“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known,” Oscar Wilde observed in his 1891 essay, The Soul of Man under Socialism. Wilde can be forgiven for not recognizing motorcycling as a close second, as the initial use of the term “motorcycle” in English was still three years away. Yet, as art and motorcycles stir us all, when the two of them are mixed, a heady concoction is the inevitable result.
sak_art design — a motorcycle, industrial, and lifestyle design house based in Tuscany — is the creation of three like minded artists who bring different perspectives and retain their individuality as they make up an inspirational collective.
All born in Pisa — Fausto Colombini in 1943, and brothers Nicola (b. 1977) and Davide (b. 1981) Sacchini — the three had a history, and then came together in 2010 to launch sak_ art design on a steep trajectory of success — in both the artistic and business senses.
“The meeting of the three of us was in some way written in the story,” Fausto explains. “In the ’90s, I had the chance to meet [Nicola and Davide’s] father, Marco Sacchini, a very high value technician. Then I met Davide and Nicola in early 2000s. Since 2010, year of our firm birth, amalgama is our passion. We work hard and, in the mea while, we have fun. I think that these two elements — hard work and fun — are the right ones that can lead us to reach the biggest satisfaction.”
“It’s interesting to talk about our beginning as it could be inspiring for someone else,” Davide relates. “Nicola and I are brothers and, thanks to our father, we share the passion for design and motors since we were very young. The SAK logo had already been created and it was impressed in our hand drawings since faraway 1994, when we entertained us by replicating the exploits of our two wheels heroes, like Mick Doohan, Carl Fogarty. Observing now that logo as the signature of our designer brand on varied products is really touching for us, and teaches us that we should never set aside our dreams and passions.
“Between 2008 and 2009 we had fun drawing together again. With new technologies, we created a blog and had contacts with some motorcycle magazines including Ultimate MotorCycling that published our works, congratulated us, and encouraged us to go ahead.
“Our flash suddenly rekindled. One day by night, during one of our frequent professional meetings with Fausto, we discussed about our passion and our several shared ideas. After just few months, we were creating sak_art design company. Our first customer was the French company, Shark Helmets. We studied and created a particular, original and innovative graphic based on QR code. It was our first graphic creation for a great motorcycle brand.”
Instead of staking out personal domains within sak_art, all three men are designers. “The three of us are actually mentioned as designers,” Fausto says, “but we’re fortunate to have three completely different personalities. Proposals and ideas that one brings into the process are always different and new to the others. This creates innovation, discussions, and a continuous flow of ideas that always generate a shared belief, just like the water of three rivers flowing to the sea.”
“We always work as a team—everyone brings his creative and technical background into the process,” Nicola says. “We complete each other with our different sensibilities. Our roles are competing, but with our own unique skills and ideas. Our philosophy is working in complete synergy: there’s no ‘head’ or ‘tail’, just the ‘whole’.”
“The embryonic stage of each project is always collective,” Fausto says. “Our individual and specific peculiarities add ideas and value to the project. Often, one of us gains the upper hand and his idea consequently becomes the shared guideline of sak_art design team. Good competition is always at the origin of each project.”
Davide describes the process: “Once we have shared the idea, each of us starts working on his own. While working, it often happens to me to think about Nicola and Fausto’s activities in the meanwhile, and then I find their work printed exactly as dis- cussed during our several shared brainstorming. I’m actually very satisfied about our internal harmony.”
“Our work is a continuous discussion,” Nicola explains. “We balance each other: we are a compendium of three different creativities. Three is the ideal perfect number, creating all together sak_art design. A detail of our brand name, which is not by chance composed by three letters, is the underscore between ‘sak’ and ‘art’. It symbolizes, even graphically, the indissoluble union between sak, art and design. ‘sak’ is an abbreviation of the ‘Sac- chini’ surname.”
sak_art design draws on both the past and present for motorcycle design stimulation. “Inspiration from the past comes for sure from glorious Italian brands,” Fausto says, “many of which unfortunately disappeared, like Rumi. I still keep in my heart
Moto Guzzi Falcone Sport of 1950, then the 1971 Laverda SFC 750, and 1971 Moto Guzzi V7 750 Sport — the bike that established Guzzi’s ’70s superbike dynasty. The V7 Sport took a hopped-up touring engine and gave the firm a whole new direction. Today, however, I’m inspired by the BMW R 1200 GS for which, after several internal discussions, we created a high-quality complete GS66 body kit with a graphic dedicated to Route 66, being inspired by reading your wonderful article a few months ago.” (Jim McDermott’s “Getting Lost on the Mother Road”, UMC July/August 2014.)
The 1990s are an important decade for the young brothers. “I still link the ’90s with my great desire to own a motorcycle,” Davide says. “I drew, admired and touched them, and I would like to have one at any cost. My first motorbike was a Suzuki RGV250 Gamma that we still keep in our studio. Decade 1990- 2000 left a mark on me for clear reasons, as I was born in 1981. This was the time of extreme and sophisticated solution applications, it’s the decade when every motorcycle brand aimed to demonstrate its strength with ever more surprising motorcycles. We all wish the return of such a decade full of passion and motorcycle desire. This period encompasses a real treasure that I now want to use as inspiration starting point for our next motorcycle creations.”
“Even if I was born in 1977,” Nicola relates, “thanks to my father’s tales, I lived the unforgettable sport moments in Monza racetrack in the ’60s, like the epic struggles between Giacomo Agostini and Mike Hailwood. Therefore, my background conveys unavoidably that purity and simple technology. Then, for sure, the ’90s left us an enormous background. Supersport motorbikes have always been my favorite. I still remember the coming out in 1992 of Honda NR750, when I had my right arm broken due to a fall off my bicycle. I spent one whole month drawing, with the other hand, the shape of that new Honda on paper and even on my plaster cast.”
Returning to the present, Nicola continues, “Nowadays, I’m more attracted by Erik Buell’s creations. I think he’s the most original constructor on the current market, and I hope that these motorcycles can be commercialized in Europe as soon as possible.”
Davide, of course, has his own take: “There are a lot of motorcycles that I appreciate, but one that I deeply admire is the MV Agusta Rivale.”
Since early on in sak_art design’s history, the company has been involved with the building of contemporary motorcycles. “We started making graphics and liveries both for helmets and motorbikes in order to create a wider service and portfolio. Deep down in our hearts, we have always believed in our design skills. We had our first chance in 2011 with Bimota SRL, thanks to Luciano Brotto, GM at that time. Bimota saw in sak_art design the right agency for the revival of their image and the creation of two new concepts. Working with Bimota led us to EICMA Milan 2012 with two prototypes, BB2 and DB12.
“This collaboration was very important for us to launch the high-level service of our design and model making. In the following years, we have been able to collaborate with other brands, including Piaggio, and to build within our agency a real services package, from the sketch up to prototyping.”
Concurrently in the early 2010s, sak_art was designing stunning body kits for Ducatis. “We are proud of the unique and highly customized creations born during these years,” Nicola says. “We have a weakness for Ducati brand since ever. Supersport Ducati motorbikes certainly represent a stimulus for our creative process and the development of graphics designed to retrace history and passion of the Borgo Panigale brand.
“We started from 1198, creating a complete body kit in high quality fiberglass fully painted and airbrushed and dedicated to one of the most important and adrenaline road races of the world, the North West 200. The coming out of 1199 Panigale has turned further the desire to create something unique and special that really threw a bridge between today and the origins of the very first superbikes. Then, the celebratory Panigale ‘So Far So Fast’ was created with the help of a fiberglass complete kit produced by our partner, Flamingo Racing in Reggio Emilia.
Although it predated both of the Sacchini brothers, March 11, 1977 was an important day for sak_art. “Cook Neilson won the first ever win for Ducati at this legendary circuit,” Nicola reminds us. “It’s been 38 years ago now and the legendary silver- blue livery of those days is still a milestone for Ducati fans world- wide. This event, full of passion and motorcycle culture, is the base from which the idea and the creation of this body kit sprang. The graphic concept was created and developed according to the shapes of the beautiful Panigale and originates from the silhouettes of the track at Daytona, an icon for thousands of fans around the world.
“The peculiarity of the body kit is the tank cover that allows you to keep the original tank and, especially, to have maximum continuity and fluidity of the graphic layout. Two lateral blue areas, with silver Ducati logos, resume in the forms Ducati tanks of ’70s. The glittery silver and blue colors are reminiscent of the color of the original Cook Neilson Ducati Supersport 750, bringing to Panigale at the same time a highly sporty, vintage, and elegant allure.”
As 2015 begins, sak_art design has much more in the pipeline. Most notably, sak_art will be creating the look of the new Suzuki MotoGP team. “Every time I think about how our creations and collaborations take birth, there is always a particular anecdote,” Davide says. “We work a lot with social networks and among many contacts in 2013 we also sent our portfolio to [Suzuki MotoGP Team Manager] Davide Brivio. After a few hours we received an email from him asking us for a meeting.
“We remember with great pleasure the day when he visited our studio, spending the whole afternoon to examine every- thing we had done and figure out what we could create for him. From that meeting, harmony between us immediately sprang and led to the current collaboration that situates sak_art design as official supplier of Suzuki MotoGP team for its return to the top class.
“We are working and taking care of corporate identity and stylistic aspects of the team, then the layouts of the new Suzuki GSX-RR, racing leathers, boxes, trucks, to the graphic design of the new press release that tells both story and work- in-progress of Suzuki’s return. But, of course, we don’t want to stop here. We love to daydream and we will try further ways to work with Suzuki.”
The future is a welcoming arena for sak_art design, with projects such as its Racing Service. “We have always been very close to motorcycle world,” Davide observes, “where every year new stars are born and sometimes hidden. An example that we want to share with you is our ‘discovery’ and subsequent collaboration with the 15-year-old Italian rider Alessandro Zaccone. We saw him at work for the first time in the Honda CBR600RR Cup at Mugello last year, and it was love at first sight. The guy won immediately, leaving behind more mature and experienced riders with extreme ease, in a league where all bikes are identical.
“We decided that he absolutely should have a customized helmet, so after talking with his father and thanks to the valuable support of Arai, during the next competition in Misano Alessandro was wearing his new helmet — Zac Assault. The graphic was very particular, and it showed the desire to stand out, together with a young and cartoony style reflecting his nature. Zac won the CBR600RR Cup Italian Championship and was hired by the Team Talmacsi to contend in the European Championship FIM Superstock, riding a Honda again, and he was immediately getting good placings. Alessandro will ride in 2015 with Talmacsi team with an updated graphic. Our goal is to take care of every rider and athlete in the best way, bringing a unique and recognizable style and making him feel part of sak_art design racing family.”
With so much going its way, sak_art design remains aware of how fleeting success can be. “We are fully aware that competitive advantage is not enduring,” Fausto says. “In order to reach the contrary, we have to face the future with same passion and will, supported by the fun we have in carrying out our daily work.”
Nicola expands on this, telling us, “In 2020, we hope to have conceived, drawn, and created a new supersport motorcycle for one of the most important motorcycle brands. We think that the trend for next models’ design definition is to turn to unconnected viewpoints, set outside the company style department. We are ready for that and we have what it takes to be leaders. In 2030, we strive to become a successful and well-known designer brand that could be stylistically recognizable, like our endless myth — Massimo Tamburini. We think that from now till 2045, the world, and particularly motorcycle world as we know now, will no longer exist. Maybe few drones will race the most important racetrack. Our mission is to still be able to change along new technologies and trend, always keeping our passion as our guide.
“We surely want to keep having fun with our job. Our ambition is to make our brand identifiable and a benchmark for motorcycle and action sport world. Our personal ambitions are to have new incitement and new boundaries, as our Latin motto expresses — ‘nulla dies sine linea’, meaning ‘no day without a line’. This phrase is attributed by Pliny to the Greek painter Apelles, who said to not let a day go by without drawing at least one line, as he claimed that only the constant exercise allow us to proceed on the path of art.
“This line is not just the physical and graphic line that we draw with pencil on paper, but also the ideal line that move us while facing every working and day life challenges.”
It is gratifying as a magazine to inspire the artisans at sak_art design, just as they continue to move us. In the production of this piece, sak_art took an Arai Corsair-V, a premium helmet coveted around the world, and presented us with a functional
work of art that left us speechless.
“We have been reading your magazine for several years, as it’s always a stimulating and important perspective from the U.S.,” Nicola says. “We do appreciate your clean style, clear messages and great quality of pictures. Our mission was to create something really elegant and valuable that reflected the best character of Ultimate MotorCycling. The concept of ‘wind’ and its graphic transposition are the heart of creation.
“Wind is the ubiquitous element when in the saddle of a motorcycle and the beautiful Arai helmet we had available perfectly led us to final result. The graphics move with the helmet’s shape, giving dynamism and reflecting the essence of motorcycling and Ultimate MotorCycling. We managed to express these concepts by creating something unique. Unique like every single one-off creation leaving our studio.”
Fausto Colombini sums up the ethos that sak_art design and Ultimate MotorCycling share: “It’s our heart that should communicate to our mind. I believe that feelings and passions should send input to brain which, with its experience and reasoning, should lead the hands.” We concur.
Photography by Lorenzo Barsotti, Stefano Puzzuoli, Marco Ribaldeschi, Marco Dominic, et al
Story from Ultimate MotorCycling magazine; for subscription services, click here.
sak_art design Photo Gallery: