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Italian architecture and design group ‘UFO” blocking traffic with an inflatable intervention during an anti-Vietnam War protest in Florence, Italy, 1968.

Soft Structures in Hard Times Series: Simon Sadler, U of California, Davis

Part of the Design@Large Series at UC San Diego Design Lab

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 at 4:00 P.M.
Design and Innovation Building (DIB), 2nd Floor Large Event Room #202

*This talk is hybrid (in-person & remote). Capacity is limited. Please register ahead of time.


Street, Party, Retreat: Living the Dream with UFO

Simon Sadler revisits the Italian group UFO, a neo-avant-garde design and architectural group founded in Florence and active between 1967 and 1978. The group seemed to ask how we can occupy and live in space and relationships colonized by capitalism, looking at three of its sites—street, party, retreat.

About the Speaker

Simon Sadler teaches the history and theory of architecture, design and urbanism at the University of California, Davis, where he is Professor and Chair of the Department of Design. His research examines ideologies of design since the mid-twentieth century, especially the roles proposed for design in political, cultural and economic transformation. He is the author of Archigram: Architecture without Architecture (MIT Press, 2005); Non-Plan: Essays on Freedom, Participation and Change in Modern Architecture and Urbanism (Architectural Press, 2000, co-editor, Jonathan Hughes); The Situationist City (MIT Press, 1998); and numerous articles, chapters and essays about American and European countercultures.

About Designing Soft Structures in Hard Times

The design of structures and systems brings hard materials to mind: steel, glass, molded plastics, microchips, batteries. But a single layer of graphene, the crumbly-soft graphite used in the pencils we sketch with, is the strongest material we know. The flexibility of “soft” structures like skin, fabric, and the atmosphere makes these forms open to strategic adaptation and imagination, empowering resilience and creativity. For the Design@Large Fall 2022 series, we invite you to consider the power of soft structures in design ecologies ranging from medical research to Indigenous communities, and from the textile industry to web design and the modeling of outer space. We hope you will join us as we consider the power of soft structures in hard times, and as we try our hands at making change through the design of soft structures.


Design@Large is a speaker series hosted by The Design Lab at UC San Diego, where each quarter we examine a topic in society and the relevance and implications through the lens of human centered design.

**If you are needing ASL services for the event, please contact

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