Design & Technology / Product
Cadenza Design Story December 3rd, 2009
By Kim Chi-young, Researcher, Kia Exterior Design Team 2
By Lee Seung-young, senior researcher, Kia Interior Design Team 2
All about perfect combination of light and lines
Once work began on the landmark project of creating Kia Motors’ first large luxury sedan, our design studios in Korea, the US and Europe collaborated and competed with each other to submit ideas. To give concrete form to a luxury sedan that would provide continuous expression of Kia’s young & dynamic brand image and design statement on simplicity, designers made diverse modeling attempts and conducted extensive research into the finer details. The process of selection and rendering was lasted over and over again until a final model was approved.
The process also included asking people around the globe about desired features in a luxury sedan. Analysis of those answers and research into numerous topics like lifestyles were conducted to design a car that would meet customer desires.
Based on the research on customer preferences and brand image, the main concept for the Cadenza was established as “A dynamic and luxury sedan with refined sophistication.”
The length and height of the car body were reduced to achieve a dynamic and sporty feel. The length and height of the car body were reduced to achieve a dynamic and sporty feel. The wheelbase – among the longest in its class – provides a solid stance and a greater feeling of interior space. A deeper front windshield angle and raised beltline creates an impression of nimble speed.
The key features of the Cadenza exterior are the perfect combination of bold and subtle lines that create refined surfaces and upscale details. Kia’s distinctive front grille and muscular bumper complete the strong front mask that sets it apart from cars in the same segment. The clean-cut rear exudes pure elegance with a high-tech combination lamp, dynamic trunk lid, wide chrome molding and sporty dual mufflers integrated into the bumper.
The profile best conveys Cadenza’s singular styling. The unique C-pillar graphic, in particular the upswept end of the beltline and the character line which imparts both boldness and subtlety, harmonize to deliver a sense of dynamic speed. The voluminous wheel arches project a mysterious appeal with the reflection of lights.
The individualistic and unique graphic LED indirect-lighting position lamps and rear combination lamps convey Cadenza’s singular identity at night and highlight Kia’s progressive values.
Cadenza’s interior is a progressive and luxurious space with a harmony of refined planes and lines, and high-tech lighting. With the main interior concept set as “a space formed through light and lines via communication with the driver,” we attempted to maximize the feeling of spaciousness and openness with dynamic styling. By focusing analysis and research into the IP(Installment Panel or Crash Pad) section, we were able to complete an interior that combines both beauty and function.
The bold styling of the center fascia grabs occupants’ attention as soon as they enter the car. After dissecting 3D images of modern architecture and high-tech products from multiple angles, in addition to an extensive refining process, we created a “floating fascia.”
Lighting was a major focal point of the cabin development process. A key task was figuring out how to express the diverse light elements portrayed in the initial sketches. Ultimately, we settled on the concept of ‘harmony of chrome and light’ to develop style elements that highlight chrome finishes during the daytime and lighting during at night.
Initially, the only light options available to us were bulbs and LED lighting. Accordingly, we conducted continuous studies into futuristic and stylish lighting systems by closely collaborating with suppliers of related technologies.
The light-permeating film (waveguide sheet) used in the large mood lamp and semi-transparent plastic panel (light guide panel) represent the culmination of diverse pattern applications and result in an upscale cabin atmosphere while avoiding a bulky headliner shape. Dozens of modelings were produced for the garnish alone to develop the optimal form.
Cadenza was born through such tireless efforts of designers. It is a product of design-centered management that is aimed at reinventing Kia’s brand image. As we devoted more time and effort to the development of Cadenza compared to other models. I feel confident that it will hail in a new era of Kia luxury sedans. And lastly, I hope that it will be embraced by consumers for raising their quality of life with an enhanced driving experience.