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The first time I met Enzo Mari, he was giving a talk at the Serpentine Gallery in London. It turned out to be more of a rant, as the great Italian designer railed scornfully against his pet hates. Design - dead. Architecture - dead too. Western civilization - ditto. Spotting the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas among the audience, he denounced him as "a pornographic window dresser."

Afterward I asked Mari if there was any aspect of contemporary life that pleased him. A lengthy silence followed, until he said: "Bread and terrorism." Why terrorism? "Why not?" snorted Mari. "People think it's bad, but if they thought about it, they'd realize it isn't all bad. It changes things."

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