Italdesign Giugiaro today announced changes to its design leadership, and the appointment of Walter de’Silva as President and current Lamborghini design chief Filippo Perini as the company’s new head of design.
The announcement comes just a few months after both Giorgetto Giugiaro and his son Fabrizio stepped down from their previous role at the eponymous company and sold the remainders of their shares to parent company Volkswagen AG.
Since the start of this month, de’Silva succeeded the elder Giugiaro as President of Italdesign Giugiaro. De’Silva also retains his position as head of design for the Volkswagen Group.
Perini comes to Italdesign from Lamborghini Centro Stile, where he has been brand and design director since 2006. He succeeds Wolfgang Egger, who left Italdesign to head Volkswagen Group’s Interbrand Design Studio in Braunschweig, Germany, following the unveiling of the GEA concept car created in partnership with technology brand LG and shown in Geneva this year.
“We want to go back to being the ambassadors of design to the world,” de’Silva said at the press conference in Turin this morning, adding: “Italdesign is not only styling, but also innovation and design.”
De’Silva said Italdesign’s rich history in designing not only vehicles (for many automotive manufacturers) but also a wide range of products will continue to evolve under his leadership as President, stating: “The era of division between car and product design is over. We will continue to do both in an integrated fashion.”
Noting how Italdesign has been used as a satellite design studio for all of the brands under the Volkswagen Group umbrella since the company’s majority buyout in 2010, de’Silva said: “In my new role I will give more powers to the various VW brands, leading towards aesthetic autonomy.”
De’Silva also announced plans to open the ‘Academy Italdesign’ in Turin as a means of “teaching the art of Italian design”. He equated the future Academy to being akin to a “museum of Italian automotive design” and said that was “an opportunity” for the Italian city to “be open to new concepts of mobility.”
Scheduled to open in 2016, the new Academy will be a design school with an internal faculty consisting of VW Group designers as well as independent professionals. “We will choose the best graduates, with an initial work experience, worldwide,” de’Silva said. “We want to make it the best school in the world.” De’Silva expects it to be important on an international level. “Our claim will be innovation and design,” he said, “and to be innovative you need to do training.”
Perini called the initiative a “brilliant vision”, which he felt would “revolutionize” Italdesign Giugiaro.
“Innovation and design will be the motto of the new Italdesign,” de’Silva said at the event, “[but] I’ll have to learn to be President, I’ve always been a designer.”
Italdesign also announced Jörg Astalosch as its new CEO. Astalosch has been working for the Volkswagen Group since 1988; in 2004 moved to Audi where he worked in the Finance and Control department of Audi of America. From 2012 to 2014 he was CFO of MAN and then he worked again directly for Volkswagen Group’s Supervisory Board chairman.
It is as yet unclear as to who will be appointed to succeed Filippo Perini as director of Lamborghini Centro Stile.
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