During its 42 years in the automotive service field, Italdesign-Giugiaro has worked with many international carmakers and has been responsible for some of the world's most revered concepts and production vehicles. In May this year, the firm became part of the VW Group, marking a new era in its growth.
Italdesign-Giugiaro provides services for complete project development within three main areas: styling, engineering and testing and prototyping, which all operate autonomously within the organization. The company's aim is to work in synergy with its clients, which is why they constantly investigate and evaluate emergent technical solutions.
In search of new solutions
Italdesign-Giugiaro, for example, was the first independent service provider to implement a Virtual Reality Center in-house in order to offer 1:1 scale virtual reality design and style services.
And now, to harmonize the design process - and improve integration between styling and engineering - Italdesign has started several pioneering pilot projects with Dassault Systèmes to investigate 'clay digital modeling' (concept/free form modeling), as well as high-quality surface modeling.
"Innovation and creativity are key factors for facing the market changes and competition. Many of our suppliers have changed or do not exist any longer, while our partnership with Dassault Systèmes has been ongoing for 20 years," says Italdesign CIO Giuseppe Savino. "Dassault Systèmes has always been the right partner to leverage innovation and this is why we are looking forward to deeply investigating emerging design solutions like CATIA Imagine & Shape."
Combining technology with hand craft
While most famous for their products' iconic styling, the Italdesign-Giugiaro philosophy stems from an approach of ensuring technical feasibility first, creating designs that meet all technical requirements, ensuring workable solutions.
During Giugiaro's design process, the first virtual surfaces are created following the selection of a design proposal. Rendering, animation, virtual and physical modeling techniques - all handled interactively - support this research and presentation phase.
At this stage, the 3D data of the model can be useful for engineers to conduct the first feasibility studies and for the workshop department to mill a 1:1 scale physical model. The modelers' manual skillfulness still plays an important role in the finishing and touch-up phase, but technology goes hand-in-hand with the high manual skill of the craftsperson and their utmost attention to detail.
As this process illustrates, styling - and experience hand craft - is still a primary and fundamental part of the Giugiaro approach. However, over the last decade, industrial design has rapidly evolved from the traditional design-by-hand approach to the use of the most advanced technological tools, with which Italdesign has ensured its leadership in the field.
New challenges, new solutions
This approach has hidden challenges: a lack of integration, difficulty in data exchange and different UIs in various software systems present serious complexities of management. Moreover, a modified model often has to be re-created in the different systems along the lifecycle.
New tools, which boost creativity and are easy to use, are needed in order to allow designers to 'concretize' their ideas immediately. From Italdesign's perspective, the modeling tools used in the automotive field should draw inspiration from the ease of use of the entertainment applications, while integrating control and analysis tools required by the engineering domain.