The future of automotive surface design is happening in virtual space, aided by a new genre of hybrid object that combines function with an audacious tool for speculation.
Global automotive design faces an intriguing challenge: The evaluation of car paint – and how its character is formed by the interplay of light and car geometry – can only be fully assessed on a car body at scale, in real time. Yet the viability of providing car manufacturers around the world with freshly-painted physical car samples is next to none.
That’s where virtual simulation comes into play. In a realm free of boundaries, the fulfilment of a tangible purpose can be paired with limitless aesthetic possibilities. It’s within this hybrid space that Berlin-based studio f°am developed AUVOTs together with leading car paint manufacturer BASF’s Coatings Division: A series of car body sculptures designed for evaluating automotive surface designs within the context of a virtual interface.
Revealing a different character from all angles in the customizable environment of a real-time demonstration tool, four distinct AUVOTs – Compact, SUV, Sedan and Sport – cater both to concrete client needs and future design speculations in one shape with two prominent sides. One side resembles a traditional car model, allowing designers and clients to experience how the surface qualities of different colors change according to the viewing angle and light: how it wanders across the curves and edges of the car’s body geometry, or how the paint’s metal flakes shimmer underneath its transient glow.
The other side of each AUVOT takes on a more experimental shape; a form left unfinished. Released from the conventional automotive functions of driving and transportation, the hybrid objects acquire a different purpose: to be inspected, considered, and judged by their covers – or rather, by their colors. By transcending the boundary between tangible function and abstract speculation, AUVOTs extend an open invitation to explore the possibilities