Jean Bugatti – a creative visionary ahead of his time – –

On Sunday, January 15, the entire Bugatti family celebrated the 114th anniversary of the birth of Jean Bugatti. An engineer and designer, but above all a free-thinker, Jean Bugatti created exceptional cars without being afraid to depart from the standards and conventions in force at the time. Today, his work continues to inspire the Bugatti team in Molsheim, the historic birthplace of the brand.

Ettore Bugatti’s first son Gianoberto Carlo Maria Bugatti was born on January 15, 1909 in Cologne, Germany. In Molsheim, he will find a place under the name “Jean”, the equivalent of the Italian first name “Gian”.

Growing up in a family of visionary craftsmen, Jean Bugatti benefited from an education that allowed him to flourish as an automotive engineer. Very early, but in terms of design, it will free itself from all usual standards and conventions.

“Jean Bugatti was a first-class artist who developed his art in the automotive field. And we are all grateful to him because his work was particularly extraordinary; his designs were not only futuristic, they were simply otherworldly. »Bugatti Automobiles President Christophe Pioçon said.

As a young man, he quickly showed his ambition by creating the elegant two-seater convertible Type 41 Royale Roadster Esders, bringing a new dimension to his father’s 1926 Type 41 Royale. Esders marks both Jean’s foray into design and the beginning of the Jean Bugatti era for the company – an era that will now be driven by his beautiful designs and ingenious creativity. Ettore passed the torch to his son in 1936, giving him full responsibility for the business at the age of 27 (quite young).

An undeniable sign of great confidence and a very positive attitude, the year his father handed him the reins of Bugatti, Jean designed a car that even today is recognized as one of the most beautiful in all weathers: the Type 57 SC Atlantik. This car quickly became a reference at the time, even an icon outside the automotive sector, and became part of the French artistic movement at the forefront of design: Art Deco.

This legendary creation even inspired the unique La Voiture Noire1, Bugatti’s modern take on the Type 57 SC Atlantic. Jean’s legacy, however, would go far beyond this single achievement. His bold work and artistic sense have spanned the ages and today embody the style and characteristic shapes of modern Bugattis.

The famous “C” line designed by Jean Bugatti – which can be seen on the Type 50 and Type 57, for example – went through nearly a century of history until it became inseparable from Bugatti’s visual identity. Today, it dresses all models of the brand, such as Veyron and Chiron. Jean’s work focused on several strong elements in terms of design: the constant search for perfect proportions, the emphasis on the central edge on the roof of the cars, but also the work of the horizontal line to give the impression of the car leaning back. Aesthetic choices that make the most beautiful impact, especially in Atalante and Atlantik. The use of two-tone paint for the body and the use of curved shapes to cleverly reflect light onto the car are also references to Jean Bugatti that are still often used in modern Bugatti design. There is no doubt that the aesthetic of Molsheim’s hyper sports cars is deeply connected to the visionary ideas of Jean Bugatti.

Jascha Straub, Head of Sales and Design at Bugatti, explains: “When working with a customer to customize a car, playing with new colors, new textures and new designs, I am always reminded of Jean’s legacy and the revolutionary vision he shaped the brand and his attitude towards cars. Like sculptures when playing with light and shapes to give a sense of movement even when they are still. Many of our customers appreciate the history of our brand and its visionary founders. That’s why we regularly try to honor them by visually emphasizing the car’s central edge or creating color combinations that best emphasize Jean’s approach. »

Jean Bugatti was promised a bright future, but unfortunately he died on August 11, 1939 at the age of 30 in a car accident not far from the factory. But Jean’s light and vision will forever shine on Bugatti, guiding the brand through the ages. As proof of this, in the latest creation, the Chiron Profilée, a completely unique model that will be auctioned in Paris on February 1, 2023, Genie’s character and work is immediately felt, elegantly shaping and giving elegance to this rare automotive gem. and timeless design.

Photos: Bugatti

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