The fifth edition of Italian Design Day kicked off on July 7, 021, in the United States. The initiative, coordinated by the Embassy of Italy in Washington D.C. is part of the international program promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to celebrate the Italian design and creativity in the world. The network of Consulates, Italian Institutes of Culture and Italian Trade Agency offices in the USA has scheduled 11 events with the presence of internationally renowned designers, architects and experts.
The program started with a webinar organized by the Embassy, in cooperation with the Association for Industrial Design (ADI) and with the attendance of Flavio Manzoni, Chief Design Officer Ferrari, Valentina Sumini, Space Architect at MIT Media Lab and Alex Terzariol, ADI Delegate for international cooperation.
Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Mariangela Zappia, and ADI Vice President, Antonella Andriani, delivered the opening remarks. The event was part of the celebrations of the 160th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and the United States. The Embassy launched the promotional video campaign ‘Inimitable and Iconic: Italian Design Stories in the U.S.’, produced with ADI, featuring iconic products of Italian design connected with the United States and developed along five virtuous “5F” macro-sectors: Furniture, Fast&Fabulous, Fitness&Fun, Fashion, Food.
After the slow down caused by the pandemic, Italian exports to the U.S. returned to growth: in the first five months of 2020 they recorded a 22.9% increase, with figures similar to pre-crisis levels. In May 2021, a 90% growth was recorded compared to May 2020, a 3.5% growth compared to May 2019. The trend of exports to the U.S. is even more positive in the furniture and construction sectors, which is worth $3 billion: in the first five months of 2021 the increase was 36.8% compared to the same period of 2020, and 14.9% compared to the same period of 2019. In May, the export increased by 179.3% compared to May 2020, and by 22.7% compared to 2019.
The Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Mariangela Zappia, who took office on July 1st, said at the opening of the Design Day: “We are in a crucial phase of our bilateral economic relations. We have to support the recovery trend of our export in the field of design, with actions in favor of our companies, our trade fairs, and with a media plan. Hence, the rich program of Design Day 2021 in the U.S., with high-level events, an innovative media plan together with ADI, and with concrete actions to support our companies, the ‘Triennale di Milano’ in 2022 and the ‘Salone del Mobile’ (furnitures expo) in September, a symbol that Italy is back. We want to ensure that the United States will contribute to this restart as we all expect.”
“Design is credited as one of the most powerful levers of economic development in any society. And the best Italian design has always aimed at producing wealth, in addition to money value. A testament of this value is the historical collection of the ADI Golden Compass Award: an asset of the cultural heritage of our country which grows stronger in each edition. A wealth centered on the strength of relationships, which we are celebrating today thanks to the work of the Embassy of Italy in the United States, so that this wealth can flourish even more, strengthened by the solid cultural roots we share.”
Ambassador Zappia will participate to other two webinars, among the many events organized by the Italian institutions in the US. The first with the Italian Consulate in Miami (July 8th), devoted to the ‘Triennale of Milano’ in 2022, with the participation of its President Stefano Boeri. The second, with the Italian Trade Agency in New York (July 9th), will promote the special edition of the ‘Salone del Mobile’ (furnitures expo) of next September, “the Supersalone”, with the participation of the President of Federlegno-Arredo Claudio Feltrin, the Director General of the furniture expo Marco Sabetta, and the President of the Triennale Stefano Boeri.
Additional events are promoted by the Italian Consulates and Institutes of Culture: in Boston, on the topic ‘Design for Emergency’, in partnership with Northeast University; in Chicago, on the future of creativity, together with the University of Florence and the Illinois Institute of Technology, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Moto Guzzi; in Detroit, with the celebrity Chiara Moretti and the Haworth Group, featuring iconic pieces by Poltrona Frau, Cassina and Cappellini; in Houston, on the history of successful Italian design brands such as Barausse, Chiavari and BeDesign; in Los Angeles, with a promotional video featuring the testimonial Mattia Biagi; in New York, with two webinars dedicated to light and immaterial design, with the participation of Artemide President and CEO Carlotta De Bevilacqua; in San Francisco, with Chiara Alessi narrating the history of the eight most revolutionary objects of Italian design.