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The Art of the Possible plots a journey of exploration

During the recording of Architexture’s panel session for the Car Design Dialogues virtual trade show, Marion Jaillant, Graphic Designer and Mike Miller, Head of Design for Architexture design consultancy are asked why the session is titled, “The Art of the Possible.” The answer is right there on the wall behind them. Hung like postcards from their journey of discovery are hundreds of overlapping black texture samples. Printed with Rapid Texture Prototype technology – exclusive to Standex Engraving Mold-Tech – these samples mark the team’s progress to develop non-leather alternatives that align with the market’s progressive design movements. They call it the Wonderwall.

The panel session features four experts representing the company’s three global regions and also, each step of the Design, Verify and Produce process.  We learn from Mike that the Manta was thoughtfully designed to be a graceful surface, serving as the vehicle to test creative amorphic and parametric textures that will satisfy a more environmentally focused public. He explains that “The Art of the Possible” is an exploration of form and surface symbiosis, using the Manta as inspiration to design beautiful textures that work just as hard to hide molding flaws as traditional leather grains. Each step of the Manta project is being documented to demonstrate to customers what it’s like to experience the One Partner solution.

A successful customer experience includes a bit of magic, adds Marion. “The interesting thing to see is a project that starts with amazing ideas that will be challenged by technology and technical limitations. So, for me as the designer, the challenge is to keep this magic that we have at the beginning of the project right through until the end. When we see the final prototype, the goal is to keep the wow factor, that’s what makes a successful job.”

Then to expand on how that spark of magical inspiration becomes a 3D printed design, panel host and Car Design News editor, James McLachlan shows the first video of the Manta Project series called Design: The Art of the Possible.

The conversation then travels from the UK studio to Suzhou, China with Jack Wu, General Manager, VP of Sales Asia Pacific who provides some context of what it’s like to design textures and provide production solutions for the dynamic Chinese market, where nearly every international OEM has a location. “With intensive competition, a customized design for the vehicle’s interior is very important. China prefers a single turnkey solution like our One Partner offering. This is a more economical approach, it’s low cost with better quality. With almost all global brands in China, we can fully support the OEM worldwide.”

To keep costs low while also offering a comfortable and fashionable cabin, Jack explains that the soft trim market is growing in China because it improves the perceived quality of the vehicle.

Addressing that growing demand is our expanding soft trim capability at GS Engineering in Maumee, Ohio with Val Grinberg, Director of Operations joining the discussion. “We take the art of the possible and make it practical. The challenge we solve is speed. Our technology, our nickel shells are faster than anyone else. What that means from the OEM side is that if they want to try a new approach, a new geometry, part shape or grain, we can make that tooling within weeks instead of months.”

Getting products to market much faster than ever before is an important feature of the One Partner solution, explains Val. “We bridge that gap from design to mass production, and the ability to provide this turnkey approach is important to customers. Because we can do it so fast, we give the design studios the time they need to get their part of the work done… Soft trim gives them greater design freedom to differentiate themselves in the market, especially in Asia where so many companies are competing. We need to support all that growth.”

Next, the second video in the Manta series Verify: The confidence to be creative is shown to explain the model wrapping process. At the end of the video, Manuel Antonio, Graphic Designer summarizes his role, “We are not only the dreamers, we put our dreams into reality.”

On that inspiring note, the conversation concludes by joining all the pieces together with Mike explaining how the next step in the process is to bring the Manta to fruition in the Produce stage. The textures will be finalized, then laser engraved on a mandrel and then molded into parts at GS Engineering, all to be documented in the next video.

Those parts will demonstrate how the entire process fits together by using the Manta as an example during sales meetings, on road shows and featured at trade shows, when current travel restrictions are lifted. Physically producing a Manta answers the question, what is the Art of the Possible? We look forward to creating the ultimate souvenir from our journey of discovery. Much more to come.

Visit The Manta Project case study website.

To watch the full “Art of the Possible” panel session click here.

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