The Tailormade Audi

The Tailormade Audi

The Tailormade Audi is the result of the work of four design students and is their interpretation of the new Audi TT Coupe. The idea behind The Tailormade Audi is that the car is put together like a suit. The design does not divulge all of the details at first sight but invites you to take a journey of discovery: A discrete yet complete package, a common theme and scintillating details.

Over the past months, Audi Denmark has worked together with four students from Denmark's Design School on a project called "The Tailormade Audi". The purpose of the project has been to provide these four young talents with a unique opportunity to customise the new Audi TT Coupe and to work together with leading designers and marketing staff from Audi, Bang & Olufsen, Georg Jensen and munthe plus simonsen.

A jury consisting of representatives from Audi and leading Danish design companies selected the four design students for "The Tailormade Audi" project in August. The four students are Linda Vasel, who is studying fashion design, and Mikkel Venge, Gustaf M. Wollin and Rune Rex Andersen, who are all studying industrial design.

The Process
From day one, the students were plunged into a turbulent stream of daily decisions and many weekly deadlines. All of the fundamental decisions were taken democratically to allow the project to progress from the big picture to the smaller details. This process was arduous but rewarding and ensured that there was a discussion before every decision. Once the course was set (and had been reset several times), there was a natural division of responsibility and allocation of the individual components of the project.

"There were many times when we thought we were finished with part of the design only to realise that we needed to redo our drawings and models yet again before they could be implemented. It wasn't that we had limited funds or that there were any creative restrictions but we were required to respond to unavoidable realities such as legal requirements, production methods and the characteristics of the materials", says Mikkel Venge.

The whole production phase has been a challenging puzzle. The components of the car have been handled by various different specialists and the success of each individual specialist has been dependent on the previous specialist meeting both specifications and agreed deadlines. From the students' point of view, working with "The Tailormade Audi" has been a dream come true. As Rune Andersen explains, "the most exciting thing for us was tackling a dream project together with Audi, Bang & Olufsen, Georg Jensen and munthe plus simonsen. These leading design companies asked us what we thought should be done with the new Audi TT Coupe and then discussed with us what they would be able to contribute with in the way of expertise, materials and production."

The Result
The result of the project is a unique specimen of the new Audi TT Coupe. The exterior paintwork is a combination of matt and high-gloss Daytona Grey, which is a special paint by Audi. The glossy surfaces emphasise the highlights of the car and the difference between the gloss and the matt surfaces denotes the contours of the car. The aim is to show the car as it was designed by Audi but also to add an element that unites the elegance of the gloss with the raw appearance of the matt surfaces.

When the new Audi TT was introduced, one of its distinctive features was a "single frame radiator grille", in line with the other models in the Audi programme. This is the signature of head designer Walter de Silva and indicates a departure from the strict geometrical design of the past and a move towards a more emotional mode of expression. When the car is registered, this "single frame grille" is cut in two by the obligatory number plate. In the case of "The Tailormade Audi", we have attempted to return to the head designer's original intention and have replaced the white, sheet-metal plate by a light diode number plate. This should be considered a vision for the number plate of the future.

The doorframe of the car acts as the lining of the suit: A contrasting pattern with motives taken from Scandinavian nature and national coats of arms. The pattern is only visible when the doors are open.

On the inside, the same motives have been applied more discretely. Bang & Olufsen contributed with their experience in the processing of aluminium. Details have been engraved into the interior using a laser and the gear stick is quite unique. The gear knob is a ball cut from aluminium with a hole drilled through the middle. The inside of the ball has been anodised in the car's contrasting colour: Signal Orange.

Embossing tools were specially manufactured for the decoration of the leather seats which were customised by a saddler.

There is an unusual detail at the back of the car. At first glance, there is nothing to be seen but, under the floor, where you would find the spare tyre in other cars, the bottom of the boot has been upholstered in thick orange leather. Space has been made for the tailormade inventory of this car: An umbrella, a picnic basket and a bottle of champagne. Of course, there is also room for tools, a warning triangle and a puncture repair kit - all upholstered in the same hand-sewn leather.

In order to emphasise the identity and inseparability of car and owner, the students have created a suit. In the same way as the car, the suit has been created as a discrete yet complete package, with a common theme and attention to detail. The powerful pattern from the doorframe is repeated in the lining of the suit. The motives of animals and flowers are a reminder of Danish and Scandinavian idiom, taking inspiration from both the old and the new. "The Tailormade Audi's" remote control is sewn into the jacket and a slim silver case has been designed by Georg Jensen for the key.

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