• Saint-Étienne

Facts and Figures




Around 500.000 (greater metropolitan area)


79,97 km2

Educational Institutions

5 schools of higher education (arts, design, architecture and engineering) with approx. 18.000 students

11000 entreprises (the highest concentration of SMES in France)

Cité du design

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts

Museum of Art and Industry

Le Corbusier (heritage site in Firminy near Saint-Étienne)

La Rotonde (Centre for Sciences, Techniques and Industry Culture)

With 500.000 inhabitants, the metropolitan area of Saint-Étienne is the 2nd urban center of the big metropolitan hub in our Rhone alps Region. Saint-Étienne was an industrial city from 19th century centered on coal mining, metallurgy and the manufacture of cycles, arms, machinery and textiles (trimmings). These are the roots of design. Economic crises in the second half of the twentieth century forced the city to develop new economic axes and new competitiveness centers (mechanical, medical, technologies and textiles, surface treatment, optics, machinery), higher education and design. With its remarkable history allied to industrial modernity, Saint-Étienne, land of creators and inventors, is a constantly changing city, driven by a dynamic linked to the arts and industry. Saint-Etienne gives to culture a predominant place, festivals and events programmed by all the stakeholders contribute to the cultural prestige of the city (Museum of Art and Industry, Museum of Modern Art, Mining Museum, Le Corbusier Heritage in Firminy, etc …)

The urban transformation process in Saint-Étienne started at the beginning of the 1970’s.Saint-Etienne has begun a metamorphosis launching  an  urban project and the realization of great architectural  buildings. The Cité du design was founded in 2005 by Saint-Étienne City and Metropolitan government, was born from the strong development of design education, and the success of the Saint-Étienne International Design Biennial. Located on the site of the former Royal Arms Manufacture, the Cité was inaugurated in October 2009, in an avant-garde space designed by Finn Geipel and Giulia Andi. It is a platform for observation, creativity, teaching, training and research through design. The Cité du design and the Saint-Étienne Higher School of Art and Design are part of the same structure, and work towards a common objective : to develop research and innovation through creation.

The City of Saint-Étienne and Saint-Étienne Metropolitan government have defined a strategy for action which uses design as a structural tool in economic, social and cultural development. The aim of their strategy is to design an innovative, attractive territory with a stimulating, high-quality living environment.To implement this policy, they have created a design manager position acting across their services. The design manager aims at raising the administration awareness on design and developing the integration of design within the procurement contracts.

In 2010 Saint-Étienne became the first French city to join the UNESCO creative cities network as city of design.Thanks to concrete initiatives such as the creation of the Cité du design and the International Design Biennial, Saint-Etienne has adopted design as an agent for urban transformation and for economic development. Relying on the creativity of its territory and the engagement of both the public and industrial sector, the city is reinventing itself, leading its numerous small and medium-sized enterprises to innovation, and improving the quality of its citizens’ urban living environment through design.

Discover Saint-Étienne

International Preparatory Class of the ESADSE // CALL

Saint-Etienne Higher School of School of Art and Design (Esadse) is pleased to announce the opening of applications for the International Preparatory Class for the…

Learn more

École supérieure d’art et design de Saint-Etienne

Join us on zoom and discover the Classe préparatoire internationale of the Saint-Étienne Higher School of Art and Design. A programme designed for International and…

Learn more

Answer the call! Innovation through design in public action

The Office of Design of the City of Montreal and the Cité du design of Saint-Étienne are calling on professionals, the public sector and the…

Learn more

The Cité du design welcomes UNESCO’s Creative Cities

Faced with challenges of ecological and energy transitions, this forum highlighted the creativity of cities such as Montreal (Canada), Seoul (South Korea), Muharraq (Bahrain), Fortaleza…

Learn more

International Forum : Saint-Etienne invites UNESCO Creative Cities

This Forum aims to highlight the creativity of cities to answer the following questions in concrete terms: How are cities experimenting with other ways, collective, sober…

Learn more

New European Bauhaus Festival

BEDA meets New European Bauhaus: The first New European Bauhaus festival will be a hybrid event organized from 9 – 12 June  by the European Commission…

Learn more

BEDA Forum 2022

Latest insights on the position and ambitions of design in European policies. BEDA is part of several actions and working groups to support policies of the European Commission,…

Learn more

New European Bauhaus: a platform for connecting research, education and networks

A half-day event organized by the Cité du design in partnership with the ANdÉA – National Association of Art Schools – to demonstrate that the…

Learn more

Human Cities‐SMOTIES

Human Cities‐SMOTIES : creative works with small and remote places is a four-year European project (2020 – 2024) supported by the European Commission under the…

Learn more