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La Cité du design Ally of the business world

La Cité du design

Ally of the business world


Under the spotlight each time the Biennale comes round, design nevertheless long had an elitist image in Saint-Étienne. Over the last two years, though, new efforts and a change in the way the Cité du design works have changed this, as it seeks to become a close ally of local businesses.


« Bifurcations ». It so happens that the theme of the forthcoming Biennale Internationale Design de Saint-Étienne* chimes perfectly with the situation of upheaval we are currently experiencing in our societies, but it also echoes, indirectly, the direction taken by design in the Loire, particularly at its standard-bearer, the Cité du design. Sometimes considered as elitist, the Cité has been sketching out a new path since Thierry Mandon took over as director. For Marc Chassaubéné, President of the Cité du design and Vice-President of Saint-Étienne Métropole, the aims are clear:  « From now on to anchor the establishment in and for its territory by working to bring the population closer to design, » explains the local politician, « And to help the Cité du design to grow by developing a range of services that will generate income to increase its resources. »


Mapping out the future


The first tangible sign of this new departure was the exhibition on video games in 2019. Then came the recent creation of a new offshoot, Cité Service, which « is enhancing the Cité du design’s business model. » « We are developing services and events to support the region’s businesses and public institutions, whilst providing work for Loire’s designers, »  says Thierry Mandon. For example during an exercise to redefine usages in four high schools in d’Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Result: a first financial year 2020 that posted a turnover of €200,000. Several other projects are in preparation, but one of the most eagerly awaited in the coming months is a mapping operation – a project to map the design sector in the region and its impact on the economy. « The aim is to make a promising sector more visible and accessible, » asserts Marc Chassaubéné.


* As we go to press, we are still unable to confirm that the event will go ahead.

La Cité du design  Ally of the business world