To fully appreciate the creations of Ruspa Officine, one needs to view them from a perspective of design in its natural relationship with industry. Over seventy years of the company’s history (recently celebrated by the book and exhibition titled Materia, Pensiero, Prodotto), this relationship has led it from humble beginnings as a metal construction business in Turin in 1937 to the creator of design-focused products specialised in the automotive sector it is today.

The challenge the company faces today, accepted in full by third generation descendants of its founders, is to gain self-sufficiency in the market by making the transition from supplier to producer, while continuing to offer proprietary innovative solutions which, if required, may also be automated and tailored to the needs of the client and end user.

“The most important thing is how production defines design, not the other way around”, states MD Luigi Ruspa, “because designers today must know what is effectively possible. If they don’t, the result is often a lack of cohesion between parts”. In other terms, the design process must consider the fact that each player involved in the process possesses a given skill set and that the final result will be the sum of these equivalent percentages.

“In our case”, he continues, “our key skill has always been an ability to transform materials and semi-finished products (originally metal, then plastic and later leather, with 90% of the production process conducted internally): a skill that forms a link between design, engineering and production”.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 176

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