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The ADI Compasso d’Oro Award is universally regarded as the supreme accolade for originality, excellence and achievement in industrial design. For more than fifty years it has played a major role in promoting Italian design worldwide.
The award was created in 1954 by the La Rinascente department store in Milano to encourage “product aesthetics” and boost Italy’s nascent “industrial design” sector.
The award’s logo, a reference to the compasses invented by Adalbert Goeringer to measure the Golden Section, was designed by graphic Albe Steiner. The compasses trophy is the work of architects Alberto Rosselli and Marco Zanuso.
The award subsequently passed from La Rinascente to ADI (Associazione per il Disegno Industriale). ADI is responsible for organising the award, which is held every three years. Products are selected by regional observers, theme committees and a coordination committee, which jointly produce the annual ADI Design Index of best design products.
An international jury confers Compasso d’Oro awards every three years on the basis of the ADI Index listings. Each year more than 150 design critics help ADI to shortlist products.
ADI transferred the conservation and management of its Historical Collection of award-winning and cited products to Fondazione ADI in 2001.
In 2002, Fondazione ADI applied for government recognition of the ADI Compasso d’Oro Award Historical Collection as a heritage asset meriting official guardianship and protection. Cataloguing of products listed in the Collection in 2003 led to official recognition of the Collection as a “heritage asset of outstanding artistic and historical interest” in a Decree issued by the Lombardy Regional Superintendency of the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture on 22 April 2004.
This epoch-making change attributed new importance to material and immaterial design culture and conferred national and international status on the Compasso d’Oro Collection.