The compasso d’Oro (golden compasses) is the first design price which was awarded in Europe.
The compasso d’Oro ADI award, set-up in 1954 by Gio Ponti, has become in time the most important award in this field in Europe thanks also to the support of the department stores La Rinascente. Awards are granted by qualified international juries to design projects ranging form the interiors of cars, tools, machines, sports items, electric appliance down to editorial graphic and Web design.
During each edition of the award, which reached its 19th edition, the latest edition, over 1,800 prizes are awarded. Over 350 of these prizes are property of ADI (Associazione per il Disegno Industriale) and part of the most complete collection of Italian design of the world: the permanent exhibition held in the Galleria del Design e dell’Arredamento (Gallery of Design and Interior Décor) of Cantu, which manages and organizes reviews and theme exhibitions both in Italy and aboard.
The structure of the award was completely reviewed on the occasion of the 19th edition in order to account for new project scenarios. ADI has in fact set-up a Permanent Design Observatory, formed by critics, researchers , designers and specialized journalists, to identify the products that are most qualified to be published in the ADI Design Index. Every three years, it offers an international jury the possibility of judging an extensive array of Italian products selected with competence, authority, and impartiality in line with the complexity and dimensions of Italian contemporary design.
The price is strongly focussed on Italian products: the items have to be produced by Italian Companies if the designer is foreign; or the designer has to be Italian if the producing company is not an Italian one.
People who won this prestigious design award are famous architects and designer like Franco Albini, Gae Aulenti, Mario Bellini. Andrea Branzi, Achille Castiglioni, Antonio Citterio, Joe Colombo, Alberto Meda, Alessandro Mendini, Gio Ponti, Alberto Rosselli, Richard Sapper, Ettore Sottsass jr. or Gino Valle.