In the second of our creative interview series we wanted to find out more about the unique work of Racing Gold who take functional parts from Red Bull Racing’s Formula One cars and turn them into everyday objects including lamps, tables and even salt and pepper shakers.
We ask company Director John Haigh a few questions about design processes, inspiration and the fans response. There is some beautiful engineering and we are yet to see anything else like it.
What initially inspired you to create Art from F1 car parts?
I purchased a piece of Nigel Mansell’s race winning car as a youngster. I was amazed at the technology even back then & enjoyed showing it to anyone that took an interest. However, as time went on, it often got moved out of sight (or into the garage) as it was just an awkward ornament. I often wondered if the car components could be transformed into more functional items but still retain their pedigree & mechanical beauty.
Your background was in engineering rather than design. When creating your products is there any thought about the mechanical function of the part or is it based on the aesthetic alone?
It would be great to integrate the original function of the part into our pieces but in reality this is not realistic. The overall presentation of the finished piece takes priority & we concentrate more on matching the look & feel of the materials.
Can you talk us through the design process from the initial idea to a finished product. Are you looking for anything in particular when you begin?
What makes this project so interesting is that we work back to front. Rather than designing a product then sourcing the materials, we always start with the car component first. We will then look at each part & think of the best way to show of the beautiful engineering that has already gone in to its creation. We may look for components to compliment the final piece but the initial inspiration always comes from the part.
How did Red Bull become involved in the project?
It’s a long story, but basically, as Red Bull was a brand that had already embraced the world or art, it was a natural place to start. From the very first phone call, Red Bull Racing have totally embraced the project and are an amazing team of people to work with.
Is your work ever limited by the car parts at your disposal?
Absolutely….but this is the point. We can only produce ideas from parts that are no longer needed or that are “end of life”. Only then can we expose the amazing engineering that goes into every part of the car.
Your work has toured the Grand Prix calendar this year. What has the response been like with the fans? Does it change from circuit to circuit?
The response has been amazing. What was really nice to hear from seasoned guests is that they have seen attempts at this sort of work before but have never liked the result as much as Part of the Team. Monaco & Monza seemed to attract the greatest reaction & we were invited to display in the Milan Design Week in April this year off the back of last years tour.
Each piece is a limited edition; but how many of the pieces will actually be made?
This varies from piece to piece depending on what levels of stock are available at the end of each season. The salt & pepper sets, large desk lamp & the clock are limited to 5 units each, the LED lamps are already sold out & the coaster are limited to 10 sets as an example.
Are pieces made from specific individual Red Bull cars even more collectable, for example Vettel’s championship winning car?
To be honest, with the main Collection, we try to avoid compiling parts all from one car or driver as we feel the beauty is in the completed piece rather than it’s history. Naturally, there are fans that have preferred drivers and we do try to cater from them.
The sale of each piece also contributes a donation to the Wings for Life charity. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
As you may know, Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation was founded in 2004 by Dietrich Mateschitz, CEO Red Bull, and Heinz Kinigadner, multiple motocross world champion and KTM sporting director. Their principal aim is to promote research worldwide in order to expedite scientific and clinical progress towards a putative cure for Spinal Cord Injury. We are looking forward to working closely with them this year at various events.
Part of the Team is proving very successful and we know it is keeping you busy but are there plans for other Formula 1 projects coming up in future?
As I am sure you appreciate, our team are bristling with ideas (not excluding myself) but at the moment we will concentrate on this concept. If we get the chance to explore our other idea’s, you’ll be the first to know.