- University project: spectacular model of an Audi yacht
- Concept Design Munich: thinking laterally and detecting trends
- Powering ahead: ideas for cars well into the future
Absolute precision, perfectly balanced hydrodynamics and aerodynamics, and lightweight construction thanks to high-tech materials. In technical terms a yacht, like a car, is designed for performance and efficient travel. The way its design elements are reduced to the essentials is highly stimulating, because Audi design, too, is based around clear lines and engaging clarity. At Audi Concept Design Munich, the young, international team of designers opens our eyes to new ways of seeing things, experiments with shapes and objects, and draws inspiration from disciplines outside the automotive sphere. A university-level partnership with the Joanneum University of Applied Science, Graz, thus led to the modelling of a yacht, a Daysailer, which carries Audi’s DNA within it.
Design is about creating visual snapshots of the future. Which topics and trends will shape the world of tomorrow? What will be the developments in the spheres of lifestyle and aesthetics? Design student Markus Klug had to tackle precisely these questions when he decided to design a yacht under the auspices of the university project “A brand beyond the car”. The 25-year-old drew his inspiration from his passion for sailing. And the Audi MedCup, a regatta series in the Mediterranean for TP52 yachts, played a pivotal role. Klug was fascinated by the fastest single-hull offshore yachts in the world, which inspired him to come up with a 1:15 model of the Audi Daysailer. Although it remains to be seen whether Audi will ever venture into boat building, the concept is captivating for the deep insight with which it interprets the elegance of yachting, while skilfully experimenting with Audi’s design idiom.
“I wanted my design to be clear and direct, but also luxurious and sporty. It was really enjoyable incorporating Audi’s design hallmarks into a yacht. It has to captivate the onlooker at first glance, in precisely the same way that the cars do,” explains Klug. And that is no easy feat. Wolfgang Egger, Head of Audi Group Design, elaborates: “Our motivation is to think laterally and be better. Every single line has to be just right. The design can only be deemed a success if there is nothing more to be eliminated – but such simplicity is also a huge challenge.”
In addition to its design department in Ingolstadt, for the past 25 years Audi has been running a design studio in the Schwabing district of Munich, the primary objective of which is to design the car of the future. “It’s a fascinating challenge to design cars that will appeal to people in 20 to 30 years’ time,” remarks Egger. “Inspiration and visionary creativity are called for. That is why we also concern ourselves with product design. When our young designers apply the same design philosophy to objects in realms other than the car, they gain a deep understanding of Audi’s formal idiom and are able to experiment with surfaces, lines and materials. Those ideas then ultimately find their way back into the designs of production cars.”
Klug eagerly seized the opportunity afforded by this challenge. His choice of the Daysailer concept was carefully considered. “I was intrigued by the idea of implementing a concept study that is perfect for a relaxing afternoon’s sailing with friends, but also capable of withstanding the forces of nature. A large deck area is more important than the cabin – and the vessel has to be easy to control, with one-handed steering possible.” The tornado line, the character line along the side of the hull, and the shoulder line, which in the case of a boat is the upper edge of the hull (positive sheer), are inspired by Audi’s design idiom. The same applies to the proportions in the seating area and the centre console, which is a typical Audi feature with intuitively operated instruments, but also performs the dual function of reinforcing the longitudinal axis. In typical Audi fashion, lightweight materials such as carbon fibre (hull) and aluminium (stabilising elements) play a key role.
The design study naturally affords plenty of scope for individual modifications. The model is just over one metre long – but the real thing would measure 15 metres in length, its mast would be 21 metres high and it would have a draught of between 1.5 and 2.5 metres. The Daysailer already floats, and its hull is ultra-streamlined. Designer Klug anticipates a displacement of between six and seven tonnes. That is of course pure hypothesis, in the absence of any firm technical data for a real-life boat. The junior designer is currently preparing his graduate thesis at Audi and, after this excursion into the world of yachts, once more turning his attention to automotive design of the future.
Audi partnership projects with universities have one clear objective: to foster dialogue with young, talented designers about bold automotive design. All over the world, Audi designers and students are exchanging thoughts about their vision of the future. And the brand with the four rings gives up-and-coming international designers an insight into its future realm of activity – at the same time establishing contacts with tomorrow’s leading creative minds. The most visible products of these university projects are pioneering, fresh ideas and fascinating concept studies. And the Audi Daysailer is the latest example.