Marco del Corno founded Design Group Italia in 1968 as branding, packaging, and product design studio. Originally, the studio was part of an international group with Design Group Belgium and Design Group England. Cross-border collaboration looked very different from today in that pre-Internet and fax era, yet our ethos was international from the get-go.
In 1976, FILA asked us to design a new pen. Our design has a round shape with just a small indented ring at the base of the cap to prevent unwanted rolling. This design made it easier to produce the pen in an automatic assembly line—and made it distinguishable and highly recognizable. In 1979, the Tratto pen was awarded the Compasso d’Oro prize. It’s still in production, and can be found in virtually every Italian home.
To this day, creating solutions that are both technically and visually innovative is what drives our business.
In the 1980s, product design became increasingly important for Design Group Italia. Advancing the sports equipment industry, we developed completely new products for cycling, including the first modern helmet (the Corsa Vetta helmet, 1984), made with polycarbonate and polystyrene foam. Our helmets would come to entirely replace the heavy leather cycling helmets at use at the time.
In the ‘80s and ‘90s, the image of Italian design in the mass media was associated with household furnishings. Instead of interior decorations, we focused on highly functional, technical everyday objects such as dispensers, scissors, pens, telephones, helmets, and switches. We also started to expand from industrial design, product design and branding, taking on projects in the fields of spaces, CMF, food and more. This new direction for the studio pushed the boundaries of the traditional concept of design.
As digital has increasingly taken over our everyday lives both at work and in private, our work, too, has extended to cover the interactions, experiences, and interfaces of the digital realm. Be it physical products connected to digital apps, or destination experiences with digital touchpoints, our multidisciplinary team creates integrated solutions that continue to place the human in the center of our work.
With branches of the studio now in New York and Reykjavik, in the 21th century we’ve grown ever more international, working more and more with clients all over the world — yet we remain firmly rooted in Italy, with our headquarters in Chinatown, Milan.
As of July 2019, Alkemy, a leading company in the innovation of the business model of large and medium-sized companies, entered the capital of Design Group Italia with a minority stake. Together with Alkemy, we can build new, essential bridges between AI, Big Data, product and space design, and design ethics, to continue to take on the future with our customers.