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The Unforgettable Syd MEAD

Yesterday 30th of December 2019 Syd Mead passed away.

Patrick Strattner Photography

It is difficult to find the right words to describe the man, the artist, the designer, the visionary talent he has been and how much he inspired all of us and still will continue to do for next generations to come.

Syd Mead was born in Minnesota on the 18th of July in 1933, he was a student of Art Center in Los Angeles (later renamed Art Center College of Design in Pasadena) where I graduated in 1959. Car designer first and visionary designer later he is most known and remembered as probably the most visionary designer whom inspired the Science Fiction movie industry in USA during the 80’s. Star Trek and Blade Runner just to name a couple of films that made us dream of a future life really different from the real one we were living at that time.

Great Video Interview made by Fireball Tim Lawrence (my ex classmate)
Syd Mead illustration

Syd Mead, since his Design Company creation in 1970, worked also for some European firms as industrial designer and visionary designer, he also gave a strong contribution to some important Japanese brands like Sony or Minolta, he contributed to some video games productions.

I met him when he came to visit our school (ACCD) during my 7th semester, he came to give a speech with many visuals and we were all completely struck by his words and images, definitively an inspiring person. After his speech he came down stage to talk to us closer and we discovered a very nice person, too. Warm, smiling and enthusiast to share his experience.

When I started to teach car design often, I would say to students: please search for this name “Syd Mead” you will find the right inspiration!

We all love his illustrations and his gouache technique, we all tried to copy it mixing the indigo blue the black the white the orange and violet for the sunset reflections, the glass reflections and the magic rule for the Warm light and Cool light, the dramatic perspective for a dynamic composition on paper. I could continue, we all learned from him to be better and more complete designers (in any field).

Syd Mead was someone with an extraordinary talent, one of a kind. He worked motivated by his strong passion for designing the unknown and he never really stopped. He inspired tons of people and still will because he is unforgettable!

Long series of Syd Mead’s illustrations

We will miss you!

Design Education My Articles News

Conceptual Yacht Design Project Winner Award at the MYDA 2018

Elena Nappi Yacht Concept Project – La Sapienza University Rome Italy


At the MYDA 2018 several boat designers & Studio Designs have won the international prize presenting projects rich in technologies, new architectures and with an eye to new Design Trends.

Elena Nappi‘s project Carapace goes in this direction with a strong creative approach that makes the perfect synthesis of all 3 main elements: Technology, Architecture & Trends.

The new Exterior Design language is a good example of boat design evolution, closer to Car Design and contemporary Architecture. The Interior Design modern and respectful of typical new luxury design codes such as the spaces organization and their use or the refined materials choices.

For full coverage: MYDA 2018

Design Education My Articles News

How to Make a Car Design Portfolio Advices

The Car Design Portfolio is a hot topic in Design education, and during my last LIVE CHAT on my YouTube channel I talked about it. The objective in this video lecture is to give lots of advices and tips to you so that you remain concentrated on the key factors to make a professional portfolio.

We must keep in mind that quality and creativity are the most important aspects of any portfolio, with quality I also mean skills.

How many mistakes should we be aware of? Many, and in this video I explain how to avoid some of them.


Design Education My Articles News

Is Car Design going insane? Not really it is just evolving.

Futuristic Car Design by Da Feng via

Let’s face it Car Design is going through a strange decade and several design professionals, lately, are starting to criticize some of the latest concept cars and car companies design’s orientations as insane. It is easy to go on Facebook and read negative or critical comments about this model or that one.

We can also read some excellent design articles written by designer Peter Stevens telling us a lot about Car Design evolution in the last 20 years, and also how the concept of Design and beauty has changed. Design codes are changing! (read his articles you will love it)

We have nostaligic designs, super powerfull concept cars, lux designs, Chinese designs (currently developping their skills), we have mass production car companies proposing their future vision of automobile use, at so on.

We have many suppliers developing R&D centers to test and propose new technologies to the car world for next mobility solutions to come, and concepts of vehicle usage. Digital world, Autonomous driving, flying car solutions, new services like sharing… Some of them are powerful and dominant market companies like Apple or Google investing a lot of money.

We also have design schools changing their ways of teaching design and training young talents, in a few cases they are doing pretty well in other cases they are just following the trend not helping their students to search for a credible alternative creativity.

Now, it is easy to criticize. We see videos and photos online, we do not know anything about the reasons behind a concept and if we do not like it we start expressing our disagreement on our social network provoking other reactions and very easly the comment becomes a study case. To be honest I do not like this type of action too much because very often we cannot have all the infos to make an honest judgement specially about concept cars.

In my opinion what is important to understand is that the combination of all situations I described before are bringing us to a different Design process approach.

Today is very different from 30 years ago when I started to be a designer for real at Fiat Design Center, and it is still very different from 19 years ago when I joined Renault Design.

Tomorrow’s societies will have new needs in terms of mobility and it is clear that with all new big cities growing around the globe (look at China, India and what about future of Africa?) vehicles must change, car companies will face new hard challenges to produce the right range of vehicles according to countries’ needs.

Technology is forcing us to change drasticly our Design architectures. For example let’s look at car interiors. HMI and digital technologies are giving designers new frontieres to explore and change the classical look of interiors, to this let’s add all pack of new materials (some from natural environment and eco-friendly). Here we are looking at sketches proposals that we (designers of my age) probably would have never sketched.

Today it seems to me that car industry is trying to move fast with people’s life style needs (that are changing at high speed) and also trying not to fall behind technology development, a lot of money goes into that and every car company has its own market strategy to follow having, as a goal, to keep up with selling numbers and clients satisfaction.

Since Tesla arrived to the production market there is a competition about making the fastest EV supercar on earth, is this insane? Probably yes because we still run at 30Km/h in town and no more than 110Km/h on freeway. However, there are many people that love to have a car tha does have those types of performances, that fast crazy accelleration, that emotion or simply that brand!

On the other hand we have also some good eccessive design examples appeared in some car shows, even if some of those concepts might look extreme or made with bad taste they still are a product of studies, researches and tests trying to be the answer to a given problem. It is the first attempt which will be, probably, perfectioned later after all the critics, even the funny or bad ones.

We also have the wise concepts, those that are a pure research for a new creative expression with some intelligent technologies adopted to anticipate to the public how, soon, their cars will be on the road. Great opportunity to feel the market and still have the time to make the right changes at the right time.

Let’s not forget our young society’s behaviour & life style! When I was 16 years old I was dreaming to get my driver licence to finally drive a car. Today our kids do not really care so much, here where I live many people of 23 or 30 years of age do not have a driver licence or do not drive at all and they do not care about cars, but they do care about mobility systems.

Car Design is evolving faster than expected and people are changing their way of living because the world is changing so let’s just accept it and see what and how things will go. We are probably living into a transiction era and it makes things  a bit difficult to accept.

I think that we will have some really cool stuff in the next future, our mobility system will be very different and lots of new ways of using vehicles will probably help tomorrow’s people to have better services and an easier life. At least I hope 🙂

(By the way I love the concept in the photo by designer Da Feng)

Design Education My Articles News

Message to all Design School Students

IED Turin Italy - Riccardo Balbo school director welcomes news students

IED Turin Italy – Riccardo Balbo school director welcomes new students

October is the month, during which, many Design Schools and Universities open their doors to start a new academic year.

There are the fresh new young students dreaming to start finally they beloved Design training experience, those that have to continue their courses (the ones in the middle of their journey), and those that at the end of this year will just finish school to start a new adventure getting a real designer job.

My advice to all design students is to work hard with strong sense of responsibility. Remember why you are there, stay concentrate on your objectives, you are in a magical place that will help you to get out the best of your skills, talent, and determination to become a designer.

Listen to your teachers, however move on and also listen to your heart. Be respectful, but be competitive, don’t give up learning by your mistakes.

You choose a very special professional career and also a vary rare one so work your ass off to hope you will deserve a place in a design studio somewhere some day in your life.

I wish you all the best!



Ilegalwatches the new Luxury Design for your Wrist

When my friend Serge Cosenza , car designer at Renault Design, told me he was working on a new wrist watch design I thought he was crazy. Serge told me he was going to make a sort of Start-Up company to promote his product designed and realized by him all Made in France. I thought he probably needed a doctor and fast!

Well you know what? I was wrong, he was really serious to the point he accomplished his mission: to design, built and sell his wristwatch he called Ilegal Paris!

This is an incredible beautiful story, a designer that for several years thinks how to produce and sell his own designed watches. Working from early sketches to assembly process, from materials to marketing and promotional activities. A lot of hard work made by him and few more.

In the photo you can see one of the available designs, so please visit the website by clicking Ilegal Watches Paris and discover more about Serge Cosenza and his creations.

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