12/24/2014

Top secret: Design studio

Construction of the Weissach test site in 1961 marked the beginning of the development centre’s success story. Our series offers a glimpse behind those doors that normally remain closed. Part Two: the design studio.

From the first vision all the way through to the finished form – Porsche sports cars are now created under one roof. The architectural layout of the new studio facilitates a maximum degree of transparency and optimal communication for the 100 or so employees of the design development team. It also promotes interdisciplinary interaction with the teams in charge of airflow test benches and concept modelling, who work together with the 'Styling' department within the same building complex.

“As all the departments here are so close to each other, our development centre is a real innovation accelerator,” explains Michael Mauer, Head of Style Porsche. The design process in the studio now runs efficiently on two levels.

Physical and digital models can be displayed in tandem

The upper level accommodates the workplaces for exterior and interior design. This is where the initial designs of new vehicles originate. The open interior design reinforces the team spirit and promotes creativity. However, the division of space also enables every member of staff to find inspiration in a quiet corner.

The lower level is the production site for the interior models on a 1:1 scale as well as the exterior models. A lift then allows these models to be conveyed directly to the adjoining wind tunnel where their aerodynamics are tested. Previously they had to be loaded onto a truck and transported there. “It was extremely difficult to camouflage a design model – no unauthorised personnel were allowed to see our work under any circumstances,” Mauer recalls.

The space concept also contains a presentation area where physical and digital models can be displayed in tandem in their original size. While the physical clay models stand on rotating platforms, the digital virtual reality models are projected in the background onto LED walls.

Support for other departments in producing prototype components

The effect of colours and materials on the interior and exterior of future vehicles can be assessed both in a lighting laboratory and outside in an open courtyard accessible via the 'Colour & Trim' studio.

Concept model construction is situated between design area and wind tunnel. This is where employees produce the first models from the design concepts. They also provide support for other Porsche development departments in producing prototype components. Also created here are concept vehicles – often as one-off models.

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