Luna Todaro is director at QDU –Quasar Design University in Rome. The school is specialized in training courses in several fields related to design.
We reached Luna for an interview over her experience at QDU and over the opportunities for the QDU students.
IDA: What is the Quasar Design University?
LT: Quasar Design University is quintessentially an institute training experts in design and visual communication: since 1987 when it was founded, QDU have been offering innovative educational paths like Multimedia Design, Eco-Architecture, New Technologies.
QDU’s training strategy comes from the “Scuola – Laboratorio”, that is the need to not only give the students theoretical and technical knowledges, but a work-oriented perspective as well, through operative workshops.
Our mission is to give the students fundamental tools to think and act as they already were professionals. In this sense, our teachers and their skills are always available to our students.
IDA: What makes QDU different from other training institutes?
LT: What makes us different from the others is the attention to every single QDU student, to their talents and aspirations.
Our teachers have always had a direct approach to the students. Our classes are small in number. This gives every teacher the chance to meet and know every student, and from the every-day connection you get a higher quality in the training path.
For this reason, we consciously chose to have a single headquarter, in Rome. Our goal is quality over quantity. This is why we are unique. The percentage of graduated students included in the work world is 95%, which basically means the whole group. That is not a coincidence but a direct consequence of this kind of uniqueness at Quasar Design University.
IDA: What is the reason of the name Quasar?
LT: The choice of the name comes from far, from 1971: back then, the first bunch of designers started the studio from where, after 16 years, the design institute was born.
Why Quasar Design University? The mains reason was for Quasar’s astronomical meaning: distant, almost unknown astronomical objects, which incredible energy comes until our solar system. We also played with the words QuasAR and Architecture. Also, the word had a phonetic energy as well! Quasar recalls something that, even if far away, can mark a way. So, for our 30 years anniversary on July 7th, we didn’t choose by chance the payoff “(30) light years ahead”: we are a training reality always projected into the future!
IDA: In what areas does the QDU work?
LT: Throughout these 30 years, the academy reached very high degrees of specialization by working in every field, from design to the new technologies.
The 3-year degree course with academic diplomas are recognized by the Italian Department of Instruction: they areGraphics and Visual Communication, Habitat Design, and Interaction Design. Then we have three 1-year Academic Masters, which are Virtual Architecture, Product Design and Yacht Design, and several non-academic masters. The training offer is completed by three 1-years courses of Professional Qualification, issuing official qualification for every EU country: Gardens Architecture, Interior Design, Web Design. Finally we offer open courses, specialized and technical training courses of varying duration, aiming at obtaining deeper skills in the fields.
IDA: Is there a link between the QDU training and the work world? Are there partnerships with institutes and firms?
LT: In QDU there is a permanent link of this kind: we were born with the goal of being different from purely academic training methods, giving the students the chance to deal with activities they will find later in the work world. In three decades, we’ve been collecting prestigious partnerships with public and private institutions, in order to give a sense of completeness to this idea, to this route.
Barilla, Camera dei Deputati, Ferrarelle, Ikea, MAXXI, Nissan, La Repubblica, Save the Children are just the tip of the iceberg of the firms and the institutions working in partnership with Quasar Design University.
IDA: Are there success stories from QDU students, who are today working in the design world?
LT: Luckily there are many: it would be beautiful to tell you the incredible stories of anyone of them. That would be demanding for the readers, so I’ll just give some examples.
In Graphics and Visual Communication we have the story of Alessandro Polia, class of 2009, who started so young to work together with brands like Adidas, Liu-Jo, Playstation, Sony, Toyota. He became Art Director in McCann, in Leo Burnett and finally in J. Walter Thompson.
Francesca Franceschi is a working mother at Vlisco, prestigious Dutch fashion brand.
Massimiliano Panzironi and Flavio Scalzo graduated in Habitat Design. Massimiliano is today an internationally renowned designer, founder of DolceQ and showing in London, Miami, Santiago del Chile, Singapore, Tokyo. Flavio conceived the DiciannoveDieciDesign brand: he transforms materials and technologies in visual languages, innovating the Made in Italy concept
Within the Interaction Design course, several tech-innovation projects are developed: for example I’m thinking about a startup founded by three of our students, who got an Excellence Award at the NYC Maker Faire while they were still students. Later they were rewarded by the Vodafone Foundation for the development of their project for assisting differently-abled persons.
IDA: Do you have a tip for IDA to valorize the Italian design?
LT: The strong point of the Italian Design mainly lies in its historical heritage and in the ideas of the protagonists who made Italian Design famous all over the world. Right now, there are so many young Italian designers taking over the helm, on both the sides of the design and of the market. So, besides the promotion of the current offer, we believe it’s crucial never to forget but rather to valorize the heritage of our design, its culture, and the business choices which allowed its global growth considered today in the world as the distintive feature of our country.