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The Compasso D’oro is one of the most prestigious awards in the world of design. It was the first of its kind in 1954 and is still recognized today as one of the most influential and celebrated awards given out in the industry.  The idea of architect Gio Ponti, its goal was to promote the quality and innovation of Italian design and to provide a platform to acknowledge its vision and uniqueness.

The famous Italian department store La Rinascente gave the award the exact platform it needed to launch in 1954. It would become a long standing tradition, judged by art critics, historians and leaders in design, of applauding quality products designed for widespread consumption that reached a synthesis between form, function, and beauty.

Compasso D'Oro Flos Luminator Floor LampCompasso d’Oro 1955: Flos Luminator by Achille Castiglioni

It has been organized and hosted exclusively by the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (ADI), also known as the Italian Industrial design Association, since 1964. Over the years its winners have gone on to become some of the most iconic symbols of our material culture and their designers the most important leaders in taste making. According to the ADI:

The products [are] selected taking into account the originality, the functional and typological innovation, the production processes adopted, the materials used and the formal synthesis reached. Particular attention is paid to products that express respect for the environment, public and social value, care for the usability, the interaction and the concept of “design for all”.

The true legacy of the Compasso d’Oro has been a cumulative recording of the transitions in popular trends as well as a measure of how far we have come in our advancements in technology and mass production. This has been particularly important in lighting as modes of lamping are changing rapidly due to our need to conserve energy.

Luce Plan BereniceCompasso d’Oro 1987: Luce Plan “Berenice” Lamp by Alberto Meda and Paola Rizzatto

Luminaires have always been big winners of the Compasso d’Oro and celebrating their contribution to design history is important.

From furniture to lighting to household objects to mass means of transportation, the Compasso d’Oro pays homage to the ordinary objects of our everyday lives to show us that the quotidian can be beautiful, and that indeed, it should be.