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Car as Art: Automakers Redesign the Bicycle, Sofa – Even the Sandwich

Makers show their artistic side at Italian fashion event.

by on Apr.14, 2015

Ford's design team created non-automotive products based on the GT. The best designs, including this guitar, are on display at the Salone del Mobile in Italy.

It’s not unusual for car aficionados to claim that cars are art. In fact, top auto designers usually attend the world’s best design schools before they are scooped up by auto companies.

While most of the time, their creativity shows up atop four wheels, this week artists from Ford, Mazda and Mini are displaying their artistic creations at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, Italy.

Design News!

Ford designers were challenged by the maker’s creative chief, Moray Callum, to produce non-automotive projects for the show.

“We have an incredible amount of talent in our global design studios,” Callum said. “Salone del Mobile is the perfect forum to share some of that creativity, while also offering our designers an opportunity to get exposure to new ideas that will inspire future Ford design.”

Ford designers used the new Ford GT as their inspiration for a variety of non-automotive creations, including a sailboat.

The automaker’s 350 creative types were challenged to create objects based on the design philosophy for the newly introduced Ford GT.

The guiding principles behind the interior design philosophy for the all-new Ford GT are:

  • Clarity of intent – highlighting focused areas of functionality
  • Innovation – pushing the boundaries of innovation to develop new designs and keep changing the way the world moves
  • Connection – establishing a connection with the driver through more compact, more intuitive technology

The result was a racing sailboat, guitar, foosball table and even a sandwich! In all, 130 proposals were turned in and the final choices were made from there.

Joining Ford’s designs at the show are Mazda’s “Bike by Kodo concept” and “Sofa by Kodo concept.” The Japanese maker showed the designs in its Mazda Design: The Car as Art exhibit at the show.

(Ford patents 11-speed transmission. For more, Click Here.)

Ford displayed a foosball table inspired by the new Ford GT at the Salon del Mobile in Italy.

Under the Kodo—Soul of Motion design theme, Mazda’s new-generation vehicles express a powerful motion full of life, such as that displayed by animals in the wild. The bike is a racing bicycle designed to show the “innate beauty” of the bike. A minimalist approach, which was inspired by the MX-5 Miata, was taken with the bike as the frame was hammered from a single sheet of steel while the black-leather seat is hand-sewn.

The sofa is a collaboration between Mazda designers and Italian furniture makers. Using the form of the CX-3, it illustrates the vehicle’s “strong stance.”

Kodoki is a tsuiki copperware wine cooler hammered from a single sheet of copper in Japan’s famous Gyokusendo metal-working studio. Shiraito is a traditional lacquered box created by Kinjo-Ikkokusai, which expresses the richness of natural phenomena using multiple layers of lacquer and finely broken eggshell.

(Click Here for details Mini’s new Augmented Vision system.)

The Mini CitySurfer scooter can travel as far as 15 miles on a single charge and can be plugged into a wall socket to recharge.

“Over the past few years, design has become an essential part of who we are, adding an artistic value to the entire Mazda brand experience,” said Masahiro Moro, Mazda’s managing executive officer, in charge of global marketing, customer service and sales innovation.

“As such, it only makes sense that we introduce our design messages here in Milan, a city of the apex of the design world, in order to elevate our brand image. Moving forward, we will create more opportunities to familiarize customers with Mazda and Mazda design in order to raise the value of our brand and strengthen our bond with customers.”

Mini also made an appearance at the show with its CitySurfer concept. Originally shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the CitySurfer, which the maker developed with Spanish designer and artist Jaime Hayon, is small kick scooter with a back-up electric drive. The maker dryly suggests the two-wheeler “presents an innovative concept providing increased flexibility for individual mobility in conurbation areas.”

(To see more about Mini’s CitySurfer scooter, Click Here.)

Designed to fold up into a package even the Jetsons would appreciate, the 40-pound CitySurfer will fit into the cramped cargo compartment of a four-wheeled Mini – or in a cargo compartment on a bus, train or even an aircraft, perhaps — letting a rider take it just about anywhere.

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One Response to “Car as Art: Automakers Redesign the Bicycle, Sofa – Even the Sandwich”

  1. Marty says:

    Raymond Loewy, anyone?