AUTO DESIGN WEEK IN REVIEW 12/5/11

This week we are bringing you a new feature that hopefully makes your Monday morning return to the office a bit more fun.  The Auto Design Week in Review (ADWiR) will be a quick review of last week’s auto design news that we find relevant and compelling.  Hopefully this will save you the time of having to search for specific articles yourself and give you something to do while you drink your first cup of coffee.  Some of the articles will be interesting, some will be controversial and some may be downright silly but you can always be sure they will revolve around the auto design industry, its people and the way people perceive it.  Lets start with Lincoln’s new design direction…….

NEW LINCOLN DESIGN DIRECTION

No less than the NY Times had an article this week about Max Wolff and his opportunity of a lifetime.  The opportunity? To “make Lincoln look like nothing else that’s out there.”  Max came over from Cadillac last year and his first vehicle, the totally revamped MKZ, will debut at the Detroit auto show in January.  The MKZ will feature a break with Lincoln’s traditional design cues (like a horizontal grille) and have some interesting details like Side View Mirros on a flat pedestal that are “meant to be like beautiful little pieces of sculpture”.  Read more here.

NEW MERCEDES SL IS COMING

As long as we are on the subject of world debuts, buried in this article about the LA Auto Show Design Challenge are some interesting tidbits about Mercedes’ new SL Roadster.   Read about it here.

FAKE WHEELS?  WHAT WILL THEY THINK OF NEXT?

Paul Niedermeyer (no relation to Doug Niedermeyer who was “killed in Vietnam by his own troops.”) has an interesting post on his Curbside Classic blog about a startling design trend at the Tokyo Auto Show….Fake Wheels.  He surmises that the reason is wheels may not be “a vital component any more”.  Now that is bizarre. 

NISSAN’S LONDON STUDIO

The New Zealand Herald has a nice article about London studio that developed the Nissan Juke by Phil Hansen.  The studio had its start in the 60s and is part of their commitment to international studios such as La Jolla California, Beijing China and the article says one may be started soon in Russia.  The article talks a bit about Nissan’s design history, the makeup of the London studio and even brings to life a little story about a penis-shaped USB drive.   Read about it here and read more about the Juke-R here.

VOLVO’S SIGNATURE “SHOULDERS”

Volvo has made a commitment to keep its signature “shoulder” when it switches to “more luxurious proportions” in a recent post on Automobile magazine’s rumor blog. To read more details about what is planned at Volvo check out the post here.

VOLKSWAGEN’S NEW CROSSCOUPE – SHOULDERS OF A DIFFERENT SORT

The internet is abuzz with show reports from Tokyo and one of the most popular vehicles making their debut was the Volkswagen Cross Coupe.  EV World has a rather lengthy design analysis of the striking concept as does European Car magazine.  Unlike Volvo’s shoulder, the Volkswagen design looks less organic and more like it was mechanically cut from the body side.  Another interesting feature is the further integration of the headlamps and the grille, as I mentioned in my Trend analysis from Los Angeles.  To read more click on the link to the article.

AUTO DESIGN GOES HIPHOP

Many people in the auto design industry came about their careers in unusual ways.  None could be more unusual than being a rap and hiphop star.  Lotus recently named Swizz Beatz (born Kasseem Dean)  Vice President of Creative Design and Global Marketing and he introduced his first car in New York this past week.  Here are a couple of more links.

AUSTRALIAN DESIGN STUDENT’S CONCEPT

If you would like to see what design students in Australia might be thinking about Wired’s Autoblog called Autopia has an example.  In this particular case the city is Melborne, the student is Charles Rattray and his ideas were influenced by living in Los Angeles for five years.   His Autonomo concept uses various technologies to keep track of other vehicles on the road and communicates with some of them, all the while utilizing existing roads.

UK DESIGN STUDENT’S CONCEPT

If The UK is more your speed than Australia, Oliver Brunt recently won a contest to “identify, support and develop top automotive talent of the future”  with his “innovative Social Heads-Up Display (SHUD) concept, which uses 3G and bluetooth technology to enable motorists to share information on speed, direction and location.”

AND HERE ARE A FEW QUICK INTERESTING LINKS TO CLOSE

Video of the concepts from the Tokyo Auto Show.

Luciano Bove’s Design Blog is always good for a quick read

And if you ever wanted to know what to get the budding designer for Christmas how about a Clay Modeling Kit.

About Frank Schwartz

Frank Schwartz is the founder of CarFriend.me and Advanced Automotive Consulting Services, partner in The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment and serial entrepeneur. A long time automotive enthusiast, Frank started reading car magazines at the age of 8 and has spent 30+ years working inside the automotive industry. In his spare time Frank races with the Sports Car Club of America, spends time working on his numerous project cars and supports many local charities.
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