When we say car designing, we easily picture the outer structure of a vehicle. But actually the cabin is in which the driver stays the longest. Consumers these days see cars as their private place, and this kind of trend makes the interior more important than ever. ‘High-class’ small SUV Seltos has its own sense of interior design as well. Head researcher Kim Sanghoon and researcher Pak Tae-il gave us details.
Q. As designers, I assume you must have given much thought to the interior of Seltos to meet the needs of global consumers. How did you work on this?
Seltos is specifically released for the Millennials in the global market. We had to figure out the way to satisfy the Millennials living in different countries all over the world, therefore a totally new approach was needed.
So far we started from the sketch for the main theme, and then moved to the 3D structure. But, for Seltos we used the Collage(a piece of art made by sticking various different materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric on to a backing) technique. First we just gathered lots of images of high-tech gadgets or fun stuffs that Millennials would like, then we torn apart, rebuilt, reorganized, and reconstructed those images to make the ‘Elegant Structure’, the main theme of the interior of the Seltos.
The ‘Elegant Structure’, for example, houses a huge center garnish, which looked elegantly handcrafted and big enough to be suitable for the SUV.
Q. ‘Collage’ sounds a bit tricky to ordinary people. Could you tell us further?
The development sketches would help you understand that. At first we drew many simple yet dynamic sculptures that the Millennials would love. And among them we picked bold images, then cut them into pieces to create the main theme of our design. After cooperating with the engineers, we got the final design.
Q. Did you use the same technique when you designed other car interiors?
Not exactly. We had to make Seltos to survive in Indian, Chinese, and Korean markets, and it required a different designing paradigm and more creative designing processes. Of course, using the Collage technique was not an easy choice, but we had loads of fun with it.
Q The cabin looks neat and organized, compared to bold exterior. What is the key aspect of the interior?
The center garnish connecting the two air vents makes the main theme of the cabin. While the center garnish represents the power that Seltos possesses, the rest of the elements symbolize delicacy of the vehicle such as seamlessly integrated buttons.
Q. Consumers these days have higher expectations. As Seltos being ‘High-class small SUV’, do you think the consumers would be satisfied with the cabin?
Traditionally, being ‘high quality’ only referred to the material itself, but things have changed. Young consumers now take its processing into their account as well. There needs were reflected in bezel-less smartphones, for example.
The number of materials that can be used for car interiors are quite limited because of safety regulations or durability issue, but a single type of material can shift its looks depending on how it is processed.
We put two features when we designed the interior. One features the state of the art 10.25 inch touchscreen system while the other features a smaller touchscreen with buttons and knobs on the side. The special part here is that the unit is seamlessly integrated with the driver info console on the dashboard. Buttons are also put together without useless gaps, and processed delicately.
Q. Retaining balance between ergonomics and aesthetic impression sounds like a hard job. How did it go?
The hardest part was modifying a full-size clay model with bare hands. However beautiful it may look through image rendering, sometimes it is just impossible to make it ever hit the road. We had to find the right design that are both ideal and practical by actually sitting on a clay seat, just as we all try sitting on the chair before we buy it.
We have been through this process over and over again, until we can be sure if a screen is placed at a right angle, if the design is not hindering the utility, or a driver gets surrounded by interior elements properly.
Q. Class-leading tech is applied in Seltos. Did it hinder the interior designing?
The conflict between design and technology is every designer’s problem, and car designing is not an exception. For example, bigger display or Head-up Display (HUD) could affect the whole design of dashboard.
Apparently, if you want to add something up, you have got to remove something in return, because you cannot put everything together and make it look cool at the same time. We had to keep compromising when we design Seltos as well.
Q. As a designer, what do you think is the killer aspect of Seltos?
I would certainly pick the stereo system with pulsating multicolor LED mood lights on the fractal-design door speakers. (Fractal is a curve or geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole.)
This was one of the key features from the very beginning of the design. It includes a unique 3D-patterned surface on the door panels, emitting soft light from them. For those who are interested in Seltos, I am sure this will be a killer aspect.
Making a compact SUV look more spacious has everything to do with designing. One example is the wraparound center garnish stretching to the side air vents. Another is that door handles are smoothly integrated to the door trim. Many elements are chromed for unity and harmony.
Apart from all these, every edge and every line were delicately put to make spacious interior. Manual labor was necessary in the process. Not only the drivers but also the whole passengers will be able to have unprecedented experience.
The interior of the Seltos has been created for the Millennials who value their own personal spaces and high-tech sentiment. The cabin integrates new stylings and elements with artistic sensibility in a delicate manner.