“This”, says Lamborghini’s design director Filippo Perini, thrusting a pencil towards me, “is the universal tool for explaining ideas. I can tell you exactly what I want to do using this in seconds.”
That same slim cylinder of graphite is instantly a blur across a sheet of paper, and with just half a dozen strokes a shape that’s reliably outrageous has been conjured. Imagine designing Lambos for a living. Does it get any better? Isn’t it, in fact, actually something of a doddle?
Hardly. TopGear has been admitted to the company’s Centro Stile, Lamborghini’s creative hub, and home to a tightly knit team of just a dozen designers - Italian, Lithuanian, Colombian and Argentinian. The atmosphere is studiedly febrile. As is the modern way, mastery of computer software is as important as original design vision, but, as per Perini’s comments, well-used pencil-sharpeners sit on every workstation. There are mood-boards on the walls; shelves of glossy car, design and fashion magazines; and maquettes on tables. The office sits above the company’s photographic studio, and an espresso machine hums in a small kitchen at the back.
Pictures: Joe Windsor-Williams
This feature originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of Top Gear magazine