The SustainabItaly exhibition held at the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami Beach, on behalf of the Italian Consulate General, aimed to showcase Italian design attentive to themes of sustainability.

The complete freedom I was given in organising the content has allowed me to express, through the products exhibited, what connection between contemporary design and sustainability really means.

One hundred years after the birth of industrial design, which established itself starting in the 1920s based on the principles of integration between "form" and "function", today a new characteristic has become necessary as a fundamental criterion for judging good design, and that is "sustainability".
A less visible principle, less easy to evaluate, but just as indispensable to guarantee the quality of products, processes and services that present themselves as innovative.

Indeed, if, until yesterday, it was mankind that was at the centre of the discipline of design, with our needs and desires (from the study of ergonomics to "Design for All", right up to the intensification of the search for formal hedonism in the final years of the 20th century), with the new millennium, new social and environmental challenges have asserted themselves, putting the planet at the centre of attention.

This is an important change of paradigm that imposes new rules; we are asked to design products, but at the same time to control production processes so that they can be less polluting, less energy-intensive, more accessible, and can be safely disposed of at the end of their life.

In my view, sustainability shouldn't be understood only as an environmental goal, but also as social, economic and professional, and anyone who designs, produces and distributes products today feels this responsibility to act consciously.

The exhibition wanted to give space to products that represent excellent examples of Italian design, created through the traditional collaboration between Italian companies and Italian and international designers, some of whom have already received prestigious awards.

Every product was chosen to highlight a particular aspect of sustainability, consciously pursued and achieved by the project, such as, for example, reducing weight or packaging and therefore costs in terms of pollution and transport, or reducing the consumption of raw materials, or reducing energy consumption, or the difficulty of disassembling the materials in order to more easily recycle the components.

In the context of the digital revolution we are undergoing, however, sustainability is also about imagining new production and distribution relationships that encourage new, innovative routes complementary to the traditional ones. This is why we have also dedicated an equal amount of space to exhibiting the projects of associations and other entities that promote self-production, or develop distribution methods that use new technologies such as remote and direct 3D printing, or that have dedicated themselves with particular attention to re-use, recycling, and raising awareness in end users. A cross-sectional approach that connects different actors, to give recognition to their joint efforts.

Visually, on the walls next to the objects, some concepts are emphasised by way of association with a plus or minus sign to clarify their connection: "- pollution and + health", "- weight and + savings on transport", "- waste and + environmental wellbeing"; simple concepts demonstrated through real products that are aesthetically impeccable and economically sustainable.  

The title of the exhibition unites the two goals of the designs displayed, in one single word: Italianness and sustainability, which sacrifice self-aggrandisement in order to become a project we can identify with. The colour chosen for the logo connects two colours from the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals: the red of number 9, which involves companies and innovation, and the orange of number 11, which regards sustainable cities and communities, in a shade that aims to be vibrant and proactive.

Luisa Bocchietto, Curatore della Mostra
Wolfsonian Museum – 1001 Washington Avenue - Miami Beach 33139 FL – USA
Date: 4 dicembre 2021/ 20 marzo 2022
Inaugurazione: 4 dicembre 2021 in occasione dell’evento Miami Art Basel
Committente: Ministero degli Esteri per Consolato Generale d’Italia a Miami – Florida – USA


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N° 8


It doesn't matter that we are small, or far from each other, that we are different, or in small numbers: what counts is being connected.
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