Mario Gagnon and the WDO, two years later

November 20th, 2019

It has already been two years since Mario Gagnon finished his mandate as a member of the World Design Organization board of directors. In order to keep the momentum going, he traveled to India from October 9 to 12 to see colleagues and friends and attend the 31st World Design Assembly as president of the Association of Canadian Industrial Designers.

This year, the event was held jointly with the Hyderabad Design Week.


The ALTO founder reflected on those inspiring days:

“After two mandates as an elected member of the board of directors for this international organization, I was happy to embark on this trip to find out what advancements have been made on the projects we started a few years ago. The outgoing committee had major challenges to navigate. That being said, the quality of the team chaired by Luisa Bocchietto enabled the WDO to achieve its objectives and solidify its position as THE major global player in design. Now, it’s time for the new committee members to take up the torch and continue the organization’s mission.”

Here are the members of the new committee:

Srini Srinivassan, Lumium Design/ India/U.S.
David Kusuma, Tupperware Brands/U.S.
Anne Asensio, Dassault Systèmes/France
Chi-Yi Chang, Taiwan Design Center/Taiwan
Thomas Garvey, Carleton University/Canada
Pier Paolo Peruccio, Politecnico di Torino/Italy
Eray Sertac Ersayin, Industrial Designers Society of Turkey/Turkey
Makiko Tsumura, Japan Institute of Design Promotion/Japan
Pradyumna Vyas, Confederation of Indian Industries/India
Lou Yongqi, Tongji University/China
Martha Zarza, Autonomous University of Mexico/Mexico

The General Assembly included many interesting conferences. However, Tanyaradzwa Sahanga’s conference was, without a doubt, the most memorable.

The talented designer responsible for creating Adidas’s recyclable Futurecraft Loop shoe engaged participants with her approach, her vision, and her clear and concise speech.

“I had the chance to talk to her about the challenges of developing a major project. Behind this impressive, highly intelligent woman, I found a person whose simplicity and candour I hope to see echoed in the next generation of creators. She has now left Adidas and works as a consultant in innovation and sustainable development based in Germany and England. Her company is named 37 THANKS in recognition of the opportunities she is offered in her projects.”

On the second day, the assembly was also marked by the presence of a large number of young Indian designers attending as part of Hyderabad Design Week. Their presence was reassuring, and most of all, important for the future of the organization.

On a more personal note, and even though it was his second trip to the country, visiting India was certainly a multi-faceted adventure for Mario.

“India is incredibly unsettling! Everyday life there is full of unimaginable situations. From the imposing beauty of the Taj Mahal to the chaos of the crowded streets, our North American points of reference are upended. The way people live so close together makes for a memorable experience.”

After India, Mario continued on to Japan to accompany UdeM industrial design students on their trip. It goes without saying that leaving India and traveling to Japan in just a few hours is another level of immersion in and of itself. He is ready to tour the world to share his passion and experience.

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