Italian brands are found virtually in every destination in the world. The most outstanding aspects of Italian designs are their strong brand signatures. From the designer shoes, classy suits, assorted wines, to the famous Italian cuisines, race cars and the monumental baroque architecture, Italian brands are strong forces in the world of design. These are the creative achievements that embody the Italian culture. This exception by most Italian products is a result of a design approach that has historically characterized the Italian art and design profession.
History Of The Development Of Italian Signature Brands
Italian designers are the brains behind some of the greatest brands in the world. Historically, they have always stood out amongst their contemporaries from the rest of the world. Italian designers have particularly excelled remarkably in furniture design and have covered great milestones over the years through the efforts of great furniture designers like Gio Ponti and Ettore Sottsass. The furniture designers however faced enormous challenges in finding a balance between the classical elegance and modern creativity in their design approach.
Throughout 1910 to 1920, there was little about the Italian furniture and Interior design to set them apart with their French counterparts. The Italian furniture and art deco shared a lot with the French designs in both style and materials.
Italian Design Revolution
Gio Ponti introduced a new era in Italian design through his highly all-round designs. Gio Ponti and his peers finally found the perfect application of the blend of sophistication, elegance, style, modernity, refinement and creativity. This movement brought Italian art Deco to Its pinnacle.
‘Razionalismo’ or Rationalism, a new approach to furniture design was born in 1926. Gruppo 7, Luigi Figini, Gino Pollini and Giuseppe Terragni were the leading rationalists and the ‘Razionalismo’ evangelists. They employed the use of tubular steel in furniture design and employed a simple and plain approach in design.
Design For Mass Production And The Birth Of Popular Brands
The events in Europe after 1934, catapulted Italian design to new levels. Italian designers found a new opportunity in the Italian Economic miracle that presented a high demand for high-end goods for the European market. During this period Italy had a true avant-garde in industrial production, mass furniture and interior design. The RIMA exhibition in 1946 gave Italian designs an international recognition and gave more exposure to Italian talent in interior design.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Italian design secured its spot as the trendsetter in furniture and interior design with brands like ‘Bel Design’ and ‘Linea Italiana’ gaining traction as leading brands in furniture industry. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, Parda, Varsace, Gucchi, Armani and Moschano logos could be seen all over various equipment.
Notable Italian Design Brands
Some popular, classy Italian design brands include the Zanussi washing machines and fridges, the ‘New-Tone’ sofas by Atrium and the bookcase by Ettore Sottsass designed for Memphis group in 1981.
The Wow-Factor In Italian Design
This concept employs the combination of excitement, fascination and desire of a product. The design seeks to add more refinements and accessorizing to a product beyond what the user really expects or needs, thus introducing a pleasant surprise that elicits desire to own it. The baroque architecture is a perfect example alongside other great works of art from Italy across several generations. This design approach by most Italian designers, results in products with three features. Basic, performance and excitement features. For example, one performance feature that makes Italian race cars more desirable than other race cars is that they are super-fast. The shapes, beauty and comfort associated with them forms the excitement feature. Similarly, Italian fashion is one of the most sophisticated and classy, and no tourist wants to miss some shopping time in Milan.
Does Italian Designers Adhere To Any Cultural Inclination In Their Designs?
The visual arts have been a popular part of Italian culture from past generations to date. Its roles are felt in almost every field of design and manufacture and its influence lives on. So, yes – Italian design has some cultural inclination. The baroque shapes can be witnessed in furniture design, while other artwork accentuates decoration to home interiors. But it takes more than that in creating some of the world’s most superior brands.
When asked by The Quarterly how they come up with their design, Alberto Allesi explains that, “The core activity of a designer is to mediate between, on one side, the best expressions of product design you can find in the world, and on the other side, the prospective users’ dreams. We tend to focus on the ‘customer dream’ rather than the market”. Tentatively, an artistic product design mediator plays a comparatively similar role to a filmmaker – To bring together and combine different talents and achieve a product. Now, such a product is different from a mass – produced one, but rather tries to communicate to different people in a new sense. You can therefore correctly say that Italian designs are a hybrid of different possible cultural expressions of elegance and class from all over the world.
1. Handbook of Research on Trends in Product Design and Development by Silva Arlindo
2. Cultivating innovation: An interview with the CEO of a leading Italian design firm- Marla M. Capozzi and Josselyn Simpson
3. Emotional Design; Application of a Research-Based Design Approach by P. M. A. Desmet, R. Porcelijn & M. B. van Dijk