Architects and designers have long been fascinated with cars. Le Corbusier described himself in 1929 as "seized, filled with enthusiasm, with joy" at "assisting in a titanic rebirth of a new phenomenon: cars" as part of his city-building. Mid-20th-century Italian architect and creative polymath Gio Ponti was besotted with the iconic Citroën Goddess he drove, and even had a stab at designing a vehicle for coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring.
Automobiles are hollow, rolling sculpture. They have interior spaces corresponding to an outer form like buildings.
In 1951 Arthur Drexler, the influential curator and director of the Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA in New York, held the first of four automobile exhibitions under his tenure, saying: "Automobiles are hollow, rolling sculpture. They have interior spaces corresponding to an outer form like buildings." Even today, one of the best car designers of the current century, Louis de Fabribeckers, is an architect by training. We asked some of the architects and designers of the 21st century what they like to drive, read on to find out what they said.
Gill Parker, CEO of architectural practice BDG, which most recently completed work on an urban campus in Madrid, is a Mini driver. BDG is based on the banks of the River Thames by Blackfriars Bridge right in the heart of London. Living and working in London and its congestion charges has virtually removed the need for a car, but she still uses one at weekends. Her choice of a Mini, in convertible format, reflects its "compact, good looking, not gimmicky, solid feel", she says.
Hong Kong's Steve Leung, of Steve Leung Designers, commutes in his 2011 Aston Martin Virage. "I simply like its style," he says. "The design exudes understated luxury and sophistication. Its shape, colour, interior design and detailing deliver a unique expression, creating a pure, contemporary touch with a good balance between functionality and aesthetics. I appreciate its clean, minimal, elegant design as it coheres with my design philosophy of minimalism and human-oriented functionality."
Mia Feasey, Singapore-based founder and CEO of Siren Design, lists her passions as interiors, Italian cars and family. A former winner of Perspective's 40 Under 40 Awards, her previous car was a Ferrari, but today she drives a Mini Cooper S, which she says she chose because "it is speedy, responsive, parks in small spaces and I can fit my whole family in. It came straight after the Ferrari California and to be honest it's much more relaxing parking the Mini on the street and turning up to meetings without having to hide the car around the corner."
William Zuccon, founder and director of Sydney-based architectural practice Dods & Zuccon Architects, drives a Lamborghini Miura S. The work of famed car designer Marcello Gandini, the mid-engined Miura represented an automobile revolution when it was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in the mid 1960s. With its low, swoopy, stylish lines, it was perhaps the first supercar. Zuccon, a former president of the Lamborghini Club, is currently working with Hong Kong-based interior designer Juana Ho on a large Sydney renovation project for an Asian client.
Bruce Duckworth is the founder of Turner Duckworth, the visual-identity agency responsible for Amazon, Coca Cola, Levis and HSBC, which has offices in London, San Francisco and New York. A car design enthusiast, he has been collecting design classics since he was 17. "The standout car is my father's E-Type Jaguar Series 1, 3.8 convertible, which is such an iconic British car and a game-changing piece of automotive design from the '60s. My regular drive is a Porsche 911 50th anniversary model: a modern car that celebrates the classic Porsche 911 design, which has brilliantly evolved over 50 years."
This is an excerpt from "On the move”, a feature article from the April 2018 issue of Perspective magazine. To continue reading, get your copy of Perspective.