Italy’s contribution to the International Architecture & Design Showcase 2012 comes in the form of a Pininfarina design exhibition at the Italian Cultural Institue on Belgrave Square in Westminster.
The legendary design house, largely known for their evocative creations for the likes of Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, have taken over the first floor of the building to showcase some of their stand-alone products as well as the results of their collaborations with other manufacturers.
There is, of course, far more to Pininfarina than cars such as the graceful Lancia Aurelia B24 (which, incidentally, Battista demanded be designed without door handles so as to protect the clean lines of the car), and there’s a chance to see some of their interesting commissions and in-house domestic products (by Pininfarina Extra, which was established in 1986). Here’s a snapshot.
The exhibition marks the debut of the ‘Vectus Personal Rapid Transit’. Based on the concept of small, light, driverless vehicles, VPRT has been designed to easily assimilate itself into an urban environment with large windows, a carbon fibre frame and an on-demand service whereby passengers can travel from A to B without passing through the rest of the alphabet. Its colours can also be customised.
Given their penchant for designing 200mph+ cars, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Pininfarina can provide you with a rather handy helmet as well. Produced entirely in Italy, cavities in the internal polystyrene payer increase air circulation that is aided by “flow inlets” on the crown. Soft to touch, but granite hard.
With all the attention going to this year’s Olympic Torch, it’s easy to forget that there’s been some fairly special designs in the past. Such as Pininfarina’s effort for the 2006 Winter Olympics. The company designed and manufactured 12,000 torches for the event, all of which had to conform to some strict requirements. These included a flame than was visible from 100m away in broad daylight as well as being albe to ‘perform’ at 5000m above sea level and in winds of up to 120kph.
One of Pinifarina’s most striking designs in recent years was the salacious 2uettottanta, which broke cover in 2010 to commemorate the company’s 80th anniversary. Fittingly, 2010 also saw Alfa romeo’s 100th birthday.
Also on display are four beautiful wooden models of some of Pininfarina’s most iconic designs. Built by RIVA 1920, the 1:10 scale models make an excellent proposition for any desk.
2005 Birdcage 75th
1967 Dino 206 GT
1947 Cisitalia 202 Berlinetta
There's enough to see, and it's surprising just how much Pininfarina get up to outside the world of car design. The Institute is easily accessible in central London and more details can be found here.
Pininfarina in London
Italian Cultrual Institute, 39 Belgrave Square
Until July 15th, 10:00 to 20:00, free entry.
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