Giorgetto Giugiaro is celebrating his 80th birthday, hailed as one the most important figure’s from the automotive “creativity” of the 20th century and the new millennium, his style still has an influence today on the new generations of designers.
An artist, a visionary, Giorgetto has left a great mark on the evolution of the car. From Golf to Panda, from De Lorean to the Giulia GT. But also from Hyundai to the Lamborghini Gallardo, and passing through real milestones in automotive history like the Fiat Uno, like the first Audi 80, the Lancia Delta or, again, the ‘triptych’ Passat-Polo-Scirocco that followed the Golf. Many names of the concept cars gushed out of his creativity from the time of the work to Bertone.
Names that refer to images that leave us amazed by modernity: Alfa Romeo Schighera, Lamborghini Cal, Bugatti 18/3 Chiron, Aston Martin Twenty Twenty, Lexus Landau and Structura. Yet it is not just cars Giugiaro’s signature has innovated, also many other sectors, from food and furnishings, from packaging to cameras, from trains to watches. All small masterpieces arising from his ability to reconcile not only form and function, but also beauty. Like the famous bottle of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Dop, which has become the symbol of this excellence all over the world: the unmistakable spherical ampoule with rectangular solid glass base, which has become mandatory for all the Consortium producers, as foreseen by the Rules of Production Disciplinary. Giugiaro was also the first designer to sign a bottle of water, paying tribute to his homeland. He made two restyled bottles of Acqua S. Bernardo del Cuneese “Gocce 1994” and “Gocce 2008”. The Marille, the pasta format designed for Voiello, dates back to 1984 instead. Inspired by the section of a garnish of an old industrial product, the macaroni has some stripes inside to collect and not absorb the condiments, defined not by chance a masterpiece of culinary engineering.
However it is cars that Giorgeto is mostly associated with, having designed more big-selling cars than anybody else. His earliest cars featured tastefully arched and curving shapes, such as the De Tomato Mangusta and Maserati Ghibli. However, as the 1970s approached, Giugiaro’s designs became increasingly angular, culminating in the “folded paper” era of the 1970s. Straight-lined designs such as the Maserati Bora followed before a softer approach returned in the Maserati Merak, Lamborghini Cala, Maserati Spyder and Ferrari GG50.
In 1976, Giugiaro explored a new taxi concept with the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), which became the 1978 Lancia Megagamma concept. Fiat had commissioned the 1978 concept from Italdesign, asking for a 4-metre, high roof, high h-point, multifunctional, monospace design — but ultimately found the concept too risky for production. In retrospect the Megagamma was more influential than it was itself successful, becoming the “conceptual birth mother of the MPV/minivan movement” — giving rise to such mini/compact MPV’s as the Nissan Prairie (1981) and Fiat 5–L(2011) as well as larger MPV’s including the Renault Espace and Chrysler minivans.
More recently Giugiaro worked on other Italian designs such as the Maserati 3200T, famous for it’s boomerang rear lights (a personal favourite) it marked a return to form for Maserati. In early 2000’s he again teamed up with Alfa Romeo’s Centro Stile design studio bringing the beautiful 159 to life, the recently dropped Fiat Punto is also a proud member of his design work, and not forgetting in 2005 to celebrate 50 years of Giorgetto Giugiaro designing cars came the Ferrari GG50, based on a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti and first shown at the 2005 Tokyo motor show, the GG50 featured a 540bhp 5748cc V12 engine.