Lincoln, AIA Explore Similarities Between Car Design and Architecture
The goal of luxury car designers is to create a sense of occasion each time the driver gets behind the wheel.
Architects of high-end buildings are challenged to achieve the same goal. Each discipline incorporates proportion, volume, sculpture, form, materials, graphics and space to provide luxury experiences that aim to touch all the senses.
The similarities between these two worlds of design were the subject of “Designing Luxury,” a panel discussion held recently at the Miami Center for Architecture & Design.
“With any product or experience, the world of luxury design follows basic, yet vital, tenets,” said David Woodhouse, director of Lincoln design and a panelist. “Both luxury automobile designers and designers of high-end buildings need their creations to meet all the necessary functional requirements, but elevate the execution in a way that speaks to people’s aspirations, taps into their dreams and helps them stand apart from the crowd.”
Joining Woodhouse on the panel were two members of the American Institute of Architects: Rene Gonzalez, principal of Rene Gonzalez Architect, and Bernard Zyscovich, managing partner of Zyscovich Inc. Moderating the dialogue was Javier F. Salman, senior project architect, Stantec, and also a member of AIA.
“I’m excited to learn about something I’m passionate about – automotive design – in a close and personal way and learn how it compares and contrasts to my particular brand of design,” said Salman, who, as well as owning a 1971 Lincoln Mark III, repairs and restores vintage cars as a hobby.
Panel from left to right: Javier F. Salman, Bernard Zyscovich, David Woodhouse and Rene Gonzalez.
The panel explored designing luxury through best ways to interpret heritage and customer aspirations, then using these findings to create the luxury experience.
“Luxury automobile exterior design should be simple, inviting, approachable and most of all, elegant,” Woodhouse said. “Exterior design needs to be complemented by an interior that makes the driver feel comfortable and confident. Ultimately, the two work together to create an experience that is unique, personal and luxurious.”
Woodhouse believes integrating technology to create a warmer, more personal experience can help differentiate luxury car design. For example, Lincoln’s new compact MKC SUV will debut a suite of new technologies called “Lincoln Experiences” when it goes on sale later this year.
One such technology feature is how the vehicle ‘anticipates’ needs and preferences. ‘Approach Detection’ senses an approaching owner from up to nearly 9 feet away and the vehicle responds by illuminating 3-foot by 1-foot “welcome mats” on the ground next to both front doors. Simultaneously, signature lighting in the headlamps activates and the door-handle pockets glow with soft lighting tuned to the vehicle’s exterior colour.