Summer 2020

Noted...

As we emerge from full lockdown, and it becomes clear that shows won’t be returning quickly, carmakers have been launching their concepts and production cars with increasing regularity (and virtually).

In this section we round up some of the vehicles and details that have caught our eye in summer 2020.

Lucid Air production car

ArtCenter graduate Joann Jung is Lucid’s head of interior design has created an interior described as “post luxury” and dominated by the curved display. The production version has been revealed to be subtly different to the show-car version and is a more curved and floating design. To begin with the display will be constructed in three pieces but head of design Jenkins told Interior Motives that later iterations will be constructed of a single unit. In time, the Air will also get the upgrade of an executive rear seat option, which will offer reclining functions and a central rear interface similar to that on the show car. Woven fabrics are used a lot on the production interior, with Bridge-of-Weir supplied leather in key areas, which critically uses a sustainable tanning process.

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Skoda Enyaq iV

Norbert Weber, head of interior design at Skoda said that the interior’s flat floor and no central tunnel has given the car a “lounge feeling”, which the team has embraced with the colour, materials and texture choices. Sustainability is the focus for material selection. In the Lodge and ecoSuite designs, Skoda has focused on sustainability. The Lodge seat covers are made of 40 percent new wool that has been certified by the Woolmark Company. (The wool blend performance label is reserved for products made with between 30 and 49.9 percent new wool.) The remaining 60 percent of the upholstery is made of polyester from recycled PET bottles. The seat covers also feature a unique surface feel and offer a pleasant seat temperature – getting neither too hot nor too cold. The cognac-coloured leather used in the ecoSuite design is produced particularly sustainably. Instead of chemicals, the hide has been treated using olive leaf extracts.

Building the concept

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The use of LED technology has enabled much more interactive interior lighting. The active ambient lighting is now integrated into the driving assistance systems and is able to underpin alerts visually. For example, Active Blind Spot Assist warns of an impending collision with a red light animation. Feedback is also possible when operating the climate control system or the 'Hey Mercedes' voice assistant. The active ambient lighting is integrated into ‘Energizing comfort’ environmental systems. At the touch of a button or by voice command, the system creates a suitable atmosphere in the interior – for example, invigorating in case of fatigue or relaxing in case of an elevated stress levels. There is even a ‘coach’ who suggests an appropriate fitness or wellness programme based on vehicle and trip data. It also factors the information about the sleep quality and stress level into its intelligent algorithm if the driver has a suitable smartphone or wears a fitness bracelet. Passengers within the new S-Class can also swipe to share content across the screens in the front and back of the vehicle within the MBUX user interface.

Ford F-150

Ford’s team conducted extensive research into the habits and desires of its customers for this product. With 1/3 of customers using the cab as a workspace, Ford investigated the many workarounds people had developed to, for example, use a laptop comfortably inside the cab, and turned that into a neat (optional) solution whereby the gear shifter in the console folds away creating a work surface for a 15-inch laptop. The shifter folds flat down into the console and the arm rest splits in half and folds open. There are lots of neat and clever solutions like this in the cab like the dual glove-box and the lockable storage box under the rear seats for tools and equipment. Certain models also feature lie-flat seats for sleeping or resting in the cab. The interior features more storage and better materials, along with a 12-inch, landscape screen. Functional buttons for climate and audio control still sit below the screen.

Rolls-Royce Ghost

The interior is described by Henry Cloke, designer at Rolls-Royce, as a “detoxifying space”, and pursues the same minimalist feel as the exterior. The focus is on the use of materials, with a mixture of leather, wood and metals occupying the inside. These are laid bare to encourage touch and make them clearly visible. The dash is characterised by a partially curved line sweeping across the top, under which sits the instrument cluster panel and the clock. On the passenger side, the fascia is illuminated when the interior lights are switched on, displaying the word ‘Ghost’ and 850 glowing stars. These are completely invisible when the lights are off – a feat achieved by using three layers of composite materials. The first includes the laser-etched graphic, while the second is a dark-tinted layer to hide it when not in use. A third layer is just 0.5mm thick with a high-gloss finish to make sure the fascia matches other parts of the interior. 

Cadillac Lyriq

The new interpretation of future luxury for Cadillac. “It is a designer’s dream to start with an all-new architecture,” said Crystal Windham, director, Interior Design at the launch. There is a layered approach using wood and metal, and illumination from behind draws the eye to the texture, which is also echoed in the speakers. A hidden storage area under the IP for phone storage, is lined like a jewellery box. There is texturing within the metal around the curved screen on the IP and that same texture is repeated on the multifunction controller – a statement jewellery piece. The designers were deliberately creating a bespoke, jewellery design aesthetic. Cadillac’s interpretation of future luxury is clean and simple, and the colour scheme, particularly in the ambient lighting within the Lyriq, clearly signals the move beyond having to overtly demonstrate its powertrain with ‘electric colours’ such as blue.