COLOGNE, Germany – Ford has opened an €11.6 million expansion of its Design Centre at Merkenich-Cologne, Germany.
The expanded centre features an open and fluid design that creates an atmosphere for effective communication and idea exchange. Ford has also installed a “powerwall” capable of projecting vehicle and concept designs in three-dimensional and virtual environments; invested in new milling machines that use computer-aided design to create precise clay models of new vehicles for aerodynamic wind tunnel testing; and redesigned the existing studios.
“Outstanding design is one of the things that sets our brand apart and excites our customers,” said Martin Smith, executive design director, Ford of Europe. “The Design Centre expansion will provide employees with a highly-motivational environment in which they are free to further develop Ford’s design philosophy."
The expanded Ford Design Centre is home to the design and development team with global responsibility for small and compact vehicles, including Fiesta and Focus. The 3,000m2 expansion brings the Centre’s total area to 16,000m2.
“This powerwall will allow us to communicate in real time with our colleague around the world – so we can exchange design ideas, show progress and comment on the work in Australia, in North America and here in Europe,” Smith said.
Erika Tsubaki, supervisor, Design Strategy and Futuring, Ford of Europe said: “The design of all of our vehicles has become increasingly important for Ford on a global basis, so we were keen to employ the same design language in the construction of the new Design Centre expansion.”
“Its distinctive and dynamic construction is reminiscent of a boat, floating out of the centre, while the fluid interior brings our different teams closer together.”
The extension’s open-plan design means there are no barriers between the teams that work at the Centre, to foster an open and inclusive atmosphere that is important to the design process.
“A design studio is not like a traditional office where people sit alongside each other in rows of desks,” said Serife Celebi, design supervisor, Colour and Material Design, Ford of Europe. “In a design studio, you need plenty of space and natural light in order to view designs and concepts from different angles and distances.
“The new wing features a glass façade and open-plan interior designed to encourage people to interact more closely to help them gain a better understanding of the design and development process.”
The new wing is the largest single expansion of the Design Centre since it was first constructed in 1968.