LOS ANGELES – Today’s fashion is expressive, sculpted, three-dimensional – rife with patterns and textures that create depth and visual interest. These runway trends are very similar to the creative new interiors appearing in vehicles like the all-new Ford Fusion.
“We’re getting more expressive with the diversity of color – just like you see in fashion,” says Susan Swek, group chief designer, Color & Material Design. “Our range is expanding in all sorts of color spaces; we’re going from lights to darks, both high and subtle contrasts, thoughtfully designed, harmonious colors.”
The similarities between aesthetic worlds isn’t terribly surprising, Swek explains. “Colors and materials – in any industry – are really about stimulating the senses,” she says. “They’re about sensory design along with complementing other design elements. They’re about detail and interest and texture, and about the way things come together.”
In fashion, that might mean a lace dress with a stiff stand-up collar and a solid leather belt, all drawn together in a rich pattern. In a vehicle, it could be a soft fabric trim or a rich wood finish in an unusual grain – it could even be the surprise of an espresso seat with a white interior.
“We’re seeing more dimension, more fresh new approaches,” Swek adds.
That trend continues even in the interior sculpting of the vehicle itself, according to senior designer Sewon Chun, a member of the Fusion interior design team.
“Humans are three-dimensional people,” he says. “It’s the nature of humans to want to see three-dimensionally – to want that highlight, that shadow.”
The center stack of the Fusion, for example, is not a flat surface like customers might see in other cars.
“Our goal was to make the car more structural,” Chun says. “So you don’t have a boring square. We use different materials so certain parts will jump out, and other areas will be the second or third thing the passenger sees. With layered dimensions we add space, interest and airiness to the interior.”
The entirety of the interior is a carefully crafted design featuring several angles and lines that give the driver beautiful, intuitive touch points.
“If you’re driving a couple of hours a day, you don’t want busy or complicated,” Chun says. “You want simple – you want beautiful.”