Pininfarina Teorema puts a futuristic spin on a decades-old design cue

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Italian design house Pininfarina unveiled a forward-thinking concept car called Teorema that's shaped like a sporty coupe and furnished like a Norwegian hotel room. It shows that decades-old design concepts can be modernized.

Stretching about 213 inches from bumper to bumper (a little longer than a long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-Class) and 55 inches tall (slightly taller than a Porsche 911), the Teorema looks like a modern-day version of the so-called bread van designs several automakers started experimenting with decades ago. All of the cars that surfed this trend had at least one thing in common: a tall, upright rear end known as a Kamm tail. Still used in 2021, though often less van-like, it's a feature that makes cars more aerodynamic. Pininfarina's latest concept takes the Kamm tail and pelts it into the 22nd century by wedding it with a highly futuristic-looking front end and a long, sloping windshield.

Unusually, the Teorema is not fitted with doors in the conventional sense of the term. Its roof extends upwards and forward as the rear panel opens to give the passengers access to the cabin via what Pininfarina describes as "a foot-triggering floor" that guides individuals to their seat. Once inside, there's space for five passengers on surprisingly versatile chairs arranged in a pentagon configuration and designed by Poltrona Frau. The occupants can decide whether to face each other, look at the road ahead, turn the seats into beds, or fold them into desks.

Pininfarina noted the Teorema was jointly designed by two teams located in Cambiano, Italy, and Shanghai, China, respectively. The project was completed entirely online with the help of technology like virtual reality (VR).

Beyond design, the Teorema is a full house of industry buzzwords. It's electric, it's shared, it's connected and it's autonomous. It's not just a car; it's a vision of the future of mobility, one in which "the whole interior becomes a social space," which is arguably what buses have been for a century. It's also highly unlikely to reach production, though some of its defining styling cues could trickle down to Pininfarina's designs at some point in the 2020s.

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