Italian design: Flavio Manzoni, from dreaming flying cars to designing a futuristic Ferrari
- WTI Magazine #116 Jun 15, 2019
Some kids dream of becoming pilots of speed cars such as Ferrari, other kids, dream about designing them. I cannot say for sure that this is what Flavio Manzoni was dreaming of when he was a young boy living in Nuoro, Sardegna, but I like to think so. For sure, since a very young age Flavio’s taste was exposed and influenced by his father, an architect, and his brother, who pursued a career as a furniture designer.
Nowadays Flavio is known as one of the most renowned automotive designers; after studying architecture at the University of Florence and specializing in industrial design, Flavio graduated writing a thesis in collaboration with Lancia, and then becoming within only 3 years Head for the interior design of the brand. Later on he moved to Barcelona to collaborate with SEAT and worked on the production of models such as Altea, León, Salsa and Tango.
Flavio Manzoni can be considered a futurist at heart: his designs are inspired by other spheres of design, such as the sculptures of Amish Kappor, or the geometric calculations of Gear Friedrich Bernhard Riemann; he also plays piano and loves classical music.
He also created cars such the new Fiat 500, VW Golf MkVI and the VW Scirocco. Wherever he works you can be sure to find harmony in the look and the design, together with a detail eye for functionality.
The turning point in his career was becoming Chief of Ferrari Centro Stile back in 2010. Of course it is an achievement that looks great on a resumè, but more over guarantees that independence that every designer dreams of, as every Ferrari is designed from scratch with no need to stick to a pre-existing platform. Manzoni led the design of cars such as 458 Italia, California T, GTC4 Lusso, LaFerrari and FXX K, all different types of cars: from luxury convertible to grand tourers.
Flavio is able to find balance between being innovative, interpreting the future in a car, and yet acknowledging the heritage that Ferrari brings along.
It is not surprising then to learn that Flavio Manzoni has been awarded of the 2019 American Prize for Design, prompted by the Chicago Athenaeum, an International Museum of Architecture and Design, located in Chicago and founded in 1988. The Museum is dedicated to the Art of Design in all areas of the discipline: architecture, industrial, and product design, graphics, and urban planning.
According to him, Ferrari is not a car, is a dream: therefore should look appropriately. Flavio is committed to remain true to the essence of the car yet experimenting possible future scenarios that see technology more and more involved in every part of the designer process and the final result. To him is essential experimenting every phase but remaining truthful to the essence of the brand: “I don’t think an SUV can be a supercar. Every time we work on a new Ferrari we try to improve every aspect, including the center of gravity – so an SUV is not a Ferrari. I don’t understand why so many other brands are doing them. In my opinion it shows a lack of courage”, said Flavio during an interview to Wallpaper.
Maybe when Flavio was a little boy he expected to see cars flying by 2020, this hasn’t happened and probably won’t, but the last Ferrari SF90 Stradale, in honor to the 90 years of la Scuderia (the brand) is a dedicated supercar, efficient in its performance that will make you feel almost as you were flying.