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  • Cars, Art and Architecture

    Posted on October 23rd, 2014 ninarussin

    Why car design is part of a much bigger picture

    By Nina Russin

    XPEL Runner by Cosmin Mandita. Photo courtesy of Local Motors

    XPEL Runner by Cosmin Mandita. Photo courtesy of Local Motors

    Before I became an automotive journalist I went to art school and received a graduate degree in sculpture. Because of that I’ve always taken a keen interest in car design and the places where designers find inspiration.

    We live in a connected world. While the Internet facilitates such interaction, artists have looked outside the box for centuries. Car design has been influenced by painting, photography, sculpture, industrial design and architecture since the internal combustion engine was invented over 150 years ago.

    As part of our eleventh annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year program, our host and sponsor Local Motors hosted its second ALV design competition. Members of the Local Motors community were challenged to design active lifestyle vehicles incorporating athletic gear and the competition sponsor’s protective film.

    HXPEL Concept by Huynh Ngoc Lan. Photo courtesy of Local Motors

    HXPEL Concept by Huynh Ngoc Lan. Photo courtesy of Local Motors

    Seeing the winners of the design competition took me back to art school where I studied 20th century industrial design in addition to the fine arts. In a series of #eBay collections, I pay homage to the trendsetters whose works looks as timeless today as it did a century back. Walter Gropius, the architect who founded the Bauhaus, Frank Lloyd Wright, Lalique glass, Corbusier and Moholy Nagy were the muses for great car designers such as Gordon Buehrig, Larry Shinoda and Raymond Loewy.

    Today it is much easier to share images than it used to be. Thanks to computers, we can access centuries of architectural and industrial design with the click of a mouse. But what is more important is our desire to interpret what we see and to share that visual thinking with those around us. We are not just connected by our abstract thoughts but our eyes and ears as well.



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