Vietnam has consistently shown a strong commitment to sustainable development, targeting net-zero emissions by 2050. The country, considered to be among the leaders in renewable energy shift in Asia, vowed during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November 2021, to continue pushing toward a more sustainable future.
But the path towards the accomplishment of this goal does not solely rely on the emergence of windmills or solar farms. Vietnam also needs a generation of designers and experts who not only excel in design and creativity but also master the technique and technology to create architectural innovations that are centered on sustainability.
The Italian Design Day, launched in 2017 by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, is held in more than 100 cities around the world. Its main purpose is to promote the history and modernity of Italian design, share experiences and ideas with partners worldwide and encourage the exchange of innovative practices and international cooperation.
The 6th edition of 2022 is held with the theme “Re-Generation. Design and New Technologies for a Sustainable Future”. Design can help reinvent the habitat and mobility of our cities by combining innovation and culture, technology, and sustainability.
In Vietnam, The Embassy of Italy in Hanoi, the Consulate General of Italy in Ho Chi Minh City, and the Italian Trade Agency Office in Ho Chi Minh City are glad to present the 6th edition of the Italian Design Day in both Hanoi and Hochiminh city.
On this occasion, Architect Marco Lambri – Design Director of Piaggio and Ambassador of Italian Design Day in Vietnam in 2022 – explains the philosophies pursued by many Italian architects and designers through the most vivid and familiar example: Vespa scooters.
All designs are interactive and interconnected
According to Marco Lambri, whether it’s urban, architecture, housing, or vehicle design, every aspect of a certain design in life interacts and is intimately linked with each other to achieve the most important goal: bring people a better life.
For example, to be able to design a scooter with great mobility, you must examine thoroughly the characteristics of the city, the conditions of roads, and the regional weather. You must study the height of the chassis, fenders, wheel size, and saddle to ensure your vehicle can move safely in the rain and keep the rider from getting wet easily.
“My specialty is designing vehicles, not architecture or housing. However, it’s still very essential to understand the product’s context of use. When designing a product, you must consider its functionality and usability in life and how it interacts with or affects its surroundings, because no entity exists independently.
All Italian designers must be well-informed about architecture and culture, and the correlation between different categories of design in life, to form a complete, reasonable, and cohesive whole,” Lambri said.
The future of design is centered on sustainability
The concept of sustainability in design is not something new to people, designers or not. The world has gone through massive social and environmental challenges over the decades due to climate change, energy crises, and war. This is the very reason events like the Italian Design Day are marked regularly, to further push industry players.
First launched in 2017, Italian Design Day is of meaningful activity, showing the efforts of Italian architects and designers towards improving the quality of life, protecting the planet through eco-conscious design, and spreading that spirit to many countries around the world.
Lambri believes that the future of vehicles is electric motors. “We have already produced electric Vespa scooters. Vespas now have access to new technology, electric batteries, and investment with more adaptive technology.”
Research into new raw material sources, as well as renewable and sustainable technologies, are integral parts of creating future designs that meet human needs, yet still coexist in harmony with nature. This spirit has always been emphasized by Italian design ambassadors during the annual event, most recently by Marco Casamonti in 2020 and Massimo Roj in 2021.
The DNA of the design should be protected
In 2008, Tesla released its first fully-electric car. Vietnam's Vinfast also quickly join the race for electric vehicle market share with its electric scooters launched in 2018 and electric cars in 2021.
One of the hotly discussed questions during the event was: What is special about Vespa in particular, and other Italian products in general, to compete in this market?
“Like all products made by Italians, we always appreciate aesthetics. The sophistication and elegance in Vespa design also distinguish us from our competitors. You can find numerous products with the same function from many brands, but when it comes to aesthetic design, Italian products are definitely a symbol. That is our DNA,” Architect Lambri said.
“Not only in car design, but in any other field, you need to find and protect your DNA. That's what makes you different and unique."
Design is part of national identity
According to the annual report of Brand Finance, a British brand valuation firm, Italy is always in the top 10 countries with the highest brand value (approximately 2 trillion USD) based on the criteria of recognition, culture, government, people, exports, tourism, investment, and immigration.
Culture and art are the assets that Italians are most proud of, something they have painstakingly and enthusiastically brought to the world for hundreds of years. These are especially visible in the country’s architectural and design masterpieces.
According to Antonio Alessandro, Ambassador of Italy in Vietnam, it requires many factors and human efforts of that country to build its soft power through national branding. “History is the first factor. Italian history plays a huge role in world history. There are also many creations, ideas, philosophies, and individuals who helped promote the Italian spirit around the world,” said Alessandro.
This spirit continues to spread through cultural promotion campaigns. Along with “Italian Design Day,” the communication campaign “beIT – Italy is simply extraordinary” has also been launched in 26 countries.
“beIT” introduces to the international public the values and heritage that are unique to Italy – creativity, passion, heritage, style, innovation, and diversity – through vibrant activities centered on food, fashion, design, cinema, and culture.
Translated by Bich Tram