A postcard or e-card sent from Dubai could soon feature a rising structure with edges turning in like the corners of a race circuit. Or the talking point in a plush living room in Downtown Dubai could be a recliner sofa that gracefully curves inwards. For, Pininfarina has landed in Dubai and is set to claim a place soon in the city’s legendary skyline.
In a presentation punctuated with still-relevant clichés and poignant observations, Paolo Pininfarina, the current Chairman of the legendary Italian design house, introduced the stuff that the legend is made of and the stuff the legend has made since Batista ‘Pinin’ Farina established the company in 1930. Paolo, the younger son of Sergio, has been at the helm of Pininfarina Extra, the arm of the company that took their design skills beyond automobile, ever since he created it in 1986. In these 30 years Pininfarina Extra has developed over 600 projects worldwide.
The arrival of Pininfarina to the Middle East signals their intention of transforming premium and bespoke projects in the commercial as well as the private realms with elevating design. UAE’s progressive mind-set and leaning towards the iconic will provide a congenial platform for the bold and brave ideas of the Italian design pioneers to flourish. Paolo Pininfarina has already been inducted into the Board of Directors of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Dubai.
Upcoming projects in Dubai
One of the two big projects coming up is the interior design of the Innovation Center (below) in the Sustainable City that aims at opening in September 2018. Pininfarina will also unveil a showroom for bespoke furniture in September this year.
Pininfarina will work closely with locally established companies in creating signature projects, through what they do best – art direction that fuses form and function. Incidentally, Pininfarina has already turned a page in celebrating its association with Dubai by designing the Dubai Cycling Tour trophy.
Cars and Buildings – the design perspective
For those of us who knows Pininfarina for their automotive achievements, Paolo had a few interesting slides that drew a parallel between their iconoclast car design and the architectural work.
Ferrari Sergio – the avant-garde car designed in honour of Paolo’s father; and the Ferra building designed for Singapore – a bold statement in red in a city where buildings are formal and neutral; both did not get a go ahead from authorities. Both the creations remained concepts but Paolo Pininfarina couldn’t care less! Shaping them had a sense of purpose in itself. We hope that some of the avant-garde designs that remained as blueprints like the Ferra too will find their home in Dubai.
[Watch Ferrari Sergio being designed. It is amazing how it comes alive in careful detail.]
Needless to say, Pininfarina has a bold approach to design. The brave designer shouldn’t really worry about failures. A car so innovative, CISITALIA (featured in the topmost photo where Paolo is making his presentation) was hardly understood in 1947. Aimed at 1000 units every year, it had to stop the production clock at 107! Paolo calls the hydrogen powered Pininfarina H2 Speed (below) the Cisitalia of 2016. Yet o be fully understood, this could perhaps be a racing possibility a decade later!
The ambitious 360º design vision of Pininfarina aspires to blend technological and scientific advances to bring beauty and function to even the smallest of daily items.
Areas of expertise include industrial (electronics, sporting goods, machinery, furniture, consumer products graphic design and packaging), architecture and interiors or residential, commercial and hospitality structures) and transportation. The centrepiece of the parent company’s 85-year celebration was an 85 metre yacht that defined ‘superluxury’ for the connoisseur!
[Watch the video on Pininfarina design that goes beyond cars]
This fondness for the new and challenging has won the brand many awards. The more recent ones include the 2012 interior design award in Geneva for the Cambiano concept car; 2016 iF Design Award for the residential tower Cyrela by Pininfarina in Sao Paolo, Brazil; 2017 German Design Award for Vitra in Balneario Camboriu and the 2016 Intrenational Architecture Award for the new ATC tower in Istanbul airport (below).
On the break up with Ferrari
The famous signature may not grace Ferrari wheel wells anymore but the association is expected to continue through one-off creations and limited editions. Sergio Pininfarina once said, “it is essential to preserve our heritage by making it part of our future.” After designing over 100 models for the much-loved brand, there will inevitably be a bit of Pininfarina in Ferrari’s future, and vice versa. As Paolo admits, “Just as those Ferraris were designed by Pininfarina; those Pininfarinas were powered by Ferrari”.
Paolo is optimistic that just as Ferrari pursues possibilities in-house, the discontinued association now allows Pininfarina to step out and explore iconic architecture, furniture, sports cars and perhaps… even racing. In fact, the Fittipaldi EF7 Vision Gran Turismo currently being developed is a sports car.