Emanuele Nicosia: Genio Creativo da Italia

He is the brain behind the Ferrari and the Jaguar designs that have left the world awestruck. Frank, and down-to-earth, he is willing to explain and clarify any doubt that comes to his students. For every automobile aficionado, Innovision ’14 presented the treat of hosting Mr Emanuele Nicosia, the brain behind the designs of the Jaguar XJS Spyder, Ferrari 288 GTO and Testarossa, Lamborghini Diablo, Bugatti EB110, the first Bugatti to be introduced in the market and many other revolutionizing models. 

Team MM caught up with this genius to be enlightened on his journey so far.  


MM: How has your experience been in NIT Rourkela?

Emanuele Nicosia: This is my first time here and the travel has been a bit tiring for me. But then, the people are very nice, very welcoming. I could see from afar, the beautiful campus. The infrastructure is very good and I was very impressed with the work on centralized air conditioning that is going on. I mean, it is no easy task to lay the foundation of such a huge project. 

I reached late at night, so the housekeeper wasn’t there. The food is okay. I am satisfied.

MM: Which was the first car that was designed by you?

EN: The first car that was designed by me was not even a car! It was a truck for the US, for long distance travel, from coast to coast. I designed my first car six months later, for a company that does not exist now. It was taken over by Fiat. It is now there as a vintage car. There are sports cars and others that have subsequently been designed by me.

MM: What all projects have you undertaken in India?

EN: I set up my own studio, which is a branch studio of my own company based in Turin. It is also located in Pune. I selected the trendiest area, where the work can be done properly. Creativity has not been properly developed in the industrial areas and need to be developed. The design centres and the plants need to be located near to each other. In my opinion, designers are creative people. Creativity can come from isolation. They need to live among the people so that they can understand the needs of the people and design accordingly. They must know the habits and the trends. 

MM: How has been your journey, from being a student to a professional designer?

EN: I should say it was quite easy. There is a big difference between my starting time and the present scenario. Today, the design situation is very difficult. Brands need to have cars in new designs every three years, in the market. Along with this, there is a slow turnover of the designers in car companies. Car companies demand designers who are ready to work. If they need to bring out new designs, then they need at least one year of training. So, they try to keep the in-house designers as long as possible. Hence, one or two designers are hired every year in India. In the rest of world, may be it is a little bit better but, the situation is not that good. However, the number of automotive designing schools is huge. So at the end of academic year, we have hundreds of new graduates ready for placements, but very few get placed. In my time, there were two major schools in the world: Royal College of Art and Centre of Art at Pasadena, USA. I was in a good time. After I completed my course, I went back to Italy to start my career. I had offers from four companies: two design companies. I was lucky to live the time and fulfil my wishes. The environment was quite clean, quite open and putting together my skills, I was able to have a smooth career. I had my companies but struggling to get new designs has always been a difficult task for the managing director. 

MM: What is the education scenario in Italy and what are the trends of occupation?

EN: In Italy it is completely different. I had a talk about the Italian lifestyle at my workshop. 

We of course would like to have a job which can give us money. But, first of all, we try to have our wishes on the dish.

At our universities, the most crowded departments are Law, architects engineers doctors and chartered accountants. Now, even art academies are also growing for creative works, like graphic designers, product designers. Till now, we do not have automotive designing academies, but we do have very high level schools. Two are in Turin and one in Milan. We have master courses which is designed by Milano Polytechnic which is a one year course. These are sponsored by Volkswagen and Renault, for master degree projects. We are open to any kind of activities that can give us satisfaction and work with passion and enjoy the job. 

MM: What has been the proudest moment in your life? What do you think has been your best design till date?

EN: That’s a difficult question. 

To be proud of something, is doing something that is useful for the people.

Proud on a professional front, was when I design something that is a milestone in the design project of Ferrari. Personally I do not think there is a best design. Every design that I do, I try to make it the best. Because I try and keep trying to give the best design for the product. Every product has its own requirements. You cannot make a comparison among designs, since every design is different. The best final output as a design, I think was the Jaguar XJS.

MM: What do you think of the students here, now that you have taken the workshop?

EN: The students were very enthusiastic about the workshop. It is very different from the normal classes. I have seen the glow on their faces when they showed me their designs. I felt very happy about it. They cannot make a good sketch initially, but after the workshop, after being taught the principles, they come up with some brilliant sketches. I can say that they do things emotionally. It is so nice see them try and approach something new. I want to give them as much as I can in two days. The effort of Indians especially, is very commendable. I have never seen so much of enthusiasm anywhere else. I had workshops in China, Greece and Italy. Here the emotionality makes them unique. I like being a teacher here. It gives me a lot of energy.

MM: How do you find the Indian culture and cuisine?   

EN: *smiles* The culture reminds me of my life in Sicily. The culture there is very similar to India. Now, the things have changed, but forty years ago, it was a little more. The importance of family relationships, moral and rules, the duty of sons and daughters is very similar. I have no problem with Indian food and spice-wise, we too like it, not the too spicy ones. It is good to be in India. 

MM: Not everyone could attend the workshop. What message you like to convey to the students of NIT Rourkela?

EN: Yes, not everybody needs to be a car designer. Those who have selected their own future, attending specific department here, try to make your time a happy one. 

Starting from studies till you go out for your job, enjoy your work. Study not for marks or to take a degree, study for your knowledge.

Once you have the knowledge, you can go anywhere. You have to create your own path. Once you go out into a job, you have to use what you have learnt.