Geely paints the future of mobility

04 June 2018 | by Maxine Morland

Car designers, artists and journalists met in Paris a few days ago at an event organised by Geely, to share their visions of future mobility. On a rooftop terrace, a series of works of art were presented, all created to explore the theme of what mobility will look like in the year 2100.

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Geely’s Peter Horbury, Brandon Pan (exterior design director) and Justin Scully (interior design director) had all flown in from their studio in Shanghai to reveal their work. Alongside their creations, there was also work commissioned on the same theme from Asian and Western artists.

Peter’s work was designed to provoke consideration of which path future mobility could take. “Will we be sitting at home experiencing everything through VR, or might we go beyond where we are able to go today? [as referenced by Mars as a destination on one of his pieces]. “We are hedging our bets – we have a number of automotive companies, but we also have Terrafugia, the flying car company. For them, we are designing a more futuristic product not tied to our road system.”

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The artists Ben & Julia (Ben Gaudard & Julia Creac’h) were inspired by Terrafugia and the Lotus Esprit, and in their vision of the future, titled ‘Quantum Automobile’, the vehicle remains static and the world moves around it.

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Brandon Pan’s vision was unexpected. His collage style work drew inspiration from Chinese history: “When I got the brief I didn’t want to predict the future, I thought about tradition. During the Song dynasty in China, a lot of high-ranking politicians escaped from the stresses of their lives into nature.” There was an artistic flourishing, particularly of landscape painting at this time. “Maybe in the future people will once more try to find the harmony between people and nature.” His use of stamps on the work, one of which was his own, one of which was Geely’s stamp, further referenced traditional Chinese aesthetics.

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Justin Scully’s work appeared to be abstract, but was, as he explained, a section cut through the earth. In his vision of the future, many high-speed transport operations would be underground, leaving he surface of the earth for more classical and beautiful things, like the classic Citroen SM featured in his work. “I have done a little Citroën SM as I hope they still exist then,” he said. “The future of mobility will go beyond production design to the systems [of transport] themselves.”

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Geely’s designers are certainly thinking about what the future of mobility may look like – and the company’s recent acquisitions of a flying car company and a classic motorsport brand like Lotus, hint at an intriguing array of products that will be designed along the way. As nearly all the car designers we spoke to confirmed, doing projects that encourage creative expression and which aren’t part of the day job is refreshing.