In regards to Italian design, I feel that a lot of it is very ‘fused’ with the overall picture of product landscapes, i.e the car, the house, the TV, the furniture, they all seem to have a flowing visual language which fuses them into a quintessential italian life. As for specifying ‘that’ visual language, I think that is pretty difficult.
Have a look at Brionvega, consumer electronics from 70s (?!) by Sapper and Zanuso. Also, look at a design Studio called V12 who recently did an updated version of the classic brionvega stuff, it’s quite interesting. In a way it’s only the technology that’s changed.
I’m interested to hear other thoughts, I think you’ve bought up an interesting topic.
Style: Urban Italians are obviously fashion conscious. Men step it up a notch wearing everyday blazers and bold-colored slacks. Women wear dresses or tight designer jeans. Lot’s of layering. Both will carry fashionable bags. Insight: make the handheld fit their fashion, and don’t sacrifice style to protect it. I would never expect to see Italians walking around with bluetooth headsets sticking out of their ears, or with devices clipped to their belts! Too conspicuous and tacky!
Brands: Local brands like Gucci are popular, and logos are prominant on purses, scarves and oversized sunglasses. I got the impression that the Italians are less prone to fads and more repectful of tradition. Insight: Don’t force a new brand, leverage trusted brands. Expect them to pay more for conspicuous fashion regardless of their ability to afford it–they’ll make sacrifices elsewhere.
Colors & Materials: Lots of leather and silk. Silvered leather is popular now, and darker leathers prevail. I saw a lot of patterns (Missoni) and bold color pairings (men wearing orange slacks.) On game day everyone supports the local team wearing silk scarves. In Florence, the local team is “the Purples.” There’s lot’s of bold, flat primary colors in graphic design everywhere with frequent pairings of blue and orange or green. And let’s not forget Ferrari and Ducati red! Insight: Go for bold colors and explore high-touch materials. Avoid plastic in favor of glass and metal. Go for sleek, classic, minimal–think of the device as an extension of their wardrobe.
This is a very true observation, and one that eludes a lot of people. Being stylish often has nothing to do with being trendy, and urbanite Italians understand that I think.
I was in Milan visiting family awhile back. The woman that used to babysit me as a kid had moved back and I stopped in to visit. She lives in a stone house that her family has owned for over 5 generations right outside Milan. It was filled with hyper modern furniture, a stark contrast to all of the ornate stonework… I think Italian style is often about strong contrasts and counterpoints unified by a high level attention to craft and detail (not necessarily quality, or function…)
B & B Italia