Jason Castriota of Pininfarina is the designer who helped make Peter Kalikow’s vision come to life. Born in Brooklyn, Castriota attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and before he graduated was asked to join Pininfarina. Today, his official title is "Design Responsible Special Projects." Both Pininfarina and Castriota have been very busy in the past two years.
Maserati Birdcage Concept car. Photo by Alessandro Gerelli.
In 2005, his team unveiled the Birdcage 75th concept car, which won the elite Louis Vuitton Award. In 2006, Castriota made headlines with the technical and highly sensual Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, then worked with Jim Glickenhaus to help create the sensational Ferrari P4/5, in the same year.
A lot of headlines, limelight, and responsibilities for young Jason, but he nevertheless found the time to provide VeloceToday with comments on the Kalikow 612.
Ferrari P4/5. Photo by Jim Cohn.
VT: Did you establish a personal relationship with Peter Kalikow, and if so, how did this affect the final outcome of the design?
One of the great advantages of working in special projects is the ability to establish a friendly and transparent relationship with the client. In the case of Peter’s project, we were especially blessed as he is one of the world’s premiere collectors of Ferrari’s and thus has the same intense passion for the marque that we do. Being that Kappa was created solely for Peter, we did not have the difficulty and compromise that you sometimes experience when developing a normal production car. Special project cars allow us to cater directly to the tastes of a singular client. Meeting with Peter and examining his collection, we had the fortune of not only understanding his tastes, but hearing in first person his likes and dislikes. It was not until Peter shared his collection with us, that it became very clear what stylistic direction Kappa would take.
Now that the project is over, what did you and Peter gain from the project in terms of experience and satisfaction?
Apart from the unique experience of working on a one off Ferrari, building a lasting relationship with Peter was above all the greatest satisfaction. Needless to say it is always a pleasure to meet a fellow Ferrari enthusiast, and Peter is arguably one of the most knowledgeable and astute collectors in the world. As a designer, I am particular fond of hearing the insights of someone such as Peter who has bought and lived with Ferrari’s for almost fifty years. It is after all in thanks to people like Peter that Ferrari and Pininfarina have built such a phenomenal following in the US.
Front view of the 612K. Photo by Marcel Massini.
Which Ferraris of the past do you think exhibit great design qualities? Do you look to past designs for inspiration?
There are so many great Ferrari design’s which frankly makes it difficult to choose one over another. My personal favorites span from pure race cars such as the P4 and the 640 f1 car, to classics such as the 250GT Short Wheelbase Berlinetta, and the Daytona. The mid engined Dino 246GT, the Berlinetta Boxer and the brutal F40 are also tremendously influential.
It is impossible not to appreciate what has come before. Ferrari and Pininfarina have nearly 55 years of collaboration and have created some of the world’s most beautiful cars. That being said, it is always important to push the image forward, and thus our homework is to capture the essence of the DNA but transfer it into a future context. As a designer I appreciate the honesty which Pininfarina and Ferrari have always instilled in the cars. While the cars have always been captivating due to there voluptuous lines, what is perhaps less appreciated is that the volume and proportions stem from the idea of clothing the mechanicals as tightly as possible. The pure and sensual volumes are then counterbalanced by almost crude technical interventions – such as the famous biscuit vents seen on the GTO or the P4. These technical interventions lend a functional purpose and intent creating a nervous energy that captivates the viewer. This is the result of the viewer subconsciously understanding that the object is coherent and functional thus exponentially adding to it’s visually impact.
Read "K" is for Kalilow.