College for Creative Studies Student Exhibition 2006Wed, 25 Oct 2006 00:00:00 -0700
Senior transportation design students at Detroit's College for Creative Studies presented their work to the public and industry representatives during the school's annual Student Exhibition earlier this year.
The major project brief revolved around the notion of an 'Exquisite Chrysler.' Students had to identify six vehicles from the past that represented a combination of great beauty and good design, regardless of brand. In addition, six examples of great design outside of the automotive realm were to be chosen as possible influences. The packaging and body style were left open, though students were advised to avoid retro design. Ralph Gilles, Vice President of Jeep & Truck Design at the Chrysler Group, led the project with assistance during the semester from Brian Neelander and Mark Allen.
The projects presented included:
'Obsidian: A usually black or banded, hard volcanic glass that displays shiny, curved surfaces when fractured and is formed by rapid cooling of lava.' Aditya took this as his description, with additional influence from women's stiletto shoes and sharks, his car possesses both the graceful curves and the shear, sharp edges that these objects are known for. The car is especially appealing from the rear aspect, where the hard edge roofline tapers in boat-tail fashion into a sharply broken centerline. Of note are the shield-like grill and the decorative panel at the back of the roof with patterns similar to wrought iron gates.
Chris' proposal has its basis in the Streamlined and Art Deco movement of the 1920s and 30s. Using the words 'glamorous', 'modern' and 'dramatic' to define that era, his intent was to craft a design that is both elegant, in a contemporary way, and timeless. The car utilizes the extremely long wheelbase and short overhangs of the era's most opulent personal cars, then wraps it in a body of simple, organic curves, reminiscent of some of Chrysler's early-90s show cars. Two of it's most distinct traits are the contrasting-colored hood/roof/trunk panel and the way the curve over the side-glass arcs down into and overlaps the body-side. The overall detailing has been kept simple and tasteful, with the exception of the wheels, which provide a bright counterpoint to the dark, understated elegance of the car.
Muscle and bone. These were the first things to come to mind when looking at James' sketches and model. The taut, overlapping forms and fluid curves certainly convey the notion of elegance that Chrysler's brief demanded. Here again, they are stretched over a long wheelbase with short overhangs, though in this case with the long hood and truncated rear of many of the classic 50's sports cars. The front is clearly in the same vein as the current Chrysler 300. The rear, though, is altogether different from current brand practice The long tail lamps effectively breaking up the expanse of painted surfaces while the large, winged logo draws your eye towards the high roofline and tapered kamm-back treatment. Finally, the wheels' simple geometric appearance work well with the car's hard-edged 'bones'.