Past capital: Torino

Torino was the World Design Capital 2008. Find out more about this vibrant cosmopolitan city.

Torino may have in the past felt overshadowed by the larger, more well known Italian cities that dominated among Europe’s traditional design centres. The city was until very recently, defined predominantly by its local automotive industry, synonymous with its most famed resident, Fiat. However, in recent years Torino has experienced a remarkable metamorphosis into a vibrant cosmopolitan city, the result of an aggressive transformation strategy aimed at renovating the city. With world-class architecture, a buoyant economy, and the trademark Italian dolce vita, Torino today embodies the true character of a World Design Capital.

Torino’s candidature was a significant testament to the city’s projects, research and experimentation. Design has always been a cornerstone of Italian industry and Torino is a shining example of what can be achieved when harnessing the full power of design.

WDC Torino 2008 – a pilot project
In May 2003, the City of Torino participated in a global competition organised by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) and the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda) to select a suitable city in which to establish a joint secretariat.

As the competition unfolded, a unique opportunity was presented to Torino – to participate as the pilot city for a new initiative that would build on the success and interest received from the joint secretariat project. On 30 September 2005, Icsid officially named the City of Torino as the first city to hold the World Design Capital title and was appointed as the pilot city for the project, which subsequently, contributed to the Icsid’s development of the WDC designation criteria, as it is currently implemented.

Today, Torino and the Piemonte region are characterised by numerous excellences in the field of design. Torino’s renewed image from an industrial city to a European city is based in large part on a combination of innovation and creativity, starting with a solid tradition of entrepreneurship and planning. Dynamic, self-assured, always on the move, Torino is a city that is full of life and is poised toward an international dimension, thanks to its vivid cultural panorama, its combination of innovation and research and its high quality of life.

The 2006 Winter Olympics helped contribute to the development of the newer parts of the city, balancing contemporary architecture against the charm of the historical downtown area, that is once again in splendid form thanks to recent and widespread restoration projects.

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