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“Compasso d’Oro, spanning the world” exhibition is a permanent installation designed and curated by the Studio Origoni Steiner and located outside the museum, opposite the main entrance.

 It offers the visitor a series of images mounted on four metal walls that present a display frame with a square base. These images include an eye, the Coliseum, a tadpole, a Stradivarius violin, a cabbage, the trunk of an oak tree, an amphora, a starfish, Botticelli’s Venus, a shell, a galaxy, a passion flower, the Mayan pyramids, a cyclone, the Parthenon, the structure of the atom, bone cells, the human body …

Through immersing themselves in the structure, visitors will discover that there is a single common denominator,  a geometric design placed on the back of each of the photographic reproductions. This is the irrational number 1.618…, also called Φ, or the golden section.

This relationship is connected to the infinite logarithmic spiral better known as the golden ratio, whose geometric and mathematical properties, as well as its frequent re-occurrence in a number of apparently unconnected natural and cultural contexts, suggest the existence of a mystery at the heart of the creation of the world  and a relationship between macrocosm and microcosm,  universe and nature, and between the whole and the part which is then repeated ad infinitum.

This ratio was also used by Leonardo da Vinci and is easily identifiable thanks to a special instrument known as the “golden divider”, invented in 1893 by the physicist and painter Adalbert Göringer. It was this object that Albe Steiner used in 1954 as a point of reference for the design of a symbol for an award, renaming it the “Compasso d’Oro” or Golden Compass.

But the genesis of the symbol, and the subsequent relationship between the Compasso d’Oro and the rest of the images will be revealed through a series of photographic reproductions only at the end of the immersive journey generated by the installation.

When viewed from the front, the walls of the frame produce a particular optical effect that highlights the repetition of the golden rectangles at the base of their composition.

Studio Origoni Steiner


promoted by
ADI – Associazione per il disegno industriale

curated and designed by
Studio Origoni Steiner
Carlotta Origoni
Franco Origoni
Matteo Origoni
Anna Steiner

in collaboration with
Claudia Lauretta

works direction
Matteo Vercelloni

set up
Merlo SpA

technical sponsor
Merlo SpA