The 'A's of De Silva: from Alfa to Alba.
How the famous designer's metamorphosis developed.


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


At the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1997, the 156, the Biscione company’s mid-size saloon, made its debut: ‘A model that responded to precise aerodynamic criteria,’ stresses the designer from Lecco. The 147 premiered at the Turin Motor Show in 2000 with the ambition of repeating the success of the 156, with which it shared the floorpan and mechanics. Both won the title of “Car of the year”.


In 1999 he left the Fiat Group, accepted an offer from the Volkswagen Group and moved to Barcelona to devote himself to the Seat brand, redesigning the new Ibiza, Cordoba, Leon and Toledo and creating the Altea. In 2002, he was in Germany as chief designer of the Audi holding company and designed the new A6, maintaining responsibility for Seat. Three years later he was in charge of Lamborghini styling, creating the Miura Concept. In 2007, he was appointed head of the Volkswagen Group Style Centre, overseeing the styling of the eight brands (Audi, Seat, Lamborghini, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, Volkswagen and Porsche).


“To understand it, a car has to be stroked. It has to be washed. When there is something wrong with a model, I close my eyes and touch it, feel it…”


In 2015 he left the VW Group. De Silva, winner of the Compasso d’oro for lifetime achievement, is particularly attached to the Audi A5, winner of the 2010 Design Award. But in his prestigious career, we should not forget the Golf, the Beetle, the Polo and the Up city car; the latter designed in flight from Detroit to Frankfurt with a clean-cut, alert face, conceived for a man with a perfect shave, not a hair out of place, and a blue eye emitting flashes of irony.


An Up that seems to have paved the way for Alba: ‘A small toy with attractive aesthetics, tailor-made for use in golf courses, resorts and seaside resorts’. In short, we must quickly enter the analogue and post-digital era: “it is essential that the new world of the car plays its cards on basic, single-dwelling vehicles without neglecting design, which will have to change course by incorporating IT, engineering, aerodynamic and ergonomic knowledge to enter into sustainability, the environment, privacy, psychology, tackling a more real and more aesthetic world head-on”.


De Silva’s Alba has an electric heart, a semi-automatic two-seater micro-car. Even 16-year-olds can drive it, and since it weighs 450 kg on the scales, it does not require a driving licence. There are two luggage containers in the front and rear. In addition to de Silva, Project to Engineering, Camal Studio, Borromeo de Silva, Mario Antonioli and Giampiero Boggio also collaborated on the project. The car of the future is therefore approaching with felted steps, will have an attractive design and a smell that does not pollute.


Taken from:

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