Design & Technology / Product
Kia Ray Interior Design Story February 16th, 2010
By John Paxton
Kia Design Center America
As we were given the assignment to develop themes for a compact hybrid sedan, we wanted a sporty hybrid, something that would actually be very, very desirable – not appliance like.
Intuitively, my first thoughts were to focus on creating a cabin that was extremely lightweight, airy, and very modern. I explored lean, less conventional forms, which challenge traditional interior masses. This being a concept vehicle, I also incorporated the latest technologies, which became a driving point for the theme development.
My initial inspirational imagery for the interior consisted of wind farms, futuristic aerospace vehicles, touch panel displays and modern furniture. The modern forms, construction methods, technologies and statements made by these products set the course for a futuristic and research oriented approach to this interior.
The centerpiece of the interior is the touch panel wing display. I wanted to have all of the traditional controls condensed into one slim fluid panel. A panel which in and of itself would say ‘future’ as soon as you sat in the vehicle, an embracement of moving forward and keeping in touch with the fast progressing technologies around us.
We thought it would be interesting to be able to see through areas that are typically solid, thick forms. The same is true for the seats, mesh is applied to the majority of the seating surface, and stretched around the frame to create the form, where the bulk would typically exist it is exchanged for lightness, and transparency.
The center console, door armrest, and overhead console have a floating feel to continue the theme of lightness and airiness. All of which incorporate touch panel switches in place of traditional switchgear.
With such a slippery exterior design, I felt it appropriate to echo this aesthetic in the interior with very fluid forms, reinforcing the sportiness and athleticism of the vehicle. We wanted a continuous flow exterior to interior, so the hexagon motif that is used throughout the exterior is extended into the interior details. A warm felt floor accents the light interior palette.
We wanted a modern, yet also inviting feel, nothing cold or dark, and nothing overtly masculine. Within the felt floor are rubber inserts that again repeat the hexagonal motif.
We are very pleased with what we as a team were able to accomplish. Even on concept vehicles it takes extensive dedication, and the hard work of numerous individuals to accomplish exciting results. Many, many thanks to all who were involved, and we hope you enjoy the concept as much as we’ve enjoyed bringing it to you!