Design Essay: Is still possible to draw in Italian?


Designer and writer Matteo Licata takes a brief look back at the history of Italian car design and asks if the same emotion can be replicated today

Whenever someone mentions the words “Italian Design,” the mind automatically conjures up images from the ’Golden Thirties’ of the Carrozzeria. The three decades between 1950 and 1980 when a few small outfits located around Turin managed to rival Detroit for global automotive design dominance. Those days are, for better or worse, long gone. As an automobile historian hailing from Turin, I can’t help but wonder about the true meaning of those powerful two words and their real legacy, or if they ever meant anything at all. After all, many designers quietly employed by Turinese companies hailed from places far away from the river Po’s sleepy banks.

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