Compasso d’Oro – The Oldest And Most Influential Design Award

Compasso d’Oro – The Oldest And Most Influential Design Award Image

Recognition for one’s services is one of the most important part of being a designer, and the Compasso d’Oro – also known as the Golden Compass – is a prestigious award that has honored designers for their innovative work and advents in the field of industrial design for over quarter of a century now. Established in Italy, in the year 1954, it is the single most recognized international award in the field of design. The Compasso d’Oro strives to motivate designers to come up with the best quality and original ideas in their fields. The influence of this award is widespread and its repute has now made it all winners a contender for the national heritage.


The Compasso d’Oro award is was the brainchild of Gio Ponti and Alberto Roselli. It was their original idea that inspired the company La Rinascente to start presenting it in the year 1954. The award was originated to showcase the value and authenticity of the Italian design products – which were in their infancy during that era. However, since the year 1958, this award has been hosted exclusively by the ADI (Associazione per il Disegno Industriale). The organization makes sure that the award is given based on impartial and fair judgment on the behalf of the jury panel.

Bruno Munari | A Bridge Between Art and Life Image
Zizi By Bruno Munari Designed For Pigomma – Compasso d’Oro 1954

Importance Of Compasso d’Oro

During the course of its life, from origin till now, the Compasso d’Oro has been awarded to almost three hundred projects. It has also given a nod to two thousand other projects that have been selected for honorable mentions. All of these have been preserved in the Premio Compasso d’Oro Historical Collection of the ADI. The management of this part of the organization has been handed over to the ADI Foundation, which had been founded in 2001.

The Compasso d’Oro was the first award of its kind in all of Europe, giving it an influential hype and exclusivity that made it one of the most prestigious awards in the entire world. Each of the winning entries from the past fifty years have now been declared a national heritage. These include designs such as the racing bike, portable sewing machine, desk lamps and more.

Criteria For Selection

As with all awards, the Compasso d’Oro is given on the basis of a pre-selection made by professionals at the ADI Permanent Observatory of Design. This committee consists of recognized professionals, experts in the field of design, critics, historians and even journalists. It is based on the expert judgment of these individuals that the final contender for the award is decided upon.

Bruno Munari | A Bridge Between Art and Life image
Bruno Munari | A Bridge Between Art and Life

International Recognition

The contemporary headquarters for the Compasso d’Oro is based in Italy, in the management department of the Italy Industrial Design Association. However, it is an active member of the International Industrial Designing Committee and the European Design Bureau. According to a current agreement with Henfeng Creative Square, the management will also set up the first headquarters in China, soon.


The Compasso d’Oro is an internationally recognized award that has set amazing precedents for designers all over the world. Its heritage and international influence makes it one of the most prestigious awards of design.


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