A few months back, the famous designer Giorgetto Giugiaro who started designing cars in 1955 left his role as honorary president at Italdesign Giugiaro. And this was as good a reason as any to visit Italdesign Giugiaro, after the recent Frankfurt Motor Show. At Frankfurt, we saw many concept cars, but at Italdesign Giugiaro we got an insight into the world of design. And this started the moment we entered the premises. Everything, however small or big, exhibits a sense of refined design with a whole lot of thought put into it. Of course the concept cars and prototypes get the most eyeballs, but if you look at even the nameplates outside cabins of the executives, you‚Äôll notice that these too are tapered and curved in a very classic manner. It‚Äôs almost as if everything at Italdesign Giugiaro has been done to express that, ‚Äėdesign is limited only by imagination‚Äô.
Since 2010, Italdesign Giugiaro has been part of the VW Group. They say, ‚ÄúItaldesign Giugiaro is now fully integrated into the Volkswagen and Audi Group. The company‚Äôs management, during the last five years, gained experience and full competence to autonomously operate and strengthen the presence of Italdesign Giugiaro inside the Group. The company‚Äôs growth is and will be constant. Some 50 new hires are planned within the end of the current year. Since 2010, some 200 new employers joined the company. Giugiaro‚Äôs decision to leave Italdesign, will neither affect the activities, nor the company‚Äôs growth process.‚ÄĚ
There is now a new management at Italdesign Giugiaro and Italian designer Walter de Silva has been nominated president of the board of directors. J√∂rg Astalosch is the new chief executive officer and Filippo Perini will be responsible for design, after significant experience as director of the Automobili Lamborghini Centro Stile. De Silva will also continue to be head of Group Design at the Volkswagen Group.
In the world of automobiles, Italian designers have always had a special place, and Giugiaro is no different. In his career spanning 60 years, Giugiaro has designed more than 200 car models, including revolutionary hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf and Fiat Uno. Both went on to become big successes and proved that proper space management and utilisation were possible in a hatchback. In fact, both these cars can be considered the father and mother of modern day hatchbacks. Ever since, Giugiaro has been known and respected for delivering more passenger room with a small exterior footprint.
The academic world has also acknowledged Giugiaro‚Äôs genius by conferring upon him seven ad honorem degrees. The awards in car and industrial design are countless too ‚Äď among them are six Compasso d‚ÄôOro, three Car of the Year awards and two Golden Steering Wheels. In 2001, the President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi awarded him with the title of Cavaliere del Lavoro (Knighthood for Labour), in 2007 the President of Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano awarded him with Premio Leonardo and Premio Leonardo Qualit√† Italia for being ‚Äúamong those who have contributed to shaping the course of the European automotive industry.‚ÄĚ
Giorgetto Giugiaro has not just designed cars, he has also worked on projects with original equipment manufacturers all over the world. Interestingly, he and his company has done a lot of industrial and product design, for names including Nikon cameras, Okamura office chairs, San Bernardo mineral water bottles and the high speed train ETR 600 Frecciargento. They have designed Seiko watches like the Astron GPS Solar Chronograph, coffee machines for Essse Caff√®, and many award winning and path breaking tractors. With Ansaldro STS, they designed new trains for Riyadh‚Äôs Metro Line 3 in Saudi Arabia and they have made modern kitchens with Scavolini. They have also made furniture, aluminium storage containers, wine tasting glasses etc. Last year, they built a clone of the famous 6th century Sarcophagus of the Spouses, a terracotta sculpture that is displayed at a museum in Rome. First they procured a digital three-dimensional scan of the original Sarcophagus. Then using the very same techniques and machines used every day to make the 1:1 scale prototypes and automobiles models, Italdesign Giugiaro created the perfect clone. It was displayed at the Museum of History in Bologna. Alfonsina Russo, superintendent of the Etruscan National Museum of Villa Giulia in Rome, said, ‚ÄúThis clone is perfectly similar to the original one. It is a perfect example of how modern technologies can support the fruition of ancient art and history. Now a very unique piece of history can be shown all over the world without any problem or fear of damage to the original.‚ÄĚ Giorgetto Giugiaro, who personally supervised the entire operation, said, ‚ÄúI‚Äôm very proud of this project, this clone will also allow blind people to experience this unique piece of art by touching it ‚Äď it will be a tactile visit path.‚ÄĚ
So it‚Äôs safe to say that Giorgetto Giugiaro is an extremely talented designer who has not just limited his creativity to cars, he has gone beyond and even ventured into the world of antiquities and art. By taking full control of Italdesign Giugiaro, the Volkswagen Group now clearly possesses a very powerful and gifted design company. What remains to be seen is whether they‚Äôll now shift their focus entirely to automotive products or also continue doing the other things the company was known for.
What I found particularly pleasing is that the designers at Italdesign Giugiaro, use the 3D animation software Maya for a variety of tasks such as modelling, data preparation and cleanup, and advanced visualisation. Maya is used at Italdesign Giugiaro to create 3D concept models as well as detailed shape plans and interior design components that can then be shared and reviewed as digital prototypes. Many automotive marketing departments and their advertising agencies also use Maya to turn automobile digital design data into highly realistic advertisements used in print, on the web, and in television commercials ‚ÄĒreducing the need for costly physical prototypes and photo shoots. Maya means ‚Äėillusion‚Äô in Hindi, and I am sure that some Indians have contributed to the creation of this software. The designers at Italdesign Giugiaro who were not aware of the meaning of the word were quite happy to know it. The magic of design via Maya now makes sense, doesn‚Äôt it?