Style | Diary of a Somebody

Carlo Brandelli

The artist-designer reveals Jaguar’s big secret

Carlo Brandelli

Image: Nick Knight

August 18 2011
Carlo Brandelli

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I awoke today to an exciting email from Jaguar which just read, “C-X16: Strict embargo”.

I drive back from Milan thinking about semiotics. What is it about numbers and fonts together that captures our imagination? Insert an “x” and a number, and we have a code that automatically intrigues us with its secrecy: C-X16. This case is no exception – the launch of a concept car from Jaguar that will set the standard for a new style of sports car design will be revealed at the Frankfurt motor show on September 13. I am sure Jaguar won’t mind me leaking the secret early; I have been a design ambassador for them, and their excellent XK sports car, since its launch a few years ago. Obviously you can’t view the artist’s rendering they have sent me, but I can tell you that it looks modern, powerful, elegant and fast. I had driven an XK press car through Italy when it was first released; the car has won many international awards for that design, and I am sure the models that follow this concept will too.

I am reminded of a trip I took as a guest of Jaguar with David Gandy this year (car aficionado and top sportsman), where in Paris we were at a lunch at the original family Louis Vuitton maison, located on the Rue Louis Vuitton – they named an actual road after the brand. David (or DG as he signs off on texts), on the subject of sports cars, just said: “Germany; no limit on motorways, and at that speed the sophisticated machines make sense.”

My own fast drive is over for today, and my gallerist in Paris – the brilliant art-design crossover specialist RCM Galerie in Rue de Lille – is my last message. Robert put on my first sculpture solo show last year, the first non-fashion design work that I have made in a long time. It is the only gallery where my work can be seen; keeping the work out of London was deliberate, as I needed a clean break from the past and a chance for this to be accepted. The only exception is one piece in travertine marble and gold, which Roland Mouret has on display in his elegant salon in Mayfair, a former period house adorned with artworks. The message simply reads, “Carlo I am in London doing an installation for Rick Owens before Frieze.” I am reassured; perhaps artists and designers can begin to defy classification through their works after all?

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