The design teams of Aston Martin for the DB11, Mazda for the RX-Vision Concept and Volvo Cars for its product range design are the winners of the Car Design Award 2016, the new edition of the historical, coveted Oscar of world automotive design instituted in 1984 on the initiative of the magazine Auto & Design and its founder Fulvio Cinti.
The award ceremony took place in Turin on 8 June as part of the Parco Valentino Turin Motor Show.
“We are delighted to host the return of this prize that resonates worldwide but whose roots are here in Turin”, said Andrea Levy, President of the Show’s Organising Committee.
The Car Design Award was assigned for fourteen consecutive editions up to 1997. This year the award is back in a completely renewed incarnation, faithful, however, to the spirit that has always characterised it: to reward the authors of projects that have made a significant contribution to the evolution of car design. As before, the winners were decided by a jury of experts representing the most prestigious world car magazines, thus ensuring an objective judgment on the world car design scene.
The Car Design Award is divided into three categories: two of them, “Concept Cars” and “Production Cars”, are historical and they are now joined by a third, “Brand Design Language”, an award to the design team that has worked best to maintain the consistency and transversality of a brand’s formal language over the entire product range.
For the 2016 edition, winner of the Concept Car section was the Mazda design team for its RX-Vision project; second was the Alpine Vision Concept, and third the Porsche Mission E Concept.
The title of best project for Production Cars went to Aston Martin design for the DB11 (second place went to Volvo Cars for the S90/V90 and third to Bugatti for the Chiron).
The award for best Brand Design Language went to the Volvo Cars team (followed by the Jaguar and Renault teams in second and third places respectively). “The new edition of the Car Design Award introduces this new accolade assigned to the design team that has worked best on the consistency and transversality of a brand’s formal language over the entire product range. Volvo Design is therefore the very first, well deserved winner of this prize”, said Silvia Baruffaldi, editor of Auto&Design and President of the Car Design Award jury.
The trophies, designed and produced for the occasion by Brembo, a partner in the event, are also new. “The history of our relationship with design actually dates as far back as the origins of the company” says Roberto Vavassori, Business Development and Marketing Director of Brembo during the prize-giving ceremony.
An exceptional endorsement came from Lorenzo Ramaciotti, former Senior Design Vice President of FCA and, before that, of Pininfarina, a company with which he won two Car Design Awards, who spoke about the continuity with past editions. “Receiving this award was particularly important for me”, he said speaking at the award ceremony this year. “It was an encouragement to continue with our efforts at a time when design did not enjoy the media exposure it does today”.
Organised by Auto&Design magazine, the Car Design Award is assigned by an international jury consisting of eleven automotive magazines from around the world: Silvia Baruffaldi (Auto&Design), Bernd Wieland (AutoBild/ AutoBild Klassik), Todd Lassa (Automobile Magazine), Christophe Bonnaud (Automobiles Classiques), Luca Ciferri (Automotive News Europe), Juan Carlos Payo Calderon (Autopista), Dhruv Behl (AutoX), Tetsuya Kato (Car Graphic), Doo-Hyun Cho (Motor Trend Korea), Zeca Chaves (Quatro Rodas) and Charlie Turner (Top Gear).
CAR DESIGN AWARD, JURY MOTIVATIONS
CONCEPT CARS, MAZDA RX-VISION
This project is an example of how a skilled, well directed design team is able to create formal beauty by simply clothing the mechanicals, without adding unnecessary frills. The RX-Vision’s low, stretched bonnet is made possible by the latest generation rotary engine, a reminder of Mazda’s sporty tradition and innovative spirit.
The lithe body and softly sculpted volumes marked by bold, essential lines is one of the most successful interpretations of “Kodo – Soul of Motion” design, the formal language that has made Mazda products unmistakable worldwide.
PRODUCTION CARS, ASTON MARTIN DB11
With the new DB11, Aston Martin demonstrated once again it was capable of blending elegance and power. With overdesign becoming the dominant characteristic also for iconic sportscar brands, such a result was anything but a given.
The design team was able to evolve Aston’s historical proportions – long engine hood, thin greenhouse and muscular rear fenders – in an even more rakish interpretation. The polished aluminium element that connects the A and C pillars adds a new flavour of modernity to the DB11.
The too many holes in the engine hood are a bit disturbing, but this was required by the heat-generating twin-turbo engine rather than pure decoration decided by the design team.
BRAND DESIGN LANGUAGE, VOLVO CARS DESIGN
Volvo’s new post-Ford design language can best be described as a cleaner, more elegant, updated take on the organic simplicity of the Peter Horbury era. Under design chief Thomas Ingenlath, each new Volvo model will have its own personality, though with the familiar trademark grille and “Thor’s hammer” headlamps.
The S90, V90 and XC90 are handsome in an understated way, with rear-wheel-drive-like big car proportions suiting Volvo’s luxury brand ambitions.