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“We want that when you see an Alfa Romeo on the street you say ‘wow!'”

Milan

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“We want you to see an Alfa Romeo on the street and say ‘wow!'”, That’s how forceful he expresses himself Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos (Madrid, 53 years old), new chief designer of the Italian brand since July of this year. His challenge is to draw the future models of a car brand that is synonymous with elegant sportsmanship throughout its history.

Mesonero-Romanos’ eyes light up when he talks about Alfa Romeo. For a car designer «it’s a dream», He confesses. “When I got the call from Stellantis to take over the brand, I couldn’t say no. You can’t say no to Alfa Romeo, ”he says. And it is that this Madrid, with more than 26 years of professional career, had just six months in Paris working on Dacia designs, after leaving Seat, when he was offered to lead the design of the Italian brand.

He justifies the decision by looking back at his student days. «When I was barely 20 years old, I came to Italy with several colleagues from the Royal College of Art, I dreamed that one day I would work in Italy. I did it after visiting Pininfarina, Bertone and other bodybuilders who have marked an era in the automotive industry.

The arrival of Mesonero-Romanos to Alfa Romeo coincides with a change in the brand’s strategy, which will invest 30,000 million euros to modernize and electrify its range before 2027, with four new models, one every year.

The designer does not want to give up on how the cars will be or in which segment they fall, although he does release some detail during the conversation with a group of Spanish journalists at the Alfa Romeo museum in Milan. The words he repeats the most are light, aerodynamics and lights.

“Aerodynamics is what will most influence the designs of the coming years”

“We are mainly working on aerodynamics, which is what is going to influence the designs of the coming years the most. And in this sense, Alfa Romeo has a wonderful history with aerodynamics inherited from competition, “he says. It should be remembered that the first world racing champion was Nino Farina, in 1950, at the wheel of the GP Type 158 ‘Alfetta’.

Sports «of prestige»

«The biggest challenge we have is to build light cars –Insists Mesonero-Romanos-. Losing weight is the biggest battle we have. For this reason, at Alfa Romeo we are going to work on the concept of ‘light electric’. We want the car to be as light and agile as possible, ”he says. He goes on to explain that electrification and weight reduction don’t have to influence the brand’s DNA. “An Alfa Romeo is a fun car to drive and it will continue to be.”

When he insisted that he reveal some other detail, he explained that they were going to concentrate on designing “prestigious sports cars. I will give an answer to the Galician. Alfa is not just going to do SUVs. I leave it there. We are going to have very cool SUVs, of course, but we will go further ».

“Electrification changes the architecture of the car a bit,” he explains. All manufacturers put the battery in the same place, on the floor, between the axles, there is not much more possibility. Cars are therefore taller. The wheelbase is longer, they are visually longer, and the overhangs are shorter. Also the wheels are bigger to compensate for the lateral size … It is as if we see a different animal. It is the evolution of the species. The difficulty is finding the balance and the proportions between size and aerodynamics, “he says.

One of the most recognizable features of the brand is its grille in the shape of a ‘scudetto’ (shield). A sign of identity that will remain very present, “which does not mean that we make it a giant.” In addition, he comments that the grill is still fundamental in the structure of cars. “Electric cars, despite what the engineers have sold us, need cooling. Batteries need air. We are working with the classic ‘escudetto’. We are going to make it evolve in a beautiful way », explains the Spanish creator.

Mesonero-Romanos explains that one of the instructions he has received from the president of Alfa Romeo, Jean Philippe Imparato, is that the cars are focused on the driver. How do you do it? He wonders. Evolving the interiors. We have a design theme that nobody has, which are the double canochial clocks, coming from the competition, ”he explains.

Moving sculptures

But what the Spanish creator stands out the most is the fact that the acquisition of one or another car, «regardless of the technology, will remain passionate. Design will always be important, it is the ability it has to move us, “he says. A crush that has to extend into the interior of the vehicle. “People want their car to be an extension of themselves.”

Influencing this idea, he comments without embarrassment that “cars, especially Alfa Romeo cars, are sculptures in motion. They are works of art. Any of these cars – he says while pointing to one of the models on display in the Alfa Romeo museum – could be compared in beauty to Leonardo’s Mona Lisa ».

Turning an idea into an object is complex work involving an important team. Mesonero-Romanos has 60 people at your service, two of them Spanish. In his time at the head of the Seat-Cupra design team, he had between 90 and 130 people in his charge.

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