MILAN, Italy – Ford Motor Company will become the first auto manufacturer to participate in the world’s leading furniture design show – Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan.
Ford will show a special design collection – including a bespoke chair, lamp and watch – infused with the company’s unique design DNA and influenced by furniture and fashion trends. The Ford Design Futuring Team, led by Erika Tsubaki, has collaborated with the company’s leading designers from around the world to create designs, which will be on display at the Ford Design Lounge at the show.
“The trends we see in furniture and fashion have a strong influence on how Ford’s vehicles will look and feel in years to come,” said Ford of Europe Design Director Martin Smith. “For many customers, the number one consideration in choosing their next car is outstanding and compelling design. We know from research that this is true of our new Kuga SUV.”
New colours Burnished Glow and Tectonic Silver, introduced last year, reflect a trend towards subtle luxury, a feeling embodied by premium Italian fashion brands. High series Titanium versions of the new B-MAX feature sophisticated fabrics inspired by classic Savile Row tailoring. The inspirations for trim and colour palettes are drawn from such diverse sources as furnishings, make-up and jewellery.
“I look at trends in furniture design to find inspiration for my automotive design work,” said Dennis Sartorello, design supervisor, Ford of Europe. “It’s quite a role reversal to actually be creating a piece of furniture for Salone del Mobile inspired by Ford vehicles.”
The Ford design DNA is also influenced by technological developments and trends online and in social media. The all-new Ford EcoSport will be among the first Ford vehicles in Europe to offer SYNC AppLink that will enable customers to control smartphone apps from the driver’s seat as part of the Ford SYNC voice-activated in-car connectivity system.
“Social media already influences what happens inside our cars; the next step is to look at how our customers might express their feelings and emotions though the exteriors of their cars,” said Eugen Enns, exterior designer, Ford of Europe.
In terms of technology and design working together, the development of LED lighting has already had a significant impact, enabling Ford to reduce vehicle headlamp-sizes and create slimmer designs. “The introduction of LED technology has made a huge difference and made an ideal subject for Ford to present at Salone del Mobile,” Smith said.
The Ford-designed lamp at Salone del Mobile uses exterior and ambient interior LED lights and features the same finish as many Ford interior trim pieces. Ford’s signature trapezoidal grille inspired the shape of the lamp and also of a sleek chair, both of which feature premium Bridge of Weir leather upholstery offered on high-end Ford models. The Ford Design watch represents a distinctive and premium watch design derived from the gauges in the Ford instrument cluster.
“The Ford Design team has for years attended events such as Salone del Mobile as creative observers, and now we are showing products designed by automotive designers,” said Tsubaki. “Many companies have access to technology, but it is design and innovation that elevates one product above another.”
The Ford Lounge will host a “Democratisation of Design and Technology” panel debate attended by Smith and Ford Global Trend and Futuring Manager Sheryl Connelly.