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Seventy years have passed since the Compasso D’Oro first appeared, established in 1954 from an idea by Gio Ponti. Seventy years of work have made it a point of reference for a sector that in terms of cultural and economic values today represents one of the most significant, with over 40,000 employees, more than 17,000 companies and €3.14bn of added value (Design Economy 2024 by the Fondazione Symbola, ADI, Deloitte Private and, and which has resulted in the creation of a historical collection recognized in 2004 by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage as being an “asset of exceptional artistic and historical interest”. 

This year’s edition, the 28th, aims to enhance the idea of ​​quality design that has always distinguished the Compasso d’Oro. This concept of quality has changed over the decades as it has mirrored the evolution of culture and society, yet it still remains the point of reference for the award. “This is a story that started in the distant past but which, in a sort of long now, has maintained coherence and the ability to develop proactive relationships on which to build an idea of ​​civic community” underlines ADI President Luciano Galimberti.

Today the Compasso d’Oro is the result of a three-stage process. The first is the annual overview of the ADI Design Index, which is conducted region by region and then followed with an evaluation by specialists in the individual fields (from furniture to mobility and from social design to projects by design students at Italian Universities). The second is a scientific selection process, which lasts two years and involves a permanent multidisciplinary observatory of around 150 experts. Finally there is the third stage, the presentation of the selection results to an international jury. It is a meticulously thought-out and methodical process which has undergone several variations over time, because ideas themselves evolve with the times. However, the constant concept that has remained over the years is that the awards should not simply be given to the most popular or most beautiful objects, but to those that best represent the idea of ​​Made in Italy design. The Compasso d’Oro is thus an instrument for measuring this special quality, which emerges from the convergence of a number of exceptional characteristics, whether they be social, aesthetic, industrial or economic. It is a carefully considered selection process which over seventy years of history has awarded just over 370 Compasso d’Oro, a fact that in itself is testimony to the prestige that the award represents worldwide.

The winning products from each edition of the award are then exhibited at the ADI Design Museum, with this year’s edition on display from 20th June to 15th September 2024. This museum has enhanced and popularised the culture of design at a national and international level since 2021, through the exhibition of the permanent collection and the staging of thematic events with a focus on contemporary design, also exhibited abroad on international tours in Europe, Asia and the United States. It is a dynamic research museum, or as Umberto Cabini, president of the ADI Compasso d’Oro Collection Foundation puts it, “the heritage of objects and documents that it houses has a characteristic that other museums do not have: it is not simply a collection of industrial products but rather the indelible evolution of the metamorphoses of quality, from the 1950s to today”. As witness to the evolution of the culture of objects over the last seventy years, the award presents their history every day, in search of new directions for development.

“The Compasso d’Oro has increasingly taken on an institutional value” concludes Luciano Galimberti, “appointing the best of Italian design worldwide to a role of cultural rather than aesthetic reference and confirming the idea that Italian design is not an activity limited to definition of forms, but above all one that is dedicated to creating profound relationships.”

The 28th Compasso d’Oro takes place with the patronage and contribution of the Lombardy Region to whom sincere thanks are due.

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