MOTORING NEWS - The Fiat 500 F series will go on public display from February as part of the MoMA's (Museum of Modern Art) New York exhibition "The Value of Good Design".
Following the museum's acquisition of the Fiat 500 last year, the Fiat 500 F series will be on public display at the museum for the first time from February to May, as part of the museum's stellar collection of industrial design.
"The 500 is an icon of Italian style that never went out of fashion, Over the decades it has gained fans all around the world because of its key features and strong personality," said Luca Napolitano, head of EMEA Fiat.
"Since 1957, the Fiat 500 has always brought colour and smiles to everyday lives on the roads of the world, becoming an ambassador of "Bel Paese" cheese and an icon of style and design made in Italy."
The model on display at MoMA will be a 500 F series, the most popular 500 ever, produced from 1965 to 1972. Counting the other versions (namely, the Sport, D, L and R) of the first generation, a total of more than four million cars were produced from 1957 to 1975.
The car is a clear expression of form following function, a logical and economical use of materials and a belief that quality design should be accessible to all. The development of inexpensive, reliable cars like the Fiat 500 was essential for the motorisation of post-war Europe. Through its design and its centrality to the story of mid-century Italy, the 500 embodies many of the principles that typified mid-century modernist design and connects it to themes explored in other works in the museum's collection.
Commonly referred to as the Cinquecento (Italian for 500), the Nuova 500 was designed by Dante Giacosa and launched in 1957. Giacosa joined Fiat in 1927 and was responsible for many of the most important designs that emerged from the automaker during his 43-year career. His work also includes the original 500 "Topolino" and the later 500 "Nuova".
A compact, rear-engine city car, the 500 was conceived as an economical car for the masses.
Despite its small exterior dimensions, Giacosa's design maximised interior volume, resulting in a surprisingly spacious interior that could accommo-date four passengers. The standard-feature foldeable fabric roof imbued this economy car with a sense of luxury while simultaneously reducing the amount of steel - a precious commodity at the time - necessary for production of the car.
This undisputed success was followed up in 2007 with the launch of the new generation. Today's 500, just like its illustrious ancestor, immediately proved highly successful worldwide, winning an impressive array of prizes.
Design remains relevant
The Value of Good Design exhibition will feature objects from domestic furnishings and appliances ceramics, glass, electronics, transport design, sporting goods, toys and graphics. The exhibit will explore the democratising potential of design, beginning with MoMA's Good Design initiatives from the late 1930s to the 1950s, which championed well-designed, affordable contemporary products.
The concept of "good design" was embraced by governments on both sides of the Cold War divide as a vital tool of social and economic reconstruction and technological advancement after World War II. The exhibition also addresses what "good design" might mean today and whether values from mid-century can be translated and redefined for a contemporary audience. Visitors are invited to judge for themselves by trying out a few "good design" classics still in production.
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