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MDO Montecarlo Prize 2019: Industrial Design fostered innovation and sustainability on the Red Carpet

Many efforts with regard to environment and sustainable development are involving various levels of the Monegasque society and key professional sectors like mobility, waste, energy supply and buildings. The Sovereign Prince and the Princely Government are strongly committed to make the Principality the first carbon neutral country by 2050. Architecture is playing a pivotal role in re-planning the urban fabric but also industrial design is a pillar in this eco-evolution. The MDO Montecarlo Prize 2019 awarding ceremony, under the high patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, was held at the Yacht Club de Monaco on the 23rd January 2020, being a meaningful step forward.

MDO Montecarlo Prize 2019
Selected candidates and distinguished guests attending the ‘MDO Montecarlo Prize 2019’ (Yacht Club de Monaco, 23rd January 2020).© Edward J. Wright

This international acknowledgment, at its first edition, in fact, brought out the most innovative and environmentally-friendly designed technology by the industrial sector as a result of a long-time tradition. That is the mission conceived by SAM MDO, editor of l’ARCA International magazine, focused on the interrelation among architecture, design and visual communication. The contest could benefit from the partnership with the Italian Association for Industrial Design (ADI), the International Federation of Interior architects/designers (IFI), ‘Dedalo Minosse’ International Prize and the French Institute of design.

MDO Montecarlo Prize 2019
Edouard Rizkallah being awarded by Dante O’Benini, eminent architect, the ‘integration between art and design’ special prize to ‘Steel Color’ (Yacht Club de Monaco, 23rd January 2020).© Edward J. Wright

A group of fifty-two nominee companies from twelve different countries, including Monaco, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and United States, have been selected to the competition after a two-day proceeding. On the 29th and 30th November 2019, fourteen dossiers have been chosen to best represent the world of industrial design, after careful examination by the technical jury made of distinguished architects and design experts. But the most relevant step was still missing: a special recognition by the Scientific Committee.

Thus, on Thursday the 23rd, all candidates gathered to undertake a solemn prize-giving at Monaco Yacht Club meeting hall. Among special guests, Guillaume Demulier, chairman of the executive board at ‘Roche Bobois’, Angelo Cortesi, on behalf of ADI and founder of ‘Cortesi Design’, Anne-Marie Sargueil, president of the ‘Institut Français du Design’, Sebastiano Raneri, on behalf of IFI and Patrice Pastor, president of J.B. Pastor et Fils.

MDO Montecarlo Prize 2019
Edoardo Tabacchi being awarded by Patrice Pastor the the ‘environment and energy’ special award to Mini Super Yacht MY 25m Eco Tender Hybride (Yacht Club de Monaco, 23rd January 2020).© Edward J. Wright

Alberto Lualdi, president of the homonymous Italian industrial design company, was awarded the first prize in the 1st category assigned to a producer presenting an outcome by a designer from the same country. The award-winning Koan sliding door system was well appreciated, being a balanced combination of tempered glass, aluminium and wood by KOKAI STUDIOS. Stefano de Vivo, chief commercial officer at Ferretti Group, and Marc Mills, famous Irish designer, reached the podium in the 2nd category focused on a product conceived by an international designer and presented by a producer of a different nationality.

MDO Montecarlo Prize 2019
Stefano de Vivo and Marc Mills being awarded by Guillame Demulier the 2nd category best prize to ‘Tango WallyCento 30M’ (Yacht Club de Monaco, 23rd January 2020).© Edward J. Wright

The sailing yacht Tango WallyCento 30M by Mills DesignPininfarina et Konstantin Grcic attracted the attention for its high-tech elegance. SFL, leading concept innovation company, imposed itself in the 3rd category ‘under-40’ for Automatik, pioneering socket solutions by the French designer Olivier Gomot.  

‘Ever Life Design’ was awarded the ‘Sustainability’ special prize for its corporate approach while ‘Bette’ was given the prize for ‘Using Innovative Technologies and Materials’ in the range of stylish bathroom steel and glazed titanium devices by ‘Tesseraux and Partner’. The ‘Integration between Art and Design’ special trophy went to ‘Steel Color’ for its fashionable use of stainless steel. Smart Shelter by the Brazilian designer Augusto Indio da Costa, presented by MetalCo, achieved the ‘Urban Design’ prize. Last but not least, ‘«Mini Super Yacht » MY 25m Eco Tender Hybride’, by Perini Navi won the ‘Environment and Energy’ special award for its fancy eco-design and low emission power.

MDO Montecarlo Prize 2019
Cesare Maria Casati, president of the ‘MDO Montecarlo Prize 2019’ Jury, being interviewed by HelloMonaco (Yacht Club de Monaco, 23rd January 2020).© Edward J. Wright

But what about the background of this prestigious event? HelloMonaco asked Cesare Maria Casati (C-M.C.), president of the Jury and editor in chief of l’Arca International.

HelloMonaco: Mr. Casati, what inspired you to conceive this prize-giving contest?

C-M.C.: As a result of my multi-year experience in direct contact with the business world, I have noticed how important is the industrial sector in boosting technological and innovative development as part of architecture and design. Industries, in fact, continue to invest in research seeking for new materials and systems. Thus, they place on the market items capable of generating new products. So far, however, no one thought to entirely dedicate a prize. My idea was then to award the best international industrial realities among our followers.

HelloMonaco: What caught your attention most within this edition?

C-M.C.: High-quality of submitted projects and industrial heritage particularly impressed me. Some companies attending the event are remarkably experienced, counting on three-generation know-how. First of all, ‘Riva 1920’ (2nd place in the first category), flagship in the design world, that is celebrating its centennial.

MDO Montecarlo Prize 2019
Cesare Maria Casati, president of the ‘MDO Montecarlo Prize 2019’ Jury (Yacht Club de Monaco, 23rd January 2020).© Maurizio Abbati

HelloMonaco: What do you consider the key point of this Prize?

C-M.C.: Its location makes this award ceremony really special. The Principality of Monaco, actually, is one of the few places free from industrial plants. This event is definitely prone to convey a pure neutral and cultural message. Something that Monaco feels the need. I do believe that culture is a fundamental starting point since it is able to establish social custom. We need to keep liveable human environment more than starting a revolution against climate change. Planet Earth is able to save herself notwithstanding the presence of humankind. Humans, on the contrary, are making every effort to destroy the ecosystem where they live, out of all logic.

HelloMonaco international magazine attending the ‘MDO Montecarlo Prize 2019’ award ceremony (Yacht Club de Monaco, 23rd January 2020). © Maurizio Abbati

HelloMonaco: What are you expecting for the next MDO Montecarlo Prize?

C-M.C.: I do hope that the future edition would increase the number of participants up to thirty different countries, gaining more and more prestige.

MDO Montecarlo Prize 2019 was then an unprecedented occasion to value any product design for their aesthetic, ergonomic and functional capacity. We are looking forward to the next edition in two years’ time.

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