December 9, 2008

2008 - Seat W - winner of the 4th Seat / Automagazine Design Contest

4th Seat / Automagazine Design Contest - winner
Theme: Design a Seat for the modern woman


The new Seat W (as in Woman) was completely designed for the modern woman.

Small on the outside, but large on the inside, it copes with the needs of urban life, Wether facing a simple situation or a complex one, the Seat W eases the woman's routines, strenghtening the pleasure of driving and using the car.
The Seat W integrates several simple, yet useful, solutions, that make it user-friendly in a woman's everyday life, such as storage spaces inside; partial opening of the trunk; side doors opening from the center give good access to the interior and its seats (design inspired by Verner Panton's "Panton Chair"); the glazed surface "from top to bottom" making it easier to watch everything around.
There is easy access to the refrigerator liquid, motor oil and windshield liquid without the need to open the hood and an actual drawer that carries the spare tyre, for those situations that may be less frequent and considered as less attractive from the feminine point of view. 
The woman's independence is strengthened by making everything easy and simple.

All this, together with a sofisticated design, make the Seat W the perfect car for every woman.

Seat W. Simple. Friendly. Feminine.

Visit Automagazine's Flickr area and also their blog to know more about the contest.

"Behind the wheel"


The design of the Seat W was initially divided in two components: the aestethics and functionality - Form and Function. These merged and influenced eachother eventually in the process, so that at some points Form followed Function and at other points, otherwise.

The theme, in itself, was a challenge from the start, because there is always a tendency to draw cars that may be tipically labelled as aggressive, that are designed in the light of our wishes and not taking a whole new group into account.

But behind the façade of the challenge of designing a car for the modern woman, was a hidden threat - the new Seat Ibiza, with its strong concept and image was, at the same time, a friend and a foe in the process of design. On one hand, it cast shining light on the path to a whole new revigorated Seat; on the other hand, that same shining light could blind the creative mind and become a "conceptual prison".

At this point it became evident that it was crucial to "synthesize" the new Seat Ibiza and pick its main design lines (in short, use only its DNA), instead of trying to adapt its design to this challenge.

One of the factors that provides pleasure while driving is the feeling that "at that moment" we and the car are one. I believe that this search is the same in both men and women, only it travels a different road in either gender. The design of the Seat W was developed around this notion.

The first concept that gave shape to the Seat W was "Accessory": a car that would not be "just a car", but rather someting that a woman could "wear". Something that she could actually "use", capable of keeping up with her state of mind.


In spite of the danger of being compared to the MCC Smart, the feature of interchangeable panels was integrated in the design. However, only the frame of the door and minor panels in the bumpers would be changeable in the case of the Seat W. It was a more appropriate descision (as opposed to make 90% of the body interchangeable), because a) it strengthened the idea of "accessory"; and b) it would be a "pack" that would lend itself more easily to be purchased more than once and be changed whenever desired.

Simultaneously, there was always the intention of building an image that would be instantly recognized as friendly and dynamic. After analysing several models of different Makes it was noticed that there are certain details that help build this image: a small front grille or even non-existent; less stretched headlights; less aggressive wheels; indicators placed more to the centre of the body. The goal was always to achieve a compact shape, that would suggest stability, coherence and safety without losing the feeling of movement - dynamics above aggressiveness.


It was evident that a car designed for women could not just be about girlish aestethics. The Seat W had to integrate a set of features in order to become specific for the modern woman.
It was asked to several women what they would like the most in a car, or what they felt it was missing in most cars today.
Features like the spare tyre drawer, the opening door system and the glazed surface on the top and doors inflenced the design of the Seat W in its essence.


The seats of the Seat W were inspired by Verner Panton's "Panton Chair", for its feminine look. Its interpretation is made in the light of more aggressive edges that can be found on the Seat W.

The design of the wheels also played an important role in the whole process. The idea of "flower" influenced its shape: an alloy wheel (the petals) with its cutouts covered with plastic with the same finishing, to make the wheel seem less aggressive and more feminine.

The w logo was defined by the design of the wheels. Although it has almost the same shape, the logo resembles a flower more closely.
The shape of the "w" suggests lightness, freedom and independence - exactly the same things that a woman is to experience when driving a Seat W.

November 18, 2008

2008 - Peugeot Metropole

5th Peugeot Design Contest
Theme: "Design a Peugeot for the megalopolis of the future"

The megalopolis of tomorrow...

When one thinks of the future metropolis, the first picture that comes to one's mind is the stressed, energic urban life - tight schedules, dense traffic, high rise buildings. But the future city experience is not just about this non-stopping frenzy. It is also about escape, leisure and family.

The Concept

The new Peugeot Metropole is designed for the hard working familiy that likes to let go of the stress when they have a chance. Weekends, for example, are a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with the kids - go for a walk or have a pic-nic in the outskirts.

The MPV bodystyle provides the medium/large family the space, flexibility and sustainability it needs.

The Car

The Metropole has approximately 80% glazed surface, making it possible to have full visibility and road experience. The roof glass uses liquid crystal opacification and can be adjusted with the touch of a button, if less luminosity is desired.

Two large sliding doors open in opposite directions, letting the outside completely in, enhancing the experience of the MPV, not only while it is in motion, but also when stopped.

The maximum number of seats is 7, but the flexibility of the Metropole allows several seat configurations - for example, 4 seats facing eachother with a small table in the middle, or create more cargo space by folding away the second and third rows of seats.

Traffic in the city can be very stressing sometimes, so the Metropole has two storage spaces in the back, accessible from the outside, designed to carry one Segway "Human Transporter" each - you can leave your Metropole in a parking building and move around the city in your "Human Transporter".

The Metropole is equipped with "drive-by-wire" technology, which allows the steering wheel to be assigned either to the left or the right seat in the front row. This can be done by unlocking the position of the steering wheel head, which is attached to the central command unit through an articulated arm that becomes flexible when the "unlock" button is pressed. The head can then be positioned in front of the other seat and locked again. This is particularly useful to exchange drivers without having to get out of the vehicle or jump from one seat to another.


The Peugeot Metropole is designed with several integrated systems that make it environmentally friendly:

The whole interior rests on a flat platform that stretches from one end to another. Beneath it a Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered engine can be found. With no internal combustion engines, the Metropole is a CO2 emission-free vehicle.

The glass roof has an integrated Photovoltaic Solar Panel. The energy obtained through this panel can be used to operate electronic equipment as well as a supplement for the engine.
The PV panel also works as a solar shade, even when the opacity of the roof glass is set to "off", because of its translucid result.

The whole interior surface contributes to the optimization of thermal comfort inside the car through the use of micro-encapsulated Phase Change Materials (PCM's).
Water, for instance, freezes at 0ºC, releasing energy (i.e. heat) in the process. The reverse happens when it melts again - it absorbs energy in order to change its state. PCM's also have freezing/melting points, but located around 24ºC and 30ºC, depending on its specifications. As the interior temperature of the Metropole drops below the freezng point of the PCM, it releases heat to stabilize the temperature. The PCM absorbs the energy again if the interior temperature rises above its melting point, avoiding too high, and uncomfortable, temperatures.
The use of this nano-technology partially substitutes other climatization systems, such as air-conditioning, thus saving energy for engine performance and mileage.

(more about PCM's na Wikipedia )

All this advanced sustainable technology, working together with efficient and friendly design, make the Peugeot Metropole the perfect choice for the future urban family.

2007 - Peugeot Grasshopper

4th Peugeot Design Contest
Theme: "P.L.E.A.S.E innovate:
Pleasurable (to drive)

"Re-invent the ‘Drive of Your Life’, Peugeot style and drive it the XBOX 360 VIRTUAL world!"

The Peugeot Grasshopper is an all-road sports two-seater with electric engines, one located on each wheel.

The main feature of the Grasshopper is its 'back legs':
The standard mode (the vehicle's original shape) can be used for high speed and normal parking.
The legs can also make the rear wheels reatract, forcing the whole vehicle into an 'up-right' position, particularly useful for efficient parking and slow speed.
For turning, the front section of the vehicle tilts left and right, making it possible to turn.

In an XBOX game contest, the back-legs can make the car 'leap' or 'crouch'.

2006 - Seat Hyperspace

2nd Seat/Automagazine Design Contest
Theme: "Lifestyle"

Hyperspace (noun) : dimension where conventional spatio-temporal relations do not apply.

The new Seat Hyperspace opens the doors to a new dimension in automotive design.

In nowadays, our attitude in life can vary rather frequently, making it hard for a car to meet demands that are constantly changing, according to the situation we face.

The Hyperspace has a powerful hybrid fuel/electric engine, and is shaped with agressive and flowing lines, to meet the need for power and speed. However, it can lock both rear and front doors to become a single door which can be opened upwards and rearrange the seats, transforming the interior in a kind of deck, for leisure and family.
The completely glazed roof maximizes the interior and can be opened, if a convertible is desired.

Hyperspace is all about opening to serveral dimensions, regardless of the present time and space.
The doors of the Hyperspace normally open from the center...
... but can also open upwards, creating a kind of "deck cover"

the glazed roof can retract completely in the back, turning the Hyperspace into a leisure-oriented car.

2006 - The Far Star

"It was not the size that was impressive - for it was rather small. It was designed for maneuverability and speed, for totally gravitic engines, and most of all for advanced computerization. It didn't need size-size would have defeated its purpose. It was a one-man device that could replace, with advantage, the older ships that required a crew of a dozen or more. With a second or even a third person to establish shifts of duty, one such ship could fight off a flotilla of much larger non-Foundation ships. In addition, it could outspeed and escape from any other ship in existence. There was a sleekness about it - not a wasted line, not a superfluous curve inside or out. Every cubic meter of volume was used to its maximum, so as to leave a paradoxical aura of spaciousness within. Nothing the Mayor might have said about the importance of his mission could have impressed Trevize more than the ship with which he was asked to perform it."
in Foundation's Edge, Isaac Asimov

Theme: Science Fiction

Inspired by Isaac Asimov's spaceship, piloted by Golan Trevize in a mission for to find planet Earth, lost in a galaxy full of inhabited planets for thousands of years, the design of the Far Star - named after the Foundation's ground-breaking spaceship - is the result os a search for less orthodox shapes, precisely because of the context of this Design exercise with a theme in the realm of Science Fiction.
Angular lines define the shape of a body divided in two main materials - plastic in the lower section and metal in the upper section, making the Far Star lookagressive and elegant at the same time.

The drivetrain is also unconventional - three wheels with rear wheel drive - and is a conceptual basis for the whole body as well. Consequently, the Far Star has a long and narrow front and a powerful rear, balanced by the two front wheel volumes.

2005 - Seat Muxía 4WD

1st Seat/Automagazine Design Contest - 3rd Prize
Theme: "auto-emoción"


Located in northern Spain, in the region of Galicia, the city of Muxía has an environment that can be best described as rough. The landscape, dominated by the rock formation, called “Costa da Morte” (the “Coast of Death”), exhales an inhospitable and yet majestic ambiance, hence its nickname “The Wind’s Girlfriend”.

The Seat Muxía 4WD is autochthonous creature, moulded by the harshness of its own environment. The raw and coarse way with which it moves, balanced by lightness and ease, makes it an animal perfectly adapted to its habitat.

To meet its attitude, the new Seat Muxía 4WD has been drawn with strong and simple lines, yet melted into fluent form.

The windshield stretches from the middle to the nose of the vehicle, allowing its two occupants to have a panoramic and intimate view of the road ahead.

Access to the inside is made rotating the whole front section of the body.
The engine is located in the back and delivers power to an all-wheel drivetrain.

Award Ceremony

The Award Ceremony took place at a dinner party during the Moda Lisboa, in which we had a chance to chat with Luc Donckerwolke, then a recent adition to Seat, leaving behind Lamborghini and his beautiful creation, the Gallardo.

In the first photo - Marcelo Aguiar, Ricardo Figueiroa (the winner) e Nelson Simões (2nd prize), who won the next Seat/Automagazine contest.

2nd photo, me receving the award from Luc Donckerwolke. A great moment.
(photos taken from Automagazine, n.º 163 Dez. 2005)

November 17, 2008

2004 - Peugeot Lynx

2nd Peugeot Design Contest
Theme: design the Peugeot of your dreams

Also known as the Desert Lynx, the Caracal is a powerful medium-sized cat with long legs that weighs up to 70 kg, stands about 50 cetimeters at the shoulder and has an overall body length of about 1,3 meters.
It is able to take down and kill prey species over twice its body weight.
Normally active in the late day, and throughout the night, the caracal hunts rodents, birds, reptiles and other small mammals which make up most to the diet.

It runs like a cheetah, and can leap 2 meters into the air to knock down birds.

The design of the new Peugeot Lynx is inspired by the image of the Caracal, which is visible at first through the shape of the headlights - its eyes have a narrow black line that runs from the corner of the eye to the nose; as well as the rear-view camera holder that stretch along the high density glass roof - the Caracal's long and narrow ears tipped with long black tufts of black hair.
Furthermore, the strong-bodied attitude of the Peugeot Lynx and its curved body sides resemble a Caracal dashing off at high speed to hunt the prey.

The Peugeot Lynx has an agressive two-tone body paint in black and white that brings the visual weight of the design closer to the ground yet unites the design of the car and fragments it at the same time, making the whole seem lighter and more elegant.

The new Peugeot Lynx is a four-seater compact single-volume vehicle with an overall lenght of 4,45 meters and a wheelbase of 2,60 meters. Its height is 1,80 meters and it has a maximum height of 2,75 meters with doors open.

There are no conventional rear-view mirrors. Instead, the Lynx is equipped with three high-resolution cameras: two are located in each camera holder on each side of the car, on the glass roof; and one in the back, concealed behind a small strip of dark glass, above the word "Peugeot". The three images are then combined and displayed in the upper dashboard screen as a single panoramic image. The third stop light is placed in the recess of the hood, between the rear lights, emphasizing the difference between the two tones of the body.

Connected to an automatic sequential gearbox operated from the steering wheel, a hybrid gas/electric engine is located in the back of the car, delivering clean power to its rear wheels. There is, nevertheless, boot volume above the engine and also in the front.

A single long door on each side gives access to both front and back seats, which opens first by sliding away perpendicularly from the car and then rotating upward around a pivot just above the front wheel. The lower glass section of the doors increase cockpit visibility and lightness, while stressing the agressiveness of the body design.

The interior is dark-grey plastic mixed with beige leather. The central touch sensitive LCD screen provides information concerning the Global Position of the vehicle, constant electronic monitoring of vital components, fuel and battery levels and recharging, air temperature and air conditioning functions, ambient sound, among other useful reports and options.

The Lynx Logo can be found on several spots, such as seat backs, and also in the exterior, near the front wheels.

The Peugeot of my dreams for the near future has ground-breaking design and technology, with a matching feline and agressive look.