The experience of FIMA and the awards it has received are an opportunity to reflect on design awards in general, looking for the qualities that make a design particularly special.



IF Design Award, German Design Award, ADI Design Index, Design Plus, Good Design Award, and the recent Archiproducts Design Awards. These are just some of the latest awards received by Fima for the products it has presented. This represents an interesting series of milestones that, in the last 10 years, has distinguished the

company’s design experience, and an opportunity to reflect on the path taken so far, in search of common denominators that make design projects in general, and FIMA products in particular, deserving of awards in the eyes of the most prestigious and expert international juries.

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The judging criteria for a design award may vary according to the type of competition and the promoter country, but it is undeniable that aesthetics and innovation are common thread in all selections. 

However, over time, both national and international juries have had to deal with evolving design needs, adapting classic yardsticks to entirely new themes. Among these themes are sustainability, usability, and “design for all”, which, in some cases, have generated special mentions or categories parallel to the original historic prizes.  

Let’s take, for example, Green Good Design, which has arisen from the consolidated experience of the Good Design Awards of the Chicago Athenaeum.

The growing attention given to sustainability has lead experts to reward ever more products that stand out for their virtuous life cycles, reduced use and consumption of resources, and, in general, responsible approach to mitigating environmental impacts.   

This trend is particularly akin to FIMA’s green philosophy, and is perhaps one of the main reasons why almost all the latest projects brought to market have been met by prestigious recognition.


While not wishing to devise any kind of ranking, SO and SWITCH have undoubtedly been the collections that have most left a mark in the world of design for living.

With SO, Davide Vercelli has carefully researched the gestures linked to the use of taps and faucets, creating a system that allows you to choose the desired quantity and water temperature more easily and effectively. The 10 mm barrel naturally limits the flow rate, bringing significant water savings.

The usability, ergonomics and sustainability of the product have certainly impressed the experts, who have awarded SO the ISH DESIGN PLUS AWARDS, the GOOD DESIGN AWARD, in Japan, and the GERMAN DESIGN AWARD, in 2019. Not to mention the IF DESIGN AWARD, in 2020, as evidence of the success of the collection and its underlying ideas.

SWITCH, on the other hand, is a solution dedicated to wellness that deconstructs classical functionality, leaving extreme compositional freedom to the designer. The result is a sustainable, innovative and aesthetically appealing shower system that is the perfect expression of the philosophy uniting Fima Carlo Frattini and Davide Vercelli. It is, indeed, surely the identity of the designer and the brand that have contributed to the unanimous success of Switch, which has been included in the ADI INDEX selection for participation in the next COMPASSO D’ORO AWARDS, as well as being acknowledged in the international IF DESIGN AWARDS 2021 and ARCHIPRODUCTS DESIGN AWARDS.    


In light of these considerations and the recognition garnered, we will try to list here some guidelines for projects aspiring to be recognised by design awards.

Here are the must-haves according to FIMA:


A worthy product must have a profound reason for being designed. It must not invent needs where there are none, or be the umpteenth variant that makes other products obsolete.  

A sensible product must create innovation, and want to objectively improve a scenario. In particular, at Fima, we always place an emphasis on environmental impacts and sustainability, as in the latest SO e SWITCH products.


An award-winning product embodies an impetus towards the future. It can imagine a different way of carrying out daily actions, by re-evaluating a specific target use, developing a new production process, or so on. The vision should be broad and go beyond the dimension of the product itself. It is no coincidence that more and more prizes involve communication and distribution strategies and systems. Davide Vercelli himself received a mention at the last Compasso D’oro Awards for Mille Luci, an event that has become an aggregator of outstanding projects and synergies between companies, in which FIMA proudly takes part.


A worthy product must be recognizable, unique, memorable.

The jury must be able to read the designer’s distinctive traits and brand identity in the selected product. Precisely for this reason, we, at Fima, deeply share our corporate vision with those who design our products.


The company must accompany the product with a consistent narrative that amplifies its message.

It is necessary to use various tools and channels, exploiting the specific potential of images, words and scenarios that create a 360° view of the product and facilitate its communication.

We talked about this aspect extensively, in relation to the product FLO, in the article you can read here.


A deserving product must intrigue the user. It should make them want to understand how it works, find out how it is made, try it, touch it, experiment with it, and so on. It must be a product that brings you up close to it, thus immediately creating an empathic relationship with the user, or, in the case in question, with the jury.


A product must always be desirable, and, often, the most iconic and desirable products in the history of design have also been the protagonists of international award competitions. At a design level, creating desire means finding an affinity in the way of thinking and feeling between the designer and the end user, which is perfectly acknowledged in that product.  This is a subtle but fundamental bond to aspire to, which makes the charm of a project more immediate and perceptible to not only the end user, but also the eyes of award judges.


We address this question directly to Davide Vercelli, who has been the FIMA Art Director and designer of the most awarded and significant FIMA products since 2017.

“An award is the culmination of a successful design process. The tangible testimony that the thinking behind the product was perfectly understood by the public, and, in this case, by the jury. 

The creative act is beautiful and absolute in itself. It does not allow for deviations or afterthoughts that take you away from the very pursuit of a sense in your design process. Or the process of projecting yourself forward, as I always say [with the Italian meaning of the word for design, that is, “progettare”.

It is only when the urgency of the design has found voice and form in a concrete product can we measure ourselves against the outside world. Only then is it possible to evaluate whether to propose the tap or faucet not only to the market, but also to the judgement of the most prestigious juries.


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