A wind tunnel by Renzo Piano, assembly lines by Jean Nouvel, and a restaurant by MDN (Marco Visconti & Partners) – Ferrari has invested more than €200,000,000 since 1997 for the renovation of their facilities in Maranello, Italy.
In the early ’80s, I took a job at Nissan’s assembly line for the export model of Nissan Z-car in Hiratsuka, Japan. Day and night shifts alternated each week. My job was to grind off hundreds of rough edges created by spot welding on the body of Nissan 280ZX, wearing a protective full suit connected to an air hose. I had approximately 150 seconds to run around the body of a car, which was moving towards the next section of the line, removing all the rough edges using a relatively big air grinder and having two air hoses around myself, one attached to the hood covering my entire head and the other connected to the grinder. I would get yelled at by a supervisor once in a while for making a small scratch on the unpainted hood. If I had a day without making a scratch on any of the 170 car bodies that went through the line, the day was glorious. I’m sure things at Japanese car manufacturers have become safer and nicer since then.
I remember that my coworkers on the same assembly line were talking about retirement often. Everybody was trying to find a way to get out of there as early as possible since stamina and speed were the first things you needed to end each day safely. The chatting took place during the 10-minute break or lunch break, in a small booth next to the line or at a huge cafeteria without sufficient light. Everyday when I walked through the enormous dark facilities to get to my assembly line, I wondered how a company like Nissan, which was exporting nice cars to the United Arab Emirates and North America, could let their workers be in an overly depressing environment.
Looking at these images of the new facilities of Ferrari makes me want to work in their assembly line again. It’s utterly glorious.