Horacio Pagani: The low-key perfectionist

If you're a car nerd you're probably familiar with Pagani, a boutique maker of ridiculously high-end sports cars. They are not "mass-made" by any stretch of the imagination, so don't fall into the usual realm of what we cover here at MMS. But I do love this interview with founder Horacio Pagani as he articulates his approach to imbuing soul into machines. He comes across as someone with humility and calm, but also great drive and a vision for what he wants.

Born into a family of Italian-immigrant bakers in Argentina, Pagani built his first motorbike at age 15, and built the majority of his first race car (despite never having seen a race first hand!). After a stint as a chief engineer at Lamborghini in Italy, he struck out on his own at age 25 to start his own firm.

It’s fantastic to work with your hands, you touch the materials, and you begin to become friends with them, and then at a certain point you start to talk to it and say “give me a hand with this, it’s difficult”. You have a relationship and the material tries to help you, make you understand what it can do. I think it’s very important that it’s done manually. Today, I think it’s a shame that youngsters spend their time on games, on telephones or video games. Yes it can be entertaining but it isn’t like touching materials... There’s no encounter with materials and for me that isn’t a good thing.

I hope that our concept of working is actually in the Leonardo da Vinci tradition, where art and science come together. The art is an expression of the hands, a kind of manual intellectualism which goes from the head to the hands.

I have always tried to do things as perfectly as possible... There’s something in you that drives you to always improve. You question something and begin to study it. You come back to this idea again and again. This is the kind of question you ask yourself every day. You question what you’ve done to try and improve. But it’s not an exact science, it’s just research that you do from a position of knowledge to always do better.
— Horacio Pagani