A Vancouverite recently described Coal Harbour as the “Park Avenue of Vancouver.” The concentrated downtown core neighborhood overlooks the city’s main harbor, Stanley Park and the city’s new – green-roofed – Convention Center which is currently called the Olympic Broadcast Center. Right now, it also boasts exceptional views of the Olympic Cauldron, lit by Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky on Opening night of Winter Olympics 2010.
The talk of the town these days is that now that the up-and-coming city, which likes to describe itself as the “world’s most livable city,” (and many, including The Economist magazine, concur with this) will finally enter the ranks of world-class cities having enjoyed a month in the sun of Olympic spotlight and action.
Another interesting murmur coming up from the crowd is that there is hope that Vancouver will now attract more European investment, to complement the overflowing Asian, predominantly Chinese, investment the town has enjoyed in recent years. Locals’ nickname for the city is Van Hong, which puts into perspective the amount of overseas Asian investment that has been lavished on Vancouver in recent years.
Enter Harbour Green Place. It is a stunning $1 billion, three-tower development that seeks to attract the world’s rich and famous. It will offer a communal Ferrari for residents of Harbour Green Place to drive, among other super-luxe amenities. The $200,000 kitchens are designed by Paolo Pininfarina, the Ferrari designer. Since August 12, 2008, he has been the acting Chairman of Pininfarina S.p.A.
Green Blog Network asked Mr. Pininfarina what his thoughts were on sustainable design, and found that the designer had a lot to say on the subject:
Paolo Pininfarina: Sustainability is the heart of design in 2010. It’s a must.
GBN: Where do you see sustainable design going in the future?
PP: In the future sustainability will drive the creation of new products. It’s a big part of the work of designers in the next 20 years.
GBN: Ferrari is symbolic of copious consumption. Can this continue?
PP: We absolutely need to reduce consumption. In a city such as Vancouver, you don’t feel it so much. But other parts of the world, you really notice the over demand on resources. Even the Chairman of Ferrari said we have to do something to reduce consumption. I am fortunate to be able to design in such a technological laboratory. We are orienting towards observing environmental cautiousness.
GBN: Can a quality product such as Ferrari also be designed to be sustainable?
PP: Designers are, by definition, creative people. Beautiful products are not enough. They must be beautiful and sustainable. There is an aesthetic to sustainability. For example, an ugly product is disturbing from an aesthetic point of view. There is a sustainable aesthetic to beauty.
GBN: What do you think of the Tesla?
PP: A person who drives a Tesla is saying “I have the money to be sensible.” We are looking for a more affordable approach. We’d like to design a zero emission vehicle that is affordable to more people.
Electric cars make good company cars. Companies who buy electric vehicles for their employees’ use can be trendsetters. An EV is ideal for commuting between home and office. Then, if necessary, you have another vehicle, or a hybrid, for longer weekend journeys.
I see it evolving along the lines of the cell phone. The first breakthrough was when the company managers were provided cell phones. They used their mobiles in the car. Once that was established, then it was just a matter of time before everyone had a cell phone.
GBN: Can the populace at large, then, be conditioned to want to buy an EV or a hybrid?
PP: Certainly. It’s a question of building out the infrastructure. There are models developing now where you can purchase the automobile and then rent the batteries.
GBN: And at Ferrari?
PP: Ferrari is a dream. At Ferrari we are selling dreams.
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