We The Italians | Italian design: The XXVI Compasso d'oro award

Italian design: The XXVI Compasso d'oro award

Italian design: The XXVI Compasso d'oro award

  • WTI Magazine #131 Sep 19, 2020
  • 58

On September 9th, the winners of Italy’s most important design prize, the XXVI Compasso d’Oro Award, were announced in the brand new spaces of the ADI Design Museum in Milan (remember? We talked about that here).  

For the ones who are not familiar with industrial design, the Compasso d’Oro is an important award that is assigned by the Industrial Design Association with the aim of providing recognition and boosting the quality of Italian design; it is the world’s oldest and most prestigious industrial design award. In addition to the 18 Compasso d’Oro Awards, there are also 9 Compasso d’Oro Career Awards and 3 International Compasso d’Oro Career Awards.

This year, following a proposal by Beppe Finessi - curator of the ADI Design Museum - there was a new addition to the awards: the Lifetime Achievement Award, reserved for historical products still in production today. The award went to iconic italian design pieces such as the Arco by Castiglioni brothers produced by Flos (1962), the Nahalie bed by Vico Magistretti produced by Flou (1978) and the Sacco produced by Zanotta and designed by Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro in 1968. Last but not least, the Targa Giovani award, reserved for three emerging designers and the Honourable Mentions.

Unfortunately, during that day, a real design icon left us: Cini Boeri, who was awarded the Compasso d’Oro Career Award in 2011. Born Maria Cristina Mariani Dameno in 1924, she grew up in Milan and graduated from the Milan Polytechnic in 1951 with a degree in architecture. She started her career as an intern for the Italian architect Gio Ponti (who founded the Compasso d’Oro award), she then started collaborating with designer Marco Zanuso for many years, before creating her own studio, Cini Boeri Architetti.

Throughout her career Cini Boeri collaborated with Arflex, a brand for which she created iconic design pieces including the monobloc foam Bobo chair from 1967 and 1971's Serpentone sofa. The sofa design earned her the Compasso d'Oro industrial design award as well as being included in the permanent collection of the Milan Triennale. She also produced the iconic Ghost chair, created for Fiam in 1987 from a single piece of glass. Mrs Boeri and her creative mind will be strongly missed.