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Fueled by passion, fun, and curiosity

Simona Falcinella, Head of Audi’s Colour & Trim unit, about beauty with meaning – and the Audi RS e-tron GT.

06/02/2021 Text: AUDI AG – Photo: Fritz Beck Reading Time: 7 min

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

: Simona Falcinella, Head of Colour & Trim at Audi, touches the surface of a car with a laugh.

Which exact fields within the Audi cosmos are your responsibility? What elements are part of your daily business?

My daily business is also my passion. Tailoring the right dresses for each Audi model, highlighting a specific character and attitude for each model, looking for different expressions of the model in different colours, contrast shades, and materials, combining the character of the car with the wishes and expectations of our customers. This, for me, is pure fun.

 

As we stand here in the midst of three, brand new Audi RS e-tron GT’s in different colours: can you tell us a little about each of them?

Colours are a simple, yet powerful form of communication: they can evoke the past, define the present, and inspire the future … Audi has iconic colours that stand out in your memory; some are deeply connected with Audi’s racing history, for example grey and red.

Tango Red emphasises the sporty vocation of the Audi RS e-tron GT and Audi’s racing traditions, and for these reasons distinctively characterises our most sporty models. The grey hue of Kemora Grey, so connected to our racing tradition, belongs to a special Audi family of colours. They are compact colours with a special saturation point that combine a strong shaping effect of the volumes with the subtle, sophisticated presence so distinctively Audi. Sculptural surfaces and colours become a single entity. The new Tactical Green, developed for the Audi RS e-tron GT and the Audi e-tron GT quattro, also belongs to this family. The specific exterior colour is completely reinterpreting the green colour trend: it has a distinctive technical character and at the same time a silky appearance. The colour gives the moving shapes of the car a special firm solidity.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Audi e-tron GT quattro: Power consumption, combined*: 19.6–18.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.8–19.9 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Audi e-tron GT quattro: Power consumption, combined*: 19.6–18.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.8–19.9 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Aesthetics are the most direct expression of our culture and society.

Simona Falcinella

How do you stay passionate about aesthetics amid stressful deadlines?

Aesthetics are the most direct expression of our culture and society, and I am interested in people and passionate about life in all its forms. I am open to novelty because fundamentally I am a curious and positive person and I believe that, especially during stressful times, it is important to keep seeing the beauty and the meaning of what we do.

 

As a daughter of a fashion designer, passion for the sensuality of materials has been with you since birth. Does that still have an impact on your work today?

Yes, my mother worked as a fashion designer – and my father was a fashion-textile expert. They both imprinted something in me: the sense of beauty and quality in the execution became an instinct for me, together with the belief that aesthetic vision can be separated neither from a meaningful intent nor from technical and material knowledge.

 

From a young age, I frequently went along with my mum and dad to their working appointments and became familiar with very well known Italian fashion design centres. The atmospheres I breathed, the things I saw, heard, touched, smelled, and learned are ingrained in my memories and still feel almost as vivid as present perception. I remember my mother showing me sketches, textiles, buttons, threads – I can remember the colours, the consistency, the feeling … These early experiences have, of course, influenced my work and they still do!

 

Besides, I saw my mother and father working with the fashion business rhythms: each season has its new materials and combinations, colours, graphics. I learned not just the dedication but also the constant research of aesthetics and technical possibilities. A wool-colour trend book of my mother’s is still one of my professional reference points: a heritage I bring with me in all the companies and design studios I have worked in.

Simona Falcinella

Simona Falcinella, Head of Colour & Trim at the Audi Design Center, began her career in Milan in 1984 as a fashion designer. She later worked as a textile designer, developing fabrics for the furniture, fashion, and automotive industries. “The construction of the textile itself, weft and warp on a jacquard loom, charmed me – and it still does,” she says, explaining the move from fashion design to new challenges. Back in 1989, she took over the management of an automotive C&T department in Italy. Since 2011, she has been steering the fortunes of Colour & Trim at Audi.

You used to be a fashion designer in Milan, and then you chose to move on to Colour & Trim. What fascinates you most about it?

Audi offers multiple possibilities to involve and to be involved in a larger shared vision, to influence and to be influenced: in fact, the project team is a swarm of people moving together in a single direction to build a single car. In the end, what keeps fascinating me at the moment of the car release onto the market is how large the resonance and the impact of all the ideas we developed is.

 

Where do you gather inspiration from?

My team and I work in the unique field of Colour & Trim following a long and very emotional process. When it comes to colours and materials, it is a never-ending research: “Find, reframe, and reinterpret” our field is constantly evolving. The inspiration is everywhere and it must be strictly connected to a deep analysis of the project and knowledge of the DNA of the brand; it can arise from the Transformation technology as well. During this process, it is important to keep your mind – and eyes – wide open, ready for new solutions and fresh ideas!

It is important to keep your mind – and eyes – wide open, ready for new solutions and fresh ideas!

Simona Falcinella

Speaking of transformation: do you feel there are implicit differences between working on an electric car and one with a combustion engine? Do you want a different message to be transported in EV? Or does it always depend on the particular model?

In general, the EVs are a turning point for the whole automotive industry, but most importantly, they are the result of a new global mindset and insight towards the environment and sustainability. The design language, of course, has to translate this new approach consistently into new aesthetics that make all the sustainability values, the new technology behind the electric engine, the digital improvement, and connectivity immediately evident.

 

In what ways have customer demands changed over recent years, and regarding that, what do you expect for the future?

The demand for and attention to sustainable materials comes from society. In recent years we assisted, at least in our western culture, a rising sense of environmental awareness, which is associated with a new sense of social and ethical responsibility. This is not simply a temporary trend and Audi fully embraced it and, for the future, I expect every aspect of our society to rapidly move into a completely ethical and sustainable direction. Customers are more demanding and aware: a cool product is not enough anymore. They want to know what they are buying, also looking below the surface. People read the labels – they want to know the sourcing and the composition of the product.

 

What is most important for you, personally, when you think about the future of design?

Human-centric design and empathy are the most relevant aspects to me. People are a lot more than simple users or customers, and I believe that, in this moment in time, a bottom-up approach is essential at every level. Just as, for example, in my area of expertise, the materials’ microstructure design is fundamental in order to get the right haptics, opacity, and welcoming effect, the product as a whole should also be conceived starting from the human side up.

In what way was working on the Audi RS e-tron GT project unique compared to other work of yours?

With the Audi RS e-tron GT, Audi is making a statement about its commitment to further improving sustainability. The Econyl carpet, for instance, is made with a special yarn that incorporates recovered fishing nets, which would otherwise pose a great threat to ocean life. Recovering a valuable raw material to make new yarn creates a recycling loop system because the nylon in the carpet can be reused again and again. For Audi, this is what it’s all about: Our commitment to sustainability includes harnessing advanced recycling technology to ensure that we don’t have to compromise on our cars’ distinctive character.

 

Our Audi C&T Design team strives to communicate how protecting the environment adds value. We want to show that it is only through advanced technology that we are able to upcycle waste materials and transform them into pure luxury.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Customers are more demanding and aware: a cool product is not enough anymore.

Simona Falcinella

The Audi rings in black.
The black Audi rings and the associated absence of chrome are a signal not only of an innovated style language but also of the pursuit of greater sustainability. They appear in the Audi RS e-tron GT for the first time.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

German model shown. Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

German model shown. Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

The Audi RS e-tron GT in side view.

Perfect shape

Trendsetting in design and technology: Learn more about the Audi RS e-tron GT.

Discover now

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

German model shown. Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

German model shown. Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

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