Flavio Manzoni Takes ‘Ferrari: Under the Skin’ to a New Level

2017 is proving to be a monumental year for luxury Italian car manufacturing giant, Ferrari so getting to hear from Flavio Manzoni, the Senior Vice President of Design was a great privilege. The initial celebrations of their 70th year milestone began in Maranello, Italy back in September, which featured a blockbuster RM Sotheby’s auction of Ferraris, in which €63 million was achieved in total. The top of the lot came in the form of a limited edition 2017 LaFerrari Aperta, which fetched a staggering €8,300,000; a world record price for any 21st century automobile.

London Design Council - Flavio Manzoni - Ferrari Under the Skin Entry
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The highly anticipated Portofino was also announced that it would be released in late 2017, a car that will be in high demand for any Ferrari buff. Then came the big budget ‘Ferrari: Under the Skin’ exhibition. The display opened its doors last week and will run until the end of April; taking place in London’s iconic Design Museum in Kensington.

London Design Council - Flavio Manzoni - Ferrari Under the Skin Enzo
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As an implied prerequisite of the name ‘Under the Skin’, Ferrari’s automotive design, manufacturing, and engineering was the underlying focus of the exhibition. However, the exhibition does also offer an extensive look at the illustrious history and life of Enzo Ferrari.

From the initial beginnings of learning his trade at Alfa Romeo to founding one of the most prestigious luxury motor brands the world has seen, it is certain that Enzo’s legacy has lived on long after his death in 1988. Ferrari boasted record sales and profits last year, and claim a market valuation of around £20 billion.

London Design Council - Flavio Manzoni - Ferrari Under the Skin Exhibit 125 S
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A large stand out feature of the Ferrari: Under the Skin exhibition was the inclusion of the Ferrari 125 S, Ferrari’s first ever car produced. Rare, detailed drawings of the first Ferrari to ever be designed (pictured below) was a special moment for any Ferrari (or car for that matter) enthusiast.

London Design Council - Flavio Manzoni - Ferrari Under the Skin First Victory
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The exhibition drew attention to Ferrari’s infamous first victory at the 1947 Rome Grand Prix in the 125 S, which would build the foundations for the most successful Formula One team ever, with 229 total wins. Ferrari’s success in Formula One, of course, went hand in hand with legendary racing driver Michael Schumacher. The exhibition included mementos, memorabilia and racing equipment of his renowned career; a touching tribute to the racing great.

Design Council - Flavio Manzoni - Ferrari Under the Skin Components
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Being a design focused exhibition, it was only right that the audience could delve into the key components and processes that go into the making of these striking sports cars. The walkthrough features wooden masters that previous designers have built, clay moulded Ferrari designs compared with the finished product and engineering technique, drawings and styling sketches.

Design Council - Flavio Manzoni - CAD
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Borro Blog got the chance to hear a presentation from the Senior Vice President of Design at Ferrari Flavio Manzoni, who joined Ferrari in 2010 and was tasked with reworking the identity of the brand, moving his entire design team to a studio based dynamic.

London Design Council - Flavio Manzoni - Sketch
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As Manzoni demonstrated everything from initial sketches to finished CAD proposals that were designed under his watch, one quote stood out. When asked “do you still sketch and draw?”, he replied, “We sketch every day. Sketching is the only way to transfer our imaginations to the real world”, encapsulating why Ferrari is as innovative and ground-breaking as it is today.

The display really took the audience on a journey through Ferrari’s history, featuring old and new, it allowed the audience to marvel at Ferrari’s design process over the years. From the charismatic, genius of Enzo Ferrari launching the first 125 S to the heritage being carried forward to the 2017 LaFerrari Aperta, it is clear to see how performance and aesthetics have developed as years have gone by. However, many of the underlying design principles have remained the same, much to the credit of Flavio Manzoni, which is perhaps the secret to Ferrari’s astonishing success.

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About the Author:

Jack is a freelance writer that focuses on luxury asset trends for Borro Private Finance.