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IADS: Pininfarina at the International Showcase

Designers: Elena Blank and Nir Siegel at The Pininfarina London

Designers: Elena Blank and Nir Siegel at The Pininfarina London
London 2012 Bag, Image courtesy of Nir Siegel

London 2012 Bag, Image courtesy of Nir Siegel

30 June 2012
by Dorota Drajewicz


Presenting Pininfarina design house works and introducing young talents at the Italian Cultural Institute in London.


The exhibition presents the design house Pininfarina of today with the same character as it had in the 30’s offering products and services based on its brand values: centrality of design, sensitivity to aesthetics that enables a timeless beauty, a power of the tradition that joins industry, technology, research for style and a capacity to meet client’s needs without distorting the brand’s name.


Pininfarina is known worldwide for car design although the company specialises in product and interior design, architecture, nautics and aeronautics. Among the iconic objects displayed in London this year are the Torino 2006 Olympic Torch, the Lavazza coffee machines, the Calligaris Orbital table, the Panatta Sport bike, and a wooden scale model of the Cambiano concept car.


Experience, Creativity and Innovation are the values that have always characterized Pininfarina’s business. Understanding the meaning and importance of promoting young emerging talents, organizers of the show at the Italian Cultural Institute launched a competition among the RCA students open to all the projects that had a connection with the upcoming Olympics and inviting the finalists to display their works and introduce stories of their creative endeavours to the visitors of the Pininfarina exhibition.


Among many exciting projects there was one particularly interesting for me. As a result of the collaboration between Elena Blank, RCA MA student of Accessories Design, and Nir Siegel (MA, Vehicle Design), a prototype of a bag promoting the Olympics 2012 and the London Underground was produced.
The opportunity emerged when Elena and Nir were engaged in the interdisciplinary collaboration on a real product for the London Transport Museum's exhibition about the London Olympics 2012.The very functional and smart design they created features eco-friendly materials and intelligent solutions that are meant to facilitate travel by tube. An innovative feature depicting a social approach of the design is a logo visible at the front of the bag. Having an accesory like this is communicating accessibility and openness, which gains importance in the period of the Olympics, when London will be hosting millions of visitors.


“Above all I think that the social aspects of this product make it much more important and relevant” says Nir Siegel. “Getting around the city may be a trouble for a newcomer. The "I can help" branding creates a much more social experience during the Olympics and encourages interactions between visitors and locals that have more information and know the way and best places in the city. So instead of having some social Application on your mobile which is not social at all, you have this bag which encourages true social interactions during this momentous occasion which is the Olympic Games”.


The project successfully contributed to the Paninfarina exhibition and what I thought matched the values of the Italian company, looking for and developing a product that makes things better through its design and sets a new standard with its various qualities.


Seeing the Pininfarina Exhibition, featuring designs of the company with the history dating back to 1930, joined by young talents was definitely an unusual and inspiring experience. I am looking forward to see some more of the visionary works and enjoying other events of the International Architecture and Design Showcase.


The exhibition at the Italian Cultural Institute runs until Sunday, 15 July 2012.