“Conceptual design requires freedom,” is how Wolfgang Egger, Head of Design for the Audi Group, defines the mission of the external creative studio in Munich. Konzept Design Munich is Audi Design’s think tank; here, creative minds from a variety of fields work together to share imaginative future concepts for the brand design. Their work comprises the Transportation Design and Product Design areas of expertise. Designers also develop unique, non-automotive products – such as the Tachoscope, Audi’s centennial anniversary watch.
Audi Design’s Munich site already has a certain tradition, dating back 25 years ago when the studio first opened in the Schwabing district. Right from the start, Munich proved itself to be a place where the designers could think far ahead, refining new vehicle concepts and infusing the Audi brand with fresh, new ideas. Spectacular, pioneering projects originated in this manner in the 1990s, such as the Avus quattro – a super sports car concept vehicle, the first Audi A2 show cars or the concept for the “Steppenwolf” compact SUV.
The Munich studio is a site in quest of new inspiration, where ideas flow freely. Discussions with creative minds from other fields, or with students from a worldwide network of universities who are involved in projects, provide new food for thought. In addition, Konzept Design Munich is closely intermeshed with Audi design studios in Ingolstadt and Santa Monica, as well as with the designers of SEAT in Martorell (near Barcelona) or Lamborghini’s Centro Stile in Sant’Agata, Italy.
The Transportation Design area of expertise is considered to be the conceptual pre-design incubator for efforts that are later integrated in series production models in Ingolstadt. Here, the status quo is constantly challenged, technological innovations are incorporated and applied in new ways. Wolfgang Egger explains his colleagues mission in Munich thus: “Here, we must continually push the envelope and innovate.” Working as a team, they originate exterior and interior designs – right up to models on a 1:1 scale.
Parallel to Transportation Design, the Product Design department conceives utilitarian items and particularly sophisticated objects – from a line of handbags to writing implements, from bicycles to watches. These products are not only designed for Audi but for external clients as well. Their branding must be compatible with that of Audi, of course. Sophisticatedly detailed concepts, which cleverly recombine style and substance, are required. The goal is to enable Audi’s design expertise to shine in new directions.
Wolfgang Egger describes their task as being very focused: “These products must embody the state-of-the-art. Not only do they have to have the best design in their area, they must also exemplify absolute top quality.” This was perfectly accomplished with the Tachoscope, the new Audi centennial anniversary watch – with typical Audi consistency. Ultimately, it was not just about designing the outer casing; a new font, scrupulously modeled on the Auto Union sports cars of the 1930s, was also developed for the dial.