When he was a child, Marc Lichtehe enjoyed building small toy car. Of those you have to assemble the pieces and in the end you get a scale model. The main difference from his peers was that he did not follow the canonical instructions: he built according to his feelings, outside the box. A natural predisposition that still today, which is head of design Audi AG, guides his work every day. “I have always tended to overturn the status quo», He recounts during a conversation with Simone Marchetti, Vanity Fair European editorial Director & Vanity Fair Italia Editor in Chief, within Audi House of Progress. «It is essential to be able to look over“.
Especially now, that the automotive universe is laying the foundations for epochal changes: «The first step is that the cars become electric, battery operated. Indeed, we have already drawn many cars of this type. The future, in reality, is that », he says, pointing Audi grandsphere concept, which introduces technologies and styles destined to be taken up by future models of the Four Rings: «I have been designing cars for about 25 years, until yesterday they were all designed from outside to inside. Now we are going to witness overturning of this conception, because they will be drawn from the inside out. The human being is put at the center of the entire creative process “.
A Copernican revolution, the fruit of a technology that will characterize the vehicles of the future: autonomous driving. “When you drive today, you can’t do anything else. But if in the future it will be technology that guides you from one place to another, the car will become a space where you can work, send mail, watch a movie, relax and even sleep. When did I realize that my job was going to change dramatically? Just the first time I’ve had a chance to test the autonomous driving system, which was mounted on an A7. They told me to press two buttons and the steering wheel has disappeared: I’m honest, at first I was a little scared because I didn’t understand exactly what was happening ».
“After five minutes I realized that everything worked perfectly, from the brakes to the pace. Then I got it made comfortable because the journey lasted an hour, from Ingolstadt to Nuremberg, but I was bored: I was on an A7, in fact, and there I realized that the interior should have changed“. Imagine the cars of the 2032for Lichte, it is not so complicated: “On the other hand, we designers work today on cars that will go on the market at the end of this decade: they will certainly be more spacious, with larger armchairs and backrests that can be reclined up to 60 degrees. The retractable steering wheel e a big screen. But I don’t want to call it screen, because we’re already thinking about something that goes further“.
For the development of the interior, essential the collaboration with Poliform presented during the Milan Design Week. “They are used to creating huge environmentson the other hand I am used to with cars small spaces. But Audi and Poliform have it anyway the same approach to quality, they use the same design language, clean and timeless. If the car approaches a living or working space, we thought that Poliform, of which I’m a big fan, was the best company for one co-creation“. Where one of the keywords is undoubtedly sustainability: «Today our customers choose al 90% leather interiorthe challenge is to remove this option in the next five years ».
Lichte, who finds inspiration during his weekends on a sailing boat when she gets away from the work dynamics, she knows how important it is to go in addition to requests of users and guide them towards more informed choices. For a regeneration of the planet, of the individual and of society: in other words, a responsibility of the company in the construction of a new world. «Audi has always been the perfect symbiosis between technological innovation, you see the Quattro drive or autonomous driving, e progressive design“. Looking at the past, respecting it, is therefore the necessary premise forevolution. «Even as a boy, when I was studying, I wanted to do this. I remember well the first day of university“.
“I feel really lucky because building the future is my job, my motivation. But at the same time the dream which, still today, accompanies me ».
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Source: Vanity Fair