Italy Vs Germany

Out of Italy and Germany, who is the best at design and why?

Italian Design with German engineering.

Nuff said.

If there is still such a thing in existence, I think that they are both too self-centered, inbred and ego-driven, sort of like French food. But I think that cyberdemon’s stereotyping still holds true.

cmon guys, is this a anti European site or what? the question is simple, you Americans cant allow yourselfs to be envious over the vast and impressive culture of European design, i mean you have the ability but lack the essential style that most countries do in order to keep up with Italian and German design dominance.

Hulkster, I do not understand your latest comment.

Was your actual question who is better out Italy, Germany and America? Either way it seems like kind of an outdated question. BMW vs. Lamborghini for example, don’t both of those companies have Germans and Italians and Americans, Koreans, Japanese, and many others working for them? In fact, I think that Stephan Winkelmann (CEO of Lamborghini) is German. Also, regardless of nationality, every product designer I know is aware of the greatness of European Design.


Italian design is on it’s way out. Read something from the last five-ten years on the subject. They stylize things to much, make boutique product that regularly lacks a connection to users. It is not super easy to make a beautiful form, but making seven of them and charging $12,000 each is not making you part of a culture either.

German design is typically, German, it looses a human warmth. There are many fine, well thought out things from German design, both timeless and beautiful. Most people in France, UK, N.American, are going to mainly relate German design to BMW, Porsche, Mersadise-benz. Not Frog, TEAMS, and if people (common people) even can tell you that the Bauhaus school is from Germany they are doing good.

Americans are jaded, people think that this is the greatest nation in the world. That the US is a leader in technology and education. I think the US is a leader in being oblivious to its own social issues, turning a blind eye to our fellow Americans in need, and being ignorant. People are worried that some people might get basic human rights, wale others die and go hungry in an ever growing tide of poverty. The 'American Dream" is to be greedy and get yours before the next guy, American design is influenced by this. We are to compete and win the immediate goal of the customers dollar. It is time (and thus $$$) wasted to worry about aiding the customer in achieving a high standard of living by ending some soft of suffering they are living with. The suffering could be anything, wiping their ass and the worry of safe guarding money to not getting bacterial infections from their catheter.

I agree that many Americans are jaded.
But the statistics do not support the claim of lacking charity. While it is true that the US government and US based companies are pretty lame in their giving, the average US citizen personally gives almost twice as large a percentage of their income as any other citizen of any other country. Last year the amount given to charity by individuals (not foundations, corps or NGOs) was $220 billion USD.

I am not sure how this addresses the Hulksters question though…

Can you judge design by nation anymore?

I don’t think so for the following reasons:

The renaissance of German Automotive Design was lead by 3 Americans and a Dutch guy (Mays, Thomas, Bangle, van Hooydonck). The latest lambos were designed by a German, one of the heads of Bertone is American (he came from Pininfarina before that). Karim Rashid is Canadian, but originally Persian maybe? Mini is owned by BMW, but the design is credited to an American. Newson is Aussie, but working form Paris or London? Philips has an office in every other town, Continuum has one in Milan, IDEO is all over the place…

It’s too mixed up to judge it by non existent cultural boundaries and tidy stereotypes.

American’s are jaded? Have you met an Italian or any French? Please.

Keep it global. Bad design is the enemy, not you colleague across some border.

Jesus fkg Mary … French, Italian, German, English, American, Flemish, Japanese, Finnish, Norwegian, … who gives a rat’s ass!

This whole thread is nothing but mental masturbation.


I assume that the original poster is Italian for no real reason at all. But when the flow goes Karim Rashid, for Kartel, made in China, that’s not Italian design.

With so much cross cultural blurring now “countries” seem to becoming no more that regional “brands”: “Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations; only 49 are countries” (link)

Turning this into a US vs Euro thing: Having worked on both continents for many years, the US seems to be burdened by some hang-over puritan ethic; “if it’s s3xy it must be wrong…” US design practice is far more process driven, and far less comfortable with the abstract than Euro counterparts. Perhaps this explains why so many US design companies and corporations go out of their way to hire HIB designers from outside the US to give their design a more global reach.

If the US auto industry has any chance at all, it’s going to have to get onto its immigration lawyers fast.

This is a US based site? Why is the word “s-e-x-y” banned? Puritan legacy indeed…

the whole core77 forum is mental masturbation. Both forms of masturbation mental and physical are good for you. Relax and enjoy it.

Well, several responses tend to make a point : there is no longer such thing as country defined design. That seems obvious in this days of globalisation where everything (iPods…) is made in China.
But the iPod is a fine example : to avoid the downgrading effect of made in China they found a workaround and wrote “Designed in California, Made in China”.
And most product are actually designed in the US or Europe or Japan and built in China. [Except cars for the moment because of their size which sums up as too expensive transport. You can transport so many iPods in one container and so few cars]. This is a point worth remembering.

There is an interesting detail : “California”. Is California an independant country from the US ? No. So the label should be “Designed in USA, etc”.
But this choice reflects that California is different from, say, the East coast. I’m not american but can we argue that there is no difference between the North-East states and Florida and Texas, or California ? I think there is a difference. You can feel it when you talk to people from North, East, West or South of the USA.
And why do car manufacturers who are historically located in the North East have all or almost a design center in California ? Would they put the effort and inconvenience of splitting their operations in two remotes parts if they weren’t convinced there is something worth doing it ? Like the creative spirit of California, the Bay area, the Silicon valley, etc…
So if inside a country there are different… qualities in design, can we then argue that there is no such thing as differences across countries ?

I for my part think that a product is defined by several influences. The period of time it’s been created. The company who is designing it or asked for a design. The person who designs it. And the country whose culture surrounds the whole project.
So : This is so 80’s. This is so Hermès. This is so Karim Rashid. And this is so italian. To me they all sum up to create the cultural, technical and economical background that infuses the product.
Product are not just influenced by one of those factors. The weight of each factor varies according to the strenght of each variable. A strong and talented designer leaves a visible signature on every creation. A strong brand tries also to do so. And so on. Do you really imagine that countries cultures have no influence ? Then you are saying that there could have been an Alessi company (doing the same products) US born. That the Hummer could have been a Daihatsu product. That a Chanel n°5 bottle is sooo irish.

Country influence in design does exist but it’s part of a mix of influence that ultimately ends up “giving birth” to unique products. And what you call mental masturbation I translate it to a single word : thinking.

whole core77 forum is mental masturbation.

… . … well there ya go!

That and China makes crap steel. I know there are only two ways to make steel, but it is a craft in some ways.

Great post sleek.

On the California thing: “California is responsible for 13 percent of the United States gross domestic product (GDP). As of 2006, California’s GDP is larger than all but eight countries in the world” (link)

I think there’s another influence you might add to the list- The physical environment and cultural environment. Most of California (like Italy) is blessed with a Mediterranean climate- lots of light, color, great food and spectacular landscape, and add to that it has attracted the best and brightest of thinkers and creators. As a non US person too, coming from one of the more gloomy corners of Old Europe, California is almost intoxicating. I’m convinced that our environment influences the way we create and think about stuff. Live in the northern latitudes where the days are short and damp, where the land is flat, the food is consistently stodgy, and gloomy people around you have faces like boiled cabbage, you’re going to create in a different way and you’re going to ‘read’ design in a different light.

I’m convinced that our environment influences the way we create and think about stuff. Live in the northern latitudes where the days are short and damp, where the land is flat, the food is consistently stodgy, and gloomy people around you have faces like boiled cabbage, you’re going to create in a different way

you’re going to ‘read’ design in a different light.

Like Finland for example?

Tapio Wirkkala
Ultima Thule glassware by Iittala

Ilmari Tapiovaara
Domus Chair

Marimekko? Now there’s boiled cabbage.

About the lasts bobcat and lmo posts :
As I already tried to point out Design is certainly not country-defined only.

But lmo, with your own exemple, not trying to pick another one, the Ultima Thule glassware from Iittala finland by Tapio Wirkalla.
You really don’t think this glassware is inspired by ice ? And that ice is definitely a finish “defining element” ?
So it’s just a coincidence ? Tapio Wirkalla picked up a random element as inspiration, something he hardly knows ?

Well, then we “see design differently” you and I !

To be perfectly honest I don’t find Marimekko textiles gloomy at all.

But I will let the specialists talk : here is a quote of Kirsti Paakanen, former company owner and president :“I believe that it’s Marimekko’s duty to keep Finnish design strong and take it to the world. Finland’s excellence must be seen in design. Nowhere else in the world are there natural surroundings like those in Finland and nowhere else can, for examples, such printed patterns be created than here in Finland.”

Blame her, I’m just quoting ! After all what does she know about Marimekko. Except the fact that she is widely seen as the woman who saved this company and led it to success from 1991 to 2007.

I didn’t mean to implicate Scandinavia as “gloomy” (although Ibsen is no barrel of laughs…)

My point was to support sleek in his assertion that national identity is a lesser influence on design and cultural perceptions. I probably over-embellished my argument.