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Discussion in 'Creative Arts' started by jm2, Oct 19, 2012.
2 words: New Coke!
Happily residing in the old skin where the earth is now flat again with no break down the middle.
Seems like fchat decided to 'fix' something that was not broken...
Time is valuable, so not trying to wade through 'new' with gray small text... I'm 'old'.
Plus, I look at other boards that use the previous fchat format... much easier if you don't have to reinvent.
OK, however lets talk DESIGN, I boys & girls. How about the Frankfurt auto show concepts? Enough of this new website design confusion, even though as stated, it IS a design issue, just not a car design issue.
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I need fodder for my class to discuss.
September 13, 2017
THE AUTOEXTREMIST - RANTS
ADRIFT IN A PRIMROSE SEA: THE GOOD AND MOSTLY UGLY FROM THE FRANKFURT SHOW.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2017 AT 08:42AM
By Peter M. DeLorenzo
Detroit. The news out of the Frankfurt Auto Show – I will dispense with the official name because it’s as ineffective and irrelevant as “NAIAS” is for the Detroit Auto Show – is that the entire auto industry is going flat-out crazy yet again. Yes, this isn’t exactly news, because the auto industry careens around in a permanent state of craziness as a matter of standing operating procedure. But this time the business is going off the deep end to a new level of full crazy never seen before, and it’s all about – yes, you guessed it – Electric Vehicles.
How they’ll be built, how far they’ll run on a charge, how long it’s going to take to charge them, and most important (as you’ll see), what they’ll look like. An interesting sidebar to the EV frenzy is that German car executives warned that a wholesale shift to electric cars brings with it a raft of problems. And it’s not just infrastructure and charging stations – the usual hand-wringing associated with selling EVs – it is the fact that building EVs will require dramatically fewer people, which will severely impact not only the homegrown German economy and its workforce, but the future of the auto industry going forward. (It should be pointed out here that Tesla actually uses more people to build its cars, which makes Tesla, hands down, the industry model of inefficiency. But St. Elon is a genius, and don’t you ever forget it.) So, in spite of the ongoing frenzy, the arrival of the EV era will bring with it some intense challenges, and nothing about this transition will be automatic. There will be blood – and drastic measures – to accommodate this fundamental shift.
Now, back to the look of these EVs. Manufacturers displayed the gamut of EVs in Frankfurt, from real live production-intent vehicles to blue-sky meanderings. But because there is no inherent sexiness in the mechanical ingredients in an EV design, it’s clear that the importance of design has now come to the fore. I said long ago in these pages that Design is the Ultimate Initial Product Differentiator, and this has become even more crucial now that this business is devoting its full energy to EVs. And what I’m seeing coming out of Frankfurt should be a wakeup call to a lot of automakers that insist that they know what they’re doing and have it goin’ on, because clearly they don’t.
Two of the prime offenders are BMW and Mercedes-Benz. It’s no secret that BMW has been phoning it in for years now, especially when it comes to design. The company seems to be adrift in a primrose sea made up of one part self-importance and one part hubris. Throw in a massive dollop of self-congratulatory studio chatter in its design halls and you have a recipe for disaster. And sure enough BMW designers confirmed my assessment by unleashing a dimension of ugliness at the Frankfurt show that is simply stunning to behold.
If the BMW iVision Dynamic is a “vision” of BMW’s electric future (see more images in “On The Table” –WG), then this company is in for a real bad time. This concept is flat-out ugly from the front, but don’t worry, the rest of it really doesn't get much better. (That blue accent color you see in the front? The manufacturers have decided en masse that blue is the new code color of electrification. It was everywhere in Frankfurt, which is funny, but remember when blue used to be the color for diesel? Oh well.)
BMW Design is stinking up the joint right now, there’s just no two ways about it. But it isn’t a surprise, because BMW has been on an enduring quest to be all things to all people for so long that it has completely lost its way, or mind, or both. BMW has now become a logo without much substance attached, because for every genuine “M” car, there are seemingly a dozen SUV models and a smattering of bland sedans that are so mind-numbingly uninspired and so far removed from what BMW once was that it has become a bad joke. And now that we have a preview of the BMW’s electric future, the outlook is grim. What is a BMW again? And why should we care? BMW operatives clearly don’t even have the first clue anymore.
Not to be outdone, Mercedes-Benz weighed in with its latest stab at designing for electrification with something called the EQA. Now remember, this is a company that wowed the business a month ago at Pebble Beach with its fabulous Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet, which I wrote about in my column “An Eloquent Rebuttal.” That car was stunning in its magnificence and sheer exuberance, and it gave me hope that Mercedes wouldn’t abandon the importance of design going forward. I was sorely mistaken, because the EQA is an abysmal idea executed poorly.
Actually, Mercedes spent more time discussing how the grille changes depending on what drive program you engage, and how its light design evokes “the copper windings of an electric motor and the animation visualizing electrical impulses,” than they did talking about the car itself. That’s because the EQA is devoid of even a shred of inspiration. Mercedes designers didn’t even phone it in with this thing, they just fired off a text and called it good.
The EQA is another example of Mercedes-Benz operating as the biggest Jekyll & Hyde car company on earth. When they have it goin' on, with machines like the Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet, they do magnificent stuff. But then they turn around and unleash this miserable excuse for a future electric car on the landscape. As Colonel Kurtz once famously said: “The horror. The horror.”
But then again, left to its own devices, Mercedes-Benz’ propensity to do stupid things knows no bounds. They also chose the Frankfurt show to unveil the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE, which had Mercedes PR minions crowing that, for the first time, a "two-seater supersports show car brings the very latest and efficient, fully-fledged Formula 1 hybrid technology from the race track to the road almost par for par to represent the highlight of AMG's 50th anniversary." Not that anyone asked for another supercar that has 1000HP, goes over 217 mph and costs $2.5 million, but Mercedes wanted us all to know that when it deigns to do it we should all bow down and genuflect at the sheer splendor of it all (see images in “On The Table” –WG).
Mercedes insists that the machine "combines outstanding racetrack performance and day-to-day suitable Formula 1 hybrid technology with exemplary efficiency. This is a world first." Except that bringing F1 technology from the track to the street is a nonstarter. As in, what's the point? And to what end? So the biggest swinging dick "enthusiasts" can fulfill their destiny by spending millions on another trophy car that never sees the light of day – or the road – and sits in the garage just long enough before heading to auction? And the Project One is only "a world first" until the next trophy supercar emerges.
The Mercedes-AMG Project ONE is the quintessential example of Mercedes’ unbridled hubris and wrong-headedness run amuck. And make no mistake, when Mercedes goes off the rails, nobody does it better. What a monumental waste of time and money.
Thank goodness there was one manufacturer who showcased genuine, clear-cut vision for a future electric vehicle. The Honda Urban EV Concept was brilliant in its simplicity and design purity, and it demonstrates that Honda is getting back to its essence, just in time for the onset of electrification. The Urban EV Concept is no pipe dream either, because Honda plans on having it in-market in Europe in two years.
It’s nice to see that at least one manufacturer hasn’t lost its way.
And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.
Yes, Pete D was on a roll this week. But, he is mostly right about these so called designs. Blame the most senior management as they are approving this stuff and their highest levels of design leadership must be agreeing since they are letting the underlying proposals be seen by the leaders.
They all want to be different but seem to find that "different for the sake of being different" OK even if it is crap. What happened to "taste"?
John: Please report on what your students are saying as their evaluation of these designs.
i love it. they call it retro but i dont see it as retro. just nice clean design imo
Gentlemen, scroll down to the bottom of the page and change the forum skin from the new look to "FerrariChat Old". I think it'll address your concerns.
With that done, I think you'll find the added functionality and continued development support that we didn't have before makes this an upgrade.
All the best,
Morgan doesn't need to worry about retro. Their problem is how to go modern. I love the Aero 8.
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How about asking them if they think Chris Bangle was consulting at Toyota Design for the new 2018 Camry? Umpteen million spent on design and it comes out looking like an old BMW with a nose job. The exotic stuff may be fun but it is the bread & butter models that keep the lights on.
I agree with Jeff it would be interesting to get some feedback on their brush with the future design ideas which mostly seem to equate weird with 'reach'.
My impression is that the 2018 Camry is a 2017 Camry that has morphed in a more radical direction. Can't tell if the car is on a new platform or carryover.
To me it looks like a car Apple would have designed.
Business Week magazine called me for some input on the design of the new Camry.
I tried to be as positive as I could be.
I brought up the Frankfurt concepts in today's class. They all liked the Honda. They pretty much liked the Portofino. Mixed reaction to the Mercedes hypercar. They seemed to like the Renault.
to me thats a good thing. Ives is a great designer and im relly tired of the "super sculpted" look of modern cars
Agree, if Apple does a car, I would expect the best from Ives and company.
Ahh, the reach v. appeal argument. How much is enough? Or not enough?
For those looking for nostalgia, this answers that question. Nothing goofy or silly, just a straightforward look to honor the past...........but it's not for everyone.
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Mr. Bangle is back...
FRANKFURT -- Chris Bangle is back!
Back at the Frankfurt auto show. Back in the car business. Back in the groove.
The famed former BMW boy wonder who talks really, really fast, but perhaps not as fast as he thinks, pointedly avoided automotive clients at Chris Bangle Associates, the consultancy he formed in 2009 after 17 years as BMW Group's chief of design.
Operating in a small town in Italy, his team designed everything from liquor bottles to nursing homes. But as for cars, he says, "I stayed out."
Indeed, there seems to have been an expectation by his former bosses in Munich that kept him out of the automotive limelight.
Now, eight years later, he is once again fully engrossed in cars. And the sight of Chris Bangle thinking, talking and gesticulating about automobile design is, well, something to behold.
Still boyish at 60, he is at work on a vehicle project about which he will say next to nothing. But there's a lot he WILL say about the state of vehicle design.
Try this on for size.
After visiting the stand of a former competitor this week he came back dismayed.
"It's a wonderful stand, it has a wonderful amount of technology they are showing," said Bangle. "But as a designer I am used to a set of uniqueness and freshness and change. This will turn into a critique of [try to guess] and I really don't want it to be published like that, but for the life of me I can't find a new idea.
"I would love to and they have really good designers, but I've seen this all before in other places."
His criticism is not really aimed at this particular company, which is generally perceived to be getting it right these days, design-wise. Rather, it's aimed at the entire industry.
"Companies like that are getting so good at putting a sheen on what you already know that they'll convince everybody that it's new.
"And the young designers don't know their own history. There is very little understanding where the past came from for car designers today because they are worried so much about just learning the tools. They're being asked to do little more than just 'give me a little twist on what we just did.'
Thus, he says, the industry is in a terrible rut.
"If it's left up to these hyper-conservative, hyper-terrified companies that are so huge, and where everything is resting on a bottom line that could go south at any minute ... well, these are the last people to ask for the courage to go forward into the future. The LAST people.
"They defend their brands like the virtue of Guinevere and they are doing it by putting a chastity belt around the girl and, sorry, that's not how you make kids. That's not how you make a future."
Bangle says car brands have been put on a pedestal -- undeservedly.
"I was talking to a designer here today who has been in the business as long as I have and he said, 'When I grew up, yeah there was a brand, and then I created the brand out of the design in my mind.' Now we're being fed... 'it's a brand, it's a brand.'"
He says the brand-uber-alles consciousness is causing ideas to be endlessly recirculated.
"I know this stuff from the past," says Bangle. "I know these graphics, I know these surfaces, I know these proportions.
"But then there are these start-up companies, like the one we're working for and some have the courage to ask significant questions. I think we've done something pretty interesting with the car we're working on."
What about other industry's start-ups? Doesn't Bangle see signs of originality he craves?
"Not yet. Some come kinda close. They like to think they're giving their designers freedom and you look at it again and you go, 'about where we were in 1980, except much smoother.'"
Bangle was holding forth at the Exa Corp. stand in one of Frankfurt's supplier halls. Exa is the visualization and software specialist that works with many of the industry's leaders, worked with Bangle at BMW and is helping him with his current project.
Bangle: "Companies ... are getting so good at putting a sheen on what you already know that they'll convince everybody that it's new." Photo credit: EXA
So what about this project?
"I can't tell you really anything about it," says Bangle. "It's an existing company that comes from a manufacturing point of view -- not an automaker.
"They understand hardware and electric vehicles very well, but they've never forayed into the automotive world. They came to us a couple of years ago and said, 'we want to do a small car,' and I said, ' why don't you go up the street. Pininfarina is up the street. They'd love to do that for you' and these guys said, 'No we want to do it with you.'"
Bangle gave the company some free advice.
"'If you are going to go about it in a normal way,' he told them, 'you are going to end up with the exact same kind of a piece that everyone else does and I really don't want to do that.
"'But if you want to look at it seriously and seriously pose questions and answer those questions with a lot of guts and courage then I'll stick with you'.
"So we spent two years creating a concept for them which had no real aesthetics until we understood the car from a functional point of view. Seriously, no aesthetics.
Now Bangle says he's got something he likes.
"I feel strongly enough about this that I would put my name on this," he said.
When will we see it?
"Much sooner than later. I just don't want to get into hype."
Actually, Bangle can't resist hyping it in his own way. He related a story about one of his designers, a veteran stylist who Bangle asked to do something quite radical. The designer told him, "every bone in my body refuses to do this."
"He said, 'I can't do this' and he got sick, literally sick. He came down with a bad flu and he spent three days in his hotel room, eating soup -- and drawing what I had asked him to draw. And when he came out he had created something no one had ever seen, and he said to me, 'I am liberated.'
Talking about this, Bangle got choked up. He had to excuse himself, pull out a handkerchief and dab his suddenly red, watery eyes.
His voice cracked.
"This was extremely emotional," he said. "I was able to get this designer to go past a mental barrier. When people ask me what is the problem with cars of the future, I say it is the mental barriers in the heads of designers. It is not the management's fault or the customer's fault or technology's fault, it is these things in our heads. We've got to end the banality. We've got to get rid of the normal."
So welcome back, Chris Bangle, the Ohio boy who was all of 36 when he took over as head of BMW design in 1992 after successfully battling banality at Opel and Fiat.
"When we got back into doing this project I found myself looking at cars again," he said. "Sitting at a stoplight and you say, 'look at that light going over this fender there' or "did you see that graphic?' You start making these little comments while you're driving with your wife sitting next to you."
At a certain point Catherine said to me, "OK, you're back."
You can reach Richard Johnson at email@example.com
Tags: Design Frankfurt Motor show BMW Richard Johnson Cars and Concepts Blog
EV holdouts: Ferrari and Lamborghini
New platform for the Camry but as ever you can't go to radical and expect your customer base to keep buying. The real improvement comes from the engineering you can't see. The design has certainly gotten more busy especially at the front.
Designers have it easy these days; back in the 60's they had to come up with a re-design every year for the big sedans. The new model year meant a new look and not just a different serial number...
Bangle is so correct in his assessment of the current state of automotive design at the regular companies. Maybe the industry will decide to listen to this but that would require courage and jeopardize all the brand managers.
Trying to get the thread back on track here...
I am probably a few years to old to truly love this design (Young young guys like this design) but I think its WORLDS better than most electric car designs
I just got back from taking my wife to the Toyota dealer to get her Highlander serviced. The dealer had a number of 2018 Camrys on the lot and I took a quick 1 minute look from my car.
Front End: Did not know which models (trim levels) I was observing (LE, SE, XLE, XSE), some front variations in the real world are more attractive than others. I didn't like the ones where the lower horizontal grill extended from the extremes of each side. The ones with a scoop-like relief on each corner were more attractive (probably "S" models). In 2017, the SEs had the more tasteful front end treatment, but again, I was not aware of which models were present. In summary, the front ends reminded me of the art deco design seen on locomotives in the 1930s. The new Toyotas didn't look any worse than some of the newer Hondas I have seen in the wild.
Side: Looks like the modeler used his tool to slash some new creases in the sides for the sake of change. However, the area near the rear bumper has a sculpt that is probably unnecessary and looks busy.
Rear End: It looks like the rear ends are more simplified and rounded versus 2017 and probably an improvement. Could not tell any difference in the main tail lights; looks similar to 2017, but I'm sure they are different. I know from pictures there is one model where the side of the tail light falls off towards the ground, but I did not observe that variant- probably the ones with the "X" in the model. Don't know how this might look in the real world.
Conclusion: parts of the Camry are an improvement and others a regression which varies by trim level.
Can't find Start New Thread but this is on
Design Analysis Mercedes Vision Maybach 6
At the Pebble Beach concours, Mercedes unveiled a car called the Vision Mercedes Maybach 6 (they seem determined to keep that name alive as their ultimate luxury model, though a Maybach model in the US previously failed). They showed it as a roadster this year but previously showed a gullwing coupe.
The puzzler about this car is that it had a long long bonnet (maybe 10 ft.) but instead of a V12 or V16 motor you would expect in an ultimate luxury roadster it had four electric motors.
It was rated at 738 hp., a figure you would expect from an ultimate car. The 0 to 60 time is four seconds which handily beats a 427 Cobra by .2 seconds. They said the car will go 200 miles on a charge and if you need to add range, a mere 5 minute plug in will get you another 60 plus miles of range.
Surprisingly for such a modern car with lots of electronics,they said the roadster (they call it a cabriolet) had Elmwood trim in the interior and lots of leather.
Here’s my take on the styling:
SIDE: the coupe is just too exaggerated to believe, maybe needs 10% of the length taken out between the front wheels and the firewall. The roofline when the convertible top is up is very stylish, like a coupe, with good to the side visibility. I have seen two types of wheels on it, the mag wheels of the coupe and the more many bladed mags (simulating wire wheels at a distance) of the roadster. Side indentation to emphasize curving sides is made more acceptable by chrome along its edge.
FRONT: The front grille is very strong and dynamic, though you wonder if it will meet crash standards. The body color front spoiler is well integrated, and gets away from the flat black spoilers.
The bonnet opening in two halves (like old Rolls Royce Silver Cloud) might be welcome, especially if you ever had a rearward hinged one piece hood fly up and smash your windshield as I have.
REAR: Very old fashioned shape similar to 1961 E-type Jaguar. Wonder if that undertray rear spoiler is going to be enough to prevent rear end lift.
INTERIOR: I didn’t see the interior of the roadster at Pebble but the picture of the coupe looks very space age, without any wood as they describe in the press release.
OVERALL: Have to say that the car is daring but still too exaggerated from the coupe (if it was in a movie, the villain would drive it , a sort of Snively Whiplash kinda guy) , this is second gen, should be tamed down to reality by now; still too much like a movie prop car. Any opinions?