Giorgetto Giugiaro is arguably the world’s most influential modern automotive designer. He was born in Garessio, Italy in 1938. His father and grandfather were both oil painters, and Giugiaro quickly developed a passion for art. He studied art and technical design in Turin, but had little interest in styling automobiles before one of his professors suggested that the automobile industry would pay him handsomely for his artistic talents.
He began sketching cars and presented some of his work at a student exhibition in 1955, where it was noticed by Fiat’s Technical Director, Dante Giacosa. Impressed by the young man’s creativity, Giacosa recruited Giugiaro and three months later, he joined Fiat’s Special Vehicle Design Study Department. Giugiaro worked at Fiat for four years before he was lured by Nuccio Bertone to join the famous Gruppo Bertone styling center. Bertone invested numerous resources into the young prodigy, and Giugiaro rewarded his mentor with a remarkable streak of successful designs. Some of Giugiaro’s notable work at Bertone includes the Aston Martin DB4 GT Jet Concept, Ferrari 250 GT Concept, Chevrolet Corvair Testudo Concept, Alfa Romeo Sprint, and the Fiat 850 Spider. Giugiaro left Bertone after six years to join another Italian coachbuilder, Ghia, where he styled cars for DeTomaso and Maserati.
In 1967, Giugiaro formed a partnership with Aldo Mantovani and founded a company near Turin, Italy named Italdesign (later Ital Design/Giugiaro). Since its founding, Giugiaro’s company has styled more than 200 vehicles for clients all over the world. The company’s portfolio includes the Alfa Romeo Alfasud, Lotus Esprit, Volkswagen Golf and Scirocco, Bugatti EB112, Saab 9000, Subaru SVX, and the DeLorean DMC 12. In addition to his automotive designs, Giugiaro has also shaped numerous consumer products such as cameras for Nikon, firearms for Beretta, and motorcycles for Ducati, and Suzuki.
During his impressive career, Giugiaro styled cars for nearly every major automaker across the globe. In 1999, a jury of more than 120 journalists from around the world named Giugiaro “Designer of the Century.” Considering the breadth of his accomplishments, it is difficult to name anyone who has had a greater influence on modern automotive design than Giorgetto Giugiaro.