Mario Gagliardi is an award-winning designer, theorist and strategist. His work spans from brands, physical products and interactive experiences to design theory and strategy.
Mario was Chief Designer of LG, where he created a range of category-defining products and brands including 后 Whoo, Korea’s most successful luxury brand; CEO at Qatar Foundation, where he created the strategy for Qatar’s cultural and creative industries; and Advisor at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, where he designed Austria’s countrywide digital education and culture ecosystem.
Mario has been appointed professor at IDAS (Hongik University) in Korea and at Aalborg University in Denmark. He was named ‘internationally acclaimed design strategist’ by the Danish Design Center.
Among his contributions to design theory and the contemporary understanding of design (selected articles) are the cultural analysis framework for branding and design (2001), metaphors of brand management and touch-points for brands (2005), the concurrence of design integration and economic development stages (2005), and the first definitions of experience design and consumers as co-creators (2007).
Mario was a student of design legends Alessandro Mendini and Richard Sapper at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. He started as industrial designer at Philips, where he designed personal care products and household appliances. In 1989, he was awarded the design prize of Italian architecture magazine Domus. In 1990, he was awarded the first three prizes at the Austrian Post Shop telephone design competition and was selected for the Austrian national design award. He went on to design interior and luxury goods for international department stores such as Takashimaya (Japan) and Bergdorf Goodman (New York).
In 1995, Mario was invited to Korea, where he first worked as consultant for the Korean Institute of Design Promotion, then as professor for IDAS (International Design School for Advanced Studies) and finally as chief designer at the LG Headquarters in Seoul. At LG Household & Health Care, he headed design strategy and developed new product lines including Whoo, Korea’s most successful luxury brand. Mario’s work was awarded the Good Design Mark of the Korean Republic. In Korea, Mario also worked as researcher and instructor for the Innovative Design Lab of Samsung.
Upon returning to Europe, Mario studied under Andrea Branzi at Domus Academy in Milan. He moved on to London, where he graduated with an MBA at the University of Westminster.
From 2000, he worked as advisor for the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. Investigating learning practices and their connections to creativity, he designed a digital ecosystem for online learning and collaboration. The nationwide efit and SbX projects project transformed static school books to digital, collaborative, on-demand learning content and helped to increase e-learning usage in Austria from below 10% to over 90% within 5 years. His work also included the national digital content award Lörnie and the national school ID educard.
From 2008, Mario served as CEO at Qatar Foundation for education, science and community development in Doha. Among his contributions to the development of the cultural and creative industries of Qatar are the strategy for the creation of a local luxury brand (now Qatar Luxury Group) and the architectural blueprint for a zero-carbon community which was influential in the development of Lusail, Qatar’s new city development for 200.000 inhabitants.
In 2012, Mario designed and developed the design and visual culture sharing platform penccil.
Mario held lectures and gave workshops in leading universities such as London Business School (UK), University for the Creative Arts (UK), Kaospilot (Denmark), Bogazici University (Turkey), Tsinghua University (China) and others.
He delivered keynotes and speeches at congresses such as Innotown in Norway, the European International Design Management Conference in Barcelona, the Marketing Conference in Istanbul, Era 05 World Design Congress in Copenhagen, Tasmeem Doha 2006 and Icograda Design Week Doha 2009.
He authored articles on design, creativity and strategy for publications such as Design Management Review (US), Designmatters (Denmark) and Form (Germany), and wrote the monthly columns “Mario Gagliardi On Design” for Danish Designers (Denmark) and “Design Observations” for Korea’s design magazine Monthly Design.