De Silva ‘A’s: from Alfa to Alba.
The development of the famous designer’s metamorphosis.

Walter de Silva, the well-known Italian designer born in Lecco in 1951, started his career in 1972 at the Fiat Style Centre in Turin, where he designed the Fiat Ritmo. He worked at the I.De.A Institute from 1979 to 1986, and was then hired by Alfa Romeo, where he successfully designed the Alfa 155, 145, and 146.

The Alfa Romeo 156 medium sedan made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1997: “A model responding to precise aerodynamic criteria” underlines the designer from Lecco. The 147 was first presented at the Turin Motor Show in 2000 with the aim of repeating the success of the 156, of which it had the same floorboard and mechanics.
Both were awarded “Car of the year”.

He left the Fiat Group in 1999, and accepted an offer from the Volkswagen Group, moving to Barcelona to focus on the Seat brand, revamping the design of the new Ibiza, Cordoba, Leon and Toledo, as well as creating the design of the Altea. He moved to Germany in 2002, with the position of head designer of the Audi holding, where he designed the new A6, maintaining the responsibility of Seat. Three years later, he was working on the styling of the Lamborghini, creating the Miura Concept. In 2007, he was appointed head of the Volkswagen Group Style Centre, in charge of the design of the eight brands (Audi, Seat, Lamborghini, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, Volkswagen and Porsche).

“To understand a car you need to caress it. You need to wash it. When there’s something that doesn’t convince me about a model, I close my eyes and I touch it, I feel it…”

He left the VW Group in 2015.
De Silva, winner of the Compasso d’Oro for Lifetime Achievement, is particularly attached to the Audi A5, winner of the Design Award 2010. Let’s not forget, when thinking about his prestigious career, the Golf, Beetle, Polo and the city car Up; the latter designed during a flight from Detroit to Frankfurt, with its clean and smart nose, designed for a perfect, elegant dandy, without a hair out of place, and a flashing blue ironic gaze.

And the Up that seems to have paved the way for Alba: “A small toy with attractive aesthetics, tailored for use on golf courses, tourist facilities and seaside resorts”.
In short, we must become part of the analogue and post-digital era as soon as possible: “The new world of cars must now focus on basic mono-dwelling vehicles without neglecting design, which will, in fact, have to change course, incorporating IT, engineering, aerodynamic and ergonomic knowledge to become part of sustainability, with regards to the environment, privacy, and psychology, facing a more real and aesthetic world head-on”.

The de Silva Alba semi-automatic two-seater microcar has an electric heart. Even sixteen-year-olds will be able to drive it, also without a license as it weighs only 450 kg. It has two baggage containers, one at the front and the other at the rear. Project to Engineering, Camal Studio, Borromeo de Silva, Mario Antonioli and Giampiero Boggio also collaborated with de Silva on the Alba project. The car of the future is therefore on its way, moving ahead quietly, and will have an attractive design and fumes that do not cause pollution.

Adapted from:

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