Matching Machine Innovation with Italian Design

Technology, logic, innovation generated by the need to solve a necessity and the pursuit of beauty: design is all of the above. It is the study of an aesthetic perfection that is achieved through the full functionality of an object, whatever its use. It is a modus operandi that can be applied to any field, although, in this precise era, industry is perhaps the field that could benefit the most from it. By looking at production through the lens of design, it is possible to improve the efficiency of a product and of its entire production process, with machinery that is both beautiful and functional, without sacrificing aesthetics – as is almost always the case with machines.
This leonardesque interpretation of design as a promoter of innovation in a continuous quest for intelligent interaction is the very vision that inspires the activities of ICONA Design Group, an Italian company historically specialized in the automotive field and now engaged in a path of diversification that includes product and industrial design.
“Today industry is at a historical turning point,” explains Teresio Gigi Gaudio, co-founder and president of ICONA Design Group. “Machine tools in factories around the world must integrate and incorporate new technologies, otherwise they become obsolete.

Manufacturers have the opportunity, in rethinking the concept of their machines, to obtain greater functionality while achieving a more aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly result, creating the winning combination: technology + Italian style.” ICONA Design Group designed two machines for IMS TECHNOLOGIES, a global leader in Converting and Packaging and Automotive.
The first is Rotomac Icebreaker 165 SG, a rewinder that produces rolls of aluminum, plastic and baking paper for domestic use starting from large industrial reels. The second is Riboslit by LAEM IMS, a machine for flexible packaging. Both machines – which had already sparked great interest at the specialized “K” fair in Dusseldorf – were presented by ICONA Design Group at the Milan Design Week 2021, attracting the attention of both the Italian and international audience of one of the most important events in the world of design.

The audience appreciated the transformation of these machines, usually characterized by alienating colors like gray or green, and rigid, angular shapes. Instead, ICONA’s design was able to incorporate harmonious, softer shapes, different shades of color, and features to facilitate human-machine interaction, such as the projection of the machine’s brand name on the ground with LED responsive material, able to change color based on the machine’s state of operation.
“We have been working in this direction for a few years now” ICONA headquarters declare. “The McKinsey Design Index (MDI), which evaluates companies based on their commitment to design by measuring how much it impacts financial performance, showed that companies that excel in design increase revenues and profits by almost twice as much as the industry average.

We believe in design as an aggregator of different skills around the same product. Industrial machinery represents excellence for Italy, and we believe that the alliance with design can multiply the international opportunities and competitiveness of the sector. This is why we are increasingly interested in collaborating with companies that believe in these principles and have the courage to experiment with design integration right from the initial phases of machine or product design.”

Economic benefits aside, a user-friendly industrial environment also satisfies the current major trends of the working world. In addition to this, factories – which are traditionally conceived as closed environments – are beginning to open up to the outside world through communication and cultural projects. Hence, why not make them more and more pleasant?

Box 1 – ICONA Design Group, from automotive to product and industrial design ICONA is an Italian excellence with headquarters in Turin. Founded by three partners highly specialized in the automotive sector, the company operates worldwide: already present in Shanghai and Los Angeles for many years, it has recently opened offices both in Japan and New Zealand. ICONA is profoundly Italian and international at the same time, and this characteristic has decreed its success.
Thanks to a young and multicultural staff, with 130 designers with an average age of 30 from more than 20 different nationalities, it is able to provide a unique and global approach to each project. In its first 10 years of existence, the business focused strongly on the automotive world. Multi-awarded for futuristic concepts in the automotive sector, ICONA has been engaged in a process of diversification towards product and industrial design for several years, and is already actively involved in major smart city and smart mobility projects with leading international industries and government agencies.

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