June 1, 2012
Alex Prindiville takes us behind the scenes of his luxury coachbuilding company.
The Luxurious Magazine Interview With Alex Prindiville, Founder and Chief Designer of Prindiville.
In the last edition of Luxurious Magazine, we had the privilege of meeting Alex Prindiville, Founder and Chief Designer of Prindiville, one of the world’s leading luxury coachbuilders headquartered in London, UK. We are delighted to have been invited back for another exclusive interview with Alex to go behind the scenes, and discover what drives his business to take concepts from the drawing board to the road.
LM: Prindiville offers a range of cars spanning from the Lamborghini Aventador to the Range Rover Evoque. How do you choose what comes next?
AP: The models to which our bespoke coachbuilding service is applied, is very much governed by customer demand, global market trends, and of course, new car releases. We need to ensure that our clients both have access, and are able to come to us to tailor the very latest production vehicles, whether it be a supercar or luxury SUV. As a result, it is important for Prindiville to constantly be looking forward.
LM: When you are designing the look of a production car, what inspires you, and what is your thought process?
AP: The design process is led by the desire to create a vehicle which is different to what the world has seen before, and which will similarly make an individual stand out from the crowd. Every model and marque has its own design profile and distinct lines, and therefore it is imperative that Prindiville blends function with an enhanced level of performance and driving experience without compromising the original feel, beauty, and purpose for which the car was made. We also aim to incorporate enhancements to a vehicle which challenge convention. For example, we were the first to develop a ‘handle-less’ door system, and wing mirror cameras for the Lamborghini Murciélago.
LM: Are there any specific materials which you prefer to work with and use within your designs?
AP: We employ lightweight aircraft-grade carbon fibre across many of our facelifts due to the nature of the high performance models that we are focused on. It does not only complement the work which we do on many of today’s supercars, but also has the benefit of a high strength-to-weight ratio. We frequently use it for aerodynamic components parts such as spoilers, diffusers, and roof skins. For the interior, attention to detail is equally important, and we are committed to employing the finest hand-crafted Italian leather hides and highest grade alcantara to ensure the perfect finish. We also supply jewellery packs manufactured from aluminium. However, because our service is tailored to the individual, we will incorporate other materials into the design if a customer has a particular preference.
AP: Bespoke coachbuilding combines the skills of art with craftsmanship, and is all about re-designing the look of a car according to the specific tastes of the client. Every Prindiville commission starts with a one-to-one consultation to determine exactly what the buyer is looking for. This can originate from their personal ideas, a simple sketch, or alternatively, we will draft a detailed and explanatory proposal based on a given brief. The drawings will then be refined until the desired look and feel have been achieved, based on the feedback which we receive from the customer.
LM: Coachbuilding stretches as far back as the early 1900s. How has it evolved over the years, and what does the future hold?
AP: The art of coachbuilding has made great strides over the decades, and is very much a worldwide phenomenon. Britain began with the likes of Mulliner & Co and Vanden Plas, whilst Italy saw the foundation of the now infamous design houses such as Bertone, Pininfarina, and Zagato. Going back to the very beginning of the adoption of customisation, an individual would source a rolling chassis from a vehicle manufacturer, and then approach a coachbuilder to build a body on to it which was designed according to their wishes. The industry has clearly changed over the years with many coachbuilders and design houses now subcontracted to mainstream vehicle manufacturers in order to survive. Nevertheless, today there remains many privately owned luxury coachbuilders who are prominent in what is now a highly competitive arena. Looking forward, continued innovation is key; every new model brings its own set of design challenges and forms, which always makes it exciting from a creativity point of view!
AP: We feel that to maximise the performance of the vehicle and achieve a truly individual look, this cannot always be attained with an existing or off-the-shelf solution. Consequently, in addition to sourcing high quality components from across the globe, we also create, engineer, and build Prindiville bespoke parts such as stainless steel and titanium sports exhaust systems which not only provide a reduction in weight, but equally deliver significant power gains. More importantly, when designing and developing carbon fibre parts, they are mainly hand-crafted in the UK and we are immensely proud of this
LM: How long does it take to bring a new component from the drawing board to production?
AP: The design and manufacture of parts is a complex process and often takes a few weeks before we create the first prototype and tools. Every new component is subject to a vigorous testing process and is initially installed on a mule vehicle to gauge performance and for optimisation purposes. Once the specification of the part has been refined, and, in turn, finalised, we will look to source superior grade material for full scale production to ensure the best possible quality and longevity for the dedicated customer application.
LM: Thank you very much once again for your time Alex, and we look forward to catching up with you in the near future.
AP: It has been a pleasure to talk to you Paul, and we value the opportunity to share our products with your readers. Luxurious Magazine is an exceptional publication, and we always enjoy reading it.