The Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Pretoria celebrated the 2023 edition of the Italian Design Day in South Africa with the conference “The quality that illuminates. The energy of design for people and the environment” at the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture of the University of Johannesburg, with the participation of a panel of qualified speakers and a large audience made up of entrepreneurs, academics and students.
The event was inaugurated by Ambassador Paolo Cuculi, who recalled that Italy is the European country that can boast the largest number of companies active in the design sector – over 30,000 – with a wealth of knowledge, creativity and innovation of absolute excellence, recognized worldwide. “The design and the solutions identified for lighting public places and private residences are not factors of pure decorum,” the Ambassador underlined, “but they also play an essential role in making life more harmonious and inclusive in our urban settlements, in the constant search for a sustainable balance with the environment in which they are immersed”. An approach reflected in the candidacy of the City of Rome to host the 2030 Universal Exposition, promoted on the occasion together with other leading events for international design scheduled in Italy in the coming weeks, including the Milan Furniture Fair (Salone del Mobile) and Euroluce.
The Italian architect Matteo Vercelloni, Professor at the Politecnico di Milano, led the public on a journey centered on the circular economy in contemporary design, showing numerous examples of extraordinary objects (including lighting fixtures) created by Italian artists and craftsmen with materials and waste objects, while the Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Johannesburg Leon Krige illustrated research and projects concerning innovative housing solutions in urban settlements, which can also be made with recycled materials, intended for the most vulnerable categories of the population.
The use of light as a means of creating elegance and functionality in public areas, work environments and private spaces, capable of highlighting architectural and natural elements and at the same time limiting the “light pollution” that afflicts the cities of the 21st century, formed the central theme of the presentation by South African lighting designer Paul Pamboukian. Focusing on the importance of guaranteeing extensive and reliable access to electricity for South African businesses and households, Sentle Nell – Head of Sustainability at Enel Green Power, one of the main private players in the renewable energy sector in the country – highlighted the commitment of the Italian company aimed at supplying electricity and water resources in a sustainable way also to local communities and rural areas distant from the main cities. The event was organized in cooperation with the specialized magazine “Designing Ways”, which in its next issue will dedicate a special to the Italian Design Day in South Africa.