Unlike what is commonly believed the Tuscan Region has had a fundamental role in the history of the Italian design.
From the experiences of Giò Ponti, art director of Richard Ginori in the 30s, that represent an interesting mediation between innovation and tradition and also the climax of the twentieth century style, to Michelucci and Spadolini's theoretical and professional craft furniture experiences; from the birth of the Piaggio scooter to Sottsass' avant-garde research in collaboration with Ceramiche Bitossi and Flavia; from the strongly characterized design promoted by Poltronova, Italian radical design and pop-culture cradle, to Breda's design experiences; from the successful electronics production by Ariete to the blooming contemporary furniture by Segis, Dema, Edra and Ceccotti.
It was from these issues that sprung up the idea to create an itinerant exposition able to reaffirm the importance of the Tuscan enterprises contribution in the international affirmation of the Italian design.
This subject matter is dealt with a historical outline, from the beginning of the century to these days, and at the same time, it strongly focused on contemporary projects. In fact the exhibition presents successful enterprises associated according to the district they belong to. From the production of terracotta (earthenware products) in Impruneta to that of travertine in Rapolano; from furniture manufacture in Poggibonsi, Quarrata and Pisano, to the ceramics of Sesto and Montelupo; from the marble extraction and working processes in Carrara to the crystal production in Colle Val d'Elsa and the working out of stone in Fiorenzuola; up until such manufacturing fields as mechanics, mechanical engineering, electronics and shipbuilding.
The exhibition "The Beautiful Factory / O Design Toscana" was organized by Regione Toscana, Toscana Promozione and CSM-Centro Sperimentale del Mobile e dell'Arredamento. It was presented in Rio de Janeiro at the Centro Cultural Justiça Federal for the first time and it was largely praised both by the public and the specialized press (there was a large coverage of the event on national newspapers and on TV: articles appeared both on O globe, main national TV channel, and on O globo, second national newspapers.)
The exposition took place at CCJF on an exhibition space of about 400 sqm from 13th May to 3rd June 2003. It was displayed in 6 rooms according to a thematic and historical layout.
Some of Italian designers included were Giò Ponti, Pierluigi Spadolini, Ettore Sottsass, Archizoom, Superstudio, Jasper Morrison, Massimo Josa Ghini and Stefano Giovannoni . Some of the Brazilian designers were Oscan Niemeyer, Flàvia Alves de Souza and the two brothers Humberto and Fernando Campana.
The exposition specially aimed at displaying a large outline of the Tuscan design evolution through the products of about 25 enterprises from the 40s to these days. Some of the companies exhibiting their products were Piaggio, Poltronova, Edra, Dema, Richard Ginori, Egizia, BRF, Segis, Fasem, Casprini, Bitossi, Calp, Giovannetti, Colle Cristalleria, Cooperativa Artieri Alabastro, Parentesi Quadra, Arnolfo di Cambio, Vilca, Sarri, Heron Parigi, Pampaloni Argentieri, Mirabili, Marioni and Formitalia.
The same exhibition opened successfully in New York and in Perth. It took place in New York at the Altman Building, Chelsea, from 10th to 18th October 2003 and in Perth, at the Perth Royal Show, from 2nd to 9th October 2004.
Unlike during the first two events, during this last show in Perth, there were also products belonging to other manufacturing fields, such as shipbuilding (represented by Vismara Design and Polo Nautico, Viareggio), glass crafting (Ivy Cive) and stone production (Consorzio del Travertino, Rapolano.)