L'Italo-Americano

italoamericano-digital-1-10-2019

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THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2019 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 S ince the 1950s and 60s, craftsmanship and industry have developed a very fertile relationship in Italy. Two seemingly opposed national realities, as far from one another as M an and Machine, but that find in design their unifying link. The care, uniquenes s , dedication and inter- generational wisdom associated to products coming from family run workshops and from the ateliers of our crafts masters - from glass making to carpentry, from pottery to textiles, from marble to metal w ork - can benefit greatly from mass production, from the convenience of the economy of scale and from being available to a wider market. Provided industrial design is involved. There are other factors to take into account, though, namely the economic boom and the enormous cultural revolution that took Italy by storm in the post-war period. The result is a series of iconic objects that, without the rigid distinctions typical of the Anglosaxon world among furniture design, lighting design, decorative arts and product design, we view still today not only as symbols of that time, but also of Italian taste and aesthetics. In other words, what counts goes beyond the final result and the object in itself: it is the popular value that design products acquired and how the object itself becomes symbol of it through time. There are lamps, armchairs and coffee makers that speak about specific historical moments. Chairs, tables and bookshelves that tell how people live. Materials and shapes that moulded lifestyles and interpreted social habits. This reflection on the value of Italian design - whose first officially recognized master was GiĆ² Ponti, but had an incredible amount of talented representatives - has been inspired by the introduction of FIAT 500 to MoMA and The Value of Good Design exhibition. Let's be honest, the Series F model, produced between 1965 and 1972 and undoubtedly the most famous 500, remains an iconic symbol of Italian style that never went out of fashion, in spite of no longer being produced (even if it's not that difficult to see one of the 4 million 500 Sport, D, L and R models, produced between 1957 and 1975, still travelling on our streets, classified as vintage cars). Indeed, it gained The pop heart of Italian design: beauty mirrors eras, not only taste From the director many estimators through time and all over the world. It is not surprising, then, that FIAT 500 has become an ambassador of Italy around the world and that it is considered a true icon of Italian design and style. And this is not a posthumous, fake award: this small car, whose production gave work - a good work, one of those that could change your life, with stable wages and that was at the heart of the south to north Italian migration - was and still is one of Italy's greatest loves. Becoming part of MoMA, FIAT 500 graduates and turns into a true work of modern art, known globally. But this is only the smallest of achievements when compared to being the best loved car produced by FIAT, the symbol itself of affordable motorized vehicles (it cost the equivalent of 13 factory workers' wages and 10 office workers' salaries), thanks to which cars became a mass market good. Today, no one can live without one. Everyone wanted to buy it: common people and VIPs. Maybe, its being "for everyone" (provided you had the 500.000 liras it cost) truly made it the symbol of an era. And it is this mix of aesthetic innovation and social revolution that transforms design in art, giving the right value to the objects really marking a significant step forward in the history of evolution because they climb one step higher to concretely meet people's needs and express a change in taste, a technical development, an innovation in the production line. Because what makes the difference in design, what puts together creative drawing and industrial product, technical essence and aes thetic tas te, is the ability to merge together beauty and functionality. If it's true that an object has to be functional, that is, it has to work well for what's supposed to do, it is also essential that it meets specific aesthetic criteria to appease that love for Beauty ingrained in the very DNA of our country and that made it famous all over the world, The history of all things "beautiful and useful," from the most prosaic of daily objects (a typewriter or a plate, even), to larger ones (like cars or furniture) started being written in Italian about 50 years after Unification and keeps on going, without a single stop or moment of respite. Seeing our FIAT 500 at MoMA, today, makes us happy especially because it celebrates a binomial, that of art and technology, which is authentically Made in Italy and profoundly pop at the same time and, for this reason, always holds a very special space in the heart of every Italian. Simone Schiavinato, Director NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS

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