool place called comfort zone but I’ve never managed to actually get an appointment there. Apparently, its opening hours are as picky as the police office here in Milan. But after a few months here, it seemed like we didn’t need or even want to go to this place anymore. Things that we didn’t expect happen as much as things we thought would be great made us uncomfortable. So yes, your group project will probably turn into solo you being an award winning multi-disciplinary design studio. Yes, you’ll probably do most of your projects backwards, looking for proof to validate your answer after you’ve already developed the whole concept. And yes, most of your relatives will never understand exactly what you do in your master or profession life, no matter how hard you try to explain it. But I don’t think it matters, because we live in a world of uncertainty, where the distinction between professions is getting increasingly blurry, and being a designer nowadays englobes way more than skills, but a real mindset to find solutions that actually make sense.

And I will conclude on that. The world is becoming a place where we find answers to questions that don’t have a reason to be and we don’t ask the questions that we should until it gets almost too late. So I believe we’ll have to be ready, us designers of the future world, to deep dive in any subject, to be inspired in every possible way, to collaborate with people with which we have nothing alike, and most importantly to be inherently critical about what we hear, read and think so that we never stop being open and curious. All of us came to Domus with their own life paths, some directly from bachelor, some with work experience, some taking a bet at life and changing their academic path completely. So first I would like to congratulate all of you. And then to thank everyone of you, some I had the chance to talk to and some I hope I will in the very near future, for your insights, inspiration and funky creative brains. I wish you the best of luck for what’s coming ahead. And finally, to you teachers, faculty, parents and relatives who travelled from so far to come and be here for us today, Thank you, grazie, xie xie, gracias, dhanyavaad khup kun ka, dank je, djen kuyé, tessekurler, merci for your attention.”


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