Such is timeless design of the Ferrari Roma that it is impossible to look at the Prancing Horse and not be whisked away to the carefree, pleasurable way of life that characterised Rome in the 1950s and ‘60s.
And yet this particular Ferrari, the result of unique collaboration between the Tailor Made Programme and COOL HUNTING founders Evan Orensten and Josh Rubin, explores a way of life found nearly 10,000 kms east of Rome in Japan.
The new one-of-a-kind Ferrari Roma explores the parallels between Italian and Japanese design philosophy
COOL HUNTING is an independent publication that aims to uncover the latest intersections of design, culture and technology. As such, founders Evan and Josh were originally approached with the idea of a Tailor Made collaboration designed to explore how far Ferrari’s bespoke personalization programme could push boundaries.
However, it was only when they met Ferrari Chief Design Officer, Flavio Manzoni, in the Ferrari Tailor Made showroom in New York, that the true extent of their ambition was realized. Having just returned from several research trips to Japan, the pair’s vision was to utilize the country’s traditional artisan methods and incorporate both Japanese ideas and unique materials into the Ferrari Roma Tailor Made design.
The colour scheme is inspired by Japanese indigo dyes
For Manzoni and his team, the idea made perfect sense. From sculpture to architecture and even opera there are clear parallels between Italian and Japanese culture that go back for centuries. The new Ferrari Tailor Made Roma would therefore feature 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 Roma’s colour scheme, particularly the vivid blue exterior paint which was specially developed for this car and named Indigo Metal. 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. This vivid colour perfectly enhances the purity of the Roma’s shape – light appears to flow over its bodywork, accentuating its lines through highlights and shade
Innovative solutions, inspired by copper kettles, sakiori fabrics and traditional craftsmanship, can be seen throughout the Ferrari Roma's interior
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. 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.
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. 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.
The concept for the Tailor Made Ferrari Roma arrived after an immersion in Japan's traditional crafts and artisanal methods
The copper plating that details the Roma’s gear shift gate, and the copper colour that marks the outline of the dual cockpits and wheel rims are the result of a COOL HUNTING expedition to Kaikado, a Kyoto-based family business known for its iconic copper tea canisters.
The unique crest on the car’s dedication plate on the central armrest and door sills is a custom-made “kamon,” used in Japan to indicate one's origins, family lineage and status. 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 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 Tailor Made Ferrari Roma Specially Crafted for COOL HUNTING will be on display in the Ferrari Tailor Made Showroom for the duration of the NYC X Design 10 Anniversary Festival (Ends May 20th).