The headquarters of Piaggio Fast Forward plug the future as quite optimistic. The Boston-based company is lodged in a repurposed brick industrial complex, turning drab, static vacancy into business potential. Its workshop is a classic craftsperson’s production space, in touch with the traditions of meaningful labor and group effort. And the first product to emerge from this restored setting above the Inner Belt is ‘gita’, an AI-driven carryall marketed to the busy urbanite of the next decade.
Piaggio Fast Forward is in fact a division of the Piaggio Group, an Italian company that makes Vespa and Moto Guzzi, familiar names to those interested in MOD street fashion and/or some of the more elegant motorcycle designs in history. The little company was founded in 2015, with a stated mission of developing urban transport solutions for this century. Two years ago this week, they expanded from 6,000 square feet to 20,000, and a little less than a year after that announced plans to add a 10,000 square-foot specialty production space at a separate location in the area.
And now comes gita, the company’s first offering. The unit displays the Italian design roots of its parent company, the inventiveness of its Boston-area tech pedigree, and the can-do community feel at bottom of PFF’s corporate ethos and red-brick landscape. It can handle up to 40 pounds of the quotidian paraphernalia necessary for the individual lifestyle, whims and needs of its owner, from groceries to the stuff that might or might not be called for during a lazy spring afternoon in the park. It’s pushbutton simple to use, and negotiates its landscape, learning along the way.
Piaggio Fast Forward touts the hardworking little bot as a means of social restoration. The link seems somewhat contrived, but the presence of the spirit behind the sentiment is good news indeed, and PFF deserves a rousing round of applause for using it as the philosophical foundation of their company. Even better that this grassroots spirit seems to be a trend in the post-Facebook social landscape.