Italian Design: La Mappa

By Virginia Gardiner / Published by Dwell
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You know where your Parmesan cheese comes from: Parma. But which region offers the best chairs? We've mapped it out for you.

Steel and aluminum lead the region’s strong metal industry.


Comprising the ankle of Italy’s boot, this region is fittingly known for its leatherworking.


In addition to being the site of the big Cersaie tile show put on by the
Confindustria Ceramica in Bologna, Emilia-Romagna is renowned for its "Tile Valley" in and around Sassuolo. Ceramic houses include Lea, Mutina, and Refin.

Graphic Design
Bologna is a hub of graphic design with firms like Moltefacce and Studio NO.


Udine hosts the International Chair Exhibition, and its environs are known as Italy’s chairmaking capital, particularly the "Chair Triangle" towns of Corno di Rosazzo, Manzano, and San Giovanni al Natisone. Furniture makers in the area include include Domitalia, Magis, Mattiazzi, Moroso, and Snaidero.


Kitchens, Bathrooms, and Household Goods
From whole systems to tabletop items, Le Marche is home to firms like Berloni, Ersnestomeda, Guzzini, Indesit, Scavolini, and Teuco.


Furniture and Housewares
The design-studio hub of Italy, Lombardy is home to loads of manufacturers, such as Artemide, B&B Italia, Boffi, Flexform, Kartell, Living Divani, Luceplan, Poliform, Porro, and Rimadesio.

In addition to a world-famous fashion week, Milan hosts the ne plus ultra
furniture fair, il Salone Internazionale del Mobile. 


Turin is to Italy what Detroit is to the United States. Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, aka FIAT, makes Fiat and Lancia models.

Metalwork is a Piedmont specialty; tabletop goods from Alessi and Bialetti
are made here.

Slow Food
Now an international movement, a university, and an important political influence, Slow Food started in the Langhe district.


Used as a building material since ancient times, some of Italy’s finest marble comes from quarries in and around Carrara.

Fine printed textiles hail from Tuscany. Fashion houses abound in the
region; Florence is home to Roberto Cavalli, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, andEmilio Pucci.

The Pontadera-based Piaggio Group makes­—among other motorcycles­—a pair of zippy Italian icons: Vespa and Moto Guzzi.


Murano, outside Venice, is the great bastion of Italian glass production. Manufacturers who rely on Veneto glass include Bisazza, Flos, Fontana Arte, and Venini.


Virginia Gardiner


Our "Process" queen Virginia Gardiner currently lives in London, where she is finishing up a master's degree in industrial design engineering. "It has been fun but also tiring," she reports. "I spend a lot of time in the workshop with glue and other stuff on my hands and have recently been casting lots of shapes in horse poo from the horses that trot around Buckingham Palace. But we have to make stuff with a market, so I'm working on a new waterless toilet.

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