Designed by the world-famous architect Roberto Palomba of Palomba-Serafini, the installation was housed in the heart of Detroit in a building owned by Bedrock. The space created by the architect Palomba, through arches, lights, and corridors, aimed to reproduce that of an Italian square. Inside, thanks to the participation of 60 Italian brands, were inserted over 100 objects that demonstrated the beauty and creativity of Made in Italy. Entering and walking in the space LoveITDetroit, at 1001 Woodward, visitors were able to admire, for example, a racing car from Dallara, a motorcycle from Ducati, Brembo brakes, armchairs and sofas from Cassina and Poltrona Frau, Flos, and Foscarini furnishing accessories, clothes by Giorgio Armani, shoes by Fratelli Rossetti, a table set and decorated by Giorgia Fantin Borghi with Richard Ginori plates and Sambonet cutlery, Smeg refrigerators, one designed in collaboration with Dolce & Gabbana. The physical space remained accessible for the entire month of September and was visited by about 2000 people.
During September, the physical space of LoveITDetroit took place with 8 evening events in attendance and exclusive visits for VIP groups, the media, and local professionals (12 in total). Just to mention the most relevant speakers in the month we hosted: Cav. Simonetta di Pippo (former UN Director of the Office for Outer Space Affairs); Gen. Roberto Vettori (Astronaut); Architect Carlo Ratti (Director of MIT Sensible Lab and designer of the pavilions EXPO Italy); Prof. Ruben Abbattista (co-founder, and VP of the Circle-of Design of Turin and former head of Communication of the City of Turin); Dott. Silvio Angori (CEO Pininfarina); Architect Luisa Bocchietto (former President of ADI and the World Design Organization). Many of the speakers also have strong links with the city of Turin.
This choice was strongly desired to consolidate even more the ties between the cities of Turin and Detroit in the name of the design by virtue of the nomination by UNESCO as a City of Design common to both cities. The events and presentations were attended by a total of almost 1000 people who followed with enthusiasm and strongly appreciated the opportunity to know closely what contemporary Made in Italy represents. As part of the events, visitors had access to information on important topics and topics not always associated with Italy, especially for an audience in Michigan.
Thanks to one of our events, visitors could listen to General Vittori describing the collaboration of an Italian company (Skypersonic) with NASA to simulate, on Etna, the exploration of Mars with drones. A few days later, they learned about architect Ratti’s futuristic project for sustainable energy production for the city of Helsinki. And again, they deepened their knowledge of the Pininfarina design studio; they lived the experience of Turin as the first Design Capital of the WDO (World Design Organization). They learned of MUNER, the network of universities in Emilia Romagna dedicated to automotive engineering at the highest levels, and much more.
LoveITDetroit’s physical space has been virtually recreated in the metaverse thanks to the Italian company Wedoo (part of the Almaviva group) with the support of Amazon Web Services. They created the first institutional and promotional space of a public body in the metaverse. The interiors and the exhibition have been reconstructed and integrated into the ether with all the elements and opportunities of the digital world. Digital allows visitors to live a personal experience exploring the exhibition with their own avatar, customized by users at the beginning of the virtual experience. In the metaverse, visitors can interact with brands, thus discovering in a deeper way the aspects of Italian excellence. LoveITDetroit Metaspace is a digital twin project of the architect Palomba in physical space, with immersive and interactive experiences developed on the platform Unreal Engine, the same as famous video games. They recreate environments and animated objects in real time, offering an immersive experience.
The importance of the initiative was recognized by the City Administration of Detroit, which during one of the events, wanted to present to Consul Allegra Baistrocchi the highest honor of the city, namely the “Spirit of Detroit” for the results, leadership, and dedication shown towards Detroit.