Design Diplomacy: Italy – Design Canberra Festival

Embassy of Italy. Photo: Anthony Basheer
Embassy of Italy. Photo: Anthony Basheer
Past event

Design Diplomacy: Italy

Design Diplomacy is a series of public conversations in an ambassador or high commissioner residence or chancery.

A design professional from the hosting embassy’s country meets a Canberra designer in a new card game in which playful and intelligent questions challenge both the speakers and the audience to reflect upon design as a part of intercultural exchange. The concept boldly combines prestigious diplomatic settings and architecture with informal discussions. Importantly, it builds vital international links for the embassies, speakers and audiences. Design Diplomacy was launched in 2016 as part of the Helsinki Design Week program and in 2018 will be a signature DESIGN Canberra event. It is always extremely well received by designers, embassies and audiences.

DESIGN Canberra is delighted to announce that participating embassies in 2018 are those of Italy and New Zealand.

The Italian Ambassador, Stefano Gatti, will host a conversation between architect Enrico Taglietti and sculptor Silvia Tuccimei.

Enrico Taglietti

Enrico Taglietti is recognised as an important architect and a leading practitioner of the late twentieth century organic style of architecture. His unique sculptural style draws upon Italian free form construction and post-war Japanese architecture. He has designed many houses, schools, churches and commercial buildings in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne and his projects have won numerous RAIA awards. In March 2007 Enrico was awarded Australia’s most prestigious architecture prize—the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) Gold Medal for Architecture.

Silvia Tuccimei

Silvia Tuccimei is an internationally renowned sculptor and painter. Born in Rome in 1960, Silvia moved to Paris in 1981 to pursue her obsession with the human form and geometric shapes. In Paris, her new environment caused Silvia to re-define her use of line, form and colour in a way that peels away the layers of the “seen world” in order to expose the under-lying fragility of life. For over 25 years Silvia has explored this theme through painting and sculpture and established an international reputation that has her work in constant demand.

About the Embassy of Italy Ambassador’s Residence

On a September afternoon in 1955, with “the wattle and prunus in bloom, (and) the mountains sprinkled with snow”, Italian-born and trained architect Enrico Taglietti and his new wife Francesca arrived in Canberra in a Fiat 500.

Taglietti, a recent graduate of architecture from the Milan Polytechnic, was selected by Sir Charles Lloyd Jones to curate an exhibition of art, design and fashion entitled “ Italy at David Jones” in Sydney.( including examples of his own work). Originally intending to stay only 6 weeks, the exhibition was hugely successful and the Tagliettis extended their stay by several months. They accepted an invitation from the Italian Ambassador to visit Canberra to look for a suitable location for the new Italian Embassy.

Taglietti returned to Canberra in 1956 and set about building his practice. This included preparing the working drawings for the Ambassador’s residence, which was designed by the Ministry of Public Works in Rome, and supervising its construction in time for a visit by the President of Italy in 1967. The Ambassador’s residence is designed in the Late Twentieth-Century Stripped Classical style. With the formal spaces arranged around a central courtyard that has its origins in the Roman “city house”, this space contains sculpture, fruits trees and a place to sit in the sun in winter. Taglietti went on to design the embassy’s Chancellery (located next door to the residence), a more dramatic design of cubic-form reinforced concrete, stoutly protruding spandrels, piers on battered bases, horizontal lines and splayed profiles. It was completed in 1974.

Expressions of interest for this event have now closed.

This event is presented in association with The Embassy of Italy’s Settimana Vivere all’Italiana, ‘the week of the Italian way of life’.




DESIGN Canberra acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as the traditional custodians of the ACT and surrounding areas. We honour and respect their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to this country and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. We aim to respect cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Indigenous people.