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Officials, academics and employees gathered in Turin to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Changan’s European Design Center 

In 2003, Changan took the initiative to establish a bricks and mortar presence in the heart of European automotive design: Turin.

That move has certainly paid off as the Italian outpost has grown significantly and has now been running for 20 years. At a point where new brands in China and in Europe itself are popping up left, right and centre, it can certainly be argued that this gives Changan a competitive edge.

Two decades is not something to sniff at and a celebration was in order. The party was a who’s who of authority not only in design but also from local and foreign government.

Attendees included high-ranking figures from the Chinese Consulate to Milan and the Italian Chinese Chamber of Commerce, as well as the mayor of Rivoli and Kurt Beyer, head of transportation design at Pforzheim to showcase the education-enterprise relationship. (Pforzheim has worked closely with Changan over the years, which you can read more about here). Each of these guests took a moment to speak on the anniversary of the centre and to discuss the future of the studio in the context of globalisation.

It would have been easy to take over a warehouse and leave it at that, but the site itself has been carefully designed to reflect its environment and provide a variety of outdoor spaces for physical reviews. Nestled in Rivoli and surrounded by rolling hills, lush vegetation and both traditional and modern architecture, the design centre is more than a plain grey box. Splashes of colour combine with expansive walls of glass and brutalist structures on the exterior, while the clean, bright interior brings an industrial feel with exposed brick and polished stone floors.

From a productivity perspective, the studio has been responsible for numerous models since its establishment in the noughties. For example, the CS75PLUS and UNI Series as well as models from other brands under the Changan umbrella like the Deepal S7 and SL03. The European facility sits nicely within the global design structure and is an important element to the brand’s strategy for “self-design and independent development.”

And what better way to celebrate how far the studio has come than to mark its next chapter? Indeed, the second phase of expansion at the Litali site has begun, growing its footprint to 31,000 square metres. The studio itself is already well populated and boasts talent from 25 different countries, creating a rich and diverse mix of cultures, ideas and approaches to design.

Changan Europe design team outside celebrating 20th anniversary

Changan Europe design team celebrate the studio’s 20th anniversary

As things stand, the European Design Center is currently the third largest independent design center in Italy and plans to cement its position as a “global design company of excellence, creating a new chapter in the design of Changan Automobile.” And as the site continues to expand, it will be interesting to see the role it plays not only in Europe but on the global stage.