Fondazione Symbola, Deloitte Private and Poli.design, with the support of Adi, Cuid, Comieco, Logotel, AlmaLaurea and the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, presented the results of the report “Design Economy 2022“, with the aim of increasing awareness of the value of design for the competitiveness of the national production system.
THE DESIGN ECONOMY: A SNAPSHOT IN ITALY AND EUROPE
The sector has 30 thousand companies that generated in 2020 an added value of 2.5 billion euros with 61 thousand employees. The companies are distributed throughout the country, with a particular concentration in the areas of specialization of “Made in Italy” and in the regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto, where 60 percent of the companies are located. Among the provinces, Milan (15 percent of companies and 18 percent of national added value), Rome (6.7 percent and 5.3 percent) and Turin (5 percent and 7.8 percent) stand out. Forty-four percent of companies operate abroad (8.9 percent outside the EU), 45 percent on a national scale and 10.8 percent on a local scale.
MILAN CAPITAL OF DESIGN
The main capital of Italian design is Milan: the Lombard capital is capable of concentrating 18 percent of the sector’s added value on the national territory. Milan is also home to the Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone, one of the largest events in the world dedicated to design, which this year celebrates its 60th edition. This trend is in line with the general trend, given that design companies and professionals carry out their activities mainly in metropolitan centers, where they can enjoy greater national and international visibility. In fact, four out of ten design companies operate abroad (44 percent, 8.9 percent outside the EU), while the remainder operate mainly nationally (45 percent) or, to a lesser extent, only locally (10.8 percent).
DESIGN AND ECOLOGY
As stated by Logotel, tackling sustainability today requires a cultural approach that helps the Italian entrepreneurial fabric to come into contact with a new generation of problems and needs. Being truly sustainable will increasingly imply moving away from a dimension focused only on the design and optimization of products (or parts of them). It is a change in which design can play a crucial role. If the majority of designers and design companies feel prepared overall on the subject, declaring high (33.9 percent) and medium level skills (55.1 percent), the offer for sustainability currently focuses on durability (57.6 percent) and secondarily on the reduction of the use of raw materials and energy (43.4 percent), as evidenced by the results of the survey conducted for the 2022 edition of the report.
The meeting point between demand and supply of design services is already materializing in the design with more sustainable raw materials and the optimization of the use of resources, identified as the main priorities to which design is called to respond in the field of sustainability by the companies and designers interviewed in the study who work in these areas. Among the sectors that drive the demand for sustainable design services are, above all, the “made in Italy” sectors. The leading sector is furniture (70 percent), followed by automotive (56 percent), real estate – ceramics, flooring, up to structural elements – (38 percent), clothing (30 percent) and food (13.3 percent).
The growing environmental awareness and the consequent importance that the market – especially the future one – attaches to environmental aspects is stimulating the commitment to a sustainable future in the Italian entrepreneurial ecosystem. This is demonstrated by a number of concrete examples put forward both by associations, such as Federlegnoarredo (with “Decalogo” which maps the demand for eco-design services) or Comieco (with the survey on the characteristics of the packs used by restaurants); and by companies, such as Italdesign (with the “Pop. Up Next“, in the field of sustainable mobility) or Dyloan (with D-refashion lab, to give a second life to unsold clothing); and by designers such as Mario Cucinella (in the field of optimization of building performance, as for the headquarters of Iperceramica).