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Italian Design Day: Celebrating Excellence

Kayla Pantano (February 21, 2017)
For the upcoming March 2 initiative aimed at promoting an important sector of Italian creativity, the Italian Cultural Institutes of New York and Los Angeles are hosting world-famous architects to mark the occasion.

Following the successful 21st Milan Triennial Exhibition, over 100 cities internationally will celebrate Italian Design Day on March 2. The initiative, launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, promotes contemporary Italian design around the world. For the occasion, scores of “ambassadors” of design—architects, designers, journalists, academics, critics, entrepreneurs, and business leaders alike—will illustrate the history and the new trends that the Italian design sector has to offer, taking place at various foreign offices of the consular diplomatic network.

Italian Design: An Unquestioned Success Story

Design in Italy pervades the fields of culture, art, fashion, and philosophy and is a worldwide trendsetter in the main manufacturing and production sectors. The pleasure that beautiful ordinary objects can bring into everyday life is the driving force behind Italian design, characterized by its novelty and the solidity of traditional handicrafts. There’s a reason that the common phrase of “Made in Italy” connotes the highest of quality and an unparalleled elegance. The i-Italy video Design Speaks Italian (Design parla italiano), made in collaboration with the MAECI and the Italian Cultural Institute of New York, demonstrates the multifaceted art in just a few minutes.

The birth of the design culture in Italy goes back to the extraordinary talents of the Renaissance, such as Leonardo da Vinci. Its presence in modern art schools has made it possible for contemporary industrial design to develop in many fertile and diversified ways. Since the second postwar period, Italian design has matured to support the growth of the country and has launched a new concept of research. In driving industrial production, Italian design has shaped the objectives of development and generated its own distinctive national characteristics.

Italian Design Day Celebrations

Of the many widespread events to take place, both the Italian Cultural Institute (IIC) of New York and Los Angeles are hosting world-famous architects.

Michele de Lucchi for Italian Design Day
Italian Cultural Institute of New York
6:00—8:00 pm
RSVP here

The IIC of New York is excited to present the well-known architect and designer Michele de Lucchi in conversation with Mario Milana, Matteo Milani, and Jonathan Wajskol.

Famed throughout the world for his radical and idiosyncratic designs for, among others, Artemide, Dada Cucine and Kartell, de Lucchi hails from Ferrara and graduated with a degree in architecture in Florence. During the period of experimental architecture, he was a prominent figure in movements like Cavart, Alchymia and Memphis. From 1992 to 2002, he served as the Director of Design for Olivetti. He also developed projects for Compaq Computers, Philips, Siemens, and Vitra. His experience extends to designing and restoring buildings in Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and in Italy for Enel, Olivetti, Piaggio, Poste Italiane, and Telecom Italia. 

The other scheduled guests are equally distinguished. Milana graduated with a degree in Industrial Design from the Istituto Europeo del Design di Milano in 2003 and moved to New York two years later. He went on to found his own eponymous studio based in both cities, but all of his chairs are handmade in Milan. In his design practice and philosophy Milana is interested in exploring craft, functionality and simplicity, and in merging the worlds of the artisan and technology.

Milani is the Associate Partner at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners LLP, a leader in architectural design and sustainability based in New York, and holds a PhD from the Polytechnic University of Milan. He made his way to the States in 2006 after participating in an international competition for the design of the Palazzo Lombardia.

Last but not least, Wajskol is also an Italian designer with one foot rooted in European design and the other firmly planted in Manhattan. For the past 27 years, he has served as Creative Director for Designwajskol, an internationally known strategic design agency. And for the past 18, he has been a faculty member at Parsons School of Design. His expertise spans everything from print, new media, and packaging to corporate design programs. 

Italian Design Day in Los Angeles
Pacific Design Center
5:00 pm
RSVP to [email protected]

The IIC of Los Angeles has also organized a discussion under the auspices of the Consulate General at the beautiful Pacific Design Center, iconic for its brilliant blue glass cladding. Two Italian architects operating for years in California, Elena Pacenti (Dean of Domus Academy School of Design in San Diego) and Carlo Caccavale (Executive Director of the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles), will join architect Lorenzo Damiani, an appreciated protagonist of the Italian and international scene, in an architect-clad panel.

Damiani received his degree in architecture from the Polytechnic University of Milan and was designated an "Ambassador of Design" by the MAECI. He focuses on furniture and product design and has collaborated with many famous specialized companies. Some of his works are on display at the Chicago Athenaeum, Museo della Triennale, and Vitra Museum.

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