(by Maria Novella Topi) ROME, MARCH 2 – An icon of Italian design that has captivated the world for the past 60 years, the Ducati 1199 Panigale, is on display today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – a red hot lightning bolt against the backdrop of white marble columns – on what has been coined as the first day of “Italian design day around the world’.
The initiative – called for by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Cultural Heritage, in collaboration with the Salone del Mobile, the Association for Industrial Design, the Agency for the promotion of Italian enterprise abroad, and the Compasso d’Oro Foundation – pays tribute to a sector where teamwork has successfully brought together art, technology and tradition.
While Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano inaugurated the event – which was swarming with “insiders’ and foreign delegations – 100 venues around the world with as many ‘ambassadors’, including artists, designers and journalists, followed suit in displaying and illustrating what Alfano called “the
product of Italian talent and genius”.
In fact, there is more to design than meets the eye. Whereas we are accustomed to think of sleek lamps, chairs and tables, design makes its way into the right climbing carabiners, high-tech windbreakers, intelligent cars, food containers, flatware, and even into the motif engraved on cast-iron manholes. This goes to show that if technology, efficiency, craftsmanship, innovation, beauty, harmony, novelty, tradition and simplicity are combined, the result is the explosive mix of high-ranking design that is craved all over the world.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs has chosen design as a main pillar in his efforts to promote Italy and the Italian lifestyle. The “Italian way” is not only art and taste, but also industrial know-how that delivers reliable, beautiful products.
“Italian companies generate one third of global sales in the design sector”, Alfano remarked, “If we focus on this sector it will give us our strength back…design is thus at the forefront of our business diplomacy because, in this sector too, we must develop into a
superpower beyond art, taste and beauty”.
Alfano also emphasized that “there is an element of risk in design; the risk of not being understood or not making it into production. It is necessary to be fearless to implement new ideas”.
Dorina Bianchi, the undersecretary at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, recalled that her Ministry created a Directional Office dedicated to innovation and expressed her support in launching business museums to display the products of leading Italian design companies.
But it was the President of the Association Priorita’ Cultura who captivated participants with images chronicling key moments in the construction of the Via Appia in Rome, and underlining how ingenuity and art have consolidated the quality of Italian design throughout the centuries and into our times with successes like the renown office chair with wheels by Ettore Sottssass. Among masters of design, Antonio Citterio remarked that the path of design breezes through urban architecture and furnishes a new model of development, culture and shared living. Production and consumption are in a constant relationship between the object and everything that surrounds it.
Design is like “a positive enzyme” according to Luciano Galimberti (Compasso d’Oro) and it is beloved because it addresses humankind and its relationships. And this is typically Italian.”
This is why, said Vincenzo de Luca, Director of ‘Promozione Sistema Paese”, a Vespa, two Ferraris, a Cinquecento and many other products of Italian design from the 50s were on display today at the entrance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Inside the building, next to the many works of art that crowd the historical building, other examples of Italian excellence and creativity were also on display.
(Translation by Valentina Bianco)