Automotive design and technology

RENM performance presented an overview of automotive design and technology at the Campus Party Europe in Berlin festival.

Campus Party is an annual, week-long festival where participants immerse themselves in one of the biggest technology and science events in the world.

Almost 10,000 people attended the event between August 21 to 26, 2012 at the former Airport – Tempelhof, Berlin. The festival featured over 600 hours of talks, debates and workshops related to science, innovation, digital entertainment and creativity, with activities spread across twenty four content areas.

Neil Meka, Managing Director, RENM performance, presented an overview of the tensions and challenges that arise between principles of good design and design developed through technology.

A summary of the key points raised in the presentation are below:

- While the process of design may be considered ‘creative’, many analytical processes also take place.

- The processes that are commonly used are user research, sketching, comparative product research, model making, prototyping and testing.

- Making form is central to the design process, and should not be left to the dictation of a function (form follows function). Making form is about giving a visual sense of character to a vehicle, of its story, beginning to make its soul.

- Powerful software tools such as the Autodesk® and Alias® has allowed designers to put their ideas into digital language and then into milled shapes.

- Creating cars designed and developed using computerised rapid prototyping and visualisation tools can have drawbacks.  When using this technology, it’s important to maintain a balance between sketchpad creativity and digital efficiency.

- An interaction of two-dimensional design and three-dimensional modelling (to give us a digital design) does provide an opportunity to remodel and refine ideas. What the data isn’t very good at is communicating a design language.

- The values and accompanying aspects on which design is based can vary, both between different schools of thought and among practicing designers.

- Manufacturers of high-performance sports and super cars need to express a design language that embodies many different things, while still expressing the values of their company and designers.

- With car companies placing greater reliance on computer aided technology to develop designs, paper and pencil are still at the heart of the design process, aided rather than dominated by technology.

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