Leonhard Kurz has won an award at the Automotive Brand Contest 2020 for an automotive front panel concept. Kurz received the design prize in the Future, Mobility and Parts category. The company had already won a prize in the same category in 2018 with its decorative trim concept. This time the jury was impressed by an exterior front panel that was designed for electric cars and points the way to the future of automotive front-end design.
Striking brand identity without radiator grille
The concept panel called Iconic Space Grille comprises a solid surface without radiator grille. The Iconic Space Grille design is nevertheless reminiscent of a traditional radiator grille. The radiator grille look is achieved by means of a surface design with superimposed visual structures. The underlying design with areas of different shades of gray is interrupted by refractive prisms. In addition to this, optical fibers in alternating colors imitate the typical grid structure. As the viewing angle changes, the front panel design alters considerably in color, light play, and depth effects. It captivates the viewer and fulfills its brand-distinguishing role as a radiator grille in an unexpected manner. At the same time, the solid, smooth surface with internal structures is non-endangering and aerodynamic.
Communication with the surroundings
With partial backlighting, the holographic-like design of the fiber optic elements can become a means of communication with other road users or passers-by. Light signals of different colors indicate that the vehicle is braking, indicating or charging. An emotional communication with the outside world is also possible. Musical pulses from the interior can be visually conveyed by rhythmically creating or amplifying colored backlighting effects on the front panel.
New IMD PUR decoration process
This sophisticated surface design can be realized using the recently developed IMD PUR process from Kurz, which combines IMD (In-Mold Decoration) with PUR (Polyurethane) flooding. The surface structures, refractive effects, and partial backlighting are produced using IMD technology. The PUR flooding, which is performed in the same manufacturing step, delivers an additional 3D and glass look, provides a high level of durability, and also gives the surface self-healing properties when subjected to stone impacts or scratches.
Kurz utilizes this new IMD PUR process to combine a brand-shaping design with comprehensive exterior functionality.
About the competition
The Automotive Brand Contest is the only international design competition for automobile brands and has quickly emerged as an important event in the sector. With the competition the German Design Council honors outstanding product and communication design and draws attention to the fundamental importance of brand and brand design in the automotive industry. In this context the focus is on the integral and consistent use of the brand across all media and products. The Automotive Brand Contest offers companies in the automotive industry and their partners in the supply industry, in design and in brand communication, a platform that reaches a wide audience and allows them to compare and position themselves internationally on the basis of their achievements.