2017 Tokyo Motor Show
If you’ve ever been to Tokyo, Japan, and spent any amount of time in a truly traditional setting, you’ll have undoubtedly noticed how this culture prefers simplicity over complexity. For example, a minimal amount of distractions and an unobstructed visual environment describe famous traditional Japanese gardens.
Ikuo Meada, Mazda’s Head of Design reminded those in attendance at the unveiling of Mazda’s latest concept, the Vision Coupe, that there is beauty in the absence of excessive design. In his own words, and as a designer himself, he said that too often they tend to further adorn a car with accents, visual cues and add-ons in order to make a car more attractive. He included that this is contrary to tradition and that Mazda’s next-generation Kodo design language is set to reclaim the art of the car.
Kodo 2.0, if you will, is a return to Mazda’s elegant and simple design roots. Back in the mid-60’s, the Luce RE Coupe was a beautiful and dignified car. Albeit penned by Bertone’s Giorgetto Giugiaro, it perfectly embodied clean, unblemished lines. Its sheet metal did all the talking without any extra embellishment.
The Kodo design language was introduced some eight years ago and its impact on Mazda’s cars has created one of the more dynamic-looking product portfolio in the industry. Among Kodo’s original inspirations was Goshintai, or abstract forms created from creatures on the move. This gave rise to Mazda’s dynamic stance and purposeful athletic lines. Kodo 2.0 build on this and adds a more natural feel to the final design.
Two years ago, I was privy to the unveiling of the still-sublime RX Vision concept and its beauty. This stunning 2-door coupe is raw, powerful and nearly animalistic – a perfect representation of what has done with its cars and playing with the art of light. With the new breathtaking Vision Coupe concept, Mazda ushers phase 2 of what has made Kodo brilliant.
The theme to the updated language is the art of the car. There is such purity and honesty in these words and the same can be said about the Vision Coupe’s styling. Kodo 2.0 is meant to embody a number of themes without ever losing sight of the desire for utmost elegance.
Mazda describes thoughts of vitality, life, warmth, and a sense of wellbeing as goals of the design. There is depth, beauty and richness in how the body’s components flow into each other. A quick glance seems to reveal countless visual highlights when in fact, the aesthetics are incredibly minimalist.
Mazda goes on to say that they’re moving away from the “animal in movement” as inspiration however the Vison Coupe’s presence, especially when confronted head-on, is still highly aggressive as though ready to pounce. But by taking a step back, the absence of excessive visual highlights is obvious. This car truly is simplicity and elegance dignified.
The absence of unnecessary excessive visual distractions gives space to the car’s visual lines and design. Mazda compares the portion and lines that connect the wheel-wells as Sori, or the curve of the samurai blade that is almost straight. The shifting and subtle changing of light and shadows in this area tell another story.
The Vision Coupe’s shell is a triumph of simplicity and the same goes for the spacious cabin. The interior space does not feel closed, it maintains a gentle link to the outside. The absence of adornment here gives off that feeling. The typical large in-your-face screens are subtly integrated in the dash board’s lines, purifying the environment.
This concept, for the moment, is not meant to represent a future product, only the next generation of Mazda design.