The early years
Born in the city of Garessio, in the province of Cuneo, on 7 August 1938 to a family of artists and musicians, Giugiaro moved to Turin in 1952 where he took figurative arts, drafting and technical design courses.
In 1955, through the intervention of Dante Giacosa, the technical manager of Fiat, he began working at Giacosa’s Special Vehicles Styling Office.
After a very profitable apprenticeship, in December 1959, Giugiaro was asked by Nuccio Bertone to take the position of manager of the historic styling centre at Carrozzeria Bertone.
For six years, he designed prestigious cars for Fiat, Alfa Romeo and various foreign brands. He then joined Carrozzeria Ghia as Director of the Styling Centre and the Prototype Department.
Italdesign is founded
In 1968, with his friend, technologist Aldo Mantovani, he founded Italdesign in Moncalieri, near Turin. Italdesign was an independent organisation supplying services to the automotive world, with an innovative mission; focusing on providing a wide range of services to car makers, including creativity, engineering development, prototype construction and testing services.
At this point, Giugiaro began to produce dozens of car designs earmarked for production and to experiment with unprecedented formal and conceptual developments through motor show prototypes which anticipated the evolution of the car and vehicles in general. His concept cars inspired solutions that would prove eminently successful over the years: compact cars with a tall body, aerodynamic shapes for improved fuel economy, city cars, and hybrid vehicles including sports-‐inspired models.
In 45 years of activity under the Italdesign brand name, Giugiaro designed 200 models that were put into production resulting in a total of 60 million cars on the roads. Besides successful Japanese, Korean and, more recently, Chinese models, he was responsible for the design of the Volkswagen models of the 1970s, including the Golf, Passat, and Scirocco; he designed the Audi ’80 and the Seat Ibiza, Toledo and Malaga.
Industrial design: beyond automobiles
In 1975 he started collaborating with the Fiat Group, creating celebrated and best selling cars such as the Lancia Delta, Prisma and Thema, the Fiat Panda, Uno, the Croma and the new Croma, the Grande Punto, Fiat Sedici, and a new family of Alfa Romeo models (156, 159, 159 SportWagon, Brera coupé).
In 1990, his son Fabrizio, who had already worked on the development of the Machimoto and Aztec futuristic concept cars, joined the company on a permanent basis. In 1991 Fabrizio Giugiaro was appointed head of the research vehicle department, and shortly afterwards took up the position of Director of the Styling and Prototype Area, which he kept until 2013.
A design methodology for the present and the future
Since 1974 Giugiaro had been supplementing his design work for cars and other vehicles (trams, trains, subway trains, motorcycles, commercial vehicles, tractors) with an industrial design division, operating under the brand name of Giugiaro Design. The firm collaborated with prestigious international companies (such as Nikon, Sony, Seiko, Apple, Siemens, Ferrero, L’Oreal, Luxottica, Merloni Indesit, Okamura, Shiseido, Swatch, Telecom, Telepiù/Canal Plus, Fiat Ferroviaria, Alstom, Ansaldo Breda, Trenitalia, Piaggio, Bridgestone, Sanpellegrino, etc.), designing semi durable and consumer goods for a wide variety of industrial and commercial sectors, as well as producing park and street furnishing design projects for public entities.
In 2010 Italdesign Giugiaro became part of the Volkswagen Group and started working across the board, with all the different VW brands. In September 2015 Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro relinquished all their positions in Italdesign.
The design methodology adopted by Giugiaro puts the emphasis on functional factors combined with comfort, reduced weight and lower production costs by making use of the most advanced technologies, including in terms of efficient energy use. Aesthetic results should not override the overall design intelligence of a project. This approach is reflected in his trailblazing solutions for runabouts – first and foremost the Fiat Panda – and the Biga project: an electric vehicle with easy access for wheelchairs via the tailgate, made available by public administrations for car sharing programmes in pedestrian areas closed to private vehicle traffic.
The same ergonomic design approach is reflected in the consumer goods styled by Giugiaro. Whether they are photo cameras, watches, tools or medical devices, they all invariably strive to provide the best answer possible in terms of safety and ease of use.
Having been at the centre of public attention for many years, Giugiaro is often invited to express his “vision of the world” on the international stage, and not just in terms of cars and design.
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