Summer 2021

 Editor's note

I must confess, a small part of me dies inside when a well-known automotive brand collaborates with a celebrity designer on a one-off project. The motives, a company well-versed in the act of mass-production has its prosaic offering imbued with that elusive stardust while the celeb collects a healthy cheque, are perfectly understandable. It has to be said that too often, the pair conspire to produce something only a mother could love. Happily, this shopworn scenario has not played out in the case of fashion designer Paul Smith’s partnership with Mini on the Mini Strip. As the name suggests, the project is an exercise in reduction with pretty much everything – screens, IP and other whistles and bells – ripped out or replaced by sustainable materials. Spoiler alert, there is a whole lot of cork. Somehow, it still feels like a premium experience with the Yves Klein blue spray paint and flashes of colour feeling very true to Smith’s aesthetic. While we will not see the Strip going to production, the same cannot be said of Audi’s Grandsphere concept, which feels much closer to a production model. OK, so the retractable steering wheel might be a leap too far and the pot plant will likely have to go, but this is a plausible punt at the next gen executive saloon. Elsewhere, VW continues to expand its ID series with the chunky and charming ID. Life. A compact concept, it promises lie flat seating and expansive screens – the new consumers are all gamers it would seem. And finally, Volvo pays welcome attention to the life of dogs – a pop-up origami dog bed and water bowl feature in the Recharge Concept. 

Until next time

James McLachlan