Racy young talent from the Royal College of Art bombarded us with their brilliance at West London Audi. This seven storey glazed cathedral to movement is the world’s largest Audi Centre.
Wilkinson Eyre, famed for the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, designed the £45m building. The top two floors are given over to the Audi Quattro Rooms with great views across – naturally enough – the M4.
The Natural Audi project is a collaboration between the Audi Design Team based in Ingolstadt and London’s RCA. The 10 final designs were presented to a VIP audience which included leading figures from the design industry and Lavender’s Blue.
Earlier, arriving in a chauffeur driven Audi R8, doormen running at the ready on arrival, helped get the evening off to a good start.
An open brief without limits was stimulated by the ‘natural’ remit. Student talent rose to the challenge and then some, exploring all sorts from magnetic levitation to biochemical sensors with the goal to enhance the relationship between machine and human.
Frank Rimili and Christine Labonte from the Audi Design team mentored the students. He says of this fusion of design and technology:
“At Audi Design we are constantly searching for input to widen our horizons. This time we chose to work with young designers, some of who are in disciplines other than vehicle design, such as fashion and textiles, to open our minds to exciting, groundbreaking and innovative ideas.”
Talking in the top floor gallery of the Audi Quattro Rooms, its rounded skylight reminiscent of a gargantuan car sun roof, Audi Designer Dr Cornelia Menzel told us,
“We are always ahead of our time with our thoughts. We are very curious and are looking for an intellectual discussion with the generation ahead of us. London being so international is a melting pot of creative freedom. When you design a car it should look like it’s moving even when it’s still. A car should appeal to our five senses.”
True to form, the 2012 Audi Urban Future Award is taking place at this year’s Design Biennale. In Istanbul. This time it’s architecture. The aim is to develop an online layer of the physical city which can enhance the efficiency, fun and social interactivity of future mobility. Suitcases at the ready. Vorsprung durch Technik.