Ten golden years for Italian Design

Lettera 22 di Marcello Nizzoli (Olivetti, 1954)


The partnership between la Rinascente and ADI, testified to by the products that won the Compasso d’Oro during the first ten years of the Award, has been renewed in order to face the new world design scene.

As part of the impressive Milan exhibition to celebrate one hundred years of the la Rinascente brand, a particular space has been set aside for one of the most significant chapters in the company’s history: the Compasso d’Oro Award.
Created in 1954, it was subsequently managed first in partnership then independently by ADI, the Association for Industrial Design. This association was the result of an idea by Gio Ponti together with la Rinascente’s desire to promote Italian design as a factor in the development of the economy and the spreading of Italian culture worldwide.

In the “Appartamento dei Principi” in the Palazzo Reale, 16 Compasso d’Oro winning objects are on display which cover the time period from 1954 to 1964, the period in which la Rinascente and ADI collaborated most closely on the management of the Award.
This gallery of objects announced the distinctive features of Italian design to the rest of the world: a balance between aesthetics and functionality, intuition regarding the public’s new tastes and awareness of technological requirements.

Among the objects on display are Bruno Munari’s little Zizi monkeys (Pigomma, 1954) which represent the ironic application of a new material through the turning of an important industrial object into a toy; Marcello Nizzoli’s famous portable Lettera 22 typewriter (Olivetti, 1954), the first announcement of the period regarding writing on the move that is still with us today; Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni’s Luminator Lamp (Gilardi & Barzaghi, 1955), a domestic compendium of rationalist Italian language and Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper’s Doney television (Brion Vega, 1962), a new star on the domestic scene.

The selection on display at the Palazzo Reale is an anthology of the decade in which Italian design began to establish itself worldwide thanks to designers and businesses and is part of a much wider heritage, the Compasso d’Oro Historical Collection managed by the ADI Foundation which will soon move into its new and permanent home in Milan where it will be open to the public. Today this heritage can count on a renewed partnership between ADI and la Rinascente – in fact the latter has just become a partner of the ADI Collection Foundation.


Televisore Doney di Marco Zanuso con Richard Sapper (Brion Vega, 1962)


LR100 — Rinascente · Stories of Innovation
24th May – 24th September

Palazzo Reale, p.zza del Duomo, Milan