“You were only supposed to blow the ruddy doors off”…
Fiat’s famous Lingotto factory which featured in the much-loved Italian Job, is being honoured in a cultural exhibition being run in Turin. The factory was built in the 1920’s after Giovanni Agneli visited a plant in Detroit. The cars were assembled while moving through each of its five floors. Each floor was dedicated to a special construction stage, allowing workers to remain at their work station reducing assembly times. When it went live in 1926 with its 13,000 workers it was the most advanced workplace in Europe. The Lancia Delta was the last car to emerge when the factory closed in 1982, the building fast became a huge white elephant. Fiat asked the architect Renzo Piano (famous for The Shard) to give new life to this enormous building. The plant underwent a complete regeneration leaving the original structure unchanged but altering the factory into a multi-functional facility for public use. The result was a “city in the city”. Spaces of different nature were created inside the former production spaces: from a shopping mall, exhibition spaces, hotels and offices with space for university departments alongside a tropical garden. If you ever visit Turin, get along to see it, but don’t forget to pop up to the roof and imagine for a moment you’re Michael Caine.
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