The idea behind the Villa concept on the Bertone stand in Geneva is as simple as it is neglected. We see more of our car from the side than from the front. So why is it always the “face” of a car that defines a model’s character?

Its transparent doors open to expose the entire side of the car so that, as this prototype’s name suggests, you walk into the Villa as you would into a building, and this constitutes the focal point of the concept. The door-opening system is based on a series of arms that move both door sections outwards, upwards and sideways. But finding a way of allowing the doors to open both simultaneously and individually and, above all, the curvature of the glass along three dimensional planes, made construction of the model rather complex.

The architectural approach adopted for the exterior affects the design choice for fittings and technological solutions in the interior. As the Villa has no instrument panel, all necessary information and secondary controls are concentrated on the large 23″ central screen. But that’s not all, to prevent distractions the driver can see an image of the road on the screen too.

The “homely” feeling you get when entering the Villa is emphasised by the main “furnishings”, among which the slender, sculpture-like, yet very comfortable seats. And two monitors are set into the back of the seat squab on which you can watch films or work with a computer using a virtual keyboard projected onto a mobile surface positioned between the two seats. The central tunnel, which dominates the whole length of the interior, simply floats, free-standing fashion, supported on legs that reiterate the “home furnishing” feel.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 151

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