World Design Capital


Evaluating the results

From a global perspective, the WDC Torino 2008 designation attracted interest from numerous parts of the world as Torino solidified its position as a noteworthy centre for design burgeoning with design schools, promotional organisations, innovative and diversified creative industries, as well as the support of its local and regional municipal networks. A lively city of interest to visitors and investors, Torino as the WDC 2008 benefited from an increased awareness and appreciation for its accomplishments in design, which has helped the region, as well as the country. The WDC designation helped to develop closer synergies with regional neighbours, as well as with other cities that want to collaborate, learn from best practise or who may also want to become future WDC designated cities.

The city aimed to put Torino and the Piemonte region on the international map of design cities. The WDC Project helped spread the culture of planning throughout the country: with the people, in businesses, in education, in institutions. The legacy left a permanent mark on the city that can renew the effects of WDC over time.

The year of design has helped Torino to create and enhance a system of relationships with national and international design institutions, from the Center de Disseny of Barcelona to the Design Council of London, from the Design Center of Singapore to the Norwegian Design Council. Today, these players perceive Torino as a credible partner and WDC Torino 2008 as a successful programme.

In 2008, 80 great designers came to the city, most of them for the first time: from Jasper Morrison to the Campana brothers, from James Irvine to Martí Guixé, from Ross Lovegrove to Patricia Urquiola, from Giulio Iacchetti to Matali Crasset. All of them had the opportunity to discover and contribute to the city, working with local companies, meeting professionals and taking part in workshops with students. As an example, more than 1,000 people crowded the public lectures held by Ross Lovegrove and Stefan Sagmeister. Remarkable also was the coverage by the media with 3,250 WDC-related articles in the national and international press for the period between 2007 and 2008.

More than 20 competitions and numerous workshops involving companies and designers have significantly contributed to increasing local competencies and above all to show how companies, institutions and designers could effectively work together in the field of design services.

The project Torino Geodesign was the symbol of the process in which companies and designers were asked to design solutions to real problems commissioned by 43 city communities. For instance, the workshop ‘Le vie del design’, which in the town of Rivoli brought together institutions, designers and companies; ‘D_Art Lab’, the workshop organised by the Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, which involved 11 designers and 12 international companies based in the Piemonte region to design new sustainable products; the project ‘Canavese Connexion’ which put together designers, companies and even students to design new products, through a process of innovation built ad hoc from the existing production systems.

130,000 people visited the exhibitions organised directly by the Committee (L’oro del Design Italiano, Olivetti. A fine company/A better society, Torino Geodesign, Flexibility. Design in a fast-changing society, International Design Casa, Dream. The car of the future since 1950), testifying how design, seemingly perceived as a niche subject, could generate interest not only among professionals.

Exhibitions organised by third parties, such as the private collection of Alexander Von Vegesack in the Pinacoteca Agnelli, the “Sambonet” exhibition in Palazzo Madama or Enzo Mari in the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, also attracted great interest.

Further research on WDC Torino 2008
The Organising Committee of WDC Torino 2008 commissioned Astra Research – an institute specialised in social research and marketing – with research aimed at detecting the perception of the WDC Torino 2008 activity. Between 5 -12 December, 1596 people were called upon to complete an extensive online questionnaire.

Knowledge of Torino World Design Capital
73% of respondents to the research study knew of WDC Torino 2008. Of the 27% that had never heard about the organisation, in four out of five cases the respondent had participated in one or more events organised by itself. Thirteen events organised in Torino in 2008 have been analysed in terms of knowledge. Half of these were known by at least three out of four, in descending order: ‘Dream, the car of the future since 1950′ (85%), ‘Olivetti, a fine company/a better society’ (85%), ‘L’oro del design italiano’(83%),’ Torino Geodesign ‘(81%), ‘Roberto Sambonet’ (78%), ‘Enzo Mari’ (76%) and ‘Flexibility ‘(75%). All events, except  Lovegrove and Sagmeister (52%) lecturers, were known to a clear majority, between 71% and 59%, ‘International Design Casa’ (71%), ‘Piemonte Torino Design’ (65%), ‘Designing connected places’ (62%), ‘The Von Vegesack collection’ (59%), ‘D for design’ (59%).

WDC Torino 2008 can be rated as a great success: it promoted an unusual large number of initiatives, activities and events. Despite the limited resources devoted to communication, it got to involve a large part of the population and almost all the ‘experts’, obtaining an excellent reputation on the major initiatives and a significant participation in many of them. WDC Torino 2008 saw the creation of a fortnight of top events, almost all supported by a strong and widespread consensus. In the researchers view, WDC Torino 2008 was another important step of the more-than-ten-year process that, in full cooperation between public and private, has led to an exceptional enhancement of Torino’s image and its citizens.