The Cutting Edge of Italian Design

What is the essence of design made in Italy, and why has it captivated the world? From fashion, to architecture, to products and of course, cars, Italy is the epicentre of aesthetic, fine design that is timeless and transcends boundaries. In this exclusive, from the heart piece, Paolo Pininfarina, the Chairman of iconic, Turin-based Italian car design firm and coachbuilder Pininfarina, tells Lifestyle Insider about what Italian design means to him, and how the new drive towards sustainability informs his company’s design direction. Pininfarina has, over the decades, worked with the likes of Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, and Maserati – and is also designing yachts, classic car simulators, furniture and appliances, and even homes.

TCCT and Pininfarina come together to make classic car simulators - Sportiva and Leggenda

Italian design is very much related with the history of the country and its cultural legacy. Italy is the site of the greater part of the world’s artistic heritage – from the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the centuries that have followed. The success of Italian design is due to the link of this millennial history with the innovations created by the country’s talented architects/designers and visionary entrepreneurs.


The features of good Italian style are harmony, balance of volumes and shapes, and finally, elegance; if the design is innovative and classic at the same time, it becomes durable and often even timeless. And let’s not forget to take care of the details: Design Masters such as my grandfather (Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina, who founded the company in 1930) were never satisfied.

A very good standard was achieved, but it was not always maintained; in fact, design vision and excellence need to be continuously revitalized through the generations, and this is the secret of a successful, long-term family business.

KAIROS, a collab between Pininfarina and Oceanco yacht builder

We are aware of the worldwide continuous technological progress in our industry, and we know that digital tools are globalizing the design movement, but this issue will not make Italian design marginal. We need to be updated by investing in the new creative processes: at the same level of technical expertise our history could continue to make the difference.

TEOREMA, Pininfarina's concept car

I believe that a modern Italian designer should have the talent and the personality to push innovation and to dictate the trends without hesitation: in the end it is all about taking calculated risks.

Let me quote the Italian Master Renzo Piano: “We cannot be afraid of the future, because it is the only place where we will certainly go.”

Interior of Pininfarina Concept Car in DRIVE MODE Interior of the Pininfarina Concept Car in LOUNGE MODE

We at Pininfarina have always seen sustainability and environmental constraints as an opportunity to generate progress and new design solutions. I like to remember our wind tunnel that was established in 1972 (the first full-scale one to be created in Europe) with the aim of pushing aerodynamic research to be cutting edge in the management of the energy crisis of the 1970s.

Now the same thing is happening with electrification: we have married this revolution not now, but 15 years ago and we are glad to be part of a disruptive process that will change the architecture of automobiles and mobility systems.

KAIROS yacht Interior, by Pininfarini x Oceanco

There is a chance to foresee a bright future for Italian independent design houses such as ours. However, competition is strong and the road is not downhill. It will be necessary to keep the design and engineering talents in the office and to explore the paths of innovation; the communication of our work will also be very important.

In the case of Pininfarina, it will be mandatory to respect the values and the mission of our company.

Representing the Family and the legacy with the glorious years of the past, I am strongly committed to support the company in its journey towards the future.

Paolo Pininfarina

Chairman, Pininfarina Group

TCCT and Pininfarina’s classic car simulators TCCT x Pininfarina classic car simulator gives vintage car enthusiasts an immersive experience with highly performing simulators The KAIROS yacht by Pininfarina and Oceanco


Priya Kumari Rana

Lifestyle Insider is a kind of junction point, connecting people with diverse interests that touch on the more luxurious aspects of lifestyle – fashion, design, travel, food and spirits, art, watches and jewellery, cars, yachts, and aviation, and technology. People today don’t fit into boxes and categories. In our individual ways, we are interested in diverse themes, products, and the challenges that face our world today. You will judge how well this effort of mine caters to your passions and proclivities.

Lifestyle Insider is a showcase of all that is beautiful and luxe. Behind every creation, is a designer, chef, entrepreneur, or a design maison. I have delved into my own appreciation for objetsde luxe that I have admired over the years – be it a love of fashion from the world’s top Parisian and Italian fashion maisons and their ’90s muses, or the care that goes into sari and Indian textile collections in my own family. Growing up on four continents, as the daughter of a former Indian Ambassador, I’ve seen a remarkable array of historic places and met a myriad people. My aim is to bring my world view into this website, a curation of what I find particularly stunning, unique, and newsworthy.

It’s an exciting time for brands all over the world. With change comes opportunity. With the global ‘reset’ and uncertainty on many fronts, there is a chance to write a new script. Let’s be those pioneers.

A bit about me:
A luxury and fashion journalist with 25 years of experience in publishing and magazine journalism, I have edited some of India’s top fashion and luxury magazines. I got my BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and went on to receive my Master’s in English and French from the University of Strasbourg, France. I have also studied German and Film. I live in Gurugram, India, and look forward to once again exploring our world with a new-found freedom.

Priya Kumari Rana

Founder and Editor

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