Natural Audi project
Audi is interested in the design ideas of students – such as those from this project with the Royal College of Art in London.
Audi has an enlightened approach to design and is constantly seeking fresh ideas. One key aspect is the cooperations with renowned schools of design – such as the Pforzheim University School of Design, the Royal College of Art in London, the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and two schools of design in Milan.
The open dialogue that Audi has with the students brings a great many benefits to both parties. The brand’s designers gain new, free-thinking impetus unrestricted by the perspective of the expert, and they gain insight into how young people view the brand and the future of mobility. Moreover, Audi reinforces ist competence and forward thinking on the design scene and makes its mark on design culture.
Every year, Audi Design offers a number of internships and undergraduate placements; for the best young designers, they are often a launching pad for a career within the company, although the bar for quality and discipline is set extremely high. Every year, the company also receives more and more unsolicited applications – another indication of how attractive Audi Design is as an employer.
Recruitment is a global affair, and for good reason. Young talents from China, for example, bring the aesthetic preferences of their culture and their special feel for proportion into the Audi design lexicon, as Christian Labonte reports. Last spring, Labonte launched a project with the Royal College of Art (RCA). Its Transportation Design course has a highly artistic focus – for the project “The natural Audi”, students were given a completely free hand to formulate ideas for the future personality of the brand on the basis of sustainable technologies.
In most of the teams, exterior designers work with colleagues from the Colour & Trim department. According to Labonte, the textile experts in particular have been incredibly visionary: “One group used microphones to record traffic in the rain, in diffused light and in sunshine and then translated the sound amplitudes into textile sculptures.”
In the “Audi.me” by Cherice Haye, Nir Siegel and Hanchul Lee, the driver wears a jacket that binds him to the single-seater like a seatbelt, creating a very close functional and emotional relationship. The asymmetric “Dolphin” by Michal Vlcek reinterprets the Audi Space Frame – its load-bearing structure is on the outside and encases the passenger cell. The “Audi Epiphany”, reminiscent of a sleek sea creature, came into being when Shihan Pi and Yijing Zhang used patterns of movement to develop a cabin sculpture with muscles and fibers. In all of these designs, exterior and interior, vision and emotion come together – to form ideas and inspiration for Audi.