Ferrari Design Director Creates LaFerrari Spacecraft

“It all started as a bit of fun,” says Flavio Manzoni, who decided to parlay his passion for science fiction into a vision for an altogether different mode of transport than the one he typically oversees in his role as Ferrari’s design director. “At first it was a sketch, or rather, a series of sketches, then [it developed] into a rendering,” which gave form to a Ferrari spaceship.

Manzoni says his infatuation for spacecraft began when he was just a child in his native Sardinia: “I lived in a six-story building, with a large terrace at the top. I thought that one day a UFO would land there. It disturbed me a little, but I was curious.” The UFO instead landed in Maranello, in a kind of Area 51 where designers shape future Ferraris.

Sketches of the Ferrari UFO by Flavio Manzoni
Sketches of the Ferrari UFO by Flavio Manzoni

Though this type of exercise is just a dream, it remains beautiful: sleek and thin, soft and aggressive. Yes, it lacks wheels and other aspects that make up a traditional supercar worthy of the iconic nameplate, but the design still manages to reference characteristic design elements of Ferrari – notably the hybrid-powered LaFerrari, but also the iconic creations of the past, such as the Paolo Martin-designed Pininfarina Modulo of 1970.

The front of the spacecraft mimics the form of the F1-derived spoiler as seen on the LaFerrari (and the alternative models developed during its design phase) as well as the track-only FXX K, from which the spacecraft borrows its floating rear spoiler. Divided into two shells — with Ferrari’s defining gap finished in red demarcating the separation — the top section includes two wings that flow downwards and wrap around the lower section of the body to form the side radiator openings on the supercars.

“I tried to imagine something that can fly in the future, since there will be less and less space available on the ground,” says Manzoni. “And I focused on creating a little craft that’s different than my childhood dream, when I thought that a car of the future would slip on a cushion.”

Always the graceful creator, Manzoni credits Guillaume Vasseur for realizing the 3D model and Guglielmo ‘Billy’ Galliano for the rendering and post-production. But he also cites others that were influential in the process, such as French designer Ito Morabito, who created two scale models of hypothetical Citroën space modules, one inspired by the Traction Avant and another by the DS.

A number of movies, books and comics also served as inspiration for Manzoni’s creation. Having been fascinated by Area 51 and the Bermuda Triangle from an early age, Manzoni would often read Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon series, complete with its vectors and future cities. It was one of his favorites.

He also reminisces about Blade Runner but says the apocalyptic scenarios were a bit too dark. “‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ was a milestone,” says Manzoni. “But I’m also a fan of the TV series ‘UFO’ and ‘Space: 1999’.

The work of Italian industrial designer Joe Cesare Colombo and French furniture designer Pierre Paulin also influenced Manzoni: “I was struck by their ability to anticipate the future with a ‘70s aesthetic.”

Ferrari design director Flavio Manzoni's UFO concept

So what exactly is the point of this spacecraft? Was it just a fun exercise for the Ferrari design team to get their mind off of the other projects they’ve got going on? Or does Manzoni anticipate a use for the aircraft he devised by some form of extraterrestrial life?

“I think it is possible that there are other beings in the universe – more or less evolved,” says the designer, “but I also think it’s really difficult to intercept. What if they were living with us already? Perhaps our brothers of the cosmos have done as the first Europeans who conquered the Americas: when the mission ended, they returned home.”


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