Certain encounters demand documenting to capture the sheer joy they bring. By recording the greatest driving routes across Europe and beyond, Curves magazine founder Stefan Bogner has achieved just this.
What began as a bit of fun has arguably become the finest pictorial portfolio ever assembled of the world’s best roads. Stefan combined his passion for Porsche and talent as a designer after identifying a dearth of material covering his favourite driving routes.
He explains: “I ran a design agency producing content for several magazines, and ran an old Porsche, with which I would venture into the Alps on occasion. There wasn’t a magazine, whether for cars, motorbikes or bicycles, at the time that focused on traversing these great roads, so I decided to take the initiative.”
Curves magazine – dedicated to ‘soulful driving’– has now produced definitive guides to the best that Germany, Scotland, Italy and California have to offer. Naturally, there’s also a separate tribute to the Stelvio Pass. The first Curves focused on French routes rather than Stefan’s favourite, the Swiss Alps, but he says: “They are so legendary, it was a good place to start.”
The main challenge was to ensure the photography was right. “I’m a designer by trade, so I had to rethink my approach to ensure these beautiful images were captured in their glory and that the finished product did these routes justice,” Stefan explains.
This first venture laid the foundations for Curves, enabling Stefan to evolve the concept. “Every publication adds a little bit. You always learn something new along the way and approach things differently on the next project,” he says.
Stefan ploughed his own money into the project at first because he thought Curves wouldn’t sell. But the paying public thought differently, so on the back of its initial success, the photography was upgraded and more people were brought on board, along with a helicopter to provide more expansive imagery.
“The aerial shots added a unique element,” says Stefan. “Plus, we changed the writing style and employed historic maps from the famous Baedeker guides, which bring an extra dimension.” A sister publication from the Curves stable is Porsche Drive – 15 Passes In 4 Days, which covers Switzerland, Italy and Austria. Stefan recalls that the idea came via a friend in Iceland.
“He said: ‘I’ve got four days spare, what can we do?’ I replied: ‘Let’s do the maximum.’” Meeting up in Munich, Stefan’s group – which also included a 964 RS Cup, a 356 Speedster, a 911 S/ST, a Carrera GT and a 918 Spyder – headed to Austria, then down to the Dolomites, through the Stelvio Pass and on to Switzerland.
“It’s one of the best trips you can do,” says Stefan. “Do it in four days and it’s a lot of fun, but five or six days may be better. There’s a lot of driving, at least eight hours a day, but you get pretty much the best of the Alps.”
That trip encapsulates Curves’ soulful driving ethos. “It’s about inspiring people to get out there and create new experiences,” says Stefan. “Ask your friends, come together and plan a journey. There’s so much information out there now – just go and do it.”
Want more? Visit the Curves website here.