“I think that cars today are almost the exact equivalent of the great Gothic cathedrals: I mean the supreme creation of an era, conceived with passion by unknown artists, and consumed in image if not in usage by a whole population which appropriates them as a purely magical object. t is obvious that the new Citroën has fallen from the sky inasmuch as it appears at first sight as a superlative object .” With these meaningful words the French writer Roland Barthes described in “Mythologies”, one of his 1957 essays, the legendary DS (déesse) produced by the French car manufacturer Citroën.
Presented at the Paris Motor Show in 1955, this model, that on an aesthetic level could have resembled a spacecraft, immediately received 80,000 orders, beating the record maintained for six years by the Tesla model 3. For the realisation of this futuristic car, Pierre Boulanger, at the time head of Citroën, requested the help of distinguished personalities of the automotive world such as Andrè Lefèbvre (designer) and Flaminio Bertoni (designer) as well as Paul Magès, creator of the suspensions. They were joined by Pierre Franchiset, who took care of the bodywork and Walter Becchia, a brilliant engine designer from Piemonte. To this car, which over time has become an international style icon, the architecture theorist Christian Sumi dedicated an interesting volume entitled “The goddess – la déesse: investigations on the legendary citroën DS” in which he highlights that the reason for the success of this car was the ability of those who designed it to combine formal modernity and technology, creating a revolutionary car in terms of safety, comfort as well as design. The book, full of archive material and images by Michel Zumbrunn, Heinz Unger is published by Lars Müller publishers.