Magazine Contacts


by Ezio Manzini, Albert Fuster, Roger Paez and Ramon Faura

Presentation of the book Plug-Ins: Design for City Making in Barcelona

March 31, 2023, 5:30 p.m., ADI Design Museum, Piazza Compasso d'Oro 1

The city is a complex organism that emerges from the interaction of a multiplicity of actors. Among them are those who bring the culture and practice of design to it. What is their specific contribution? What distinguishes them from others more traditionally associated with city-building?

The book Plug-ins proposes a perspective on this issue, starting from the experience made in the Design for City Making program of Elisava in Barcelona.

The it the term plug-in summarizesthe answer to the initial questions. If the city is an ecosystem of people, animals, places, things linked together by a dense web of interactions, its construction and its continuous regeneration, happens by introducing sub-systems that, by their presence, generate new interactions. That is, precisely, by inserting plug-ins.

To refer to the design and implementation of plug-ins, as this book proposes, is thus to give a precise interpretation about the way in which design operates in the city: it involves interventions on different urban sub-systems, made with an awareness of the interactions that each of them establishes with the entanglement of other sub-systems that, at different scales, make the city. It involves seeing the city from within. Of acting on it from where one is from the design coalition with which one works. Of taking responsibility for what one designs and at the same time, being aware that what will eventually emerge will be given by the envelope of many and largely unpredictable interactions.

This reflection is the result of a design research conducted in Barcelona, by the Elisava school together with several others of actors. What it proposes has a general character, but it is certainly also affected by the specificities of the place where it originated. That is, from the extraordinary and dynamic context of Barcelona and the programs that have been put in place there.

These issues and the comparison between the experiences of Barcelona and Milan will be discussed at the ADI Design Museum on March 31 at 5:30 pm.


Poster available at the following link.