Gió Ponti and Alberto Rosselli invented it and retailers La Rinascente established the Compasso d’Oro in 1954. This year sees the 19th edition of this prestigious design award. The two volumes of the ADI Design Index published in 1998 and 2000 offer a meticulous analysis of Italy’s design output to back up the annual prize-giving.

One interesting development is that the awards are no longer given mainly for furniture design and the jury’s interest covers everything from clothing and accessories to recreational products, from consumer goods to transport and tools, from decor to coordinated image projects and graphic design (print, web and TV).

This year’s jury was Marie-Laure Jousset, Filippo Alison, François Burkhardt, Omar Calabrese, Francisco Jarauta, Maurizio Morgantini, and Erik Spiekermann: whose report states: “Design is the language of difference whether in Italy’s traditional manufacturing sectors or in the design of the domestic interior and the workplace. Its role is particularly marked in fashion and personal accessories”.

Some awards go to large scale projects like the Eurotram or the Zagato Style Centre or street lamps created by Emilio Ambasz for Pali Dalmine. Others are awarded to much smaller products like Design Continuum’s Campingaz cooker or the printer created by Michele de Lucchi for Olivetti. Other winners belong to new sectors and might include the Dainese motorbike leathers designed by Aldo Drudi or Maurizio Rezzonico’s E-Scan magnetic resonance scanner.

In the furnishing and lighting sector this year’s Compasso d’Oro awards went to famous companies and designers like Philippe Starck (for the Bubble Chair he created for Kartell), Mario Bellini (a chair for Heller), Marc Sadler (lamps for Foscarini) and Konstantin Grcic (the May Day lamp for Flos).

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 131

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