Concept Cars: La Grande Bellezza
Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art presents an exhibition of concept cars created by Nuccio Bertone’s legendary design studio for Alfa Romeo, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and Porsche
Six unique concept cars that redefined the notions of beauty and functionality
Futuristic designs epitomizing the freedom and imaginative powers of their creators
A collection of sketches and photographs tracing the journey of the Italian automotive design in the 20th century
Each time that the inhabitants of the Apennine Peninsula want to praise a person, a work of art, or simply a skilfully made object, they use the adjective bello – beautiful. Italian culture is inconceivable without the notion of beauty: not without reason the country is referred to as Bel paese – ‘the beautiful land.’ The aura of exceptionality radiated by Italian art also became an integral part of the nation’s industrial design. Brand names such as Ferrari, Lamborgini, and Alfa Romeo have been synonymous with impeccable taste and style all across the world for more than a century.
Concept Cars: La Grande Bellezza tells the story of manufacturing excellence, ceaseless creative exploration, and evolution of Bertone’s concept cars – prototypes made to showcase signature styling and new technology. The collection of drawings and photographs of the early models allows one to trace the impressive journey of the Italian automotive design in the 20th century. In the latter half of the century, helmed by Nuccio Bertone, the coachbuilding studio established by his father redefined the entire industry. The company’s designer team developed concept cars for Alfa Romeo, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Porsche, Lamborghini, and BMW, setting the global trends of car styling for many years to come.
Bertone collaborated with such design greats as Marcello Gandini, creator of the Lamborghini Countach supercar who spearheaded automotive design in the 1970s; Franco Scaglione, designer of the futuristic BAT concept car series; and Giorgetto Giugiaro, named Car Designer of the Century, to name just a few.
The exhibition at Erarta spotlights six Bertone concept cars from different years: the aristocratic Alfa Romeo Bella, the avant-garde Lotus Emotion, the high-end Karisma saloon, the ‘muscular’ Chevrolet Corvette Ramarro, the futuristic Cadillac Villa, as well as the Birusa show vehicle. Each of them is the embodiment of the designer’s imagination and freedom, equally unrestricted by commercial aspirations or engineering practicality. Embracing the opportunity to style concept cars not intended for mass production, Bertone’s designers could boldly reimagine vehicle architecture drawing on the universal ideas of perfect line and form. This means that their creations are bound to be duly appreciated not only by industry experts, but by anyone receptive to the spirit of the Great Beauty.
This exhibition has been made possible with support from: