SEAT Designers – What Goes In To Designing A Concept Car?

SEAT Design director Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos and the exterior, interior and Color and Trim designers take us through the process of the 20V20 show car creation

The video above provides a window into what goes on behind the scenes to create the SEAT 20V20 show car. From an initial sketch drawn by the seashore all the way to a show car, the creation of a concept is intended to gauge public perception or inform a future design direction.

“Like an arrow”. This is how SEAT design director Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos summarizes the sense of speed and dynamism he wanted to convey when creating the 20V20 show car. Sitting on a beach terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, sketchbook and pencil in hand, he traces the first broad strokes.

SEAT design director Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos scrutinizes every detail and supervises each element

This is how we witness the birth of an idea, the notion of what will become one of the most highly anticipated concept cars, one that will shape the future of the company. What follows is an intense journey into the development of the model, accompanied by a beehive of activity. It takes a swarm of professionals, each one in their field of expertise, to meticulously handcraft the ultimate expression of car design into a work of art.

SEAT’s design team takes us through the stages in the creation of the 20V20 show car

In the case of the SEAT 20V20 concept, close to 15 people dedicated five months to working almost exclusively on “creating a car from scratch,” says Ángel Lahoz, an engineer who is responsible for the show car’s creation. He points out that one of the most particular qualities of a car with these characteristics is that every single piece of it is “unique” and painstakingly handcrafted.

Designer Amin Sadek draws the lines of 20V20 show car in a virtual screen

Day after day, Mesonero-Romanos scrutinized every detail and supervised each element. He carefully considered the front end, sweeping lateral lines and triangular rear light clusters. In the end he’s satisfied that his creation “looks well-groomed, but is evocative of high performance”.

Another element the designers manipulated is tension, and SEAT’s design director uses a sports metaphor to illustrate this: “We wanted to capture the coiled tension of an athlete in the starting blocks and convey a moment of maximum physical and mental alertness”. So we now know what was on the mood boards then.

SEAT’s design team takes us through the stages in the creation of the 20V20 show car

Barcelona is “our home and our inspiration,” says Mesonero-Romanos. The SEAT Design Centre in Martorell is, in fact, the epicenter of the company’s design activity, which spreads out to include several locations in nearby Barcelona, where the Mediterranean Sea is the backdrop. Members of the Color & Trim team make frequent trips to the city to get ideas for colors and surface finishes.

The light of Barcelona is a great source of design inspiration to the company, especially when defining colors. “The dynamism of our city reflects our mood,” notes Jordi Font, who is the head of Color & Trim at SEAT. “In order to create the ‘Ultra Orange’ of the 20V20, we used innovative pigments to design a captivating orange shade that mirrors the special moment of sunlight over the Mediterranean at dawn.”

SEAT 20v20 concept's 'Ultra Orange' hue mirrors the color of-sunrise over the Mediterranean

Font and his team came up with 96 different paint formulations before making the final selection for the exterior color, which ultimately defines the character of the car and heavily influences the interior colors and trim. The desired overall effect is a harmonious balance between color shades and interior finishes.

Meanwhile, head of Interior Design Jaume Sala maintains that the entire inside of the vehicle has been created with open space in mind, without any dividing elements, “giving a loft effect, but retaining its personality and driver-focused layout for greater driving pleasure”. The well-appointed dimensions include a generous use of “top quality innovative materials, attention to detail in every element and groundbreaking communication and interaction technologies,” adds Sala.

Innovative pigments were used to create the Ultra Orange color of the SEAT 20v20 concept

“The most satisfying aspect of my job is that I get to follow the process of creating the car at every stage, and pay close attention to every detail,” points out Lahoz. “First you see it on paper, then as a virtual mockup, and when it finally takes shape is the moment of greatest satisfaction.”

Once a critical piece of the automotive design process, the creation of pure concept cars seems to have faded over time. More and more manufacturers are showing thinly veiled precursors to new cars already destined for showrooms. Chances are SEAT’s forthcoming production SUV will be nearly identical to the 20V20 concept.

Full-size clay model of the SEAT 20v20 concept


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