How Pininfarina Went From Cars to Yachts, Architecture and Design

From the Princess X95 yacht to the stunning Cyrela residential tower in São Paolo, the storied Italian design house continues to push boundaries.


“Beauty, Innovation, Purity and Authenticity”—the design principles of the legendary house of Pininfarina, founded in Turin, Italy, by Battista Pinin Farina in 1930, apply equally to the projects the company has pursued beyond the realm of gorgeous Ferraris, Alfa Romeos and other automotive icons. Battista’s grandson Paolo Pininfarina, now Chairman of Pininfarina S.p.A., started diversifying the design business in the late 1980s, making forays into product and later industrial and interior design, and, most recently, architecture


Its major projects in the latter category now include the control tower of the new Istanbul Airport as well as a number of cutting-edge residential buildings in Europe and Latin America, such as the Cyrela by Pininfarina residential tower in São Paolo, Brazil. This year, on the brand’s 90th anniversary, it has announced a new endeavor with Spanish developer Excem Real Estate for a residential complex that will “become a unique architectural landmark” on Spain’s famed Costa del Sol, Spain  


We couldn’t have hoped for a better gift for our 90th birthday,” says Paolo Pininfarina. “For years we have gradually pushed our creativity forward from cars to the world of industrial design and building architecture, and the market has understood this. We have learned that once a design language has been defined, a world of opportunities opens up. We started out from new luxury residential concepts with projects like Cyrela in Brazil or Sixty6 in Cyprus, and now we aim to leverage our vast experience in high-end residential complexes by designing a breathtaking piece of architecture for Excem that establishes an emotional connection with people.” 

Call it the architectural equivalent of a super-luxury car with mouthwatering lines and you won’t be far off. And while real estate is becoming a more important part of the business, Pininfarina is still heavily invested in designing beautiful things that go fast, from the sleek Pininfarina Goldenpass Express train in the Swiss Alps, set to launch this winter, to the Princess X95 luxury yacht, with extensive outdoor space and an open-plan, modular interior; and the Airbus Corporate Jets 350XWB, which features wings that “morph” in-flight to produce the most efficient and cost-effective flight possible, as well as a fuselage made from next-generation carbon composite materials