by Luigi Colani and Akira Fujimoto

Luigi Colani: Designing Tomorrow

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In September 1978 Car Styling Magazine published, Luigi Colani: Designing Tomorrow, the first of four special edition books dedicated to the fantastic, flashy and futuristic designs of Luigi Colani. Way ahead of his time, Colani’s designs – from sexy women’s shoes and aerodynamic vehicles to colorful bathroom fixtures – are radical even by today’s standards.

This book is comprised of a short introduction, an interview and a multitude of photographs accompanied by descriptive captions that provide insight into Colani’s revolutionary design aesthetic and quirky personality. Admittedly, the texts in the publication are at times roughly translated, yet they do capture the ambition, intensity and charisma of a designer who only wears clothes he designed himself.

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Unlike most others in his field, Colani is less interested in the mass-production of his designs and many of his impressive works never make it beyond the proposal phase. Fortunately, in Colani’s case, proposal means a 3D scale model made in his studio which is, in fact, what many of the works featured in this book actually are.

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Given this is an automotive publication (the red vinyl cover is just one giveaway) a majority of the works featured in the book revolve around transportation. From a one-man propeller plane and a 1000-passanger Megalodon nicknamed the Shark Plane (neither of which were produced) to the GT-Spider designed for Volkswagen, a kit-car produced in an edition of 500, this book illustrates the forward thinking and broad vision of the German designer. His concept vehicles rival the flying cars of the Jetsons and look like strange and fascinating animals of the future.

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While Colani seems to think bigger than production, hundreds of his designs have been made commercially available. His interests are far ranging and a portion of the book explores Colani’s forays into furniture (see his wild Secretary chair below), architecture, clothing and object design.

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Car Styling went out of business in 2010, but copies of this book and the other editions can still be found online at Amazon.