Nothing but pasta could possibly be more representative of Italian sumptuousness than Ferrari, the sexy luxury race car brand that made its debut in 1947 with the 125S, produced in Maranello, Italy, and bearing the Ferrari trademark.
Maranello, near the city of Modena, has been Ferrari’s home from the firm’s inception, and the main museum dedicated to the firm’s famous fast cars, as well as its assembly line and various factories are all situated there.
The Ferrari museum, opened just more than a year after Enzo Ferrari’s death in 1990, gets over 200,000 visitors a year from all corners of the globe, who come to ogle and drool over their favorite models—from the Ferrari 125S and 166 Inter all the way up to the Ferrari FF—at close range.
The expo shows off cars past and present across its 2,500-meter space, including rare vintage models and a well-stocked trophy hall.
Truly impressive to the engineering-minded, however, is the company’s large factory, situated right next to the museum and designed with employees and technology in mind.
The plant, or the “Ferrari citadel” as it’s referred to, has expanded and evolved over its six decades of existence, with famous architects like Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel, Marco Visconti, Massimiliano Fuksas and Luigi Sturchio all leaving their indelible mark on the complex.
Ferrari has done its utmost to ensure that its factory employees—who are treated to a wide range of services from free family medical exams to schoolbooks for their children, gyms and subsidized loans—work in the most comfortable environment possible. Bright, climate controlled, noise reduction and green spaces abound, and indeed, the factory recently won the “Best Place to Work in Europe” award.
In June 2009, Ferrari even opened its own trigeneration center (a system which combines heat, cooling and power production) at its plant, one of the largest in Italy and the first to be adopted by a company manufacturing sports cars.
Together with the photovoltaic power plant installed on the roof of Ferrari’s mechanical workshop in 2008, the trigneration system—representing a 10 million Euro investment—makes the factory almost fully autonomous in terms of power generation. What little energy the factory does need from external sources, the company sources from renewable energy supplies, which has led to an apparent 40 percent reduction in C02 emissions (some 40,000 metric tons) in 2010 alone.
The factory buildings were specially designed with both style and incredible amounts of functionality in mind, from Renzo Piano’s Wind Tunnel building completed in 2007 and resembling a part of an engine, to Marco Visconti’s visually stunning aluminium and opal glass paint shop, designed to minimize contact between the workers and toxic materials.
The central element of the Wind Tunnel building is a tubular duct 80 meters long where air flow can be artificially generated and modified for turbulence, angularity and uniformity. The turbine guarantees an airflow of about 250 kph for models in 1:2 scale and of about 150 kph for 1:1 scale models as well as real cars.
Thanks to a mechanism controlled by over 300 sensors and a conveyor belt that is synchronized with the wind speed, Ferrari's engineers can simulate and monitor practically every movement of the various models, from rolling to yawing, pitching and swerving.
Hey Rick, those are awesome! Sorry, I would have linked to them initially had i known! :) There is nothing sexier than Ferrari in my opinion, so I'm super jealous that you got to go to the F1 event!! Awesome sauce!
Readers of this article would probably be interested in a story I did for Design News awhile back when they invited us to cover the introduction of their latest Formula 1 car at the time. I got to talk with the technical staff about how Ferrari approaches crafting a Formula 1 car:
The Formula 1 car debut event held at their private Fiorano racetrack proving ground was also a unique event, blending style with technology:
I was then able to actually get a tour inside the production car factory, usually only given to those who have ponied up to buy a car: