In this period of closure due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, many automotive companies are carrying on their business thanks to smart working and there are still some opportunities to virtually meet their people, including designers. Gilles Vidal, head of Peugeot design since 2010, organized a meeting on Instagram to tell curiosities and anecdotes about some of the latest concept cars made by the French manufacturer.

“There is no doubt that this period has changed the way we work. However, it hasn’t been a radical upheaval: at Peugeot, all our projects have been digitized for many years. We have therefore simply intensified our daily meetings for which we use online platforms,” explains Vidal. “This strange phase has allowed us to understand a number of things: although the timing is objectively difficult, the design process is faster and leaner and we are even more motivated to create a good design for our products for a better future.

Going through the history of Peugeot design in recent years through some concept cars we discover a coherent formal path that has generated the style of the models that today travel on our roads. Real time machines that anticipate what is to come. “Prototypes study interior and exterior in depth. Let’s take the Exalt as an example: in addition to anticipating the lines of today’s 508, it proposed an in-depth study of the interior layout that is completely disruptive compared to the past and that today characterizes our models. From here we took the first steps towards the design of the iCockpit”, continues Vidal.

While the 2017 Instinct proposed a silhouette that heralded the 508 Statio Wagon, the 2018 e-Legend retraced the history of the brand and gave new life to the 504 Coupé designed by Pininfarina in 1969. “It was one of the most challenging and entertaining challenges. We managed to recreate a true myth of global motoring, still loved by many collectors today,” says Vidal. One of the most recurring questions asked by the more than a thousand people connected to the live broadcast is which car the French designer would like to design in the future: “The obvious answer is a coupé that is perhaps one of the easiest to design given the perfect proportions already at the start. My dream, however, is to realize something completely new, never seen before, and that has no clear and definable architecture. I would like to design a vehicle that would represent the future of mobility in a profound way”.