It may not be 'beautiful' in the conventional sense, but the one-off Zagato-designed F4Z is certainly unique and, in its way, quite strikingly handsome
Earlier this month, MV Agusta unveiled the custom-built F4Z that was co-created by MV and Zagato for a Japanese customer. It's not a 'beautiful' motorcycle in the conventional sense of the term, but it's certainly an intriguing machine. We love many Zagato-designed cars, which, again, are not 'nice' looking but mean and aggressive and purposeful. The bike, we think, follows suit. So we decided to catch up with Andrea Zagato for a quick chat, to find out more about the F4Z.
Born in Milan in 1960, Andrea Zagato is the third generation of his family to lead the Zagato marque since it was founded in 1919. He graduated from Milan’s Bocconi University with a degree in Economics and Commerce, specialising in corporate finance with a thesis on 'Design in the production and marketing of automobiles.' Already, the stage was set for him to enter the car (and now, a motorcycle as well!) designing business.
Here are some excerpts from what Andrea Zagato had to say about the MV Agusta F4Z:
On the design brief provided by the F4Z's buyer
He wanted a Zagato machine, a one-off bike based on the MV Agusta F4. He’s an affectionate customer of ours, as he owns several Zagato collectible cars and is a motorcycle buff. So, clearly, he had certain expectations. However, it’s like when you go out to dinner - you choose the starred restaurant, but then you don't interfere with the chef’s recipes! We discuss the dishes with our clients, but then we keep them out of the kitchen. In this case, we knew the customer well - his lifestyle and his love for motorcycles. It was his passion that stimulated the designers' creativity. He didn't want anything trendy or fashionable, but something that could instead keep its value and appeal. What he wanted was a motorbike that wasn't comparable to any other, that was classic, but always up to date and with a timeless design. Who isn't obliged to produce on a large scale, has the advantage to satisfy a particular niche without the fear of being controversial.
On how designing a motorcycle is different from designing a car, and the challenges that Zagato had to deal with while desiging the F4Z
In both cases, you have to work closely with the technical and design departments of the partner you choose. Their contribution is fundamental to create objects that are coherent. Enzo Ferrari used to say, 'team work has replaced solitary genius.' We can’t possibly imagine that Zagato could design from scratch an MV Agusta bike better than the people who know it and its heritage inside out. A tight-knit team can come up with new ideas or finally shape ideas that had been in the pipeline for some time but never materialised. The team of designers of the Zagato Atelier had to tackle a whole new challenge - to transform a production motorbike into a collectible design object, exclusive and unique.
High performance bikes are made of many parts put together, but it is difficult to create a form from many small surfaces. Consequently, the designers needed a single area, sufficiently large to allow them to change the design language and to create a monolithic object, streamlined and aerodynamic.
In addition, the new body shouldn't interfere with the original mechanics. MV Agusta, for this purpose, supported the Zagato team with all the 3D data of the production model. These proved absolutely vital, as, while in a mass produced vehicle tolerances are ample, here every piece had to fit perfectly, down to the micron.
On Italian motorcycle design
We are a design Atelier deeply rooted in our territory - Milan is rich in design tradition. But Milan is also a very lively, metropolitan city, so we have access to all the design trends at an international level. Moreover, as heads of our design team, we have two professionals of entirely different backgrounds: one, Norihiko Harada, is Japanese and the other, Stephan Schwarz, is European. However, the reasons for good design lie also in the personal experience and in the place where the design is conceived. I think Italy is one of the ideal places where to design. You don’t need to be Italian to do good design, but to do it in Italy helps creativity. It’s not by chance that 80% of the world artistic heritage lies in this country!
Being independent, Zagato is a 'transversal' brand that has been working (and still is!) together with the most prestigious marques in the world. Obviously, behind every joint project there must be a sparkle, a nice story to be told. A 'reason why,' in marketing jargon. Today we share the story with MV Agusta!