Car design depends on teamwork, in sharp contrast to the social distancing the coronavirus pandemic has imposed. How does smart working change creative activity? What consequences will it have on the form of tomorrow’s cars? Auto&Design has asked these questions of carmaker design chiefs and independent style centres. The vision of Alejandro Mesonero, head of Seat design.
Since you are at home due to the coronavirus shutdown, how has your way of working changed?
We were able to continue our design activities without any major drawback. We had (as it is still the case) many video conferences in order to keep our communication flowing; the designers are able to maintain their activity with the help of their professional computers from home and it is the same case for the digital modellers. It is possible for them to communicate amongst them and share their drawings and 3D models. We hold creative discussions and reviews with 10-15 people, as we do normally in our studio.
For the physical models we have a small team on ground, equiped with all the security measures. But anyway, our design process is based in advanced digital tools since many years already.
When this period will end do you think it will have influenced the way you draw a car?
Not necessarily, to be honest. I do not see the need for it. No change needed because the COVID. We keep our Future portfolio, our design strategy, and our working process.
If the design method changes, do the results change too?
Our method has not changed. I have to say that our CAD Team is really impressive. They are at the top of their knowledge and professionalism. They work in perfect simbiosis with the designers. No change of method. Just an extra difficulty of working far from each other. But connected. Has been fun to adapt to this situation. With many anecdotes…
How are you organized at the Seat design center? How many designers are actively working from home?
It has changed all along this pandemia. At the beginning all the people that were able to work at home made it so. Others, the less, had to stop for a week or slightly more.Since some days everyone is working either at home, the majority, or on ground. We are all coming back on ground little by little, but this process will take weeks. Safety is the priority. Real safety, but i won’t bring anyone on ground if she or he does not feel comfortable or safe. I am really happy how our team has reacted and behaved during this difficult period. Just perfect. This is the only thing I can say.
I would like to point out that our trimmer, Nick, has been voluntary working on ground during all this period, every day, fabricating himself homologated protection masks for the hospitals and for SEAT personnel too. This gives you an idea of the guys that we have in the studio.
Have you brought specific tools from the studio or can you do everything with normal PCs?
With PC’s from work. From their PC’s the team has access to all our files in full confidentiality. The exchange is fully secured and very fast. We already worked like this since long time during our trips abroad or when someone was ill and had to stay at home before Covid.
How much is inspiration from the outside important for a designer? Is it sacrificed if you stay at home?
Inspiration is very important. To create in a good mood is important too. For inspiration, in this period, it is up to any individual to find the best way. Internet is there with limitless possibilities, but I personally find very inspiring our chats or our discussions during the design reviews. Creativity lives a lot from being in the right mood, I think. Of course I am missing my life around Barcelona. Walking around, feeling the energy of the people, meeting friends, eating in restaurants, visiting shops etc. But it will come back soon. One of the many lessons that the COVID will teach us is that we must to live life to the full always!