World Intellectual Property Organization

Flair & Function – Italian Design Exhibition

November 2005

Marco Zanuso believed good design should appeal to a mass market. He and Richard Sapper created a series of designs which came to be known as
Marco Zanuso believed good design should appeal to a mass market. He and Richard Sapper created a series of designs which came to be known as "techno-functionalism." Their Grillo telephone for SIEMENS is one of the world's first phone designs to integrate the handset and dial pad (Compasso d’Oro Award 1967).

The exhibition "Flair & Function – 50 Years of the Italian Compasso d’Oro Award," organized jointly by WIPO and the Italian Government, highlights the importance of design in the commercial success of a product. Inaugurated September 26 by WIPO Director General Kamil Idris and Mr. Roberto Cota, Under Secretary of State at the Italian Ministry of Productive Activities, to mark the opening of the WIPO Assemblies, the exhibition features award-winning designs from the prestigious Compasso d’Oro collection of the Italian Association for Industrial Design (ADI).

“This exhibition highlights the creativity, style and excellence of Italian design, which have brought success, respect and international recognition to the "Made in Italy" label.” – WIPO Director General Kamil Idris.

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Another Richard Sapper design: the 9090 expresso maker for Alessi (Compasso d’Oro Award 1979).

“Design reflects the quality of the project, technological innovation, flexibility of enterprises, availability of skills and creative knowledge,” said Mr. Cota, noting the “range of knowledge which Italian design possesses, built up over time, and which constitutes economic wealth.” He described innovation and protection as vital for small and medium-sized enterprises, “essential instruments for the development of the productive fabric in Italy.” Italy is the fifth largest user of the Hague Agreement for the International Registration of Industrial Designs, filing eight percent of all applications.

The exhibition, which spans the period 1954 to 2004, features more than 50 objects from the Compasso d’Oro Award’s unique Historical Collection. Set up in the early 1950s by Milanese designer Gio Ponti, the ADI Compasso d’Oro has become one of the most important and respected awards in the field of industrial design. Awards are granted by international juries to designs ranging from toys, sports gear, cars, furniture and electrical appliances to websites.

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