Unveiled at 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda’s Vision Coupe concept expresses a minimalist Japanese aesthetic. The Mazda Vision Coupe is a next-generation design vision model which showcases the “new elegance” that Mazda has developed, drawing upon its long history of design. The automaker is understood to have been considering a new grand tourer sports car since the unveiling of its RX vision concept back in 2015.
In creating the form of the body, the focus has been on stripping away everything that is unnecessary. The sense of rhythm and movement displayed by Mazda cars in recent years has been transformed into a simple three-dimensional shape that aims to embody a “less is more” aesthetic.
From the Mazda badge on the front to the badge on the back, a single powerful axis runs right through the car, evoking the look and feel of supple steel, with all the car’s movements centering on this central vector. The result is a form that is extraordinarily simple yet full of a sense of latent speed: the “one motion form” that is the outstanding feature of this model. Having created a four-door coupe as our basic framework, we have invested tremendous time and care on the bodywork, especially the play of light across its surface.
Infusing life into the body of the car: this is the core concept of KODO design. But expressing this sense of vitality can be achieved in a number of different ways. Bringing out the beauty of natural phenomena through exquisite, ever-changing patterns of light is an aesthetic that is unique to the art of Japan. A living drama is created from the dance of light and shadow as they change from moment to moment, and the Japanese are particularly attuned to these delicate transformations. This interplay of light and shade, together with the notion of “the beauty of empty space,” has been incorporated into the side view of this model.
The reflection of light over the surface flows linearly with the movement of the car, creating a vehicle that seems truly alive. The predominant highlight on the body shoulder is strong and sharply-styled, emphasizing a powerful physique, while softer, more elegant light patterns shimmer across the empty spaces extending over the vehicle; the combination of these two different light effects brings the Mazda Vision Coupe truly to life.
The light that dances across this beautiful form, brought to perfection over the course of two years by craftsmen working by hand, takes this bodywork to the level of art.
Mazda aimed to create an interior that allows occupants to feel safely ensconced in the cabin without any sense of confinement, creating a sense of oneness between the car and those who travel in it. In configuring this interior, the design team applied the concept of ma (literally “space”), a distinguishing feature of traditional Japanese architecture, to create an interior that maintains a feeling of connection with the outside world.
The impression is of a space that reaches ahead as the car navigates the road. The interior of the Mazda Vision Coupe, just like its exterior, has a satisfyingly deep and three-dimensional feel; its lines run smoothly from front to back, exuding a sense of speed.
Structural forms such as the center console, door trim and instrument panel intersect with one another without touching, creating a sense of ma inside the car. The spaces that are created encourage the flow of air throughout the car, and the three-dimensional framework makes occupants feel safely ensconced without any sense of confinement.
In recent times, car interiors have come to be dominated by large displays. Although considerable amounts of information need to be supplied to the person operating the car, these screens can easily become a barrier that blocks the driver’s view. This model features a see-through screen developed by Mazda; it functions as a display only at those times when it is required, creating an interior space with perfect visibility for the driver’s needs.
In the Mazda Vision Coupe, the cockpit layout is symmetrical, with the steering center in the middle and everything else to the left and right, meaning that the driver can sense the central axis of the car at all times. Drivers can bring up information with a quick touch of the center console, like a jockey stroking the neck of his or her horse. This and other controls seek to create a unique human-machine interface that intuitively connects car and driver.
all images courtesy of Mazda