In 2035, all new vehicles being sold in Europe will have to be zero-emissions: what does the future hold for automobiles then? Will automotive museums become literal museums, like those collecting fossils or archaeological finds?
As our relationship with individual mobility kept on changing, automotive museums as well kept evolving in both their shape and role. From prewar collections — be they personal like the one held by Biscaretti di Ruffia in Turin, or patent-oriented like the first Daimler collection — proper museums were born in postwar years, celebrating the achievements of entire production districts, or single brands that were by then growing as local and global icons.
As today it is no longer a matter of celebrating product, the car-object, the trending concept is to create extended experience platforms more than usual museums, where the present of automotive is combined to its past and the possibility is given to learn about its future. Sometimes they are integrated in a brand’s headquarters or final delivery center, as it happens with BMW or Volkswagen; sometimes they are production plants becoming the attraction themselves, as for Ferrari in Maranello; sometimes instead they are both spatial artifacts and narrations of entire eras and worlds, like the Mauto in Turin.
The role of spaces and interfaces has evolved as well : no longer a mere container to a content, what used to be a more or less luxurious static garage had already morphed into institutional representative architectures, then sculptural symbols of specific brands, to finally land in the contemporary dimension of multi-vocational platform, quite often acting as an active component of entire cultural networks or territorial systems.
Europe is actually punctuated with such venues, so Domus wants to try and take you on an virtual road trip through the continent showcasing a selection as relevant and diverse as possible of all the ways we interact with our century-long individual mobility dimension.