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Projects


Irene Stracuzzi

Martina Muzi

Jing He

Allison Crank

Alice & Aryan

Arvid&Marie

Maxime Benvenuto

Leif Czakai & Timm Donke

Isabel Mager

 

ALIBABA. FROM HERE TO YOUR HOME is a door into the e-commerce world of the Alibaba Group and the research design paradigms coexisting and interlocking within it. As the first Chinese platform to connect consumers directly with manufacturers, Alibaba and its multiple online marketplaces allow any scale or type of local business to become a part of the global economy. Over time, it has evolved into an intricate structure encompassing a range of services including banking, cloud storage, AI applications, chat systems and educational channels, all controlled by the same company.

The network that emerges from this platform reaches nearly half the world. Due to its global success, today Alibaba has become an infrastructural giant, slowly reordering the forces of contemporary geopolitics and introducing e-commerce as a key player in this new landscape. The spatial reach and integration and the internal complexity of this company make it a compelling testing ground to advance the design questions of today. This requires a coordinated and multifaceted research inquiry beyond the isolated perspectives of individual designers.

The floor plan of the show follows an interconnected chain of views extracted from Alibaba.com. The exhibition unpacks what happens before, during and after Alibaba enters our homes, whether in the form of a shipped good, a shopping platform, an algorithm, a video stream, or the latest prophetic vision of the company’s CEO and founder, Jack Ma. The exhibition addresses these interconnected phenomena from nine different angles, explored by nine design studios. Together, they offer one possible, kaleidoscopic portrait assembled by several smaller players, mirroring the composition of the e-commerce network itself.

The designers have entered the mechanism of Alibaba to think within its framework, understand and interact with its system of multiple agents, and respond creatively to the urgencies and unknowns of the present. ALIBABA. FROM HERE TO YOUR HOME is a behind-the-scenes reading of one of the largest contemporary international networks. The exhibition brings into focus the unwritten design standards and actors that have yet to be synthesised by the culture and discourse of European design.