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 Mitja Borkert, head of Lamborghini design.

How has your way of working changed during this period of closure?

Since I first joined Lamborghini the young and highly motivated Centro Stile Team has worked in a very modern way. My team Is using all digital design technologies that are available today. I decided at some point to add physical models of different sizes in 1:1 and 1:3 but even 1:8-1:10, to increase even more our precision and perception of the projects in reality. The physical model is the heart of the Designprocess. We also use a lot the 3D printer for a fast design result. Important to me is the work with tapes on our models and on the power wall. This is one of the most fun aspects of our work adding the manual component and the “special” feeling to the design.

During this lockdown period we managed not to stop: we worked at full capacity from home, I am in Germany near Stuttgart, organizing meetings several times a day for the various weeks to comfort us on the evolution of the projects. Each designer has recreated a small style centre at home, including myself. I realized that smart working certainly works, but it’s not what I want: I really miss my team and the ideas that come from human confrontation and all the activities that physically connect us to design.

What equipment do designers use to work from home?

Everyone has been able to take everything necessary to work fully from home and remain 100% active and safe respecting the company rules. Today’s technologies are fortunately light and easy to transport for those who need them. In order to continue their activity each member of the style center accesses a common platform with their data and from there they can continue to work on their projects, the same ones they were working on before the lockdown.

Do you think this period will have an influence on the design of the cars? Or that customers will have different demands than in the past?

Lamborghini’s design DNA will certainly not change for this pandemic, it is part of a precise programme of ideas and strategy that will continue in the same direction as before. We create dream cars that people care about and maintain and preserve for the future. A Lamborghini will be built and get never thrown away. That’s sustainable. Create the things people take care and don’t throw away.

What could change is a bit the mentality of the world: we were all forced to use the digital world because the real one was subject to restrictions. For example, our children only teach online, our team also works using Skype: this could bring several changes in how we now understand life, space and society. There’s no need to travel as much as we did before. Design is a social issue and will certainly be influenced by the social world around it. It seems the car will get a new important role after that crisis. Mass mobility will have a psychological change. In the everyday life the car could become even more important because it will be seen as a safe place by the people. The recession that could follow the coronavirus could be an opportunity to accelerate the process of electrification of mass vehicles, or slow it down because it will no longer be considered a High priority. Anything can happen, I do not have a precise answer, but all this will leave a mark for sure. Let’s stay optimistic.

How important is inspiration from the outside for you?

I can count myself lucky because my inspiration for automotive design comes to me every day and at any time. I try to keep my mind active at all times even if I’m at home or can’t travel as much at the moment. Of course today trends can also be seen within the internet or social networks like Instagram. Everybody is posting some images. There’s an impressive speed today. My job is to ensure the uniqueness of our Design DNA at Lamborghini. We are iconic. We’ve got our crystal clear Design language. I always watch out that we don’t design something similar to something existing. Expect the unexpected. Create a Lamborghini but always new and different.

I often make a musical comparison. Let’s take music and bands that are out there successful since many years. Like Depeche Mode, even though they’re on the market for 40 years, they manage to renew themselves continuously without changing their DNA but inventing always something new in their sound and music. We too must do the same, renew ourselves while remaining Lamborghini.