Luc Don­ck­er­wolke In­ter­view

Automobile - - Design -

WE WERE FOR­TU­NATE

to be able to talk with ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and head of Ge­n­e­sis de­sign Luc Don­ck­er­wolke about how Essen­tia was done. It started in late 2017 as a de­sign com­pe­ti­tion be­tween stu­dios in Korea, Cal­i­for­nia, and Ger­many. Don­ck­er­wolke se­lected a pro­posal from Sasha Seli­panov’s ad­vanced stu­dio in Europe and an in­te­rior from Chris Ha in the U.S., with color and trim led by Bozhena Lalova in Korea. “De­sign with­out fron­tiers,” as Don­ck­er­wolke char­ac­ter­izes it.

“The project was done in­te­grally dig­i­tally—no scale mod­els, no clay model, no hand work,” Don­ck­er­wolke says. “I do not re­ally be­lieve any more in the clay process.” Teams on three con­ti­nents in ef­fect worked 24 hours a day. “As the teams in Europe and Cal­i­for­nia were go­ing to sleep, they would send the data to Korea. We would work through their nights, and they would find a fresh data set on wak­ing up to carry on.” Don­ck­er­wolke and right-hand man SangYup Lee re­viewed data daily in Korea.

About the ab­sence of ac­ces­sories, Don­ck­er­wolke says, “It was in­ten­tional

… to achieve the pu­rity we were search­ing for. We as­sessed it with the de­tails but re­frained from us­ing them. … Door han­dles are not needed, as the doors are au­to­matic and fin­ger­prints and bio­met­ric fa­cial recog­ni­tion trig­ger the open­ing.” The im­pres­sive wheels were cre­ated us­ing the G Ma­trix phi­los­o­phy the group has been cre­at­ing, with si­mul­ta­ne­ous dig­i­tal en­gi­neer­ing and de­sign to op­ti­mize weight and strength. Each was milled from a sin­gle alu­minum block and then coated with the cor­po­rate cop­per fin­ish (95 per­cent cop­per con­tent).

The over­all aes­thetic is “a di­rect con­se­quence of an aero­dy­namic study op­ti­miz­ing the flows,” Don­ck­er­wolke says. “The crest grille sep­a­rates the flow in var­i­ous direc­tions for bat­tery cool­ing, down­force, and drag re­duc­tion, lead­ing to this lay­ered front end.

The lower one is help­ing re­duce ki­netic en­ergy and gets ex­tracted partly side­ways, while the top one is chan­neled around the full glass canopy to re­duce drag. ... We forced our­selves to highly re­spect the con­cep­tual aero­dy­namic study dur­ing the de­sign phase, and the aero­dy­namic per­for­mance was re­mark­able.”

We’re in­clined to say the aes­thetic per­for­mance is re­mark­able as well. Essen­tia is an im­pres­sive ob­ject packed with good ideas, both beau­ti­ful and prac­ti­cal.

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