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Design Contest: Stile Italiano Giovani 2004

Fri, 22 Oct 2004 One of the sad things about being editor of a motoring magazine is turning down all the enthusiastic young job applicants who know exactly how to test Ferraris against Lamborghinis, using Porsches as benchmarks...exactly the kind of people I don't need. I imagine it might be the same with judging a design competition. There will be masses of young people who love drawing cars submitting their sketches - and there it all ends.

Of course you might find some real talents among the entrants, but apart from the excitement such competitions can generate, the whole thing might seem pretty pointless. Luckily many have other ideas, for instance ANFIA, the Italian body that organizes the nation's motor industry, from truck manufacturing to suppliers of the smallest components, including design houses, model makers and prototype builders. Once again they have arranged their competition and recently held the presentation of the winners.

The first Stile Italiano Giovani was arranged in 1998 and that gained some publicity since the Torino Motor Show provided a venue for the competition. Since the cancellation of international motor shows in Torino, invitation has been mainly by internet and via schools, and presentation of finalists a fairly local affair. You might also have imagined, from the name 'Stile Italiano', that it is supposed to be local... It is not. 25 countries were represented among the numerous submissions. The prizewinners came from 5 different countries and the 20 selected finalists represented 11 nations. But since both the number one in the competition and the number two duo were Italian, maybe we can talk about Stile Italiano after all?

With the risk of sounding negative again, what does a prize here actually mean? Of the former prizewinners the few who have found a position in the motor industry were all students at art or design schools at the time of their participation so they would probably have found their way into the industry on their own. This year James Granger (21) who did not gain any awards, is already far into his design studies in Holland, and has had his internships at manufacturers already, whereas some of the prize winners did not even know where to find a school for transportation design, or how to apply for a place at one.

Not that there is anything wrong with happy amateurs, but one would have thought that a competition like this (big cash prizes, ? 10.000 divided among the first three) and a panel of very qualified judges plus a big final exhibition where 20 participants and press are flown in, could serve the purpose better if participants were limited to young people who were already into their design studies. And why ANFIA and the Torino Chamber of Commerce do not at the same time promote their local (or Italian) design schools is beyond me.

But the selected participants were of course extremely happy, the judges sounded satisfied too, the opening of the exhibition in one of Torinos great city palaces and the party afterwards were great. But I still hope for another, more professional format, for the next, presumably to be arranged in 2006, the year Torino will host the Winter Olympics.

The professional judges who selected this years finalists and winners included Leonardo Fioravanti, Pier Luigi Carcerano and Christian Rodda from Carcerano, Daniele Cornil from Bertone (Mrs Lilli Bertone took part in the prize-giving), Walter Martin from Coggiola, Justyn Norek from IDEA, Diego Ottina from Pininfarina, and of course Fulvio Cinti, publisher and editor of Auto&Design, and Lorenza Pininfarina, Chairman of ANFIA's Coachbuilder Group.

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