The Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro was recently awarded the Design Europa Award for professional career by the European Union Intellectual Property Office. Prizes awarded by this institution are in recognition of both other professionals and companies in the area of product design. Finalists this year included reputable names such as Zaha Hadid Design, Alberto Meda and Michele de Lucchi.

Giugiaro is without doubt one of the leading names for design in the European automotive industry. Over 60 million vehicles with the Garessio-born designer’s brand have circulated, and continue to circulate, across the roads. After various design and technical drawing studios, Giugiaro began his professional career in 1955 and just four years later, thanks to the legendary Nuccio Bertone, he would be promoted to the position of director of Carrozzeria Bertone, the company where he spent six years modelling vehicles for brands such as Alfa Romeo and Fiat.

“Brivido” concept car

Following a brief stint at Carrozzeria Ghia, in 1968 Giugiaro decided to form Italdesign with his friend Aldo Mantovani. Under the umbrella of Italdesign, Mantovani y Giugiaro chose to offer automobile manufacturers not only design and creativity, but also engineering development and construction of prototypes. Italdesign surprised the market through prototypes used at fairs, concept cars which demonstrated a high level of experimentation based on the use of innovative conceptual breakthroughs, spanning small models to vehicles with a clear sporty style.

Over 45 years, Italdesign designed over 200 models, a huge range whose highlights included cars designed during the 1970s for Volkswagen (Golf, Scirocco, Passat) as well as those later created for Seat (Ibiza, Málaga, Toledo) and the Audi 80. During this decade Italdesign began working for the Fiat Group, giving rise to new automobiles for brands in the Italian group including Lancia (Delta, Prisma, Thema), Fiat (Panda, Uno, Croma, Sedici) and Alfa Romeo (156, 159, Brera).

Alfa Romeo Giuletta Sprint (1972)

During the 1970s, Giugiaro expanded his sphere of action in product design, collaborating with Italian and international companies such as Nikon, Sony, Seiko, Apple, Siemens, Luxottica, Swatch and Piaggio, among many others. Finally, in 2010 Italdesign was incorporated into the Volkswagen group, with Giugiaro focusing his efforts on automobiles from the German company. Today, Giorgetto Giugiaro has become a guest of honour at universities and design schools, and also at international forums devoted to innovation in the automobile industry.