Claudio Carbone is one classy cat who hails from Florence, Italy. He’s a car designer who’s been in LA for three years, after a five year stint in Paris with the renowned car brand Renault. Claudio has also lent his talents to Bertone in Italy. In the US, he’s worked for Volkswagen and is now on board with another car company.
What brought you to LA?
I came here on vacation originally and also went to San Francisco and San Diego. I was living in Paris, France at the time and was introduced to LA night life by friends Jason and Alessio, with the suggestion that I should go to a night put on by other friends at The Gold Room. I did and met a great group of people and wound up getting a job here.
What inspires you in your work?
Old cars do. I recall my grandpa’s green Fiat 128, the way it smelled like vinyl and cheap cigarettes and how nostalgic that makes me feel.
I also like to go out and support my friends’ art shows and band shows. I don’t like to be around car talk all around the clock. I like to get different kinds of artists into work to see their takes on what makes a great car. I’d rather say that I know the best people than that I’m out to be the best car designer ever.
What’re you designing now? Are you allowed to say?
It’s top secret. I’m working for a design shop in downtown Los Angeles. We’re a satellite office of a large automobile company. I’ve made some concept cars in the past.
What other projects do you have in the works?
I’m trying to help a friend of mine with a design company called Bloom Room that produces product and interior design that are thought provoking, that don’t necessarily make people comfortable.
What kinds of things have you behind the wheel of?
In Italy, we get to start driving at age 18. I had a red Fiat Panda. (European cars are also spirit animals).
Now, I take my motorcycle to work.
Car culture is so important in LA. Did you get a lot of dates with your Panda?
For that, I would borrow my dad’s car.
What American/Californian habits have you picked up?
I participate in conversations about things like shooting ranges and bowling that I don’t when I’m in Europe. I’ve also gotten more optimistic and laid back.
How long have you had this beard and will you shave it for summer?
10 years! I would look really weird without my facial hair.
What is your personal style about?
I wear basics and occasionally stoner metal/doom metal t-shirts. One of my favorites is my Pentagram one. (Pentagram is a band from Alexandria, Virginia).
It’s harder to shop in LA because everything is so spread out and you really have to know what’s going on with stores. When I lived in Paris, I didn’t think about wearing colors. I usually wear three outfits: dark grey pants with either a black/navy blue or white t-shirt and my desert boots (made by Clarks). I started diversifying with my socks- a little touch of red here and there, and polka dots.