Development of the car took place in a very tight time span. Traditional form plans and axonometric projections were produced from sketches – but executed at the computer, work of German designer Wolfgang Hegger, the author of the exterior line along with project leader Carlo Giavazzi and designer Filippo Perini.

All the form plans were subjected to the scrutiny of Innovations, which worked in parallel with the style centre to ensure that the project complied with regulations, interior habitability requirements and so on.

For the interior – in particular the work of Arcangelo Jeker and Daniele Masera – the manual drawing phase was practically skipped; existing componentry was rationally organised at the computer and immediately moved on to excelite modelling.

“The creative stage and the computerised development lasted little more than two months,” explains De Silva’s assistant Mario Favilla. “In this sense, Nuvola was also a complete design exercise, a car with all the paperwork necessary for construction. ” After the conceptual phase came the 1:10 and 1:4 scale models and the 1:1 exterior and interior model milled by the style centre, followed by prototype construction in the Stola workshop.

At first glance, the Nuvola seen on the show stand was suprising not only for the beauty of its forms, but for its colour, too: everyone was expecting a dutifully red sports Alfa Romeo, as the tradition would have it. Nuvola instead appears to hold true to its name (the Italian for cloud), sparkling in a metallic sky blue that assumes various nuances under the spotlights.

The explanation for the colour choice is almost anecdotal, and involves the chairman of the Fiat Group: “We had already prepared samples of all the various shades of red suggested for the car, when Paolo Cantarella told us: ‘Choose whatever colour you want, as long as it isn’t red’. He took us by surprise, but a visit to our museum and consultation with our colleague, Mrs Ruocco, reminded us that sky blue is another important colour in the Alfa Romeo tradition.

“We spent five happy months, working passionately night and day,” Walter de’ Silva says with satisfaction. “With such an open-ended project, the team gets even more motivated. The young people we take on at our style centre mustn’t just be good designers, more than anything else they have to be Alfa enthusiasts. Teamwork does the rest: Alfa Romeo is a contagious thrill.”

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 100