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Ford kinetic Design

kinet’ic Design’: adj. n. Visualising dynamic driving characteristics through external and internal design elements.

In 2004, Martin Smith, the Executive Design Director for Ford of Europe, was challenged with the task of forming a new design language for Ford. This was a defining moment in Ford’s recent history, which resulted in a new design philosophy for the company – Ford kinetic Design was here to stay.

 

Watch exclusive behind the scenes footage from the TV ad

If you’d like to know how the TV ad was created, there’s a making of video that explains it all. To watch the film, just click on the ‘clapperboard’ picture in the top right panel.


Exploring ‘energy in motion’

Asked to define Ford kinetic Design, Martin Smith is unequivocal in his reply, “the form language is communicated through bold, dynamic lines and full surfaces. When you look at kinetic Design, you can see that it visualises energy in motion.” It’s this ‘energy in motion’ that expresses the design language. That’s why with just a glimpse, the cars look like they’re moving even when they’re standing still.

The design evolution

The first iteration of Ford kinetic Design was the SAV concept car in 2005 and this was ultimately transformed into the S-MAX. Since then, the new design language has also influenced Galaxy, Mondeo, Kuga, Focus, new Fiesta and most recently the new Ka. Once again, Martin Smith perfectly summarises the vision for Ford kinetic Design, “We want to build cars that evoke an instant emotional response of ‘I want one’.” This vision has gone from concept to a stunning reality.

Hear from the people who made it happen

If you’d like to discover more about the inspiration behind Ford kinetic Design, you can watch in-depth interview with Martin Smith, Executive Design Director for Ford of Europe and Erika Tsubaki, Studio Supervisor for Design Strategy and Futuring. They reveal the insights and ideas that brought about this dramatic new philosophy. To watch the video, just click on the image below.


Erika Tsubaki & Martin Smith video

Martin Smith

SAV concept car

SAV concept car

S-MAX

Mondeo

Focus

New Fiesta

New Fiesta

Kuga

New Ka


 

The iosis concept

Premiered in Frankfurt in 2005, iosis was a design idea building on some of the ideas first expressed by the SAV concept car. In essence, its aim was to take ‘energy in motion’ and then visualise it. The designers had to quickly identify the key graphic signatures of Ford design. Foremost amongst those was the ‘inverse trapezoid’ air intake below the grille. Other new elements included the well defined wheel arch, the strong shoulder and dynamic undercut line running through the length of the vehicle.

A radical departure inside

As for the interior, the team wanted the driver to be enticed as soon as the doors swung open. For Martin Smith, the interior design, “is as important, if not more important than the exterior.” The design development led to a high tech look that was combined with real world practicality. In the final execution, the iosis had a brooding interior inspired by combat swimming gear and featured neoprene as well as the finest leathers.

Creating Mondeo

The entire concept of iosis was then translated into a production-ready form without losing any key messages. The result is the Mondeo that we see today. It takes the Ford kinetic Design form language and philosophy to new levels, exemplifying all of its key elements. Together, they deliver a design presence that signals both power and grace yet clearly represents the embodiment of ‘energy in motion’.


Mondeo

Mondeo

Mondeo

Mondeo

Mondeo Interior

iosis sketch
iosis concept car
iosis concept car

iosis concept car

iosis concept car

iosis concept car

iosis concept car

iosis concept car

iosis sketch

iosis sketch


 

The iosis X concept

The iosis X concept car was first showcased at the Paris Motor Show in 2006. Part of the task since iosis was to demonstrate how Ford kinetic Design could translate into other models. "This vehicle shows how we can apply kinetic Design principles to a different type of vehicle," said Martin Smith. "It takes our ‘energy in motion’ philosophy even further and shows how different Ford cars will be in the future."

Moving the philosophy forward

Looking for common themes between iosis, Mondeo and iosis X is an easy task. The swooping shape of the side window (the Daylight Opening or DLO in designer shorthand), complete with the rear kick-up in the ‘C’ or ‘D’ posts can be found on all models. Another common design element is the bold, dynamic line that runs down the length of the body. For Ruth Pauli, Chief Designer of Colour and Trims, iosis X moved the game on, “we needed to work on three main pillars; emotional products, quality of execution and build the brand with design muscle.”

Creating the Kuga

As a consequence of iosis X, the Kuga was launched in 2008. It was a completely new addition to Ford’s passenger car portfolio and as an All Wheel Drive (AWD) vehicle, the first entry into the crossover segment. As for the final design, Martin Smith is clear that the Kuga’s design truly reflects the principle of ‘energy in motion’, “the powerful form language and bold graphics merge to give the car the impression of movement…even when it is parked.”


Kuga

Kuga

Kuga

Kuga tail light

Kuga

Kuga interior
Kuga interior
iosis X concept car

iosis X concept car

iosis X concept car

iosis X concept car

iosis X concept car

iosis X concept car

iosis X concept car

Kuga sketch

Kuga sketch

 

The Verve Concept

Launched at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Verve Concept moved Ford kinetic Design forward with a bold vision for a small car. Stefan Lamm, the Chief Exterior Designer for Ford of Europe, stated their clear objective, “our ambition is to be a leader in small car design and create individual cars for individual customers.” With the full surfaces of its body shape, complemented by a sleek roofline and B-pillarless structure, the Verve Concept demonstrated the dynamic possibilities for expressing the Ford kinetic Design philosophy in a small car.

Making the future a reality

The Verve Concept appeared as dramatic on the inside as its exterior and it was designed for a generation that grew up with mobile phones. It also pioneered new technologies that could be a production reality. Niko Vidakovic, Chief Interior Designer for Ford of Europe, said “This is a quantum leap in bringing kinetic Design into interior design…the type of visual innovation, linking the form language of the interior so strongly with the exterior, is something we believe no other company is doing.”

Creating the new Fiesta

Look back to 2008 and the new Fiesta announced its arrival. For Martin Smith it was, “the most complete, expressive and exciting Fiesta Ford has ever produced, inside and out.” It encapsulated Ford kinetic Design in its purest form, with a signature lower grille, pronounced wheel arch lips and a dynamic beltline running the length of the car. The futuristic interior exceeded expectations set by the Verve Concept and included a mobile phone inspired entertainment system and sophisticated Human Machine Interface.


New Fiesta

New Fiesta interior

New Fiesta

Centre console

Verve concept car

Verve concept car
Verve concept car
Verve concept car

Verve sketch

New Fiesta

Verve sketch

Verve sketch

 

iosis-MAX

Recently launched at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, iosis-MAX sets out Ford’s vision of what a Multi-Activity Vehicle (MAV) should be. It marks the next stage in the evolution of Ford kinetic Design and showcases new door opening concepts, lightweight materials and advanced aerodynamics.

Inside there’s an ingenious use of space with a dramatic angular interior inspired by futuristic films, architecture and space-age design. It’s the ideal complement to the exterior, where Ford kinetic Design creates a sweeping new look to re-define common thinking of what a MAV should look like.

“It’s the most stylish expression a MAV can be,” explains Patrick Verhée, Ford of Europe design innovation and show-car manager. "It is a masterpiece of work, bringing design and function completely together."

What’s next?

The design team have heralded a new direction, not just for Ford but within the industry as a whole. The ultimate aim is to achieve design leadership and clearly, Ford kinetic Design will continue to develop and advance. As for the future, Martin Smith is clear about his intentions, “Although the iosis-MAX isn’t a forerunner to a specific production vehicle, it clearly highlights how kinetic Design is evolving and can be applied with stunning results to all vehicles in the Ford portfolio.”


Ford iosis-MAX design video

Ford iosis-MAX brand video

iosis-MAX

iosis-MAX and design team

Murat Seven Interior Designer

iosis-MAX being designed
iosis-MAX concept car
iosis-MAX interior

iosis-MAX headlamp

iosis-MAX concept car

iosis-MAX concept car

iosis-MAX concept car

iosis-MAX concept car





 



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