When it comes to car design, what’s on the inside matters. Each car company is on a similar path—to make the interior a sleek, inviting space with creature comforts and increasing bits of technology at the driver’s fingertips. Leather seats and fine woods are only the beginning of luxury. “Every detail is designed to much greater level,” said Adrian Van Hooydonk, head of BMW design. He is challenging his designers to further integrate technology in clean, attractive user interfaces. The screens on every BMW are designed to look smart, for example, with the trademarked BMW Type Light font.
Information technology will be paramount in future cars. Hooydonk said there will be screens behind the steering wheels. “In the car world, I think we can do more on those screens to contribute to the character of the vehicle,” he said. “This is one of those things we’ve already been working on quite a bit and you can expect to see a lot more from us in that respect in the near future.”
Luxury also means experimenting with new, sustainable materials. “We’re constantly looking for new materials,” says Van Hooydonk. “We are the first ones and the only ones that use bamboo in a car interior as a new type of wood, actually very sustainable, because it grows very quickly.” Even boutique manufacturer Bentley is attuned to blending classic and modern design elements.
“We worked hard to minimalize the buttons,” said Bentley Motors designer Raul Pires. “We’re trying to mix the latest technology to express our culture of coach built, handmade interiors.” The company works to innovate, but in a way that stays true to bespoke process. “We’ve learned a lot from leather and stitching on the Bentley Mulsanne on the new Bentley GT. We use foam under the leather. Everything is soft to the touch.”