Flavio Manzoni’s job as head designer at Ferrari didn’t exist until he joined the company in 2010. The automaker previously employed design houses like Pininfarina to style its cars, so when he was given the task of designing all future Ferraris from that point out, there was tremendous pressure on his shoulders.
He and his team’s first project, the LaFerrari hybrid hypercar, was a massive success. Many diehard Ferrari fans believe it to be a beautiful and natural progression from the Enzo that preceded it, featuring subtle styling cues from Ferrari’s other flagship models but also being modern and forward thinking – not a retro or throwback design.
In a recent interview with Australia’s Financial Review, Manzoni made it clear he’s no fan of retro or throwback designs. Using cars like the VW Beetle and Mini Cooper as examples, he says retro design is a “problem,” that forces brands and consumers to look back on the past with rose tinted glasses rather than keeping their eye on the future.
It’s this attitude that keeps Manzoni thinking about how he can propel Ferrari design forward. A massive fan of 3D printing, he believes the technology could be used to craft limited-run cars or parts for bespoke customer Ferraris, but not before it’s more widely used to make accessories, furniture and other products with more basic manufacturing processes.
“I think in the future it will be much more usual to produce maybe a small series not using moulds but using stereolithography processes,” he said.
“This has already started in the accessories field, such as lighting. There are some lamps that are produced using 3D printing and this changes everything because we can personalise the product a lot. It changes the way to conceive the products, because we have already started working with programs that we call parametric design or generative design.”
Another hot topic within Ferrari’s Centro Stile Ferrari design house is the subject of one-off cars for ultra-wealthy customers. He says customers will often come to Ferrari asking for a new version of legendary cars like the Testarossa with modern-day mechanics, but the answer is always no – coming back to his disdain for modern day retro design. Instead, the company aims to create modern, new bespoke models for its customers with subtle styling cues from the automaker’s past, like the SP12 EC Eric Clapton commissioned four years ago.
“We are working on other one-offs. We cannot declare the number, but quite a lot,” Manzoni said. “There are a lot of people today that can buy a car like this.”
Manzoni is also excited about the idea of designing the forthcoming Ferrari Dino model, which is expected to undercut the 488 GTB in size and will be powered by a turbocharged V6 engine.
“We discovered this (the return of the Dino) from the press,” Manzoni said. “We say it is a dream you keep in your bottom drawer. We would love to do this.”
And finally, just as we said yesterday, there are no plans for the automaker to ever produce an SUV or crossover.
“No, it would be very bad. It doesn’t fit the spirit of the brand,” he added.