Post Opulence: A Softer Tomorrow?


A decade or more of adversarial design and in-your-face attitudes has left us in need of a breather. Might a new era of post-opulent aesthetics mellow us out? Aidan Walsh hopes so. 

If one were tasked with capturing the spirit of recent times using only a single word, ‘adversarial’ wouldn’t be a bad shout. From music to cinema, politics to language, the past few years have been very much a case of brute force over subtlety, belligerence over amicability and ‘if you’ve got it, bloody well flaunt it!’

Such trends have, of course, not been lost on the car industry’s resident fashionistas, the designers, who’ve tapped this fractious zeitgeist with snarling snouts, slashed and swollen surfaces stretched taut over metal musculature and popping iron veins, topped off with more jewellery than De Beers.

As might be expected, given their popularity among status-conscious consumers looking to ‘make a statement’, luxury and premium brands have very much led the crusade into the prevailing red-mist. From humble, and now seemingly understated, beginnings with Audi’s ‘single frame’ DRG back in 2004, the vogue for angry, pumped-up, bejewelled and all-around confrontational visuals has swept away almost all else.

We’re glad you’re enjoying Car Design News

To continue reading this article and others like it SIGN-IN or SUBSCRIBE TODAY

For a one-time only 30 DAY FREE TRIAL REGISTER HERE

This article is available to CDN subscribers only
SUBSCRIBE TODAY to gain full access

CDN Comp Tablet phone image2

The benefits of your subscription include:

Access to motor show and concours coverage, trend and technology reports, design reviews of new and classic concept and production cars, exclusive interviews, regional reports, who’s where, design essays, career resources, design competitions, regular newsletter updates PLUS comprehensive degree show reports from the world’s leading design schools, the CDN archive of sketches, images and articles spanning 20 years of coverage.


An online subscription also gains you access to exclusive designer interviews from our annual Car Design Review yearbook, and access to exclusive interior design reviews from Interior Motives magazine. You can also receive Interior Motives in print through our online + print subscription, or buy individual copies of Interior Motives and Car Design Review.


Fees start from £55/€60/$70. Packages available for students, individuals, schools and corporates.

cdn-newspress-award-banner      cdn-newspress-award-banner

Gain full access to subscribe today

For a one-time only 30 DAY FREE TRIAL REGISTER HERE

ALREADY SUBSCRIBED - Individual, Studio, Student or School

You now need to register your details and sign-in for full access to

here