Milan, Italy is well known for being a style center, so it's fairly apt that there is a design school based in one of the most fashionable and creative areas of the city. Scuola Politecnica di Design has been molding new designers for over 50 years and has a program specifically devised for students seeking to master the art of transportation design. On June 29th the school held its annual degree show, and Car Design News went to Milan to see what the students in the Masters Course had dreamt up.
This year marked the second time that Audi sponsored the course, giving students a brief that consisted of creating "a sporty, small lifestyle car for the 'Generation Mobile'": a small car for young customers living in urban areas that would also be accustomed to using iPods. Named Max 4 - denoting the instruction that the car needed to measure no more than 4 meters long - the brief called for an entry-level but premium model that would be suitable for generation Y, but gave students creative freedom to design the vehicle with any type of powerplant and technical layout configuration.
The 'Rone' concept is about lifestyle and technology concentrated in a city car of diminished proportions. By choosing sophisticated language to capture the eye at first glance, Boguslaw Paruch's model features designs surfaces that are almost flat in appearance, with long, straight lines that sharply bend; accentuating the corners. This edgy design and the extensive use of color contrast - on the body as well as on the wheel rims - are the most noticeable characteristics of the design, emphasizing the 'less is more' motif. The front end is characterized by a large negative surface, almost free of visible elements, that brings together the headlamps at the two extremesand the roof rails add to the styling elements.
Inside, the 'Rone' offers numerous possibilities for personalization, with design orientated towards maximizing compatibility with an iPod. The glazing envelopes the cockpit, lowering towards the wheel to facilitate viewing for younger passengers sitting in the backseat. 'Rone' aims for a new target of young couples or families rebelling against the station wagon who opt for a small car with a non-conventional design and a strong character.
Jacek Peplowski created the 'A1', using the nomenclature Audi currently uses across its product range. At the base of the Audi range, the proposal is halfway between a city coupe and a compact MPV. With smooth surfaces and diagonal lines running across the sides, the concept expresses energy and sport whilst remaining practical. The wheelarches and the rocker panels are visually pronounced while the front and rear overhangs are notably reduced. The beltline is high and outlines the design of the door handles at the bottom of the glass panel. A panoramic window runs right around the cabin connecting the front and the sides in a fluid motion and the volume and surface treatment give an idea of controlled power, wrapped up in a small space for the prospective city dwelling customer.
Jay Wen-Chieh Wen chose to illustrate a fine balance of smooth surfaces, straight lines and sharp edges with his 'Akira' concept. This unique combination find its expression in the headlights, in the shape of the glazing, and in the innovative double frame grille introduced to provide extra visual impact to the front end design. The overall aggressive form is reinforced by the strong color contrast throughout the body, which is particularly accentuated in the taillamp treatment. The result is a well-resolved project with an aggressive front fascia, a proposal for young drivers looking to flaunt their individuality.