Someone called it the Oscar of Design, someone else the Nobel of Design. For companies, architects and designers is a recognition that has no equal. I’m talking about the Compasso d’Oro ADI, the oldest and most prestigious design award, now in its XXV edition.
Over 50 years after its establishment, set up by Giò Ponti, it represents an authoritative reference for the enhancement of Italian design.
Do you know that we are often surrounded by products that have won this important award and we do not even notice it? You do not believe me? Think of the Tratto Pen by Fila spa, a very common pen on our desks or in our offices. Well, this pen won the Compasso d’Oro in 1979.
How does the Compasso d’Oro award works? After two years of intense pre-selection activities of the Osservatorio Permanente del Design (which includes both designers and journalists and design critics), the products are submitted to an international jury that decrees the winners. Over 1200 candidate products in this edition, of which 283 were submitted to the scrutiny of the international jury.
Who won the Compasso d'Oro 2018? 16 Awards, 56 Honorable Mentions and 11 Career Awards were awarded
The award ceremony of the XXV Compasso d’Oro ADI has been at the enchanting Cortile della Racchetta of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. Maybe not the best location to get around on the heels under the sun and the sultry heat of Milan, but certainly a historical scenario that has returned a magical flavor to the ceremony.
Who won the Compasso d’Oro 2018? 16 Awards, 56 Honorable Mentions and 11 Career Awards were awarded. Here are the winners of the 2018 edition:
Alfa Romeo Giulia
Design: Centro Stile Alfa Romeo
Company: FCA Italy
Jury’s decision: The rebirth of a great brand linked to an imported chapter in Italian industrial history is not just a question of style but the ability to express the value of a product of excellence through design..
Bolletta 2.0, e-billing
Utility bill service system
Company: Enel Energia
Jury’s decision: It transforms the demand by the institution into an opportunity for an increase in transparency regarding the awareness of consumption by users on the part of Enel. The result, significant for both the individual and consumers in general, stands out for the particular attention paid to the interaction methods employed.
Campus – incubazione e messa in scena di pratiche sociali
Cultural and social initiatives
Design: Davide Fassi, Francesca Piredda, Pierluigi Salvadeo, Elena Perondi – Politecnico di Milano
Client: Politecnico di Milano – Polisocial Award
Jury’s decision: Through the offering and presenting of social practices that people use and develop, it has made it possible to check events and the creation of products, often of a multimedia nature, that are relevant to the social dynamics of a problematic urban area. The design shows how collaboration between academic institutions and designers has allowed the achieving of the triple objective of building neighbourhood-based social networks, creating aesthetically pleasing products and keeping the project at an appropriate level of economic sustainability.
Design: Ernesto Gismondi
Jury’s decision: When turned off it is a slender metal ring that describes a silent emptiness suspended in space. Turned on, it suddenly becomes an intensely luminescent disc creating a surprise that is the true soul of this product.
Jury’s decision: Eclipse combines the extreme formal elegance of an exquisitely domestic product with an intelligent and refined recognition of the requirements of quality of use and functional intelligibility.
Design: OMA – Office for Metropolitan Architecture
Client: Fondazione Prada
Jury’s decision: Through the original combination of an example of architecture that moves between conservation, creativity and sustainability, it constitutes a cultural space that is the perfect backdrop for the initiatives hosted, producing significant meanings and experiences for the context of the city of Milan.
Food Design in Italia
Author: Alberto Bassi
Publisher: Mondadori Electa
Jury’s decision: Traditions linked to food are among those Italian values recognized worldwide. This book conveys the elements that have led to Italians being historical world leaders in this sector. The recipes, equipment, tools and objects for food preparation are the backbone of a system that must be protected and passed down from generation to generation not only abroad but also to the young people of our own country.
Leonardiana. Un museo nuovo
Exhibition design: Ico Migliore, Mara Servetto – Migliore+Servetto Architects (progetto allestitivo)
Curated by: Cesare Bozzano, Alessandro Mazzoli
Client: Consorzio AST – Agenzia per lo Sviluppo Territoriale di Vigevano
Jury’s decision: Thanks to different multimedia and the skilful use of light and graphics, the installation effectively explains the relationship between the universally known artist-scientist Leonardo da Vinci and a particular area, in this case Vigevano, thereby making it a paradigm of how culture is created in Italy.
Matera cityscape – la città nascosta | The hidden town
Design: Leonardo Sonnoli
Client: Nicola Colucci
Distributor: Casa Editrice Libria
Jury’s decision: The text is a reading of the urban panorama of the city of Matera that through the use of photographic images and words in the form of conversations, presents it as the expression and development of an ancient culture capable of speaking to the contemporary. In this way, the work itself becomes an effective vehicle for the promotion of original and unexpected aspects of Italian culture worldwide.
Design: Fabrizio Crisà
Jury’s decision: The functions of food preparation seem to be increasingly dictated by the logic of aseptic, almost abstract instruments, in which communication of the function leaves ample room for subjective interpretation: the technology of vapour, smoke and steam aspiration at work top level rigorously and coherently follows the aesthetic dictate of the design.
Design: Alberto Meda
Company: Tubes Radiatori
Jury’s decision: A functional object that takes centre stage in the space which it occupies and which adapts to the user to whom it relates by simply creating its own meaning and value.
Window and door frames
Design: Alberto Torsello
Company: Secco Sistemi
Jury’s decision: The relationship between the opening and the transparent surface has always been one of the industry’s challenges in the production of windows and doors. OS2 75 sets a new standard by combining thermal break and insulation with extremely reduced dimensions and an interesting aesthetic flexibility thanks to the profiles in painted steel, Corten, stainless steel and burnished brass.
Design: Ilaria Jahier, Igor Zilioli, Sergio Fiorani, Gian Luca Angiolini
Jury’s decision: In the popular collective imagination a wall-mounted boiler is almost always something to hide, with its pipes, taps, knobs and drains. Osa is astonishing because in an incredibly limited width and yet with dimensions that are perfectly legal it appears almost as a very tidy, elegant and sober abstract work of art.
Compact ice cream store
Jury’s decision: A genuine, full size yet compact ice-cream shop that offers the production, storage and sale of ice-cream in a flexible and innovative space. Its compactness and transportability make it possible to take not only ice cream anywhere in the world, but also the flavour of Italian design.
Design: Technogym Design Center
Jury’s decision: Physical fitness is one of the most widespread goals of modern life. Reaching and maintaining physical fitness is the goal of every workout and as such a systematic approach is important. The Skillmill allows you to do a wide range of physical exercises with longer lasting effects but without complex motors, machinery and equipment yet all contained in a single compact and innovative design.
Vibram Furoshiki the Wrapping Sole
Jury’s decision: A new and surprising way to combine comfort and performance in an athletic shoe. Vibram’s Furoshiki offers all this thanks to two simple movements that allow you to close the foot around the upper while offering the technical characteristics of the Vibram sole on the sole.
How much design does our lives permeate?
The products running for the Award were so many, decreeing the winners will certainly not be simple. There is also a common thread that unites the basis of all the awarded products, expressed in the words of the President of ADI, Luciano Galimberti: “How much design does our lives permeate?”.
I want to answer this question too, with the award-winning products that I preferred the most.
The Eclipse taps by Boffi is pure design, with an innovative and very elegant shape. Discovery Sospensione by Ernesto Gismondi (also exciting his awarding with the Compasso d’Oro Career Award) for Artemide perfectly supports my passion for refined lighting. In my personal ranking certainly can not miss the Fondazione Prada, an example of architecture that enhances the content hosted, Nikolatesla by Elica (of which you may remember me in the photo below) and, without wanting to disrespect the award-winning Alfa Giulia, the Ferrari J50, which, with its emblematic red, has attracted everyone’s attention at the Castello Sforzesco.
Among the products displayed in the arcades of the Cortile della Rocchetta, although they did not win the Compasso d’Oro, there were many that I particularly appreciated and that I personally would have chosen to reward.
The Twitty table by Angeletti Ruzza Design for Alcar Industrie is tangible poetry, enriched by a surprise element that hardly goes unnoticed.
The Mesh lamp by Luceplan has a strong visual impact despite a very light structure.
The hive motif of the elegant wall system is what impressed me the most about the Favo system by Lamberti Design.
Introverso by Paolo Ulian (read here my interview with the designer) for Antonio Lupi is design in progress, in which the white marble of Carrara remains protagonist, but there is an invitation to investigate the soul of the product dug by precise cuts.
In Gravita by Antonio Macchi Cassia for Stilnovo there is all (and maybe even more) that a lighting enthusiast like me looks for in a product: a glass sphere and a metal “satellite” that can be oriented in every direction, giving back a diffused light (the glass sphere), now a directed light (the metal sphere).
The ceremony of June 20th ended with the Compasso d’Oro Career Awards, went to Giovanni Anzani, Alberto Spinelli, Aldo Spinelli (Poliform), to the designer Angelo Cortesi, to the architects and designers Donato D’Urbino and Paolo Lomazzi, Adolfo Guzzini (iGuzzini), Giovanna Mazzocchi (Editoriale Domus), Giuliano Molineri (Giugiaro Design) and to the fashion designer Nanni Strada, to whom are added the international awards to the car designer for years linked to the BMW Chris Bangle, to the English designer Zeev Aram and the American graphic designer and illustrator Milton Glaser, famous for the “I LOVE NEW YORK” logo.
The most exciting moment, as I said before, was certainly the awarding of Ernesto Gismondi, multifaceted genius of design, not only founder and designer of Artemide, but aerospace engineer, university professor and entrepreneur. The motivation of the assignment of the Compasso d’Oro Career Award is having “always worked so that Italian design could be a virtuous example at an international level”. An example for young students, for all designers and enthusiasts. A real honor to attend his awards and listen to his words.
Now we just have to wait for the next edition, which is going to be even more engaging and important. In fact, since 2020, the Italian and international trends will be brought together, enriching the Compasso d ‘Oro for Italian design with a large section of products from all over the world. I can’t wait!