Leonardo Fioravanti came to the Geneva Show with the Kite, a rear wheel drive coupé concept most notable for its LED lighting system and its “semi-transparent” roof.
“ The Kite’s LED lighting system”, he explained, “is the latest evolution of a process that began in 2001 with the Vola prototype and was carried forward in 2002 and 2003 with the Yak I and the Yak II concepts. While traditional lighting systems are bulky, these are so small and light that they can be mounted pretty much any way you like”.
On the Kite, the front clusters are lodged inside the front wing frame, while at the back, the printed circuit boxes are slotted into the roof pillars.
From illumination to the transparency of the Kite’s innovative roof. “Our intention”, says Fioravanti, “was to create a coupé with a sense of space overhead and a pleasantly capacious interior. And while it’s different from any other roof on the market, it is entirely feasible”.
You can build an entire roof out of glass these days and it can be perfectly safe, or equipped with a variety of lifting or sliding systems; and its transparency can be regulated in real time. On the other hand, all that glass can feel odd. Hence Fioravanti’s idea for a semi-transparent roof.
“In creating its support structure”, reports Fioravanti, “I adopted the theory of flat slabs, which states that a lightweight slab, externally supported, performs much more efficiently. For the interior, I turned to high resistance steel that retains its properties even when perforated”.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 146