Art Center graduate Jiye Shin created the Mercedes-Benz Lightweight X-Y-Z concept series for her Art Center College of Design Transportation Design program final thesis.
The Lightweight X-Y-Z concept series is based on a single-seat electric vehicle designed to participate in a future LeMans race.
Shin played with the geometry of the concept to make it appeal to a different target user, using variables derived from the X-, Y- and Z-axis planes. This enabled her to devise three different vehicles that are very different in their proportions and overall design aesthetic.
“At first, the project objective was to achieve lightweight with a solid structure,” Shin says of her project. “I started sketching and ideating on reducing unnecessary mass around the core (driver seat), then I came up with the final design concept of reducing and compressing masses from axis plane X, Y, and Z.”
The result of the Lightweight X-Y-Z experiment meant that Shin was able to create three very different proportions from one concept theme.
The X-axis concept, targeting the year 2040, reduced and compressed the length of the vehicle creating a shorter but wider car with a higher proportion.
In the Y-axis, reducing and compressing the width of the vehicle towards the core resulted in a narrow waist, but a longer proportion and elongated seating position. Shin contends the Y-axis concept is more suited to the year 2050.
Finally, the Z-axis concept — designed for 2060 — reduced and compressed the height of the car. The length and width of the vehicle’s volume naturally spread out, which resulted in a very reclined seating position.
The Lightweight X-Y-Z project is an interesting shape-shifting experiment that showcases how changing just a few lines across the X-, Y-, and Z-axis can fundamentally alter the entire design, and make it appeal to different users across a range of time. And the fact that it looks pretty awesome doesn’t hurt either.