Few family-owned businesses have managed to resist mergers and acquisitions after the European economic crisis. A legacy started in the early thirties by Batista "Pinin" Farina, the Pininfarina surname has gone on to become synonymous with design, innovation and legendary car models such as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and the Ferrari California Spyder.
In addition to a constant urge to create new and exciting products the Cambiano-based design company oozes passion. Now run by the founder's grandson Paolo Pininfarina, the company still makes decisions as a family and it is this emphasis on family and tradition that has spared the design giant a similar fate to Lancia after its unsuccessful merger with Chrysler in 2010.
Apart from partnering with all the big hitters over the years including Ferrari and Rolls-Royce, Pininfarina Extra, an expansion to the company in 1986, has widened the Group's design scope to projects beyond automobiles. Headed up by Paolo Trevisan, the 'Extra' division spans anything from the Eurostar to Lavazza coffee machines. In a quest to design to the highest standards the company's secret lies in quality over quantity. Pininfarina handpicks graduates from some of the best schools in the world such as Istituto Europeo di Design, where Trevisan himself still teaches the tricks of the trade.
Often collaborating with other heritage brands such as Scotch whisky label Chivas, much importance is placed on striking a balance between history and innovation. Visiting the HQ in Cambiano, Italy, we interviewed Pininfarina and Trevisan to discover why they see problems as opportunities and how this ethos has spurred their success despite Europe's current economic climate.
Text by Seyna Van Der Linden for Crane.tv
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