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Turin is preparing to become the “Capital of Design” this fall

by Augusto Grandi

Recognized by UNESCO as a “Creative City for Design,” Turin is preparing for this fall’s big event by relying on the ideas of 350 young people, almost all of whom are students at IAAD (the Institute of Applied Arts and Design, located at the foot of the Alps). In fact, these young people themselves (in collaboration with the Turin city government and the Piedmont regional government) will select the most suitable methods to transform the city and make sure it’s prepared—not just to host architects, creative types, and designers from around the world—but also for further transformations in the years to come.

For this reason, Turin’s Promotional Assessor, Alberto Sacco, will welcome around thirty students to his office: this will allow them to grasp the difficulties in transforming ideas into projects, and then into tangible creations.

Perhaps the best reference model for this fall’s event is last year’s Salone del Gusto, which involved the entire city. It went beyond the idea of an exposition/fair, encompassing and captivating the city itself with demonstrations, celebrations, meetings, and conferences.

Thus, they are now searching for the most fitting places to host certain events at the show, looking at both buildings and town squares, and evaluating them for the efficiency of their services.

And then they will have to go even further, imagining how Turin will look in the future due to the momentous changes that are already underway. Sacco views the projects created by these young people (38 of whom come from foreign universities, like France's Ecole de Condé and Japan’s Tokyo Metropolitan University) as the basis for a strategic project for Turin.

IAAD’s director, Laura Milani, goes even further, explaining that the initiative is attempting to imagine a city that tackles the big problems with modernity, and whose consequences aren’t limited to a local level. By doing so, they can offer the results of their students’ work to organizations like the UN and the European Union.

These young people, divided into 10 workshops, will analyze the problems and identify their possibilities. The work is taking place on three fronts: planning the event, maintaining relationships with the local community, and interacting with wider networks.