Design Ecosystem in Rome

{ 🇮🇹 } – Rome: Something New is Brewing (… And It’s Not Just Coffee)

Rome’s Trastevere neighbourhood. Photo by T. Q..

While Italy’s capital, Rome, may not be generally regarded as the country’s design capital – a title claimed (rightfully) by Milan – there is still a lot to be discovered in this magical, ancient city. Renown for its architecture, flair and food, in this article we’ll put all of that aside to talk about Roman design and everything connected to it.

Rome: Ancient History, New Ideas?

Everybody knows Rome and what this city is all about. Once the main center of power of the Roman Empire, the city is nowadays the biggest city in Italy, as well as its capital. Even though it is the country’s capital, the Eternal City – as Rome is colloquially known – isn’t his most established design centre. Milan has long been the go-to city in the country for design, fashion and finance. What Rome couldn’t offer in those fields it made up in art, culture and food.

But something is cooking and Rome’s design is having a bit of a resurgence. And, in some way, the kind of ideas and suggestions coming out of here can rival Milan’s more established and industry-oriented ones.

Rome’s State of Design

Everybody knows Rome. It is one of the cradles of Western civilisation, and is still a very relevant and influential city these days. Nowadays, Rome widely is celebrated for its ancient past – visible all throughout the city – as well as for its arts, food and charming atmosphere. But what about its design?

After years of being overshadowed, design in Rome is currently experiencing a new spring, with new ideas, designers, studios and initiatives popping up. For now, Italy’s capital doesn’t yet challenge Milan’s leading position in the wider Italian design scene, but the seeds for something bigger in the future are definitely there.

Trattoria, a typical eating establishment. Photo by Marco Calignano.

Despite the fact that Italy’s picture-perfect capital hasn’t really been a destination for design lovers or professionals, it houses the National Institute for Graphic Design (Italian: Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica), housed in the 18th century Palazzo Poli. Funnily enough, Palazzo Poli is right behind the Trevi Fountain, one of the most-visited attractions in the whole city.

Design Education in Italy’s Capital

Those wanting to pursue an education in design will have more than just a few choices in the Eternal City. Let’s start by looking at the public institutions offering design programmes: first there’s the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma – one of the oldest fine arts academies in Italy – where one can study design, editorial and fashion. Then there’s the ISIA – the Higher Institute for Artistic Industries (Italian: Istituto Superiore per le Industrie Artistiche), one of the most established and prestigious institutions for higher education in design. A comparable quality of teaching is provided by private institutions such as IED – European Design Institute (Italian: Istituto Europeo di Design) as well as the recently opened Rome branch of the NABA – New Academy of Fine Arts (Italian: Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti), which up until 2019 was present only in Milan.

Where to Work From?

In the capital city of a country known for its cafés and laid-backness, surely you won’t be but spoiled for choice when it comes to finding establishments to work from. Regardless of your preferences, Rome will be able to fulfill your remote work needs.

Of course, at the time in which this article is going online, Italy is still under varying levels of lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, so in most cases that means that the options for working remotely are either drastically limited or just unavailable (in areas where the incidence of the virus is higher).

Therefore, co-working spaces might be the better choice for the time being, as those places were only relatively affected by the government restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Some of the co-working spaces in the Italian capital worth looking into are Impact Hub, Co.Ro. and Office 21. Hopefully, life will get back to at least some form of normality in the near future so that’ll be possible to enjoy the Eternal City in its fullness!

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Gianmarco Caprio / Content & Community Manager @ Phase

Content creator, editor and community manager at Phase.