Design Italy was born with the aim of telling a story, promoting and supporting Italian design by giving voice to artists, designers and creators, many of whom are still little known, who daily innovate, create and produce excellence.
As we tell in the Manifesto “We believe that designers’ roots, history and territory are fundamental to their creations. All these elements together contribute to shape an identity that is unique in the world.”
Today begins a journey to discover these Territories of Excellence that have made the local manufacturing traditions evolve, structuring into specialized and recognizable Production Districts, the true beating heart of the beautiful and well-made Made in Italy.
We will tell them with a periodic appointment that will accompany the discovery of the main Italian districts, through the clever pen of Maria Laura Berlinguer, a great lover and supporter of Italy and of the high-quality Italian product. To learn more about Maria Laura Berlinguer and her work, read her Biography.
An introduction by Cristina Morozzi who interprets the essence of the Districts to inaugurate this path.
The industrial districts
The Italian furniture industry since its origins has relied on small companies scattered throughout the national territory. More than factories, even if there are brilliant examples for equipment and architecture, these are experimental laboratories, where entrepreneurs and designers still work alongside to shape to visionary ideas.
The furniture companies pull the threads of a capillary specialized artisan shops network, the so-called districts, concentrated in specific geographical areas of the national territory. It is a net woven on an incredible variety of warps, from traditional craftsmanship, still the custodian of ancient knowledge, to the futuristic one, based on material and technological innovation.
This local production peculiarity system relies on the integration between mastering the production process and the knowledge of technology and science. The historic Italian design companies, born from intuition and gambling, have thrived thanks to this type of organization, taking advantage of the regional concentrations of subcontractors. They have grown because they are rooted in areas populated by specialized suppliers: the silk workers in the Como area, the tanneries in Tuscany and Veneto, the metals in the Brescia area, the woollen clothes in the Casentino area (Tuscany). In Calabria there is the historic Lanificio Leo, founded in 1873, the oldest factory in Calabria, which looks to the future, thanks to the creativity of young designers.*
("The flu syndrome", catalogue of the Milan Triennale Exhibition, curated by Pierluigi Nicolin, Corraini editor, 2013)
* New 2020 collection by Serena Confalonieri.