Mazda explores old solutions to new CMF problems


A visit to Marseille revealed how Mazda is drawing inspiration from age-old painting and dyeing techniques

Mazda has tethered itself closely to the idea of craftsmanship as a brand differentiator. This of course extends to various elements of the vehicle, but perhaps nowhere greater than within the CMF team. 

Working closely with the clay modellers, exterior design specialists and pretty much anyone else involved in the design of a vehicle, the fairly compact CMF team at Mazda’s Frankfurt design studio is constantly exploring new ways of colouring, constructing and finishing.

This goes some way to explaining why, this week, we found ourselves on a remote hillside in the south of France investigating the origins of ‘ochre’, a bright orange soil once considered one of the most valuable and versatile pigments available.

Hacked away from the ochre mountains near Roussillon, stored and then processed over the course of a year, the material was once an exceptionally labour-intensive process. After mining it is washed with water to separate the sand and ochre, leaving the pigment behind.

“This is one of the oldest crafts on earth,” noted…

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