Finding New Stages // How Car Manufacturers Try To Enter The Design Universe
Whenever you visit a European Design Week you’re gonna realize how many brands try to get a foot in the door of the whole design universe. And I bet this is not just a European phenomenon. To me this makes perfect sense. Brands which are a little off topic, get the chance to extend their own visibility and get in touch with a whole new audience. Especially car manufacturers are taking the chance, since they’ve got the budget to do some really cool stuff. As an example let’s take a look at Milan Design Week 2012.
Audi presented the R18 Ultra Chair, an installation by Reed Kram and Clemens Weisshaar. It was a so called public beta installation and the final result will be presented at Design Miami 2012, just another important Design Week. This project just fits for Audi – known as a premium brand, always struggling to prove “Vorsprung durch Technik”is not just an empty phrase.
MINI didn’t miss this opportunity to be seen in Milan as well. They came along with a project called Colour One. Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings reimagined the MINI One in a whole new way. This installation looked really great and – again – was absolutely on point for this particular brand.
Ford invited my once more, this time to have look at their whole new Ford Kuga/Ford Escape. Actually I’ve seen it already in Detroit earlier this year. (I’ll pick up that topic later.) Some bloggers and some classic media people were invited. Nothing big, nothing special, just a nice little event with nice talks and great food. The really nice point about this invitation was the possibility to talk to three Ford designers. Which I did and I of course didn’t miss the chance to talk about customizing cars once more. This time in a private speech without any charts in the background. Well this wasn’t as inspiring, mind blowing or creative as Audi or MINI did it, but let’s be fair. It would be great if Ford would do something more spectacular, but you don’t really expect them to do that.
As mentioned before Citroën put some design icons along the Monte Napoleone. Once more. Quite nice but not mind boggling. Though I think this brand could do some really freaky stuff at such events.
Honda had a party at the Via Tortona at the same evening like Ford, just down the street. I have no idea what happened there, but well, they did something. Additionally Mercedes-Benz entered the world of furniture design and I’m pretty sure I missed some more stuff.
As always I talked to a lot of people. Some are mentioning sellout, some think it’s a great opportunity to be involved into new ways of thinking, selling and developing. I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg and there’s more stuff coming up very soon. Let’s hope the majority of involved brands have the balls to do some really cool stuff. Using a creative stage like design events all over the world should be a good reason to create some very impressive things. Let’s see who’s gonna send the next invitation …
© Audi R18 Ultra Chair photo by Tom Vack, MINI Colour One photo