If you’ve never actually heard of Icona, fear not, that’s what we’re here for. The upstart design firm has only been around since 2010, and have only shown-off two concepts since then; the Fuselage and the Icona Vulcano- one of which we just saw in Shanghai. But how does this Italian-born, Shanghai-bred firm come into light with the likes of Pininfarina or Italdesign- some of the larger names in the industry?
Well, we recently sat down with lead designer Gwen Pennarun to talk turkey about the new Vulcano and Icona as a whole.
BoldRide: Where did you draw inspiration for this design?
Gwen: Compared to Fuselage, where the inspiration came from lightweight vehicles suggesting energy-saving (shell eco marathon for exemple), we started a little differently with Vulcano. Here we began with a visual style inspired by Fuselage, but more sculptural, more dramatic. And always with a clever mix between soft surfaces and sharp angles. We have been quite influenced by the recent productions of Zaha hadid and Asymptote architecture, for the exterior as for the interior.
How long did the project take you from start to finish?
We started to think about the concept in April last year. It took pretty much ten months to complete the car.
What other vehicles was the Vulcano modeled from, if any?
We developed the project on a front engine package, considered to be more expressive and more aggressive with its large intakes, this kind of architecture required the cabin moved backward and proportions that are well known on some sports cars, the wasp waist belt is one of them.
We love the interior- how did you and you set out to make it unlike any we’ve seen in the past?
The influence of fighter jets for fuselage had to be found on the vulcano dashboard. The zone around the steering-wheel is technical and
“driver oriented” which reminds us that this is a sportcar, a technology with the console, which is also oriented towards the driver but very integrated into the architecture of the whole.
The rest of the interior has another language , more fluid. The seats and the carpets are read as one piece, same as the dash and the console giving a perfect integration,a simplicity and a harmony to this interior.
How did you and the team set out to make something completely different from the Fuselage concept we saw in 2011?
This car is a one-off, the first goal is to roll it and sell it. So we are not in a conceptual world like fuselage but more realistic. Engine and frame are already being tested in Italy at the moment.
With success in Shanghai, what does the design team at Icona have planned next?
Another sport car but a mid-engine this time.
Do you believe Icona has the ability to become a world-renowned design firm going forward?
This is a very good question. We try everything for that, a lot of young designers and many firms know us already and this very positive and motivating for the future.
Thanks to Gwen and the Icona design team for taking time for this interview