The CAR Top 10: objects penned by car designers

Published: 22 May 2015

► Top 10 things by car designers
► None of them are cars
► Pasta, desk lamps, helicopters…

For some car designers, the car is not enough. From pasta to coffee table, here’s how they release that creative urge.

1) Giorgetto Giugiaro’s… pasta

Giorgetto Giugiaro's pasta

Turns out that for arguably the 20th century’s greatest car designer the VW Golf mk1, DeLorean, and Lotus Esprit weren’t enough. His Italdesign business has always done non-car work but our favourite is his pasta shape – explicitly designed to hold more of his personal Vodka-infused pasta sauce recipe.

2) Walter de’Silva’s… desk lamp

Walter de'Silva desk lamp

VW’s Group design director De’Silva – behind the Alfa 156 and Audi TT Mk2 – recently redesigned the £20k Leica M9 Titanium camera and once held an exhibition of household objects he’d made including an angle poise lamp that looked like a metallic insect.

3) Adrian van Hooydonk’s… chair

Adrian van Hooydonk chair

BMW Group’s design director used to head up its product design studio, DesignworksUSA, so his foray into chair design is logical. Hooydonk re-designed Emeco’s ‘1951’ chair – originally designed for the US Navy – as a household item and showed it at the Milan Furniture Fair (like the Geneva motor show, but for chairs).

4) Lowie Vermeersch’s… snow groomer

Lowie Vermeesch's snow groomer

In between the Ferrari 458 and Sintesi concept Pininfarina’s ex-design director also created Eurostar’s next train interior and also this slick-cab snow groomer.

5) Chris Bangle’s… sculpture

Chris Bangle sculpture

Bangle’s new Italian design practice has already invented a circular ping pong table that doubles as a meeting space, but while design chief of BMW Group he also created a huge 120 square metre wall sculpture for a Munich Museum, an experience he describes as, ‘the most emotional thing I’ve ever encountered in 20 years in the industry.’

6) Stephane Schwarz’s… coffee table

Stephane Schwartz coffee table

Ex-Nissan Europe design chief (he did the Qashqai) now has his own product design studio dreaming up concept yachts, laptops and recently a one-off Swarovski crystal-encrusted music conductor’s batton. Our favourite is Schwarz’s see-through limited edition coffee table, called Surge Metea. 

7) Gorden Wagener’s… helicopter

Mercedes helicopter

Strictly speaking a Mercedes-Benz Style gig, but as Merc’s overall design boss, Wagener put plenty of heat under the project that saw a dowdy Eurocopter interior transformed into the luxurious EC145 Mercedes-Benz Style helicopter with a smart new nose cone to match.

8) Frank Stephenson’s… F1 watch

TAG Heuer MP4-12C Chronograph watch

Stephenson had a big hand in the design of the modern day Mini and as McLaren’s design director and a watch lover he was a shoo-in to design the new TAG/McLaren marketing love-in timepiece. Cue the TAG Heuer MP4-12C Chronograph featuring an on-message lightweight titanium case and an alcantara strap.

9) Gerry McGovern’s… bike

Range Rover Evoque bike

Land Rover’s design team led by Gerry McGovern came up with this carbon fibre wonder as an Evoque accessory at 2011’s Geneva motorshow. Allegedly, McGovern, when not designing award-winning compact SUVs likes nothing better than a little light cycling. 

10) Marcello Gandini’s… lorry

Marcello Gandini Renault Magnum lorry

Responsible for some of the sexiest cars of all time – Lamborghini Miura, Lancia Stratos Zero et al – Gandini also made a lorry concept for Renault in the 1980s that led on to the modern-day Magnum truck still in service. Trust Mr G to make it a game-changer, featuring the first flat floor cabin to allow drivers to move around without hindrance.

By Guy Bird

Contributor, cultural curator, design commentator