Paolo Cardini

Associate Professor, Rhode Island School of Design


Souvenirs from the Futures: A Global Futures Lab Project

Discursive design embraces a more expansive role for the designer: engaged citizen, socio-cultural critic, educator, and provocateur; however, it is apparent that the perspectives derived from this current context are painted with white-western views and infrastructure. As a professor in both the undergraduate and graduate departments at RISD where critical inquiry around the intersections of globalization and art & design is quintessential, especially when many students are from outside the so-called “west”, Cardini has been working to reset his general idea of the future and reformulate his assumptions about the meaning of social critique.

Cadini will explain how the constraints of speculative design can be expanded to exhibit more views as seen through his research. Having conducted the workshop in Iran and India, he will discuss the insights he has gathered on how participants in both areas construct their image and understandings of the future outside of external influences and how this compares to the ideology that the western world personifies.


Paolo Cardini is currently Associate Professor in Industrial Design at Rhode Island School of Design. His previous appointment was within the interdisciplinary design graduate program at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

His work ranges from product to interaction design and from integrated communication to strategic planning. Hailing from Italy, he studied Industrial design at Politecnico di Milano and Glasgow School of Art and he has been department chair for the bachelor and master courses in Industrial Design at Istituto Europeo di Design in Turin.

Cardini was a founding member and CEO of Design Gang Netowrk, a multidisciplinary design studio with a wide range of focus from strategic and product design, to graphics and integrated communication. He has designed for various Italian and international brands including: Pininfarina, Motorola Iden, Ferrero, Ferrino, Fiat, LG, and Martini & Rossi. Cardini also designs and consults for various international firms and continues to lecture in conferences and design schools worldwide while also contributing actively to the field with papers and publications.