by Anna Foschi Ciampolini
Italy is on stage in Vancouver during the first week of October. The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada-West (ICCC) is organizing a series of events called “Italian Design Days @IDS” during the Interior Design Show Vancouver 2020, the most important event of its kind in the city, showcasing local and international forward-thinking designers. The events featuring the excellence of Italian design include Open Houses held at prominent showrooms, online webinars, and an opportunity to meet the Alumni of Domus Academy Milano, a post-graduate and fashion design school, hosted by Cappelleria Bertacchi located in trendy Gastown. Istituto Marangoni Milano and NABA-Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti are other significant Italian presences this year. ICCCW works in collaboration with the Consulate General of Italy in Vancouver and the Italian Trade Commission in Toronto with the common goal of promoting made in Italy design brands.
In the past few years, Vancouver’s international reputation as a thriving centre for fashion, design, and architecture has been growing steadily. Leading Italian companies participate regularly in promotional events, and stores featuring high-end Italian products are sprouting in trendy neighborhoods. However, in 1992, when the Italian Trade Commission closed its office serving the three Provinces of Western Canada, the future for Italian imports did not look so bright. The newly founded Italian Chamber of Commerce-West picked up the torch, offering marketing and business services, promotion, and information on investment opportunities to entrepreneurs, importers, and other marketing professionals from Italy and Canada, as well as offering Italian language classes and collaborating to cultural projects. ICCC organizes events, seminars, round tables. ICCC is formally recognized by the Italian Government and is part of a network of over 150 offices in Italy and 80 foreign Italian Chambers of Commerce throughout the world. The Italian Design Map (www.italiandesignmap.com) is one of the latest and powerful online tools launched by the organization. As stated in the ICCC website, the map:
“features Italian and Canadian businesses and promote the beauty and excellence of Made in Italy design, outside of Italy. The platform provides visibility both to Canadian showrooms and design professionals, and to Italian brands that are not represented in Canada yet, and are looking for representation. All businesses are easily searchable by name, category, or location, and can be directly contacted through the form on the website.”
The ICCC current Executive Director, Ilaria Baldan, is a young woman who has worked her way to the top thanks to her ability as an organizer and her keen understanding of the importance of traditional and new communication media. Born in Mira, near Venice, Baldan came to Canada in 2015. She holds degrees in Conservazione dei Beni Culturali, History of Modern Art (The Venetian Renaissance) from Ca’ Foscari University, and a master’s degree in economics and Tourism Management. She says: “I came to Canada to explore new avenues for my life and my career, and I found what I was hoping for and more. I am proud of the extended network that at ICCC we were able to create between professionals and entrepreneurs in Italy and Canada, and I am also proud of working with a fabulous team of dedicated individuals.” Indeed, ICCC has become a dynamic and relevant presence in Vancouver’s business and artistic scene.