Le fabbriche pensanti. Storie di Compassi d’Oro da Bergamo a Brescia

In the year of Bergamo Brescia Italian Capital of Culture 2023, Alias stars in “Le fabbriche pensanti. Storie di Compassi d’Oro da Bergamo a Brescia”, the exhibition curated by Davide Pagliarini and sponsored by ADI. From 24 March to 4 June 2023, in the Sala delle Capriate – Palazzo della Ragione – in Bergamo.

Bergamo and Brescia, bordering provinces that share the characteristics and strengths of their creative and productive network, play an innovative role in the Italian industrial design scene thanks to companies and products that have shaped the history of industry and everyday life. Discovering the history of Bergamo and Brescia through design allows you to fully understand its industrial and design capital. 
The best and most objective way to do this is by reviewing the outstanding products from Bergamo and Brescia that have won the Compasso d’Oro, the oldest and most authoritative design award in the world, conceived by Gio Ponti in 1954 with the aim of highlighting the value and quality of Italian design products, which were in their infancy at the time.
Since the first edition to date, no less than 32 products made by companies in the provinces of Bergamo and Brescia have been awarded the Compasso d’Oro, demonstrating the innovative nature of the diverse manufacturing production in the two cities. These 32 Compasso d’Oro are joined by a 33rd: the symbol of the Lombardy Region, designed by Bob Noorda, Roberto Sambonet, Pino Tovaglia and Bruno Munari. 
To tell this story of innovation, the “Le fabbriche pensanti. Storie di Compassi d’Oro da Bergamo a Brescia” (The Thinking Factories. Compasso d’Oro Stories from Bergamo to Brescia) project was set up in the year of Bergamo and Brescia Capital of Culture 2023, which will include an exhibition with all the Compasso d’Oro awards, in a special display in the Sala delle Capriate in the heart of Bergamo’s 

Upper City, a series of talks, a printed editorial publication and an episodic podcast. The project is the brainchild of DimoreDesign, developed by the marketing association +39 and MULTI, with the curatorship of Davide Pagliarini and the patronage of ADI (Industrial Design Association). With the valuable support and contribution of the Municipality of Bergamo, CCIAA Bergamo and Confindustria Bergamo. 

THE EXHIBITION A design ‘house’ – painted ruby red with text and icons in white and gold to recall the colours of the Compasso d’Oro – will be set up in the Sala delle Capriate in Palazzo della Ragione, in the heart of the Upper City, from 24 March to 4 June 2023. 
The 32+1 Compasso winners featured in the exhibition will be distributed along a freely-developed route inside and outside this large patio ‘domus’, with sides that alternately open and close to offer curious viewpoints and unprecedented perspectives of their various aspects: from the concept to the choice of production materials, from the design to the product, both ‘disassembled’ and in its final version. The exhibition, designed and curated by Davide Pagliarini, includes interactive routes to intrigue visitors and showcase each product. Among the projects on display we find the laleggera chair by Riccardo Blumer and the teak folding table by Alberto Meda for Alias, which were awarded the prestigious prize in 1998 and 2011 respectively. Laleggera chair, the highest expression of technology applied to design, is a stackable seat

that is the result of the combination of a solid traditional material, solid wood, and the more contemporary and lightweight expanded polyurethane with which the structure is filled. The external shell in glued wood veneers or multilaminate wood veneers is finished with a transparent varnish or lacquer in various colours. The chair can be interpreted as a reinterpretation of the modernist motto “fidelity to materials”. Without openly proclaiming the technique with which it is made or attempting to camouflage it, the Laleggera chair suggests comfort by combining the old and the new, without forcing the user to consciously experience it. The components, technical drawings and original sketches were exhibited alongside the finished product, bearing witness to the design process that led to the creation of an Italian design icon. 
Alberto Meda’s teak table is also part of the exhibition. A visual, functional and technological synthesis of the design culture that Alias and Alberto Meda fully share, teak is a versatile and transversal project, thanks to its careful reflection on forms, workmanship and materials. The strength and lightness of the materials used – teak and aluminium – have been exploited to build a table of classic dimensions, easily transportable and suitable for various uses. 
Folding the legs is simple and immediate: by turning a screw, the tie rod that holds the legs in place is unlocked and can slide in the rail fixed to the centre under the table top, until the legs flatten out. In this way, the teak table reveals its “double face”: the shape

of the legs, once folded, provides the back with a graphic value, which can only be appreciated when the table is not in use. 

“We are very proud to be part of the ‘Le fabbriche pensanti. Storie di Compassi d’Oro da Bergamo a Brescia’ exhibition and to be in the spotlight in our city, together with other outstanding companies in the area. Through this wonderful initiative the cities of Bergamo and Brescia have the opportunity to demonstrate the contribution that the Compasso d’Oro Award has made in identifying some of the most interesting projects and designers from the 1950s to today. Visitors to the exhibition are immediately struck by the quality of Italian design, the result of the collaboration of visionary entrepreneurs and ingenious designers. Alias has also contributed to this wonderful story with two extraordinary projects: laleggera by Riccardo Blumer and the teak table by Alberto Meda, two products that demonstrate that the project’s quality goes beyond its design and shape, involving materials, production technologies and technical solutions in a profound and complex way.” Alias

Ph. Luca Bosco