Insight: Paolo Pininfarina on the past and future of the famed Italian design studio

Pininfarina is responsible for some of the most enduring and exotic motor cars in design history. Founded by Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina in 1930, the carrozzeria has sketched products that have become icons for Ferrari, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo – to name a few. The studio works within the wider creative world too, designing jets, yachtstrains, buses, and other industrial products. It is also expanding its architecture practice with some outstanding projects. As the marque celebrates its 90th birthday, I used the opportunity to chat with the chair and grandson of the founder, Paolo Pininfarina, to see where he sees the company heading now and in the future. Read the full interview here

Car design trends from Geneva

The Geneva Motor Show is one of the main yearly international exhibitions that tend to focus primarily on design studies and future trends. This year, sadly, the displays were generally of ‘real’ cars – automobiles that are made for today’s world but tend to lack the visionary insight to make them relevant to the bigger picture of mobility.

This is a real shame as for the last few years we have been teased with a promise of a future urban setting free of the traditional automobile where clean hubs transport us autonomously in this wirelessly connected utopia. These are the sort of interesting concepts we witnessed at the Frankfurt and Tokyo shows last year.

Nevertheless there were some thought provoking ideas at Geneva as well as a few very attractive cars that may seem completely absurd given our economical and ecological situation, but remain simply pure objects of desire. We visited the show and spoke with a number of key car designers. Read the full review published in Wallpaper*.

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | UK | | Bookshop | Published by Banksthomas

All rights and labelled images are covered by ©

Car design trends from Geneva Show 2011

There is a certain feeling of confidence returning to international car shows. This wasn’t necessarily the case a couple of years ago when the financial crisis teamed with environmental concerns cause a little uncertainty, even perhaps self-doubt, amongst carmakers which manifested itself in rather awkward exhibitions.

The renewed confidence was very much in evidence at the latest and one of the most important car shows, the Geneva Motor Show, an annual event held in March with a strong focus on design and conceptual thinking.

Clean zero-emission driving is now a reality. The technology is there, the cars have been designed. It’s just a question of seamless co-operation between the various organisations and governments that make mobility possible.

What is interesting now is how car designers are experimenting with finding relevant visual forms to complement the clean powertrain that lies beneath the metal – it is a question of finding a design language (or languages) that fits this new form of mobility.

At Geneva this manifested itself in the desire to show how electric cars can be fast and sexy for fun driving, as well as small and flexible for the city mobility.

Read the full report with interviews with some of the key car designers published in Wallpaper*.

















Have a look at BMW’s latest video on its Vision ConnectedDrive – a very interesting concept that connects the driver, vehicle and the outside world. Watch out for our interview with design director Adrian Van Hooydonk at the Geneva Show which explains the thinking behind this car further.

Also check out our Cars & Mobility section for interviews with car designers and the latest design thinking in this area.

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | UK | | Bookshop | Published by Banksthomas

All rights and labelled images are covered by ©