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.