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Posts in category 'Turin'

22 February 2007

Cinema 2.0 project in Turin

CineTma
“Open source cinema launched in Turin” is the headline of an article in the Nova24 supplement of Italy’s newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, published on 25 January 2007. Here is a quick (and rough) translation.

Turin is setting up a second-generation type of cinema. It is written, created and distributed by a community of film lovers. The project is called CineTma (www.cinetma.org) and is about to be launched by Finpiemonte and the Piedmont Region as part of its broader “Creativity Platform”.

This initiative bets on a new and sustainable development for the movie industry: to make a feature movie where script, casting, soundtrack, investment and distribution result from the collaboration of many movie lovers, who can taken possession again of the cinema product by investing their creativity in an interactive web platform.

Also the editing process can now be done in streaming, thanks to a new open-source technology developed by the Polytechnic University of Turin. It allows various editors to work simultaneously on the same material online. [...]

This of course means that the very concept of creating something needs to be redefined.

And this is what the people behind the CineTma project are doing, inspired by the pioneering experience of “A Swarm of Angels,” which gave birth to the movement of “Cinema 2.0.” The connection with the Web 2.0 model is obvious: it offers the consumers of a creative product the possibility of also interacting with it: by completing it, improving it, or creating new products with the original one as the basis. [...]

In the case of Cinema 2.0, the process is not limited to the co-creation of online contents, but also includes offline activities that use human and material resources, which are of course relatively expensive on the market, to shoot the actual feature movie. As opposed to what happens in traditional movie production, the participants in the CineTma project are also its financiers, each one of them investing a small sum somma (about 35 euro). Multiplied by all those who invest in the movie, this can help assure the full movie budget, which is rarely less than 600,000 euro.

The article (available in Italian via Cotec) was written by Irene Cassarino who works on user-driven innovation policy for Finpiemonte, the agency supporting research and innovation projects in Piedmont.

17 February 2007

Uploading innovation, a NESTA event

Nesta
Steve Moore, founder and director of Policy Unplugged (a “social conference provider”), has invited me to be one of a few foreign guests at an event called Uploading Innovation hosted by NESTA in London on 27 February.

I am very much looking forward to contribute our thoughts on user-centred approaches to innovation, and to learn more about what people in the UK are doing in this regard.

I also hope we can establish some connections and exchanges, in view of Experientia’s upcoming involvement in Torino 2008, World Design Capital which is all about design for transformation, and with a Piedmont regional innovation policy (see also here) anchored in “demand-driven” approaches — i.e. user needs (which is, by the way, a topic that I am now also addressing in Flanders, Belgium.)

NESTA (blog) is the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. It is the largest single endowment devoted exclusively to supporting talent, innovation and creativity in the UK. It is their mission to transform the UK’s capacity for business, social and public policy innovation. They invest in early stage companies, inform innovation policy and encourage a culture that helps innovation to flourish.

To help cultivate a new national conversation about innovation NESTA recently established NESTA Connect to explore how innovation can be stimulated through networks and collaborative working between different disciplines, organisations and places (see also this article).

The Uploading…Innovation conference has been convened to help NESTA learn from those people who have been at the forefront of the development of new participatory ways of working, those who have harnessed the network effects of emerging technologies of collaboration to create new business models, new products and services, to bring about culture change within organisations and disruptive innovation to their sectors.

NESTA and Policy Unplugged identified and invited 100 of the leading collaboratives in the UK into a conversation about how NESTA can formulate innovation policy and create programmes to ensure that they optimise the potential of the social, viral and community hallmarks of the Web.

1 February 2007

In Turin, design becomes supreme [La Repubblica]

Torino World Design Capital 2008
Next year, Turin will be World Design Capital. Yesterday, the event was officially presented. Below is (my) translation of an article/interview, written by Marina Paglieri and published today in La Repubblica newspaper. If you want to find out more, you can download an English press kit (pdf, 64 kb, 5 pages).

In less than a year, Turin will be the first World Capital of Design. The countdown has started. Mayor Sergio Chiamparino said during a crowded presentation at the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo auditorium that the event will be a “precise and concrete metaphor for the future opportunities of the city.” An opportunity but also a challenge, because Torino will be the inaugural city of the event, that thereafter will be awarded every two years to cities around the world. Presenting it yesterday were Peter Zec, president of ICSID (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, the organisation which promoted the initiative and the nomination of Turin), Carlo Forcolini, president of ADI (the Italian Industrial Design Association), and the members of the Advisory Committee, who met yesterday for the first time to discuss goals and programme plans. They are the acclaimed designer Gillo Dorfles, the architect and critic Enrico Morteo, Guta Moura Guedes, founder of a Lisbon-based association that promotes design culture, and Michael Thomson, future president of BEDA (Bureau of European Design Associations). Also speaking was Giuliano Molineri, former right hand of Giorgetto Giugiaro, general manager (for nearly twenty years) of Giugiaro Design, and currently board member of ICSID and the “spiritual force” behind Turin’s year of design.

Giuliano Molineri, why is Turin World Capital of Design?
“One has to go back a bit. In 2003 our city presented its candidacy, as did 35 other cities, to host the ICSID headquarters. In the end Montreal was selected, but Turin made a big impression through its focus on design as a tool for transformation and socio-economic change. This lead to the idea of nominating the city as the first world capital of the sector: there will be other cities in the future, and they will not be selected from those that are already known design cities, such as Barcelona or Milan, but from those that are in the process of transformation.”

Precisely on that point, Gillo Dorfles said that Milan has always been seen as Italy’s design capital, even if it lost some points recently. Turin had the car, but was not able to diversify and promote other sectors. It will have to do that now, but how?
“It it true. Turin and the region of Piedmont are known worldwide for Giugiaro and Pininfarina, but less for other design excellence. This will be the opportunity to make them more known, with major international promotion. During the 2008 events, Turin will present itself as a project-oriented city, which is able to manage a productive process, thanks to its major industrial history. There is a breeding ground here, a humus, a district of companies and technologies that cannot be found anywhere else [in Italy]. There is the automotive sector, but also aeronautics, airplane design, the growing ITC sector with its focus on wireless, electronics, robotics and component design. And there is production also in many other sectors.”

Some examples?
“There are many to be sold. From home product design, with important companies such as Alessi, Girmi, Bialetti, Lagostina, to textile with Borsalino, Zegna, Piacenza, Loro Piana, Miroglio and Basicnet. From alimentary machinery to food and wine culture, with companies such as Martini, Lavazza and Ferrero. And let’s not forget boating, with the major presence of Azimut, second producer in the world of yachts longer than 28 metres. Or the cinema, from set design to the virtual. Today creativity is translated not just in products, but also in relationships and in communication. And design should be enlarged to a discourse on processes that produce design. I think of [the Turin neighbourhood of] the Quadrilatero Romano, where the original bars and restaurants lead to new connections and meetings, or of a chef like Davide Scabin of Combal.0, who had himself design the plates and the food containers. That and more will be on show next year.”

Will there be competition with Milan?
“No, there is a strong feeling of collaboration. Some people from Milan will be presenting events here. We will need to see how the two cities can best work together on this. Milan has extraordinary strengths in the design of furniture, lighting and fashion, and hosts an international reference point like the Triennale. But now Turin has also joined the design path.”

Is there already a programme of events?
“We will present it in April in Milan, during the Furniture Fair. I can tell you that the event will start around mid-December this year. There will be an exhibition, at a location to be determined, of the objects that have received a Compasso d’oro award, an international competition for young creative people, and a series of activities aimed at the broad population, with a particular focus on students. The events will revolve around some key milestones, such as the opening of the new Automobile Museum and the inauguration at the end of 2008 of the Design Center of Mirafiori.”

9 January 2007

Torino 2008: design is direction

Design is direction
Over the last year I have sporadically been keeping you informed about the plans for Torino, World Capital of Design 2008.

Things are now taking shape and a website is up.

A friend of mine, the young, dynamic and very globally focused Paola Zini, who has been the de facto lead of the initiative of the initiative for a long time, has just also been appointed the official director.

Paola immediately selected a scientific committee not to be ignored: Gilo Dorfles (Italy), Guta Moura Guedes (Experimenta, Portugal), Michael Thompson (UK), Enrico Morteo (Italy), and Bruce Nussbaum (Business Week, USA).

I will write soon (a lot) more about this exciting initiative, which is energetically chaired by the Mayor of Torino.

To make this happen, I am happy to be able to count on the collaboration with some top-level people that I will soon let you know more about.

[To be continued, of course...]

8 November 2006

Experientia shows gesture-based interface at international art fair

Artissima
At Artissima, the international fair of contemporary art in Torino, visitors are able to use simple hand and arm gestures to browse a visual catalogue of recent art work exhibited at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, an important museum in the city.

The technology is based on sophisticated gesture recognition, while the end-result for the visitor is a radically simple content navigation system in which the images are projected on a large screen, and interaction is performed via nothing but a flat luminous surface.

The project was developed by Jan-Christoph Zoels, Yaniv Steiner and Ofer Luft of Experientia, the Turin-based international experience design consultancy.

A prototype of the gesture-based interface was previously used to navigate Google Earth and to guide club dancing during a music rave. The various interfaces are all based on the smartRetina™ technology, which provides the designer with a programmable “eye”, allowing him to easily design new experiences and interactions which do not require a tangible interface.

YouTube video

20 October 2006

Designing a zero impact trade fair

Salone Internazionale del Gusto
Slow Food does not just organise conferences on new approaches to design (as I reported a few days ago), they are actually using design to achieve a zero environmental impact of one of their main events: the international “Salone del Gusto” fair (which by the way starts next week).

This is what Luigi Bistagnino, professor at the Master in Systems Design at the Politechnic University of Torino, told me last night at a gallery opening here.

As reported in an article on the Italian version of Sloweb, Slow Food’s online news magazine, Slow Food, the industrial design department of the Polytechnic University of Torino and the Zeri Foundation (run by fellow Belgian Gunter Pauli) are collaborating on a project that analyses all the waste the trade fair generates, with the aim to achieve zero impact and emissions, and to use the Salone del Gusto 2008 as an example of how systems design can reduce trade fair impact globally.

Here is a quick translation of the Italian article:

A fair with zero impact

Every two years the Torino conference centre of Lingotto hosts the international “Salone del Gusto” fair, which means (based on 2004 figures): 140,000 visitors in a 50,000 square metre space, 125 stands, 600 exhibitors, 270 tables and other restaurant and catering facilities, tasting areas, training classes, taste labs, etc.

Such a show of food products in a conference venue with that many visitors creates of course a substantial amount of biological and non-biological waste, which has a substantial environmental impact.

The desire to turn the Salone del Gusto into a sustainable trade fair grew out of the Slow Food philosophy itself: one of the main challenges of our century is the need to construct and maintain sustainable systems on a social, cultural and environmental level, in order to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This therefore also needs to be the aim of the events that Slow Food organises.

Slow Food has therefore joined forces with the industrial design department of the Polytechnic University of Torino and the Zeri Foundation (Zero Emission Research & Initiatives) to promote the project entitled “A systemic vision applied to trade fairs: the case of the international Salone del Gusto 2008″. The project will analyse all the various types of waste that the event generates, with the aim to achieve zero impact and emissions.

The project will already kick off during the 2006 edition of the Salone del Gusto, with a first analysis of the various waste types: water, biological material, plastics, glass, paper and organic matter. The team will also look at the organisation in general and at the disposal of the fair stands. Next year they will repeat this exercise during the Slow Fish and Slow Cheese fairs.

The main aim of the project is to reuse all waste products of the Salone del Gusto 2008 as resources in new production, therefore achieving added value. Undoubtedly, an optimal re-use of waste through the use of current or future technologies will also result in gains and benefits for the region, not in the least because zero impact has been achieved.

13 October 2006

Slow+Design: experience design, the Slow Food way

Slow Food logo
I have to admit: I am a fan of Slow Food. I am also one of its 80,000 members. It is an international ethical movement about good, clean and fair food. They “believe that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible.” They organise lots of events, give quality labels to restaurants, have their own publishing house and university, and are branching out into new fields such as urban planning (“Slow City“).

Slow Food is the most clever conceptual innovation that I have seen coming out of Italy in the last decade. Through its emphasis on local produce and local production, Slow Food pulled it off to globalise the local, not an easy task in a world where the opposite prevails. In a few weeks they will organise the sixth edition of Salone del Gusto, their international fair, this year concurrently with Terra Madre, Slow Food’s colourful international food communities meeting. Slow Food also has by far the best looking members magazine of ANY movement I know of, printed of course on recycled paper, with a photo selection that is just stunning. Slow Food is seriously cool, Nussbaum might say.

Now Slow Food is getting into design.

On 6 October Slow Food Italy and three Italian educational institutions organised a one-day Slow+Design seminar on the “slow approach to distributed economy and sustainable sensoriality” in Milan (Italian press release).

The event sought an answer to two clear, concrete and complementary questions: what can design learn from the Slow Model? How can design contribute to the success of the Slow Model (both inside and outside the field of food)?

The Slow Food head office, located in a town just south of Torino, just sent me several English-language documents that provide some background on this new initiative, which is still in an embryonic phase. However, if you read them carefully, you realise that it is all about experience design, the Slow Food way. They even talk about co-creation, which they call “de-intermediation”. I quote:

“Our departure point is the Slow Food experience. Slow Food has met with great and growing international success which, contrary to dominant trends, has demonstrated the real possibility of linking food quality research to the safeguarding of typical local products and to the sustainable valorisation of the skills, expertise and organisational models from which such products originate. In so doing it has played an important role on two complementary fronts: firstly, in regenerating such a precious collective good as the biological and cultural diversity of local food production and secondly, in proposing and initially setting up new food networks.”

“However, though the specific scope of Slow Food lies in these new food networks, its experience is of more general value and is significant for those working in other fields and addressing other problems. Its experience is encapsulated in the new meanings that, thanks to its activities, have been attributed to the adjective “slow” and that we can refer to as the “slow approach”.”

“Above all, the slow approach means the simple, but in current times revolutionary, affirmation that it is not possible to produce and appreciate quality if we do not allow ourselves the time to do so, in other words, if we do not activate some kind of slowdown. However, slow does not only mean this. It also means a concrete way of actually putting this idea into practice. It means cultivating quality: linking products and their producers to their places of production and to their end-users who, by taking part in the production chain in different ways, become themselves co-producers.”

Download Slow+Design backgrounder (pdf, 2 mb, 27 pages)

3 October 2006

2008 World Congress of Architecture in Torino

UIA World Congress logo
Those of you who read this blog regularly, know that now and then I plug interesting initiatives from my home town Torino.

“After Barcelona, Berlin, Beijing and Istanbul, the worldwide community of architects is set to meet in Turin, Italy, between 29 June and 3 July 2008, on occasion of the 23rd International Union of Architects World Congress.”

“For the first time since 1948 an Italian city is to host this important international event, choosing as its overall theme Transmitting Architecture: architecture which communicates and is communicated, in all manners and in all locations, involving every aspect of a profession which deals, on a daily basis, with the quality of life, the landscape and the environment. Ten thousand architects and architecture students are awaited from around the world.”

Transmitting Architecture; communicating in order to increase the knowledge of, awareness of and demand for high quality architecture amongst a wide an audience as possible, which in turn will be encouraged to participate in an active and dynamic manner.”

- Event website
- Read background article

18 August 2006

Microsoft opening major research centre in Turin, Italy?

Microsoft Research
The news that Microsoft might open a major research centre in Turin, Italy (“Torino” in Italian) is obviously very important for the city and region where I live. Since the story is not yet available in English, here the translation from the La Stampa newspaper, which launched the news a few days ago.

An offer not to be refused. Microsoft wants to open a research centre in Turin: local authorities will need to react quickly. There is only one year of time.

The American software giant might open a large centre for technological development in Turin. The CEO of Microsoft Italia, Marco Comastri, confirms: “Yes. We are thinking about it. We already had various contacts with Turin. We would and could launch a research centre of excellence at the Turin Polytechnic University. We need to assess however whether certain conditions can be met”. In pratice, the Polytechnic is at the top of Microsoft’s thoughts, but there are also other candidates. Comastri is not revealing which ones, but he does say that his company has initiated talks with important universities elsewhere. Key for the multinational is speed. If the deal is agreed upon, everything has to be implemented within twelve months. “Anything else would be too slow for us”, affirms Comastri. If the deal is not moving immediately to the first concrete steps, the opportunity will be gone and Microsoft will look elsewhere.

The Dean of the Polytechnic, Francesco Profumo, had promised at his inauguration in June 2005 to work towards a doubling of the corporate campus area by creating joined scientific research centres between innovative companies and the university. He didn’t hide the fact that he was looking for the big players rather than small promising companies: IBM and, yes, Microsoft.

The ambition of Profumo is not just a paper one. He already met a few times with Comastro and will be receiving a Microsoft USA delegation in mid September: “The project we have in mind,” clarifies Profumo, “can definitely not be created without the active support of the American headquarters. We are also approaching the heads of Microsoft’s European Research Centre in the UK”.

This would be a major success not just for the Polytechnic, but also for the entire region, which already hosts a Motorola research centre thanks to the presence of the Polytechnic. The choice for Turin would also be significant, says the Dean, because as far as research is concerned Microsoft has up till now only had limited interest in countries like Italy, however important they may be as a market. The biggest Microsoft R&D centres outside the USA are currently located in large countries such as China and India.

Go Turin!

4 July 2006

Slow design, slow lab and slow blog

Slow
Slow Design is a UK-based “cultural space to stimulate debate around the concept of ‘slow design’. It is conceived as an ongoing dialogue, an open-ended project”. Slow Design “links with existing design clusters that perceive ‘design’ and ‘slowness’ as a positive influence towards more sustainable ways of living”, and is the creation of Alastair Fuad-Luke, chairman of tempo, the sustainable design network.

slowLab is Slow Design’s American counterpart. A not-for-profit organization based in New York City and with activities worldwide, it defines itself as a “laboratory for the advancement of slow design thinking and practice, envisioning environmental sustainability, social harmony and individual well-being as processes and products of good design”. slowLab is also in charge of the (not so frequently updated) slowBlog.

(I may want to remind readers that the now global Slow Food movement which was at the origin of all these initiatives, was founded twenty years ago in a small town south of Torino. It has since spun off such interesting phenomena as the Slow Cities, Slow Book (Italian site) and SloWeb initiatives. It is also in charge of the Salone del Gusto, the world’s largest quality food and wine fair, the University of Gastronomic Sciences, the world’s first academy of ‘eno-gastronomy’, the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, an independent non-profit entity with the mission to organise and fund projects that defend our world’s heritage of agricultural biodiversity and gastronomic traditions, and Terra Madre, World Meeting of Food Communities, a forum for all those who seek to grow, raise, catch, create, distribute and promote food in ways that respect the environment, defend human dignity and protect the health of consumers.)

28 June 2006

SmartLab in Torino: Social Media Application Research and Tagging Laboratory

SmarLab
The blog of SmartLab, an interesting new lab in Torino devoted to social media, went live yesterday.

SmartLab is the acronym of the Social Media Application Research & Tagging Laboratory established in March 2006 by CSP and the IT Department of the University of Torino “to investigate and test digital contents and media in ‘digital environments” and to examine the “new opportunities offered by digital media and the web” and the different approaches they imply for users.

In particular, SmartLab designs and tests Web 2.0 applications, identifies innovative application solutions and environments to use new media with particular attention to re-using applications and content syndication with RSS in multi-channel form.

The lab’s scientific committee includes Derrick DeKerckhove, Luca Console, Franco Carcillo, Giuseppe Granieri, Andrea Toso and Eleonora Pantò.

The launch email calls particular attention to the iCity Programme, a project in collaboration with the City of Torino aimed at increasing citizen participation and creating urban social networks.

Some of the other projects the lab is or will be involved with include:

  • Urban Blog, dedicated to the localisation of contents in an urban environment (with use of maps and geo-localisation)
  • Interactive map: experiments with geo-references of contents in a multi-channel environment
  • Social tagging and social book-marking: studies on the semantics of ‘bottom-up’ digital contents (users)
  • Design of collaboration and digital identity models
  • BlueTo: trials in town with push Bluetooth technologies for services to people equipped with compatible mobile telephones in various parts of the city
  • Multi-channel Hub: multi-channel aggregating tool for different contents in different digital formats (rss, xml, xhtml, pdf, mp3,…)
  • Digital Semantic Assistant: multi-channel ubiqua guide trial based on intelligent agents and user groups able to refer to contents and assign them a semantic value (part of the iCITY program)
  • Research and guidelines on MHP usability for digital TV
  • Usability research and trials for mobile applications (pda, mobile phones)
  • Usability of web-oriented interactive maps
  • Investigation on web navigation advance assistance systems (accessibility for the blind and disabled wheelchair bound people)
1 March 2006

Michigan Governor talks design and innovation [Business Week]

Jennifer_granholm
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm tells Corporate Design Foundation Chairman Peter Lawrence about her plan to make the state the innovation capital of the U.S.

At the very start of the interview, she outlines a user-centred vision of design:

To me, design is more customer-focused — which is exactly what it should be if you’re going to sell a product today. You’ve got to make sure that the product is designed in a way that doesn’t just work, but is really responsive to the customer.”

She then continues about the importance of creativity and design:

“The bottom line for why design is important to the State of Michigan — especially a state that has been challenged by a global economy where we see manufacturing jobs leave — is because future growth will be based more and more on the creative work that goes into making great products, or developing great cities, or even providing great customer service. We are going to base our economy more and more on our intellectual property, on the creative side, the value-added side of what we can offer. We have a strong record as a producer of new products, and now we want to make sure that Michigan’s brand image is all about innovation, design and creativity.”

Michigan by the way is not only the heart of the American automotive industry, but also the home of innovative office furniture companies like Steelcase and Herman Miller.

Coincidentally or not, just a few days ago I was at a talk organised by Domus Magazine where the president of my own region Piedmont (a region with a rich automotive tradition as well) talked about the importance of design. In describing the challenges and opportunities in post-Olympic Torino, Mercedes Bresso (also a woman) underlined the crucial importance of the nomination of Turin as the first World Capital of Design. It might be noted that Piedmont is also the only region in Italy that has a regional councillor in charge of innovation.

Read interview

(originally published in the @Issue Journal of the Corporate Design Foundation)

16 February 2006

Eisermann leaves Design Council as it reviews its strategy [Design Week]

Richard_eisermann
The British design magazine Design Week reports today that Richard Eisermann, director of design and innovation at the UK Design Council, has left the organisation prematurely to co-found the start-up consultancy Prospect, after two and a half years in the role.

He will not be immediately replaced in the short term, because the Design Council is in the midst of an internal review to look at how best it manages its ‘strategic design input’.

The magazine further states that Eisermann has left to launch Prospect (permanent address as of April 2006), a ‘strategically-driven’ group with Anja Klüver. Its current clients include Nokia and a company from the travel services industry. The consultancy will be design-led and collaborations with designers are anticipated.

*****

Eisermann (see my recent interview with him) was in Torino one month ago to conduct a design and innovation workshop at the invitation of Torino Internazionale, the strategic agency for the city of Turin and the region of Piedmont, and Experientia, the experience design consultancy.

During the workshop, about thirty local leaders in charge of political entities, academic institutions, industry associations, businesses and design-related organisations brainstormed on the challenges of translating user-centred design approaches to new strategies for regional innovation and on the opportunities provided by Torino’s designation as World Design Capital in 2008.

13 February 2006

Torino 2008 World Design Capital

Torino_2008
The Olympics have barely started, but Torino is already looking ahead to its next venture: in 2008 it will become the first World Design Capital.

At a prestigious and well-attended press conference today, an illustrous panel, consisting of Sergio Chiamparino, mayor of the City of Torino, Peter Zec, president of ICSID, Andrea Pininfarina, ceo of Pininfarina and vice-president of the Confindustria industry confederation, and Giorgetto Giugiaro, president of Italdesign Giugiaro, presented the project to the international press.

During the XXIV General Assembly of ICSID (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design) in Copenhagen on September 30, 2005, the City of Torino was nominated “World Design Capital” (WDC) for the year 2008. The actual agreement between the City and ICSID was signed today.

This nomination and the signing today came at the end of a long process that began in May 2003, when Torino participated in the competition held by ICSID and Icograda and became a candidate to host the joint secretariat (a competition which was finally won by Montreal, Canada).

Right from this early phase, Torino proved it was a city of projects, research and experimentation. The city’s historical roots are closely tied to industry and over the past ten years a project has been grafted onto those roots to redesign the city’s identity, receiving further impetus from the Olympics.

Torino’s charm and competence made an impression, and this interest and discovery convinced ICSID to assign the first World Design Capital award to Torino.

The World Design Capital Award

Starting in 2008, the new World Design Capital project will pinpoint cities in recognition of their excellence in the field of design and promote them to an international level as areas that focus on design as a driving force for economic, social and cultural development.

From the point of view of the cities that are selected, this nomination can help increase their visibility as a creative city, attract economic and professional resources, and strengthen their process of economic development. In short, it can put them on the world map of design and position them within an international network.

The Pilot Project

The nomination fo the cities will take place through a selection process conducted by a worldwide Bid. Nevertheless, the first mandate for the year 2008 — a true Pilot Project — was directly assigned to Torino because it has the right characteristics for becoming a partner of ICSID through this award.

The experiences of the pilot project city will help draw up the rules and guidelines for the promotion and management of the event, which future winners will have to apply for.

The choice of Torino

Many factors convinced ICSID that Torino is able to carry out the first WDC mandate. First of all, the city’s tradition in the fields of design and engineering. Then, the many research centres, style centres, and model and prototype laboratories.

Another factor was the ongoing mission of internationalisation, which has lead to the city being awarded the XX Olympic Winter Games in 2006 (IOC), the World Book Capital in 2006 (UNESCO), the Winter Universiade in 2007, and the headquarters of the World Congress of Architects in 2008 (UIA).

The event

For the entire duration of 2008, Torino will be a national and international showcase of design. Besides proposing the local excellences of Piemonte, Torino 2008 will also be a vehicle for illustrating Italian design, involving other cities and companies.

The city will also be a pole of reference for international design, encouraging exchanges and relations with other world capitals.

The organisational secretariat and the headquarters of the Steering Committee are located at the Torino Internazionale association.

16 January 2006

Getting tickets to the Turin Olympics

Turin_olympics
The Christian Science Monitor caries a highly amusing article by reporter Peter Ford on his quest to obtain some tickets to the Turin Winter Olympics.

The process was clearly driven by all kinds of concerns, except usability and user experience.

16 January 2006

Turin on Time, a comprehensive study on how the citizens of Turin use their time

Turin_on_time
Following a major research project by ISTAT (the Italian National Institute of Statistics) on how time is used in Italian families, the City of Turin commissioned a more specific study focused on the population of the city and its immediate surroundings. The results are being presented this week.

Thanks to these focused results, Turin will now be the only Italian city with data on how its citizen use their time and can use this information to better understand how they organise their daily lives, and to identify service problems and lack of coordination.

This research can also help make public policies and activites more effective and more responsive to the needs of the citizens, and can aid policy makers in making the right qualitative and quantitative choices on what resources to invest in.

Read press release (Italian)
Project website (Italian)

11 December 2005

The experience of visiting the Museum of the Mountains

Museo_montagna
Today I visited Italy’s National Museum of the Mountains (“Museo Nazionale della Montagna”), which is located just a few minutes from my home on a hill overlooking the city of Turin.

In fact, the museum re-opened today after an extensive two-year renovation and the result is a great example of how to create a well-crafted user experience in a museum context. It is a must when you visit Turin.

The museum is located on top of one of the hills right next to the city centre, on a site which used to be occupied by a fortress and later on by a still functioning Capucine monastery.

You enter the circular building on the ground floor where a video of a theatrical mountaineer (subtitled in flawless English) introduces you to the overall scope of the exhibit. The actor, Giuseppe Cederna, is omnipresent in the exhibit and clarifies the topics of the various areas by directly using the exhibited artefacts.

The exhibition is organised in eight thematic areas, four on the first floor and four on the second, explaining in short the story of how the mountains are at once a delicate ecosystem, an area of age-old cultures, and for about a century also an area of leisure and sports, with skiing having becoming a genuinely popular winter sport just after the second world war.

The central part of the building allows for temporary exhibitions, and one of them is currently devoted to the story of the Canadian gold rush in the mountains around Klondike and the Chilkoot Pass at the end of the 19th Century.

In the end though, I was most impressed by how the museum gives you an emotional, vivid and visceral feeling of why people can feel such strong fascination and passion for the mountains.

This feeling of shared excitement is even more enhanced when you finish the “climb” of the building and head up to the third floor where on a newly constructed open air roof terrace you can admire a spectacular panorama of 400 km (270 miles) of Alps.

Do go on a clear day. And don’t worry about taking children. They will enjoy it as much as you do.

11 December 2005

Turin World Design Capital in 2008

Turin_design
My hometown Turin (or “Torino” in Italian) has been selected as the 2008 World Design Capital by ICSID, the international council of societies of industrial design.

With this nomination, Turin has been given the go-ahead to organise a series of activities and events to present the Piedmont and Italian design excellence to a worldwide audience.

Turin gave the ICSID members with a unique book that provides in ten stories an insight into the Torino and Piedmont peculiarities, seen through the eye of design.

The book also features a uniquely created font, WDC, designed to give a clearer indentity to the award, which is now available to the design community.

The idea of designing a font stems from the awareness that Piedmont has a long tradition of typography and font development. In 1470 the first industrial typographers in Europe were located in Paris and Mondovi, a town to the south of Turin. Giovanni Bodoni was Piemontese by origin, and his successful font, Bodoni, is still widely used.

World Design Capital book (English only)
- Download text pages (pdf, 100 kb, 15 pages)
- View images

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14 November 2005

Who knows more about Aria Magazine?

Ariamagazine
At the Venice Biennale I was handed a copy of the very trendy Aria Magazine, a bilingual (English / Italian) quarterly magazine for travellers, or as their press release says, “the first magazine about Emotional Geography”.

Same thing just now at a Nokia stand during Artissima, Turin’s contemporary art fair.

The luxurious and artsy magazine looks like the result of a high-level intellectual brand concept addressing (or defining) a new type of consumer and is filled with columns about travelling and mobility, including a major story on the Milan-based qualitative research consultancy Future Concept Lab, which works for … Nokia.

It has only one ad. It is on the backcover and it is by …Nokia.

This magazine must somehow be part of Nokia’s brand strategy, but I can’t find out anything about it.

Not from the magazine’s website, not from any other website or blog. I searched the names of the people involved (they turn out to be involved with Repubblica newspaper), and even ran a search on their domain name registration.

Nothing.

It is a brand mystery to me. So I am turning to you, my readers. Who is behind Aria Magazine? What is the strategy here? What does Nokia have to do with this?

8 September 2005

Glocalmap.to – social tagging for mobile phones

Glocalmap
Glocalmap.to (site currently in Italian only) is a large-scale cultural “social tagging” project that integrates web mapping, thematic tagging and mobile phone messaging, to create a new urban narrative for the city of Turin.

It allows citizens and visitors alike to enrich a detailed satellite map of Turin and its surroundings with thematic text and mms messages of all sorts, sent directly from their mobile phones, thus creating a detailed and easily consultable immaterial narrative that reflects the city’s many levels of vibrant cultural activity.

The project, which is part of the Turin Cultural Olympics, will enter into a testing phase in November 2005, and be fully launched on 1 February 2006, in time for Turin’s Olympic Winter Games.

Building on various experiences of social tagging, including the New Orleans disaster information tool recently developed as an overlay on Google Maps, the Turin project goes several steps further: it focuses on cultural meaning and narrative, rather than just practical information; it uses Italy’s top digital tool – the mobile phone; and it makes all citizens active players and contributors.

The project is developed by the architect/urbanist Maurizio Cilli and the new media expert Carlo Infante, and has meanwhile received support from various authorities and foundations, and from the internationally acclaimed Domus Magazine.

Related: performing mediateatron (both sites in Italian only)