The idea of design, of designing the future comes to us from afar, from the workshops of the Renaissance, in which craftsmanship, the search of innovation and the ties with the local territory merged into every product. That is how big talents were born, the Masters of the time as well as the inventions that have made Italy famous around the world. That amalgam of the past and its uniqueness, upgraded with modern-day processes, is still acknowledged at international level, making design one of the principal distinctive signs of Made in Italy products and of the image of our Country. And it was precisely this spirit that inspired the Foreign Ministry to organise, for the first time ever, the First Italian Design Day in the World. Today, thanks to the diplomatic network, 100 cities – from Bogota to Wellington, from Ho Chi Min City to Vancouver – are hosting 100 great designers, entrepreneurs, architects, journalists, critics, communicators, and teachers who will talk about Italian design in exhibitions, conferences, and round tables. It will be a moment in which design will be the bridge and forum of dialogue with other Countries: a platform of debate and coming together, spurring cultural and business partnerships. This is real teamwork: around the table activated by the Foreign Minister sat representatives of institutions, entrepreneurs, private and public research and training centres, and the professionals of the sector, all with the common intent to present to the world “Italian beauty and craftsmanship”, capable of combining creativity with increasingly innovative and sophisticated industrial processes.
The Italian Design Day is part of the more structured promotional strategy of the “Italian Way of Life” launched by the Foreign Ministry and is only one of the many projects linked to design to which our diplomacy devotes particular attention; among many others, I’m referring to the 21st International Exposition of the Triennale of Milan, that we strongly contributed to making a buoyant comeback twenty years after its last edition; to the Salone del Mobile, with the sizable growth in international exhibitors and with its first edition in Shanghai, which we helped put in place; to the 16th Italian Language Week dedicated to the design and creative industries; to the “Compasso d’Oro” international prize. Design has multiple connotations, as the great architect Ernesto Rogers used to say: cultural, social and economic, seeing that it involves the idea of designing solutions spanning from designing a spoon to designing a city, all the way to the up-to-date designing of services, social design and the design of complex housing systems. Offering support to our companies of this important sector for Italy’s economy, capable of generating 1/3 of the global turnover of 100 billion euros, means supporting them on the markets and accompanying them with an activity aimed to tell about the all-round creativity and originality of the design project, about the quality of the materials and of the manufacturing processes used, about the attention for detail, about the influence of the history and culture of our regional territories.
Following up on this line of reasoning, the First Italian Design Day in the World paves the way for the 56th Salone del Mobile, a showcase and meeting point for entrepreneurs, designers, architects and teachers from around the world who will gather to exchange opinions on the concept of design. In this way, the Foreign Ministry emphasises the extent to which design talks about Italy, culture, quality, entrepreneurship and innovation, about the art of designing solutions, styles and ways of life for our Countries and for our cities of tomorrow.