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Talking About 2019. At the roots of Luxury: when numbers become experience

The stage of the Rimadesio Theater is confirmed, for the third consecutive year, as the official frame of the series of Talking About events. The theme is that of luxury and what this represents in economic and consumption terms, from a historical, aesthetic and philosophical point of view.

Guests and protagonists of the evening, Marco Turinetto, lecturer and university researcher, and Stefano Zecchi, philosopher and writer. To accompany them, in a detailed excursus on the theme of the evening, Nicoletta Polla-Mattiot, director of “How to spend it” and “IL” of the publishing group “Il Sole 24 Ore”.

Numbers and percentages don’t explain reality, they draw it. They are the reference picture and there isn’t a good story with a frame to start from. A few strokes are enough to trace the numerical perimeter of luxury – our playing field. In 2018, high-quality consumers were 425 millions worlwide and they spent around € 920 billions. 4 percent of the total, the so-called consumers’ élite, takes 30 percent of the total expense. The data comes from True Luxury Global Consumer Insight realised by Boston Consulting Group and Altagamma.

But what is Luxury? A commodities category or a mood? A unique object, precious for the idea that conceives and designs it, the materials that give it shape, the necessary time to realise it? Are there otherwise intangible privileges, whose possession is only tranche de vie, not things but emotions, not spaces but time?

Strange as it may seem, numbers trace the path to explore on the ground of the impalpable and the immeasurable. If you look at the lines of the economic calculation, the experiential luxury is worth almost 600 billion against the 330 of personal luxury and the first one grows more than the second. Both the keys of philosophy and those of marketing are thus needed to enter this world that is as concrete and varied as it is indefinable. Hence the two-part dialogue with Stefano Zecchi, professor of aesthetics and Marco Turinetto, professor of strategy and brand development. For one of them luxury is beauty, ability to look and recognize the differences, culture, authentic value animated by imagination and creativity, aesthetic education.

For the other one luxury is innovation, identity, experience, movement, service, discretionary good, necessity. As always in the exchange of ideas, roles can also exchange and thus quantitative and qualitative weave together: the philosopher can observe that luxuriously beautiful things are expensive, underlining that their value never coincides with the money necessary to buy them. The architect, a brand expert, can put emphasis on duration because what counts is not only how much you invest but for how long. The perfect synthesis lies in time, a transverse keyword, for the chisel and the attention to details, the productive and creative mastery, as for the cultivation of a taste not subjectively anchored to the like/dislike, but directed by the desire for infinity and by the dream ability.


Nicoletta Polla-Mattiot

Nicoletta Polla Mattiot
Editorial director of the Italian edition of How to Spend it, the magazine born in partnership with the Financial Times, the new segment of the Sole24Ore – which also includes IL and 24Ore- dedicated to luxury and lifestyle. Lecturer in Interior Design and Design Management of the Business School of Gruppo24Ore.

Marco Turinetto
Is a lecturer and researcher at the Politecnico di Milano with a chair in Strategies and Brand development and visiting professor at Tongij University in Shanghai, where he organizes workshops on Italian Style. At the Politecnico di Milano he is as well director of the highly specialized Licensing for Luxury Goods course, highly licensing training pole, unique in its kind. He is professor of the Luxury Master of the Sole24Ore Business School. He conceives and coordinates EXTRA (Value as Attitude), research center, where new marketing-design strategies, with the aim at enhancing, positioning and repositioning brands in the top of the range, are studied and developed. He is director of the international master “Brand & Product Management” at MFI, inter-university consortium founded by Università Bocconi, Università Cattolica,
Politecnico di Milano. He is the author of numerous publications including the volumes: Dizionario del design (1993); Automobile. Glossario dello stile (2001); Moda e Design: nuove trasversalità progettuali (2002); Lusso Necessario. Trasformare prodotti e servizi in alto di gamma (2008); Nuove Tradizioni: metodologia, stile, coerenza (2008); From Italy: l’unicità del saper pensare e fare italiano, (2012).

Stefano Zecchi
Writer, professor of Aesthetics at the University of Milan. He has remitted many important positions, including: President of the degree course in Philosophyof the University of Milan, director of the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, President of the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera always in Milan, member of the board of Irer (Institute for scientific and cultural planning of the Lombardy Region), representative of Ministry of Education at UNESCO for the protection of intangible assets, municipal councilor in Venice and councilor for culture in Milan, MAXXI board member (Museum of the art of the XXI century), board member of the La Verdi Foundation of Milan, board member of the Parenti theater in Milan. Among his many publications, we recall: Sillabario del nuovo millennio (1993), Il brutto e il bello (1995), L’artista armato (1998), Capire l’arte (1999), L’uomo è ciò che guarda. Televisione e popolo (2005), Le promesse della bellezza (2006); Lusso (2015).

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