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Inside Lamborghini's design studio

When the Italian automaker set out to redo its offices, they needed to reflect the brand's core values - extreme, aggressive, and sensuous.

By Sue Zesiger Callaway, contributor
Last Updated: July 2, 2008: 11:50 AM EDT

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Aluminum and other auto materials dominate Lamborghini Design and Marketing Chief Fitzgerald's office, which overlooks the studio.

(Fortune) -- The adjectives most corporate executives use to describe their ideal offices often include terms like "functional" and "light-filled." But when Lamborghini set out to redo its design studio a few years ago, the list was somewhat more ambitious: It needed to mirror the brand's core values: "extreme, aggressive, sensuous, Italian, uncompromising, exclusive, and challenging."

Result: The facility, in tiny Sant'Agata, Italy, outside Bologna, is hands-down one of the best examples of a workspace being in sync with the products.

Lamborghini's former design director Luc Donckerwolke came up with the idea of creating an open studio with office space lofted above, while design and marketing boss Manfred Fitzgerald, who oversaw the interior design, chose technical materials - aluminum, chrome, laminate, leather, glass - to create a direct visual link to the brand's razor-edged supercars. They then added clean-lined furniture from Swiss maker USM, Eames chairs, and a lighting system that can simulate different states of natural light to complete the balance between aggressiveness and elegance.

"The key to the space is its transparency," says Fitzgerald. "Walking in, you get a sense of freshness. We've had long nights there, but the environment is always vibrant."

For the boutique Italian automaker, which is owned by Volkswagen Group, the future includes a heavy focus on personalization, or what Fitzgerald calls the "I want what [my neighbor] doesn't have" mentality.

The space's futuristic mood helps Fitzgerald and his team of five look forward. "We are good at approaching things in a different, extreme way," says Fitzgerald. And legions of loyal Lamborghini drivers have an office, in part, to thank.  To top of page