Students enrolled in the Transportation Design program at UMEA University (UID) completed a collaborative project with Audi Design late last year. The nine month-long project tasked students with creating a progressive yet realistic small vehicle concept that satisfied not only the transportation needs of users but one that was also embedded with noble qualities that could contribute in some way to the world around it. It was called ‘Heroic Mobility’.
The students, working from UID’s Transportation Design courses in Strategic Design, Storytelling in Design and Vehicle Interior Design, began a strategic analysis of the Audi brand to determine what these noble qualities should be. They were expected to develop the company’s core values when conceptualizing a relevant and desirable product that captured the spirit of Audi. They were asked to promote the brand in a subtle, positive and meaningful direction for the future by Klemens Rossnagel, head of Audi Design Research, and Audi designer Jason Battersby.
The concept development had a strong user focus. Students based their ideas on the market needs and projected these forward in time, considering probable changes in lifestyle in the near future. They looked at the wishes and dreams of a younger generation, new expectations and experience with products, new mystery of products, and the combination between archaic type (roadster) and hi-tech solutions.
Eight individual concepts were reviewed in early June and one was chosen and developed into a full-size model: Irfendy Mohamad‘s ‘Innove’ concept. Its minimalistic yet emotional design was said to offer Audi an opportunity to consider a compact sports car that really stands out both when driving but also when parked among other vehicles.
“The initial concept sketch was very strong,” says Rossnagel. “Simplicity, friendliness despite a sporty character, [the] feeling was ‘young’.”
The students formed a team and worked to refine the design on a technical package based on the same wheelbase as the Audi A1. With the assistance of their tutors, a clay modeler and two designers from Audi, a scale model was executed to test the theme and, after a few additional reviews, the team started CAID development. Digital data was used to mill out the car in full-size using foam and clay.
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