World Design & Nutrition

“Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” is the main topic of the many events during the EXPO 2015 in Milan.
Among the most notable initiatives that announce the Expo and its theme, there is “World Design & Nutrition. Discussion and Workshop“, organized by the Politecnico Milan and the Seconda Università degli Studi in Naples. From April 6 to 10, 2015, at Spazio Sforza EXPO GATE, located in the heart of the city, an exhibition of prototypes, a workshop, some conversations and presentations of projects and books, will be featured around the diffusion of innovations on food culture. RECIPROCITY design liege has been invited to introduce the international call for projects The Taste of Change, which is all about design and food. Friday, April 10 at 11 am, the artistic director of RECIPROCITY, Giovanna Massoni, presents the themes approached by the candidates, with a selection of projects for the contest. The final selection of the products, projects and services will take place on May 4 in Liege. If you are in Milan, this is a series of events not to be missed!

World Design & Nutrition
Spazio Sforza
Via Luca Beltrami



Giovanna Massoni is the artistic director of RECIPROCITY design liège. After the success of the 2012 event, she has continued in her role for the 2015 edition, one that does not hide its ambitions. As from 1 October 2015, the traditional visitor of fairs and design shows is obviously welcome in Liege, but equally so are the general public. For Massoni, design must finally come out of the ivory tower where marketing has confined it. The ‘object of desire’ must be transformed once and for all into ‘a practice of objective and participated analysis, in a production model of tools and systems for the common good.’ In short, design can help to change the world, and RECIPROCITY suggests avenues of reflection, often at the crossroads of other languages and disciplines, to fulfil this transformation.

Here Giovanna share some thoughts on RECIPROCITY, the Euregio, the design system and, above all, the desire and need for a new economy of innovation and exchange. All that, obviously, reinvented through creativity.

First of all, which ‘reciprocity’ does RECIPROCITY refer to?
Reciprocity is primarily a declaration of respect that highlights the ethical value of design: it is respect in combination with exchange and generosity. Emphasising the link between design and the city-society it expresses a behaviour, an action that encourages sharing, to cross-pollinate expertise and create together the social processes of change.

How did RECIPROCITY come to life?

The timeline goes back over a decade. In 2011, the organisation of the International Biennial of Design Liège, founded in 2002 by Paul-Emile Mottard, Provincial Deputy for Culture in Liege, is entrusted to Wallonie Design. Wallonie Design is a non-profit organisation which, since 2005, supports entrepreneurs and designers to develop the Walloon economic activity in the design sector. Following a series of meetings I was appointed as artistic director for the 2012 edition – to my big surprise,given the change in strategy and direction I proposed …

The direction of my analysis was focused primarily on the development and creation of continuity for projects and existing knowledge.

The current triennial rhythm of RECIPROCITY imposes a specific responsibility: to make this project an ongoing programme adapted to the extent of the territory and with concrete goals. This is why the complicity of the Province of Liege and Wallonie Design has been, and remains fundamental.

What were the existing projects at the time?

In 2010, Wallonie Design with Z33, Cultuur Platform Limburg (Hasselt) and NAiM / Bureau Europa / Provincie Limburg (Maastricht), obtained funds from the INTERREG IV programme to create a centre of sustainable design – REcentre – which, for three years, has built an extremely lively platform: capitalising on the creative energy of the Euregio Meuse-Rhine, it laid the foundations for a new cross-border and multidisciplinary creative economy.
My way of thinking was very much informed by the projects that REcentre had implemented, especially the educational ones: the collaboration between schools in the Euroregio; the consideration of sharing and openness of the frontiers of knowledge, research and experimentation; and the adoption of a holistic oriented culture that promotes sustainable development and social innovation – and not just by training and cooperation between design and industry, but also between design, users and public services. With this in mind, I like to think that these challenges are like gifts, acts of generosity that open and enrich our knowledge and guide our practices towards the community, determining a cultural growth that is essential to the construction of a more equitable and sustainable society.

RECIPROCITY invites us to rethink our idea of design. One of its most important features is that it’s not simply aiming to show finished products or projects, but to be a starting point, an incubator for projects that develop over time. For a professional audience it’s obviously of great interest, but how does the broader public perceive that less conventional approach?
Without engaging in demagoguery, we tried to build a system (more than an event) extending from a participatory methodology, connecting with schools of Liege and the Euregio, the inhabitants of a neighbourhood, local organisations already active in the area…That said, the question provokes a major problem today: how to communicate and understand actions that put design at the crossroads of a multidisciplinary approach during an event and a public exhibition?

What we show and what we debate here are not finished products but initiatives that indicate paths with a series of goals. Social innovation and sustainability are not compatible with a compartmentalised approach.

Students and citizens working together to create services to improve quality – social, cultural and economic – of neighbourhood life, often do not have products to show, but they have developed a set of ethics, responsibility and collaborative methodology. That enables them to respond creatively to the specific problems of a community by providing functional and viable solutions. In the more specific case of a presentation of a product and design prototypes, we want to highlight the service that the subject evokes, the process that has been generated, who will use it and what’s its degree of social vocation.

Why did you choose a rhythm of three years for RECIPROCITY editions?
The Province of Liege promotes a rich cultural agenda. The activity of RECIPROCITY is part of a broader programme. In addition, the Province had actively collaborated in the candidacy of Maastricht as European Capital of Culture in 2018, envisaging an edition of RECIPROCITY during the same time. Maastricht ultimately did not succeed in its bid, but nevertheless we used this new pace in our favour. Between late 2012 and October 2015, we continued to discover and more effectively develop a series of projects that once again aspire to enhance the resilience of the city’s fabric, and do so on a long-term basis.

What, in your opinion, are the major issues the design for social innovation will face in the nearest future?
Because of its multidisciplinary nature there are many, but for me a priority is the training of designers and teachers, to get out of the academies and go to meet people, industries and public services. We also need to create a programmatic exchange with social partners and public authorities to generate more opportunities for public debate and collaborative design, and receive the support and confidence of political representatives. In this way we can participate in the creation of platforms in public institutions to rewrite the future of our economy and the concept of growth, knowing that sustainable development is first built on cultural and societal change.

Was there one project in the 2012 edition that impressed you most?
It’s hard to say… RECIPROCITY in itself represents such an extraordinary personal and professional self-fulfilment.

In cultural terms, above all, the greatest progress in the career of a person is to set yourself slightly visionary and utopian challenges, to know other realities and other people and meet their complicity and approval.

Initially, I felt the most moved after the first edition of RECIPROCITY while reading two long articles in a daily and a weekly Belgian newspaper, both explaining design for social innovation so admirably and articulately to its daily readers. The messages we were hoping to transmit seemed to have got through. Another important signal has been to see how social innovation design experiences have find fertile ground in schools: the workshops conducted with students are always integrated into the academic curricula, where often these approaches had never been present before. The investment and commitment of teachers and students can only be seen as a major plus point for the entire project.



Can design represent a chance for real change for those who live with and benefit of it? Definitely yes. And RECIPROCITY design liège is definitely proving it.

Design as an innovation and social cohesion vector is the great challenge of an ongoing laboratory whose next edition will take place in Liege from October 1st until the November 1st 2015. Through exhibitions, screenings and meetings, design sets itself as a contagious form of creativity that rethinks the importance of the individual role confronted to the creative capacity of a community that implements solutions to collective services and is able to make a social product competitive, up to creating a kind of parallel economy. That is, in this new microsystem, the crucial role played by the designer.

Among its new scores, RECIPROCITY design liège gets a new website and launches a blog completely dedicated to the event’s news and facts. We’ll bring you backstage, present you the makers, the actors, we’ll bring you in-depth articles, interviews, photos, videos, …

In addition, a call for projects, Design for food – THE TASTE OF CHANGE, running until March 31, invites students and professional designers from around the world to submit projects about “design for food.” Submitted to an international jury, the best creations will be rewarded with cash prizes and a great exhibition!

As a showcase of excellence, an exploration platform of design’s role in today’s society, the Liège event, focusing on the link between design and city / society, brings together a large number of local, cross-border (Euregio Meuse Rhin) and international actors to generate a broad public, professional and media debate about the role of design today. Artistic Director, Giovanna Massoni, played a decisive role in reorienting the already existing territorial creative energy to a systemic project that showcases organizations, networks, talents and programmes. In short, far from being a typical design event, RECIPROCITY design liège sets free forces to create a system that develops more and more on the principles of continuity and sustainability over the long term.

Discover more on these pages!



Application deadline: 31 March 2015 before midnight
Three Awards (International, Euregio, Wallonia-Brussels) of €5.000


In the framework of RECIPROCITY design liège 2015, the international call for entries The Taste of Change – Design for Food is addressed to schools, students & designers (product design, graphic design, interior architecture, service design, design for social innovation).
The subject is not Food Design but rather Design for Food, in line with the theme of the EXPO Milano 2015 in Milan: Feed the Planet. Energy for Life.
The Taste of Change encompasses the change of habits, lifestyles, food consumption, conservation, production and distribution, bio- and cultural diversity.
Through tools and ingredients we use on a daily basis to feed ourselves, today’s design questions and provides objects, services and systems which foster innovation. Design also gives a sense of responsibility to the basic need of feeding ourselves, by providing sustainable solutions for preparing, preserving and sharing food that:

•   reduces energy consumption during cooking and conserving
•   minimizes food and packaging waste
•   highlights food quality (health, food hygiene)
•   teaches culinary traditions, bio- and cultural diversity
•   enhances space, objects and meals with a sense of social cohesion
•   develops sustainable distribution and community-based systems (new forms of catering, pop-up restaurants & street food)
•   creates local networks for production (urban gardens, short-food supply chains) and distribution (joint purchases)

The exhibition of the selected projects will focus on a number of topics:

•   the meal (objects and spaces)
•   cooking and food preservation
•   projects, systems and services of production and distribution in the food industry
•   culinary traditions, quality of ingredients, bio- and cultural diversity


Title: The Taste of Change – design for food
Final selection: 60 objects/projects
Location: Musée de la Vie wallonne – Espace Saint-Antoine, Liege, Belgium
Curator: Giovanna Massoni
Scenographer: TBD

The three winners (International, Euregio, Wallonia-Brussels Prizes) of €5.000 will be officially awarded during the opening ceremony on October 1 2015.
Selection committees President: Alok Nandi – Architempo / co-Creationcamp, creative director, lecturer at Institut Paul Bocuse Lyon, Core77 Awards 2012 Food Design jury member.
The names of the committee members will be revealed soon. /
Application deadline: 31 March 2015 before midnight

Good luck!!!