Why Autostyle Is More Than A Design Competition

Autostyle is far more than a design competition. While many automotive events tend to be dry, boring and devoid of character, Autostyle flips that belief on its head by providing a humanistic approach that makes attendees feel as though they are part of a family, not just another delegate.

Now in its 10th year, the Autostyle Design Competition — organized by vehicle component manufacturer Berman in association with Auto&Design magazine, Politecnico di Milano and the local municipalities – consists of a healthy mix of ingredients, all of which revolve around people and ultimately conclude in a prize giving ceremony.

Part conference, part competition and part car show, Autostyle hosts automotive professionals, design students and concept and production cars in a glamorous setting with quintessential Italian architecture as a backdrop. The event brings people together to discuss automotive design over a series of workshops and activities spread over two days.

As in years past, the 10th anniversary of Autostyle showcased the work of young designers competing for prizes in four categories: Urban Cars, Sports Cars, a ‘Creativity Award’ — presented by Auto&Design magazine — and the Audience Prize, an award given on behalf of the event’s attendees. Nearly 100 entries were whittled down to a selection of 12 finalists, with entrants representing eight different nationalities as well as a range of European design schools. You can read more about the winners in our previous story.

But while Autostyle revolved around the award ceremony at the end of the event, the workshops and speakers are the ultimate highlight. Guest speakers this year included Ferrari design director Flavio Manzoni; Robin Page, Volvo’s interior design director; Alessandro Maccolini, chief exterior designer at Alfa Romeo; Giovanni Ribota, chief designer at Maserati; and Alfredo and Maria Paola Stola of design consultancy StudioTorino.

Giovanni Ribota kicked off the event with a presentation on the new Maserati Quattroporte and its smaller stable mate, the Ghibli. He spoke of the definitive Maserati design cues – harmony of shapes, dynamism of lines and Italian elegance — that are present in each of the designs.

For the Quattroporte, Ribota noted, the main objective was to have these traits communicated though an aggressive front face, classic proportions and rear end volumes, highlighting how the rising shoulderline was inspired by the Kubang concept first shown at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show. The car’s interior was born from the idea of creating a sensation of space through the use of elegant forms accentuated by chrome elements, while the center console and door panels were made to be “as simple as possible” with fluid forms and a floating theme.

The Ghibli, meanwhile, was made to be the “quintessential driver’s car,” Ribota said. “We wanted the Ghibli to be the epitome of the sports sedan, a real driver’s car, and to get inspiration we went back to the core of Maserati heritage: the Birdcage.” Ribota also mentioned the inspiration the 1957 Maserati 250F Formula 1 car —piloted by Juan Miguel Fangio – had on the overall design theme of the interior.

The Maserati identity is communicated through its grille, compact rear deck and pronounced front and rear fenders, while the intersecting lines on the bodyside recall iconic racing models from the Trident brand. “The shape of the car is made by the intersection between a center fuselage and four prominent fenders,” Ribota said. It’s a defining design element we are going to see more of on future Maserati designs.

While still on the subject of luxury, Volvo interior design director Robin Page spoke of what ‘premium’ meant to him and explained how the Concept Coupe concept exemplified the term.


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