Each year, THE DESIGN PRIZE statuette takes on a new shape, every subsequent version adding to a ongoing artistic embodiment of the city of Milan. For each iteration of the awards, we approach an artist, designer or architect to reinterpret a Milanese landmark into a limited edition statuette. Over the years, Milan will be immortalized as a collection of precious artworks that map out the vibrant history of a city that is always growing, never sitting still. In this way, THE DESIGN PRIZE in inextricably linked to the city of Milan.
For THE DESIGN PRIZE 2018, the golden Madonnina, symbolizing the pinnacle of excellence, has been designed and conceived by Antonio Aricò. He was born and raised in Calabria: an authentic, raw and colourful region in the south of Italy that is strongly influenced by the Mediterranean Sea. It is in the middle of this incredible natural setting that Antonio grew up surrounded by a creative, loving and passionate family.
After lengthy studies across different fields including Metal & Jewellery Design, Product Design and Traditional Furniture Design, and experience with various Design companies, Aricò opened his own studio in 2011. The following year he created his first collection: ‘Back Home’, in collaboration with his grandfather Nonno Saverio, a retired carpenter. This collection was shown during Milan Design Week 2012, and
presented a unique approach to furniture design which combined Artcraft with Industrial design, a concept that had not been widely explored at the time. Antonio’s predilection to Artcraft and limited editions saw collaborations with Italian artisans in the creation of unique everyday objects. Aricò’s interest in traditional techniques and local operating practices combined with an attention to detail and the qualities of the materials used are characteristic of his practice and have become his signature.
The spontaneity in his gesture and the simplicity in execution of his personal work quickly brought Aricò to meet a parallel world in commercial design. It is with this same creative process, determination and enthusiasm present in his personal collections that Antonio has approached projects made in collaboration with big Italians brands such as Barilla Group, Seletti, Alessi and Bialetti.
The stories that are ever present and central to Antonio’s work are often intertwined with the people he has encountered during his travels, workshops, conferences and exhibitions. Both artisans and clients alike feed his imagination and affect the design process and outcome in an intimate way.
His distinctive style, warm understanding and expertise make for singular collections that are full of character, regardless of whether they are limited edition or mass produced, presenting a very personal experience encapsulated in unique artefacts that invite the user into Aricò’s emotional world.