Pforzheim University recently held its annual winter degree show, which showcased not only the thesis projects of its graduating MA and BA classes but also the works of nearly all of the students enrolled in the acclaimed Transportation Design program. One of those was the MA Bugatti project.
Current Pforzheim MA students worked on a sponsored project for the illustrious Bugatti brand, which asked them to reinterpret a model from the company’s history for the future. The first year students worked on developing an exterior design for the brand, while the second year group devised interior proposals.
The project kicked off after a meeting between Tobias Suehlmann, exterior design chief at Bugatti, and James Kelly, head of Transportation Design course at Pforzheim, after the Frankfurt motor show in September.
With cars such as the Bugatti Royale, Type-57 Atlantic and Type-35 in the company’s lineage, the students had plenty of historical references to source inspiration from, but there was a catch.
“We assigned the students a model randomly,” says Kelly. “They literally picked them out of a hat.” For most it was fine, he says, for others the assignment was a bit more challenging. “Some picked the Type-56. What are you going to do with that?”
Working in Adobe Alias and Maya as well as Adobe Premiere Pro for the final edit, the boundless level of creativity can be seen in each of the projects shown in the animations below.
Bugatti Verrière Royale concept
Ramon Bäurle’s Verrière Royale concept is a new and modern interpretation of the classic Bugatti Type 41 ‘Royale’, which he says was a technical and artistic masterpiece.
Revolving around the idea of pure luxury, the overall theme is ‘a yacht for the road’. The autonomous two-seater powered by a pioneering electric powertrain enables comfortable and luxurious travel.
“To communicate the modern powertrain with the design, I reversed the direction of the classic proportions, says Bäurle. The body sculpture visualizes strong and elegant shoulders to emphasize the elegant fenders of the classic Royale. A huge trunk in the back of the car offers a lot of luggage space.
The vehicle’s main characteristics – such as its impressive size — are based on the original Type 41, which ensures that the Bugatti brand identity and status are kept intact.
The key element is the glass roof, which integrates nicely in the exterior shape by sliding into the back of the vehicle, transforming the car into an ultra-modern roadster. In doing so, it becomes an integral element of the exterior sculpture.
As with the original Bugatti Type 41 Royale, the car offers seating positions inside and outside of the vehicle architecture.
Bugatti Helix concept
Jiaqi Wang says she based her exterior design on the keywords: ‘artistic simplicity’, ‘full volume’, ‘seamless line’, and ‘organic shape’.
A reinterpretation of the classic Bugatti Type 35, which Wang says “stands for artistic simplicity and winning championships — it is a strong symbol of Bugatti spirit,” her priority was to “inherit and highlight the Bugatti DNA to the maximum.”
The main feature of Wang’s concept consists of two intersecting lines perceived from the top view, which run through the whole profile of the car and flow into the side view, connecting seamlessly with the fenders. These form the Bugatti signature line. In the front of the car, Bugatti’s heritage appears in the iconic horseshoe graphic, which runs along with the key feature lines.
One of the intersecting feature lines splits the car into two parts – it is the shut line for the door opening. The left side rotates over the front axle, the right over the rear axle, revealing the X-shaped protection frame inside. This was inspired by the Formula ‘Halo’ structure. The door opening elicits a sense of ceremony and a feeling of excitement, akin to entering for a ride on a roller coaster.
Bugatti Zenith concept
Ashish Gogte’s objective was to reinterpret the iconic Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic which, with its fuselage-like body supported by wing-like front fenders, resembles an agile military aircraft, he says.
The concept is a single-seat sports car with retractable front and rear fins that only swing up at high speeds to provide stability. This helps to maintain the purity and simplicity of the exterior at lower speeds.
A line rising from the rear wheel and shooting towards the front and upwards characterizes the main feature of the concept. It tries to emulate the expression of the original car.
The midsection and character line form the main body volume, both rising up from the rear towards the front. They evoke a feeling of taking off.
Future Bugatti Type 56
Yinyoung Yoon’s project combines the practical aspect of the Type 56 with Bugatti’s luxurious brand image.
“I used elements of Bugatti Royale, which is the most iconic luxury car of the brand,” says Yoon. “By applying the luxury passenger cabin of Royale, which has a practical box shape, I achieved both practical and luxury aspects. I aimed to achieve luxury in an aesthetical way by applying Bugatti’s artistic, architectural elements to the practical box shape.”
The straight, vertical structure of the front gives authority and the round sculpture of the rear gives elegance, Yoon says. Reminiscent of the Type 56, the tall proportion and the front door, which opens inside, provide easy accessibility and comfort.
Bugatti Alsace concept
Mostafa Bonakdar says his goal was to design a new Bugatti model based on the original Type 55 essence, which can be described as a nimble, sporty, two-seater city car that is fun to drive.
“The key idea of the concept is to combine the emotionality of the bird wing shape with functionality,” says Bonakdar
A sculptural, soft wing covers the body volume like a shell. It conveys a sense of luxury, elegance and protection. At the same time, the shell is fulfilling a purpose by integrating the side air intake and guiding the air flow along the cab to the tail of the car.
“During the design process, I focused on designing the reflections on the shell and on the body surfaces to achieve outstanding highlights. Because Bugatti stands for perfection and sophistication and this can be communicated through the quality of the reflections on the surfaces.”
In the side view there are two references to the Bugatti Type 55: A dominating graphical element similar to the C-shape, and the dropping gesture that gives the car a sporty character.
Bugatti Vernissage concept
Jiongfan (Jeffery) Jiang
Called the Bugatti ‘Vernissage’, which means ‘opening of an art event’, Jeffery Jiang’s project is the new interpretation of the Bugatti Type 32 Tank.
“The old type 32 Bugatti is an utterly reduced and simplified design. As a bold experiment of aerodynamic, Bugatti used the wing profile as its side silhouette,” says Jiang. “My project has also inherited the same design philosophy of this old icon: It is a two-seat racecar.”
The traditional ‘Bugatti horseshoe’ element was translated into a ‘metal bent sculpture’, which can be found on the highlight on the side of the Bugatti Vernissage concept. A geometric shape bleeds into a freeform surface.
Function-wise, the whole cockpit is able to rotate around the hinge above the front wheel to cover the head of the driver, allowing him/her to drive in any weather condition.
Jiang says he wanted to achieve a balance between an extreme sculpture on wheels and an aerodynamic speed machine.
Bugatti Spacialle concept
Clark Wu is in the second year of the Master’s program at Pforzheim, but when the brief came to design for a proposal for a future Bugatti, he couldn’t help but design an exterior design proposal to complement his interior.
The concept’s name, ‘Spacialle’, is a mix of ‘Special’ and ‘Spatial’, says Wu, who graduated with a BA from Coventry University in 2015.
Wu took inspiration from Naum Gabo’s artwork at the beginning, of the project, he says, and developed a distinctive theme on the side profile. The exterior design is characterized by a fast dropping line that splits the vehicle into two main parts: a sculptural body and a glass sphere that acts as the cabin shell.
I’ll be publishing the interior design proposals of the Pforzheim University second year students in a subsequent article.