During the past weeks I’ve read a lot about the new Tesla pickup Cybertruck and I’m not referring to data sheets or articles in magazines, I’m talking about people’s comments on social media. What I found is that we have a peculiar idea of what’s elegant and what’s not, our concept of beauty is twisted to say the least and has different standards to different categories of product. A fair share of gearheads made fun of the poor thing labelling it as childish, arguing that it’s too simplified to resemble a proper vehicle but who said that mainstream car design is the best achievable? Commercially speaking it could be, academically speaking there’s room for improvement.
We got used to certain common aesthetic features in cars, they kept evolving for over a century in a smooth way (with some disruptive exceptions) trying not to shock buyers -cause in the end it’s all about sales- but this doesn’t mean that the ultimate product of this metamorphosis from model T to nowadays SUVs and trucks is the best compromise between style, cost and practicality.
We are accustomed to organic shapes and that’s why we throw anatomy terms into car design, words like shoulders, tail, dog-leg and musclecar itself of course can be heard at a briefing with designers. Vehicles are 21st century armors, we identify as our car while driving it and movies played a big role in giving automobiles human connotations, just think about Herbie and Cars. Think about it: On the road we prefer to be a Jaguar rather than being a Pinto, right? It’s in our nature. The truth is that only few can afford outstanding performance, the rest just make do sitting in over decorated vehicles padded with superfluous air intakes, useless grilles, chrome trims, even fake plastic exhaust pipes (oh God, these are the worst). Now it’s funny how the same standard doesn’t apply to home interior design, quite the opposite indeed: a high percentage of people consider minimalism in furniture a sign of elegance while, for instance, the replica of a baroque cabinet with fake gold details is definitely ‘ew’ (more like Eeew!). Now, the first question is: Why do most people think minimalism is a plus in architecture and not in car design? Furthermore: Is the future of car design doomed with the addition of useless features to give more charisma to products? Of course nobody is forced to like Elon Musk’s latest sharp creation (or the rounded VW New Beetle for that matter) but it is fair to say that the Cybertruck is unattractive as much as other competitors are tacky. Yes, we all want to drive something that makes us accepted by peers without looking like out of place, after all understatement is still a value, but embracing passively the standard of the majority has never been a good sign in society. Like it or not, the Cybertruck brings fresh air to the establishment, hence, the topic of this discussion is not whether I love it or hate it but it’s about recognizing Musk’s effort to make a bald statement sharing with all of us his crazy (but intelligent) dream and I personally thank him for this.
Poetry can be found in the lines of a book but pure art can be fully expressed by bending tin foils as well, like coach-builders did for a long time during the 20th century. A thin line divides craftsmen and artists, whether they work on leather, steel, wood, marble and if they make unique pieces or thousands the difference is subtle. Industrial design can be conceived as a “process of design applied to products that are to be manufactured through techniques of mass production” (at least as Wikipedia sees it) but this is quite a mechanistic definition. To me, Industrial design is the ideal place where the production process with its requirements meets the will to create something emotional, the act of setting art free outside museums’ walls making it affordable for the community. Probably no one ever considered that buying the classical coke glass bottle is like purchasing a piece of art, the fact that a machine made million copies of it doesn’t matter: a genius shaped its iconic silhouette committing it to memory forever, it’s enough to consider that bottle pure art.
It’s no news that BEST DEALS ARE SIGNED AT THE RESTAURANT at lunchtime rather than during exhausting 3-hour meetings. This is because food and laughs are indispensable conditions to create the perfect, relaxed atmosphere in which is possible to start/establish partnerships. Friendship is the key ingredient leading to long term valuable collaborations and what better place than a Bel Air Korean restaurant to have a lot of fun and share new ideas for the upcoming bags? CREATIVITY IS A STREAM, we just have to LET IT FLOW by setting the right conditions: PLACE, PEOPLE, ACTIVITY. So, choose the right buddies, book a restaurant (or just sip a coffee at Starbucks) and start the chit chat, the result (in terms of both productivity and creativity) will be beyond expectations.
The question is: Since we live in a three-dimensional environment, why ideas and concepts are expressed in a bi-dimensional paper sheet? Think about it, it makes no sense! A flat x,y axis universe could be good for the Simpsons or the Griffins but I used to live in the real world and a sketchbook is not enough to express the flow of my creativity. I’m no painter, my task is to conceive complex multifaceted objects, evaluate their proportions, volumes and capacity from the very first stage of the creative process. Pencil’s lines, light and shade effects on paper are romantic but if it’s true that a photo is worth a thousand words, A REAL MODEL IS WORTH A THOUSAND PICS. Now, we’re not talking about 3D cad and rapid prototyping models: they are part of the final design stage, right before production. Cad models are complex digital entities, outcomes of computers, sequences of numbers, food for CNC machines. 3D sketching is CONVEYING AN IDEA TO THE REAL ENVIRONMENT, pencil’s lines are intangible and questionable, solid sketching is A QUICK TOUCHABLE REPRESENTATION OF WHAT I’M THINKING, like pouring ideas from my mind straight to a metal frame which volume is easily measurable. Pay attention, this is neither carving nor sculpturing a stock, this is filling the space with thin iron lines, so the big difference between 3d sketching and 3D modelling is that the first is a craftsman operation that get the design process started, the second is the last engineering stage before pilot production.
I’m designing this special “Heart Bag” (technically it’s called bucket bag) for a friend, it’s like a present I promised to her. it took a few months to think it and a few days to design it and.. Tah-dah!