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Putting the Flat into Fiat with Ron Arad

Putting the Flat into Fiat with Ron Arad

26 June 2019 |
Posted in Print

“It has the look and feel of an uncoated paper, but with the print quality of a coated paper”

Taking a classic Italian car and crushing it isn’t everyone’s idea of art, in fact, some would say it’s sacrilege. But that’s exactly what artist Ron Arad did with the much-loved Fiat 500 in his ‘Pressed Flowers’ collection. He took the classic car and had it flattened to resemble a four-wheeeled version of a crushed aluminium can.

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His cars have featured in exhibitions in New York, Torino, Tel Aviv and Moscow and are a dramatic side spin from his radical steel and aluminium furniture designs that have put him at the forefront of contemporary design and architecture.

We can take a guess that Ron Arad’s desire to turn the classic Fiat 500 design into works of art, was inspired by his own vintage ‘Cinquecento’.

We were so impressed with the concept of taking something classic, turning it into art, and then ultimately preserving it, that we invited Ron to be part of a visual book we designed for Italian paper company, Favini. And it goes without saying that the Italian car company, founded in Turin in 1899, was a perfect partner for Favini’s design project.

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Favini’s Dolce Vita range of paper is something special. It has the look and feel of an uncoated paper, but with the print quality of a coated paper, giving a favourable tactile feel that has the benefit of high definition print results. “It has a special invisible coating that gives it the quality of a coated paper. Normally when you print on a paper that’s uncoated the image goes soft, but with Dolce Vita the image stays sharp,” explains Jack Pearce, Creative Head at Silk Pearce.

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Ron Arad agrees, “This paper is fantastic, it's very tactile and the quality of printing is excellent. Today, when you see so many images on a screen, it’s refreshing to see something that is printed so well.”

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The concept of the visual book includes the images of Ron Arad’s crushed Fiats, supplemented with other photos of Fiat components, which were photographed inhouse.

The additional car parts we sourced from Ricambio International, a family-run business specialising in new and conditioned spare parts for Fiats and Alfa Romeos. “We visited the company’s premises in Surrey and were amazed with what stock they had available. From a small shop frontage, we were taken around the back and confronted with a mass of items – they had every spare part you would ever need,” explains Jack Pearce.

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The company was established in 1969 by the present owner’s father, at a time when the very first Fiat Cinquecento was still coming off the production line. Fifty years on, it’s good to see that the business has been rejuvenated from its early days of suppling new parts to new Fiats, to now maintaining what has become a much-valued classic car.

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Playing on words is the key to the book’s title – Flat 500 – which could be misread at Fiat 500. The Dolce Vita visual book is a presentation of photographs of crushed Fiat 500s and their components printed on a matt flat paper to demonstrate the high intensity print quality, coupled with its tactile appeal.

“Wherever we reached out for help with the project we were met with enthusiasm,” explains Jack Pearce, “Ron Arad and Ricambio International were with us all the way through. It must be something about the Fiat 500 – it’s a friendly little car and everyone knows and likes them.”

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All images of ‘Pressed Flowers’ are used with kind permission of ©Ron Arad and Associates Ltd.