Sunday, August 03, 2008

Olympic Torch Design and Pininfarina

The New York Times has an interactive feature on the design of Olympic torches from the 1936 Berlin Olympics to this summer's Beijing Olympics. There were some strange ones -- like Mexico City's 1968 Summer Games' short whisk-shaped torch and Albertville's 1992 Winter Games' torch designed by Phillipe Starck.

My least favorite is the Sidney 2000 Summer torch and my favorite is the Pininfarina-designed Turin Winter torch, seen above next to the current torch.

Pininfarina started in Turin in 1930, founded by Battista “Pinin” Farina as a small-production coachbuilder for the emerging auto industry. Pininfarina is probably best known for its Italian designs -- Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, Maseratis -- but since its founding, the company has designed for almost every major car company on the planet, including Cadillac, Ford, Honda, and Volvo.

The company designs other things too -- luggage, toothbrushes, wine bottles, espresso machines -- everything.

Pininfarina's description for the Honda Argento Vivo (below), a concept produced for the 1995 Tokyo Auto Show, reads like Italian translated to Japanese translated to English:
Emotional two-seater convertible, realised on Honda high technological mechanicals, which adopts sophisticated solutions in terms of aluminium space frame, rear wheel drive and fuely retractable hard top moved by a system of electric motors and hydraulic actuators. Technology combines with the warmth and the fascination of the interior, originating a sporty but, at the same time, romantic car.

The firm works better with its Italian compatriots. Pininfarina has designed almost every notable Ferrari: the 365 GTB/4 “Daytona” in 1968, the Dino the year after, the Berlinetta Boxer in 1971, the Testrossa in 1984, and the F40 in 1987.


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