A ONE-OF-A-KIND FERRARI EXPLORES PARALLELS BETWEEN ITALIAN AND JAPANESE DESIGN
Luxury Marque Ferrari has unveiled a one-of-a-kind Ferrari Roma model, crafted by its bespoke Tailor Made department. The car features exquisite traditional Japanese-inspired detailing while retaining the clean, sophisticated elegance of the original car...
Ferrari Tailor Made is an exclusive programme for those who wish to customise each element of their Ferrari to create a vehicle that truly reflects their personality and tastes. Customers who participate in the Tailor Made programme are assisted by a team of experts led by a personal designer that interprets their desires whilst upholding the aesthetic standards of the Ferrari brand.
This particular car’s story began when Evan Orensten and Josh Rubin, the founders of the award-winning independent US publication dedicated to design, culture and technology COOL HUNTING, were offered, and accepted, the opportunity of customising a Ferrari Roma, to explore how far Ferrari’s bespoke personalisation programme could go and really push the boundaries.
They met Flavio Manzoni, Ferrari Chief Design Officer, in the Ferrari Tailor Made showroom in New York. They had just returned from several research trips to Japan where they had immersed themselves in the country’s traditional crafts and artisanal methods, and proposed bringing some of those ideas and unique materials into the Tailor Made journey as envisioned by COOL HUNTING.
Flavio Manzoni and his team were inspired by the parallels between Italian and Japanese culture and design philosophy: a single-minded devotion to quality, an emotional involvement with the client, and exquisite skills in craftsmanship that have been passed down from generation to generation.
An idea formed – to create a Ferrari featuring some of the unique materials developed from traditional Japanese techniques while employing Ferrari’s customary innovation to modify them to accommodate the requirements of durability and functionality that a modern high-performance car demands.
Traditional Japanese indigo dyes inspired the Ferrari Roma’s colour scheme, particularly the vivid blue exterior paint which was specially developed for this car and named Indigo Metal. This vivid colour perfectly enhances the purity of the Ferrari Roma’s shape – light appears to flow over its bodywork, accentuating its lines through highlights and shade.
Indigo features prominently in Japanese design culture, and the traditional dye is produced naturally. COOL HUNTING had visited Toyama, one of only five remaining indigo farms in Tokushima, Japan’s traditional indigo-growing region. They learned that the dye comes from a green plant which, when harvested and fermented, becomes sukumo, traditional dried Japanese indigo that is mixed with lye, sake and limestone powder to create authentic Hon-Ai indigo dye. Because of its antimicrobial properties it was traditionally used for linens, bedding and clothing.
The same colour palette is used to tie together the vehicle’s exterior and interior into one subtle, holistic statement. The indigo shade is also found in the sakiori fabric used for the seat trim inserts and the carpets.
Sakiori is one of the world’s oldest examples of upcycling, dating from the 1700s when cotton and silk were available only to Japan’s nobility and the very wealthy. Worn-out kimonos were disassembled, their fabric cut into strands and rewoven with new fibres, creating a material that was both warm, comfortable and durable. The word comes from the Japanese saku (to rip up) and oru (to weave).
An innovative solution was identified in making sakiori a viable material. Two vintage kimonos originally made in Amami Oshima, an island in Japan’s southern archipelago were used—an indigo-dyed kimono approximately 75 years old and one approximately 45 years old, dyed in both indigo and the island’s celebrated Amami Oshima Tsumugi mud-based dye. Instead of weaving the kimono strands with cotton or silk as is traditional, it was woven with high-tensile nylon, ensuring the durability required of this material in its application inside the vehicle. This new textile was created in the same place the original materials originated from by Hajime Shoji.
The indigo theme is carried through to the Ferrari Roma’s headlining – a beautifully detailed piece of craftsmanship and design which is exclusively experienced by those sitting in the car. It is comprised of two indigo-dyed hides made with Asai Roektsu in Kyoto—one with a unique solid colour crafted to match the car’s colour scheme, and a hand-painted hide using the Roketsu method, which can be traced back to the 8th century. It is a wax resist-dyeing method that forms intricate repeated patterns around a single colour, and was commonly used to decorate the silk or cotton of kimonos and obis. The hides were then sent to Italy, where they were cut into strips and hand-woven by Italian artisans in a process called intreccio, forming an elegant one-of-a-kind work of art.
The Ferrari Roma’s interior door handles also take their inspiration from Japan – they are enclosed in tightly hand-woven strips of black leather in an homage to tsukami, the ancient art of wrapping the grips of Katana swords.
The COOL HUNTING team were further inspired by a visit to Kaikado, a Kyoto-based family business known for its iconic copper tea canisters. Now made by the fifth and sixth generations of the family, the canisters are so skilfully crafted that they form a vacuum seal as the lid gently falls onto the body. The copper also adopts a unique natural patina with use. Inspired by this, Copper plating is found in details on the Ferrari Roma’s gear shift gate surround and levers, which were plated in Japan. The outline of the dual cockpits, the wheel rims and the kamon are also made in this colour.
The unique crest on the car’s dedication plate on the central armrest and door sills is a custom-made “kamon,” a symbol passed down from generation to generation in Japan. Designed by Kyogen, it represents a wheel from an ox-drawn carriage (popular transportation among aristocrats during the Heian period, 794-1185) combined with the eight pistons of the Ferrari Roma’s V8 engine forming its spokes. The numeric theme is continued in the eight wave crests that encircle the wheel – symbols of good luck, power and resilience.
This subtle but exceptionally detailed Ferrari Roma brings together Italian and Japanese design culture in a harmonious form. It is a beautiful example of the unlimited wealth of combinations and possibilities that are available through the Ferrari Tailor Made programme.
The Ferrari Roma features refined proportions and timeless design combined with unparalleled performance and handling. Not only is the Ferrari Roma an icon of Italian design, but it also represents the pinnacle of performance in this category, thanks to its 620-cv turbo-charged V8 from the family of engines that won the overall International Engine of the Year award four years running.
The Tailor Made Ferrari Roma Specially Crafted for COOL HUNTING will be on display in the Ferrari Tailor Made Showroom during the New York Design Week (NYC X DESIGN), celebrating the space where this incredibly dynamic collaboration started, bringing together diverse cultural and creative forces from different parts of the world in a unique and special way.