Although based in Italy, Design Group Italia (DGI) has nine nations represented on its staff of 30, making it one of the country’s most eclectic design firms and one of the largest as well.
Founded in 1968 by Marco Del Corno, today it is run by partners Edgardo Angelini, Ross De Salvo, and Sigurdur Thorsteinsson (who’s originally from Iceland).
As a premiere consumer products design group, DGI’s creative work is as varied as its people, ranging from an award-winning Post-It Note holder to a breakthrough toothbrush with a teeth-whitening feature, which sold more than 12 million pieces the first year on the market.
Many DGI designs have become classics such as “Tratto Pen” (Compasso d’oro), which was designed in 1975 and still sells in the millions, Chiesi “Jet,” an asthma device on the market since 1992, and the Lyra Stool which was designed for Magis in the early 1990s.
The Lyra Stool was one of the first pieces of furniture DGI ever did. “I think we managed to give it a very distinctive look, which still feels quite contemporary today,” observes Thorsteinsson.
The use of bent wood, which was very innovative at the time, drew on the pioneering work of Charles Eames. A slight curve at the back of the seat was particularly challenging to achieve, requiring many prototypes. It provides a unique aesthetic as well as a comfortable detail.
Experimentation is always part of the creative journey at DGI; a “food lab” on site helps with research for the work done in branding and packaging for Italy’s expansive and important food industry. The firm’s multi-cultural mix always brings a fresh perspective to the exploration that takes place there.
“We have a very casual, relaxed atmosphere here,” says Thorsteinsson noting that meetings sometimes occur in the firm’s lovely outside courtyard, “but we take our work very seriously.”
One of Thorsteinsson’s favorite design projects is one that began in 1997 in his native country and has continued pretty much ever since – the Blue Lagoon Spa. “We’re not just helping build the brand, we’re actually helping them build the company,” he says.
Other global clients include Unilever, Fila, Barilla, Jacuzzi, Pelikan, 3M, Kone and ABB.
Over the past 40 years, DGI has created a body of research and design tools, including publications such as Trend Analysis, Style Direction, Interface Design, Product Graphics, CMF Design, and Engineering Design.
Design Group Italia