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"Milan is still the international capital of design": yes? no? maybe...

Contradicting the opinion expressed earlier this year by Alessi's president, Alberto Alessi, who said Italy's manufacturing capability "could disappear" in the face of foreign competition, and furniture matriarch Patrizia Moroso, who said last year that Italy was "losing the culture behind production", Gilda Bojardi, one of Italy's most respected design journalists and the director of Interni magazine has denied that Italy industry is in decline and believes that "Milan is still the international capital of design" .

"The situation from an economic point of view is not so good, but in Italy the most important design companies export between 60 and 80 per cent [of their output]," said Bojardi. "I think that the Italian companies have the capacity to find and invent another way to export."

She added: "Patrizia Moroso herself is a wonderful example of how it's possible to create cultural manufacturing because her company is one of the first ones that does exactly that."

Italian exports are strong despite the difficult economic climate at home, and Italian companies are continuing to work with talented international designers, according to Bojardi.

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" of the paradoxes of Italy






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Following a design event in SF few days ago I have asked myself the same question.

I believe that Italy and Milan in particular owns the culture and the dream of a certain type of design and of lifestyle thanks to its history and past years. Though it is my opinion that the actual design system (companies, marketing, designers, schools etc) is trying to survive using its past and glory without any desire or will to update itslef and discover new ways to impose again its supremacy worldwide with a new and fresher perspective.

I feel that the obsolete way of operating is not letting Italian companies to reinvest in themselves and renovate. They are lacking of entrepreneurial spirit as if this would mean for them to declaire their failure. Change is always something that has scared our country as a ghost!

Running into this (admittedly promotional) corporate video, made me think of some of the values and practices that keep on inspiring and propelling the Italian design and manufacturing SMA world:

success "is strictly bound to the intense presence of the family", but new, outsourced professionals are brought in for  growth and expansion

- "things don't need to be shouted"

- "silent products are the ones that last longer"

- "making people aware that we are there, and we will be there. And we can only get better"

- "our product goes to the end-user at a certain price, so it has to be perfect"

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