ADI Design Museum - Compasso d'Oro: a venue for anyone with a passion for design and for curious visitors of all ages
People interested in design trends will certainly be familiar with the Compasso d'Oro, the most authoritative world-level design award, which was established in 1954 and originated from an idea proposed by Gio Ponti.
To draw attention to the award itself and, more generally, to all aspects of this sector, a museum preserving a rich archive of products and projects was established in May 2021.
Situated in the heart of the Paolo Sarpi district - also known as “Milan’s Chinatown” - in a restored historic building dating back to the 1930s, ADI Design Museum is a novel cultural centre and a hub where the Italian design system is valorised and presented to the general public.
As you enter the museum and walk through the glass-structured gallery, now creating a link between via Ceresio and via Bramante, you will encounter a vast symbolic representation of the world of design. Visitors will soon realise they have entered an authentic pole of attraction dedicated to the achievements of leading designers.
Plan your visit at the ADI Design Museum
In addition to temporary exhibitions that have been organised and are periodically replaced the museum contains a permanent collection certainly worth visiting more than once.
The Spoon and the City collection is installed along the outer walls of the museum. Observing the images, magazines and a series of particular objects, visitors will acquire knowledge of the exceptional work that has been lauded by the Compasso d'Oro award since 1954.
The Career Manifesto exhibition - A tribute on the part of Italian graphic designers to the masterful recipients of the Compasso d'Oro. This exhibition, celebrating the companies, inventors and institutions that have received this prize, allows us to recognise the exceptional contributions of those designers who created the array of objects presented and offers an opportunity to highlight ingenious elements of Italian design.
Two video projects focus on some very interesting dynamics. The first work is the Bìos - Sistema Design Italia installation, created in collaboration with the POLI.Design consortium company founded by the Polytechnic University of Milan. This state-of-the-art overview provides an effective explanation of relationships existing between elements of design and people in general. The second video, currently on display in the foyer of the museum, is entitled Design enters History. This short film, developed by the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) and presented by OffiCine (IED/ANTEO), focuses on an identifiable relationship existing between creativity and history.
If you feel like taking a break and having a coffee after your visit to the permanent collection and before you peruse the current temporary exhibition, you won’t be disappointed at the internal coffee shop. The Officina Design Cafè also offers a positive food experience, placing emphasis on simple Italian specialities and promoting sustainable agricultural methods and production systems.
Members of the younger generations are welcome!
If you are accompanied by children or teenagers you should consider visiting the Junior Design Lab, which organises activities for young people. Their trip to the museum will be transformed into an unforgettable educational experience.
An interactive tour with a secret message
Outside the museum, in front of the entrance, you will find the Compasso d'Oro - Measuring the World installation. Curated and designed by Studio Origoni Steiner, this exhibition, now a part of the permanent collection, presents a series of images clearly visible across four metal walls forming a square-based exhibition space. Among the various exhibits, which include an eye, the Colosseum, a tadpole, a Stradivarius violin, a cabbage, an oak barrel and an amphora - to mention but a few - there is in fact a common element. To discover what this may be, you will have to explore the museum. A particular clue may help you... Look for the geometric design on the back of the photographic images.
Before you leave don't forget to spend a few minutes at the bookshop, where you will find a variety of published materials dedicated to the world of design. The souvenir you have chosen will stimulate memories of the day you spent at the museum.