In Talk With Paolo Pininfarina On The Celebrated Italian Design House pininfarina.it

In Talk With Paolo Pininfarina On The Celebrated Italian Design House

Pininfarina

Pininfarina’s 90th logo design

Pininfarina

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, yachts, trains, 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.

Nargess Banks: In the 11 years you’ve been leading the company, Pininfarina has evolved into a comprehensive design agency working on all manners of transport, on product and industrial design and increasingly on architecture. Is this how you hoped to take the studio founded by your grandfather?

Paolo Pininfarina: In the last years we have further pushed the process of design diversification started by me in the late 1980s. In particular, we moved from product design to interior design and, since 2013, to architecture.

NB. These are very different areas. What are your underlying design principles?

PP: Our design principles remain the same, as our projects have to always be innovative; they need to be pure and elegant with the objective to last a long term. Also, the design teams develop their work consistently within Pininfarina’s original process, which is continuously updated to incorporate new technologies.

NB. How do these various disciplines creatively feed into one another?

PP. There’s a lot of common ground through the different disciplines. For instance, ergonomics is a priority – the interior of a bus has to be safe and comfortable like the interior of a kitchen. Cross fertilization between different sectors is the base for continuous innovation and that happens because contamination is an outstanding propeller for creativity.

NB. You are becoming increasingly involved with architecture and the built environment. Can you tell me what makes a Pininfarina-designed building unique?

PP. We deeply studied our roots before entering the field of architecture. And we came to the conclusion that functionality and fluidity have to be the bases for our design language. The milestone was the 2013 Ferra Tower in Singapore, as the project references the others which have followed, including the 2018 Cyrela building in San Paolo. I would say the Ferra is comparable to what the 1947 Cisitalia 202 is for us in the automobile sector – 66 years later.

NB. How does Automobili Pininfarina, founded last year as an independent ecological car brand, fit into the main design agency?

PP. It is a stand-alone separate company with the specific mission to introduce zero-emissions vehicles. Pininfarina remains an independent company providing 360° design services in the most varied sectors. In the particular case of the Automobili Pininfarina Battista hypercar, the challenge for design was expressing our full brand identity and DNA. And it was a very new and a very exciting experience.

NB. Talking of which, we are at a critical junction, with sustainability the main driver of design and innovation. You personally have been involved in progressive projects such as the Autolib in Paris for which you were awarded the Italian personality of the year. How passionate are you about sustainability and finding innovative solutions for the future of homes and transport?

PP. Through its three generations, the Pininfarina family have always been sensitive to the theme of environmental sustainability. I am thinking of the aerodynamic visions of my grandfather in the 1930s, the wind tunnel developed by my father in the 1970s and the electric Blue Car which was the last project developed by my brother Andrea in 2008, completed in the form of the Autolib in 2011.

And yes, I absolutely agree in that designers have a social responsibility to contribute to the realization of a more environmentally sustainable future world. We want to be part of the huge “green deal” of the next 20 years and we will do it by being deeply involved in the process of automotive electrification.

NB. You were always at the pinnacle of industrial design innovation. How do you see Pininfarina developing in the future?

PP. I see potential areas of improvement in the sector of user-experience and in the generation of new design and architectural projects worldwide through the expansion of our remote offices. Also, I wish for a bright future with our cooperation with Automobili Pininfarina.

NB. Pininfarina is, literally, in your blood. What lessons would you say did you learn most from your grandfather and being born into an Italian design dynasty?

PP. My grandfather died in 1966 when I was only 7, but having read his memoirs many times and hearing stories about him through my father, I know a lot about him. I learnt many lessons and one is, above all, never to be satisfied: always try to jump a higher bar. I have an infinite admiration for my grandfather and for what he did. To me he is a pioneer.

NB. Can you tell me what inspires your work? 

PP. When I start a new project I always think of my predecessors and I ask myself how would they do it better than me? Are they happy with what I am doing? This the inspiration for my continuous search for excellence.

Read about the Pininfarina’s Goldenpass Express, see the Pininfarina-designed Princess Yachts X95 and the electric Battista hypercar.

“>

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, yachts, trains, 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.

Nargess Banks: In the 11 years you’ve been leading the company, Pininfarina has evolved into a comprehensive design agency working on all manners of transport, on product and industrial design and increasingly on architecture. Is this how you hoped to take the studio founded by your grandfather?

Paolo Pininfarina: In the last years we have further pushed the process of design diversification started by me in the late 1980s. In particular, we moved from product design to interior design and, since 2013, to architecture.

NB. These are very different areas. What are your underlying design principles?

PP: Our design principles remain the same, as our projects have to always be innovative; they need to be pure and elegant with the objective to last a long term. Also, the design teams develop their work consistently within Pininfarina’s original process, which is continuously updated to incorporate new technologies.

NB. How do these various disciplines creatively feed into one another?

PP. There’s a lot of common ground through the different disciplines. For instance, ergonomics is a priority – the interior of a bus has to be safe and comfortable like the interior of a kitchen. Cross fertilization between different sectors is the base for continuous innovation and that happens because contamination is an outstanding propeller for creativity.

NB. You are becoming increasingly involved with architecture and the built environment. Can you tell me what makes a Pininfarina-designed building unique?

PP. We deeply studied our roots before entering the field of architecture. And we came to the conclusion that functionality and fluidity have to be the bases for our design language. The milestone was the 2013 Ferra Tower in Singapore, as the project references the others which have followed, including the 2018 Cyrela building in San Paolo. I would say the Ferra is comparable to what the 1947 Cisitalia 202 is for us in the automobile sector – 66 years later.

NB. How does Automobili Pininfarina, founded last year as an independent ecological car brand, fit into the main design agency?

PP. It is a stand-alone separate company with the specific mission to introduce zero-emissions vehicles. Pininfarina remains an independent company providing 360° design services in the most varied sectors. In the particular case of the Automobili Pininfarina Battista hypercar, the challenge for design was expressing our full brand identity and DNA. And it was a very new and a very exciting experience.

NB. Talking of which, we are at a critical junction, with sustainability the main driver of design and innovation. You personally have been involved in progressive projects such as the Autolib in Paris for which you were awarded the Italian personality of the year. How passionate are you about sustainability and finding innovative solutions for the future of homes and transport?

PP. Through its three generations, the Pininfarina family have always been sensitive to the theme of environmental sustainability. I am thinking of the aerodynamic visions of my grandfather in the 1930s, the wind tunnel developed by my father in the 1970s and the electric Blue Car which was the last project developed by my brother Andrea in 2008, completed in the form of the Autolib in 2011.

And yes, I absolutely agree in that designers have a social responsibility to contribute to the realization of a more environmentally sustainable future world. We want to be part of the huge “green deal” of the next 20 years and we will do it by being deeply involved in the process of automotive electrification.

NB. You were always at the pinnacle of industrial design innovation. How do you see Pininfarina developing in the future?

PP. I see potential areas of improvement in the sector of user-experience and in the generation of new design and architectural projects worldwide through the expansion of our remote offices. Also, I wish for a bright future with our cooperation with Automobili Pininfarina.

NB. Pininfarina is, literally, in your blood. What lessons would you say did you learn most from your grandfather and being born into an Italian design dynasty?

PP. My grandfather died in 1966 when I was only 7, but having read his memoirs many times and hearing stories about him through my father, I know a lot about him. I learnt many lessons and one is, above all, never to be satisfied: always try to jump a higher bar. I have an infinite admiration for my grandfather and for what he did. To me he is a pioneer.

NB. Can you tell me what inspires your work? 

PP. When I start a new project I always think of my predecessors and I ask myself how would they do it better than me? Are they happy with what I am doing? This the inspiration for my continuous search for excellence.

Read about the Pininfarina’s Goldenpass Express, see the Pininfarina-designed Princess Yachts X95 and the electric Battista hypercar.

Source

Choose your Reaction!