In October 2017, veteran designer Quek Chunbeng represented Singapore in Torino, Italy for the “Torino Design of the City” programme. Singapore and Torino are both part of the UNESCO Creative City of Design network.
The 5-day event, which was organised by the City of Torino, was dedicated to design and packed with inspiring events, exhibitions, festivals, workshops, seminars and tours.
Chunbeng, who has over a decade of design experience, has worked with global brands and start-ups through his studio Design Insight, which he founded in 2004. As its name suggests, the studio engages in insightful design journeys with clients and partners – with work ranging from industrial design, to research and product development. The studio thrives in the design and development of consumer products.
Design Insight's works have gained worldwide acclaim with over 100 commercial products and services. It has worked with global brands like BIC writing pens, Sennheiser headphones, to oil recycling company Greenchem Technology and even technology start-ups like Pendulumic and BeonCam.
Here, in his own words he describes what he experienced in Torino.
“Arrival at Torino Design of the City. Excited to be surrounded by such breath-taking architecture and surroundings."
“Torino City Centre Day and Night: Historical landmarks and architecture are all around the city centre, showcasing and illuminating the grandeur of the city 24/7.”
“I attended the Design for the City and Citizens seminar, which was an enriching talk and discussion by and with designers, entrepreneurs, members of the World Design Organisation and design-centric City Councils of the world. The key speakers included members from South Africa, Helsinki (Finland), St Etienne (France) city design councils among others. Invaluable insights were shared about design and its application among various UNESCO Cities of Design, and the design methodology behind systems and services that enhance the lives of metropolitan citizens.”
“I was invited to the press conference and exclusive preview of the splendid Gianfranco Ferre Exhibition, which showcased over 200 exclusive jewellery pieces. The exhibition curators shared about the life and works of Ferre, and how artwork in this collection had been curated and presented.”
“I visited Torino Graphic Days, which was held at Toolbox, a creative industry co-working space. Visual communication and graphical design works from Torino and around the region were showcased in a dynamic and creative work space environment. Various graphic design and crafting workshops/programmes were organised for children, students and other individuals on a daily basis, illustrating how design and design work environment can be easily accessible to anyone who has an interest in it.”
“Via Sacchi Design Rigenerazione Urbana. Via Paolo Sacchi is a one-kilometre street decorated with architecture built between the late 19th and early 20th centuries alongside the Porta Nuova train station. The iconic street has shown signs of commercial desertification with increasing physical and social degradation. The Via Sacchi Design Rigenerazione Urbana campaign was organised through a series of programmes to anticipate and find out how urban regeneration can be achieved with the active participation of citizens, traders, owners, entrepreneurs, local authorities, institutions and associations that have long been trying to relaunch Via Sacchi.”
“The Museo Nazionale Dell Automobile is one of the best automotive museums in the world showcasing the history of automotive and Italian car design. The restoration of some of the most iconic cars in automotive history was discussed between life-long craftsmen and the new generation of classic car enthusiasts.”
“Basilica di Superga and Mole Antonelliana are two of the numerous historical landmarks of Torino. The Mole Antonelliana (right) is conceived and constructed as a synagogue after the Italian unification. It was meant to be the symbol of Turin as the capital of the new Italian state, a position it held only from 1860 to 1864. In 2000, it was transformed into the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (National Museum of Cinema). It holds a panoramic glass elevator rising to the “small temple” on top of the building without any bounding wall structures. The elevator covers the 75 meters ride in 59 seconds.”
“We were introduced to the Vice Mayor of Torino who shared about the vision of the City of Torino, and how he is planning and looking forward to a transformation of the city through design. His aim is to bring in the new while embracing the rich cultural and historical elements in the coming years.”
“Apertivo at Torino Incontra and farewell with Marco Ciari of Citta di Torino, the main organiser and coordinator of the trip. It was an enriching experience at Torino as I got to admire the city landmarks with wonderful people of Citta di Torino and the World Design Organisation.”
Photos and captions by Chunbeng. For more information on him and his work, visit: www.designinsight.com.sg