During our 6 week study period in Italy, from June 1st to July 13th in 2005, we visited a number of leading design studios, companies, architectural firms, and academics. The purpose of each interview ranged from gathering contextual information about Italian design & architecture since the Economic Miracle, to attempting to get a finger on the pulse of where it is headed in the near future — what are the problems facing Italian design and what drives Italian design? The answers to these questions, and words of wisdom garnered during their presentations greatly influenced our research papers on the Context, the Players, and the Process of Italian design. When we talk about the players of Italian design, we are referring to people and organizations like those listed below. They are not just members of the Italian design community; they are actively involved in shaping its future. They embody the qualities that have made Italian design and culture becoming a global force a great many times throughout history.
"Andrea Branzi, architect and designer, born in Florence in 1938, where he graduated in 1967, lives and works in Milano. From 1964 to 1974 he was a partner of Archizoom Associati, first vanguard group internationally known, whose projects are preserved at Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione in Parma and at Centre Georges Pompidou in paris. Since 1967 he works in the fields of industrial and research design, architecture, urban planning, education and cultural promotion. He is Professor at the Third Faculty of Architecture and Industrial Design of Politecnico di Milano."
"His dissertation was on aesthetics and urban planning. He has lectured at the School of Architecture of the University of Florence, and currently teaches in the Town Planning Department of the University of Naples. He is the author of several books on regional planning and has published numerous articles on architectural subjects in Italian and English journals."
"Alessi, one of the most important "Factories of Italian Design", is based in Crusinallo, close to Omegna , on Lake Orta. Founded in the 20s, in a region historically devoted to the household goods production, since the 50s Alessi specializes itself in stainless steel manufacturing. Alessi headquarters bears the mark of the Atelier Mendini, that designed in the mid 90s the recent extensions to the plant. Nowadays the company employs about 500 people, who are directly involved in project development, production, sales and distribution. Alessi is exporting the 65% of its turnover to over 60 countries and count over 5000 points of sale. Today the company owns 14 Alessi stores (Showroom and Flagship) located in the most strategic areas in the world and 175 Shop in shop."
"A Cassina product is the fruit of different competences and professionalities, from which spring results which are always original and exclusive. Products from the Cassina collection hark back to different inspirations, sometimes even contradictory. But a common feature is revealed: the courage to seek quality across different types and languages, quality that has made the Cassina product a point of reference for the international culture of design."
"Cliostraat is a multidisciplinary design group based in Torino, Italy. Cliostraat works in the field of architecture, art, and design. It has been active in Italy, Germany, Japan, Thailand, and Beijing. It operates on the realm of contemporary urban territories, as part of a worldwide network of collaborations that generates positive contaminations between different disciplines and different cultures. Multiple expressive forms and research directions coexist in a sort of collective investigation of contemporary world, with the aim to enrich the procedures and techniques of the professional architectural practice."
"IaN+ was set up in 1997 and materializes around the core of its three members with diverse professional formation and experience. Carmelo Baglivo and Luca Galofaro, design project and theory, Stefania Manna engineering consultant. IaN+ multi-disciplinary agency aims at being a place where theory and practice of architecture overlap and meet. IaN+’s areas of activity are conducted on various scales of interior architecture, public projects, urban and territorial projects. In each intervention, projects explicitly question the contemporary urban condition through architecture. Construction and building, seen as an open and variable arena, must usher in a permanently repeated encounter between subject and programme. Architecture is thus conceived as a method endowed with independence, like a perpetual updating of programmatic and topological diagramme."
"Isao Hosoe has a bachelor of science and master's degree in aerospace engineering, and is a professor of Industrial Design at the Politecnico of Milan and the Universita degli Studi, La Sapienza of Rome. Isao Hosoe Design focuses on consumer, equipment, lighting, research, environment, furniture, office, and transport, but uses no single design philosophy. There is no Hosoe style."
"John Foot is a lecturer at the Department of Italian at the University College London, and author of the book ‘Milan since the Miracle: City, Culture and Identity.’ He is currently involved in the ‘Memory & Place’ study."
Metrogramma is a relatively young firm, made up of several architects and designers. One of its more well-known projects include the one situated in Bolzano, "the super infrastructure" concept. A super infrastructure is a tall vertical structure that maximizes the most space for less. It is layered with housing, commercial, and educational use.
"Since 1952 MOROSO has been designing its sofas, armchairs and accessories with wellknown designers such as Ron Arad, Carlo Colombo, Enrico Franzolini, Marc Newson, Toshiyuki Kita and Patricia Urquiola. MOROSO has been constructing its sofas and armchairs aiming at top quality. For its quality, the company was the first producer of upholstered furniture in Italy to receive on 24 June 1994 the ISO 9000 certification for firm management and the ISO 9001 certification for design, production and customer service.
"ONE OFF was first established in Milan in 2003, within the context of the "Fabbrica del Vapore" project, as a rapid prototyping service specialised in the manufacture of models, functional prototypes and architectural models geared primarily for the design and architectural sectors. The workshop produces the models, the prototypes and the plastic models using a combination of extremely innovative technological methods together with traditional mechanical and engineering techniques, all of which are available in house and supported by extremely up to date information technology systems."
"Filippo Pagliani and Michele Rossi found Park Associati in 1999. Its focus spans from architecture, to interior and product design. Each project is approached from an experimental view with emphasis on new technologies. Designers at Park Associati challenge themselves with complex and large projects requiring specialized consultants for structures, installations, road conditions, quantity surveying, landscaping, graphic design, lighting, and multimedia."
"Ricci Spaini Studio d' Architettura was founded by MosŤ Ricci and Filippo Spaini. MosŤ Ricci is currently a university professor educating on the subject of Urban Planning at The University of Pescara. Ricci is also a Fullbright Scholar from the School of Design at Harvard University. Filippo Spaini on the other hand, has an MArch degree from Rice University of Houston. Their projects range from full scale urban planning to conceptual architecture."
"Established in 1945, Saporiti is a family based company that collaborates with architects and designer to produce contemporary furnishing. We visited their main office just outside of Milano. Saporiti creates projects that experiment with new materials and concepts of living. They are looking at the international market and producing projects that fit the lifestyle of all cultures today and more importantly in the future - designing for the future is an important research project that Saporiti is involved in through Contemporane A."
"Tom Rankin (BA, Princeton, MArch Harvard), President of American Institute for Roman Culture (AIRC), founded the Institute in 2002 in order to promote and defend the heritage of Rome. Deeply-rooted in the academic communities of both Rome and the United States, the AIRC appeals to, teaches, and inspires a broad demographic of students, scholars, and educated laypeople."