The XXVI Compasso d'Oro: 18 award-winning projects, a balanced, transparent, serious selection. Virtually unassailable

The Compasso d'Oro 2020 were awarded on 9 September, during a ceremony protected by the anti Covid-19 regulations. home of the only collection considered Italian national heritage. The Compassi d'Oro were decided by the jury chaired by Denis Dantachiara and composed of Monsignor Luca Bressan, Virginio Briatore, Jin Kuramoto and Paaivi Tahkokallio. Sustainability, development and responsibility are the themes that have guided their reflections.

Eighteen awards, plus nine for lifetime achievements, three for the international career and thirty-eight honorable mentions. This year there are also three awards to the product's career, which recognize the excellent excluded of the award born in 1954. A category strongly desired by Beppe Finessi, who is curator of the Compasso d'Oro Museum. The Arco lamp by the Castiglioni brothers, the Nathalie bed by Vico Magistretti and the Sacco armchair by Gatti, Paolini and Teodoro officially become part of the ADI collection. They will be on display together with 73 other projects from the XXVI Compasso d'Oro Taking Root exhibition, open until 16 September.

“Taking root is a simple concept” explains Luciano Galimberti, president of ADI (the Italian designers association that promotes the award).“It has to do with taking care, with attention. And these are the things necessary to guarantee a future, in a situation of great crisis ”. As always, a great emotion hovers over the whole ceremony. Partly because, as the president of the ADI Foundation Umberto Cabini says, “we are finally home”, in the new museum. In part because never as this year the prizes seem balanced, motivated in a simple and understandable way, the result of a critical attitude that aims at the objectivity of the linear rules of the industrial project.

The themes of the contemporary first of all. Virginio Briatore explains: “Historical awareness but not repetition, innovation, but not an end in itself. And the search for the flash, for the invention”. Plus the attention to the conscious use of materials, the usual formal dignity, the search for invention and the centrality of man in his most fragile needs. Contaminations that enrich the industrial culture of ever deeper dimensions. "An exact evaluation of the immaterial aspect of the design is still missing,” adds Briatore. “But perhaps other skills are required, other types of professionalism”.

The jury met in early March, on the eve of the lockdown, in a moment of already evident emergency. “An atmosphere of metaphysical alarm” says Briatore, “which perhaps made us more sensitive to the idea of ​​a cycle that begins and ends. We certainly did not want to reward another chair. But objects that contribute to the good of everyone, not just the design industry or designers”. The rest was done by the balance between different cultures. It is an idea of ​​seriousness and methodical critical analysis. “Professionals from the extremes of the world. From north to south, from east to west, in an atmosphere of epochal alarm: an important Compasso d’Oro could only come from it”, concludes Briatore ironically.

An awaited and indisputable Compasso d'Oro is the one given to Francisco Gomez Paz for the Eutopia chair. A design and production experiment that gives an imprimatur to a different way of guiding the process, from design to finished product. Francisco Gomez Paz: “It is an award that deeply moved me. And in order to be present at the ceremony, I faced a daring journey, from Argentina to Italy”. Eutopia is an autarchic, revolutionary project. A very light chair in Kiri wood, structured on a cross joint assembled in ten pieces of solid wood. It is self-produced with industrial machines - laser cutting, numerical control cutter, 3D printer. “I wanted to show that it is possible to make design products even in remote places, where the situation that Vanni Pasca has well defined as metaphysics does not exist, which is the ideal humus for the development of industrial design" explains Francisco. “I'm not an anti-system person. Working alone on this project weighed heavily on me, I don't hide it. But I wanted to give a strong signal to my South American colleagues. Technology helps personal initiative and the realization of dreams and utopias. Like that of producing design in Argentina, really producing it”.

The other awarded projects vary greatly by type. From the Momodesign helmet, on which Paolo Cattaneo and Klaus Fiorino have reasoned from a formal point of view, to the brand identity for the Uffizi Gallery, by Carmi & Ubertis. From the D-Heart health unit, by Design Group Italia, awarded because “it is not scary and allows the patient to be followed at a distance", to the E-Lounge bench by Lanzillo & Partners which instead “represents a new type of product capable of combining neighborhood culture, street furniture, connection and thus translates the spirit of the time”.

The prizes follow one another with always transparent, precise and detailed reasons. And this is the case for the Juicepole electric car charging station by Koz and Susani; for the Ferrari Monza SP1 of Flavio Manzoni and Ferrari Design; for Marco Bottura's social project, Food for Soul, awarded because “it unites two worlds, that of need and that of art. Or even the Hannes prosthesis, by Bartolomeis, Diamanti and Poli for ITT and Inail, “technology and aesthetics that help overcome a physical and psychological deficit”.

Twelve career awards, between national and international. Here too the selection is rigorous and indisputable. The Italians are: Gilda Bojardi, Marco Ferreri, Carlo Forcolini, Carlo and Piero Molteni, Anty Pansera, Eugenio Perazza, Vanni Pasca and Nanda Vigo. The temptation is to ask who can be awarded in two years: "Lifetime Achievement which should recognize people at the height of their activity ”comments Virginio Briatore. “A shame to wait so long to reward Nanda Vigo, for example”.

The international awards go to Emilio Ambasz, Nasir and Nagis Kassamali and Jasper Morrison who, a bit like Bob Dylan, did not turn up to collect the Compasso d'Oro. Backward and discreet designer, his absence is not surprising after all. Virginio Britore says: "There are prizes that may not be worth collecting, but the Compasso d'Oro has a weight, a history. The projects pass through many juries and, often, proposals rejected at the first steps are taken up again at the last. It is a long journey, two years that also give the time to better understand the life of a product ". Or the professional paradigm of those who have dedicated a lifetime to design.