For their third year present at acclaimed Italian furniture and art fair Salone del Mobile, automotive company Ford presented a series of items and an experience that reflect the core values of their global design efforts. While they presented several objects at the fair created by their designers and inspired by the new GT—ranging from a sail boat to a grass covered football table—it’s their immersive installation “FAVILLA, To Every Light a Voice,” made in conjunction with acclaimed architect Attilio Stocchi, that demonstrates the depth of their commitment to design. The installation in Milan’s Piazza San Fedele plays out within two large sculptural boxes, complete with dazzling light refracted and reflected in one, and an animation projected in the other. To better understand the motivation behind the project we spoke with Moray Callum, Ford’s Vice President of Design, for insight on light and lines.
Tell us about the installation.
We are looking at an installation that we created with the architect Attilio Stocchi, really to try and highlight the creativity of our design team. It was a way we could also show that what we do in design is much more than just product design. We have a very creative group and you can see all the digital information here that was created in our studio, and the model as well. It’s a great experience to be here in Milan, showcasing Ford design.
Was this conceived in the US? Or was the design international?
This specific design was conceived in the US but built in Italy. The other elements that will be seen this week were designed by our global studios. This is a mix of our global talent.
How did you get this installation idea which, in essence, makes the Ford GT come to life?
I think it was a pragmatic solution. We didn’t want to show a car. This is a design week. It was really a case of how can we show a sculpture that embodies what we do. And I think that this “speed form” has done a beautiful job of that. It is a beautiful backdrop for all of the graphics shown within, but also a great screen to show our digital sculpture. It shows the creativity within the studios. When we discussed it, we recognized this is not the normal work we do, but we used all the talent and skills that we normally make cars with, including our animations team. This is not bringing in a different expertise. This is using the expertise we employ in our work. It really was a great outlet for them.
There are different visual phases in the projection. Can you explain them to us?
I think this is a little bit about discovering the car, and a little bit about the car itself. First you see it as a sculpture. Then you can see that it gets a bit more technical. Then it gets into the construction. We want people to see this as a piece of art, rather than a piece of car advertising. It’s a beautiful piece to look at. It’s emotional.
Lines play an important part in this projected sculpture.
It’s partly to do with the aerodynamics of the car, and the function of the car, but also we see this car, the Ford GT, as a very special car to us. It was very much a coordination of engineering and aerodynamics. Through the visuals we are showing this, and the special features which we call the flying buttresses.
The presentation is also very cinematic.
Design is emotional. People want to see cars as being rational but we see them as an emotional machine. We want the crowd to be emotional about the product, but entertained as well. There are some nice hints to where we are as well, from architecture to graphics. There’s a nice homage to the Milan furniture and even Renaissance architecture.
Does this video say something about where you are headed?
I think it just says we are having fun with what we are doing. And that we are serious about design, at the exact same time.
“FAVILLA, to Every Light a Voice” is open to the public through 19 April in Piazza San Fedele, Milan.
Images by Paolo Ferrarini, video courtesy of Ford,