[YesAuto Design Interpretation] Just the day before accepting our interview, Peter Hobley returned to Shanghai from Sweden in a hurry. Before the jet lag was reversed, he led his core team members to sit in front of our camera. Talking about the design of Geely and Borui GE, the old man did not show a trace of fatigue. After the interview, the designer who is known as a master in the industry asked everyone: “My performance today (answer) is okay?” When the answer was “good”, he said mischievously: “It's just not bad. Is it?” Undoubtedly, the excellent performance of Geely Automobile Group's entire brand has made Peter Hobley in a very good mood and state, at least as the chief designer, he is indispensable.
Judging from the online information collected earlier, we originally thought that Peter Hobury would be more restrained and cautious in expressing his views, but we didn't expect to be able to talk so much. In addition to Peter Hobley, core members of the Geely design team and project R&D management also came to the interview site to explain the design details of Borui GE. In their eyes, if a new energy vehicle (Borui GE) simply builds up the so-called “new energy elements” on the basis of the gasoline version (Borui), it would be boring!
■ Introduction of Peter Horbury and the design team
Seven years ago, the prestigious Peter Horbury (hereinafter referred to as Horbury) officially joined Geely. At that time, no one could predict what he would bring to Geely. Now the answer is clear. First of all, he created a unique family design language for Geely. With the appearance of Borui, Boyue and other models, Geely's family facial makeup has gradually become popular. Secondly, the Geely design team has grown from a “small department” with only 17 people to an international organization with more than 600 employees.
Before joining Geely, Hobury was already a top star in the industry, with more than 20 years of professional design experience in the luxury car field. Since 1991, he has served as the design director of Volvo Cars, responsible for the studios in Sweden, Spain and California, and focused on creating new design languages and applying them to Volvo product series, including the well-known XC90 series and the award-winning Volvo safety concept car.
Hobury gave everyone an analogy. Geely is like a big family. There are several children in the family, but each child has different personalities and characteristics. Therefore, they also adopted the same concept when developing, not only to achieve the commonality of the family, but also to achieve differences. For Chinese consumers, they are very demanding on design and sensitive to the image of the face, so a recognizable front face of a car is very important.
In the early days, the entire Geely design team consisted of only 17 people, and now it has more than 600 employees spread across four major studios around the world. According to Hobury, Geely also has a small studio in Hangzhou Bay and the United Kingdom. In China, the current design director of Geely Auto China is Mr. Guy Donovan Burgoyne. He has worked in Renault, GM, Volvo and other car companies and has 24 years of experience in automotive design. After joining Geely, he participated in the design of Boyue, Borui and Borui GE models.
With the progress and development of the times, the Chinese people's requirements for the quality of domestically-made cars are gradually increasing. For Geely, at first they found foreign experts, recruited many domestic designers, as well as young designers who have just graduated. Forming such a diversified team can enhance the internationalization of Chinese local designers. Hobury believes that Geely’s secret of success is the same, combining foreign and domestic.
In the past few years in China, Horbury and his team have seen earth-shaking changes in the Chinese market and realized that if they don’t make changes, they will fall behind, so they must be one step ahead. In terms of brands, Geely, as a Chinese brand, has long realized the importance of this change. For future plans, Hobury said that Geely's design team will be bolder, and only in this way can it meet the expectations of the customer groups for such high-speed changes in consumption.
■ What is the meaning of Borui “GE” and its design philosophy
Borui GE has two versions, PHEV and MHEV, namely plug-in hybrid version and normal hybrid version. As the name suggests, these are two new energy models based on Borui. According to the impression that “traditional” new energy vehicles have given us in recent years, this model does not seem to require much effort in design, it is very easy, and it is OK to add some iconic elements as usual. But Borui GE doesn't want this, let's start with its name.
The advent of the era of electric vehicles seems unstoppable, but no one knows the specific timetable. Under this circumstance, as a “transitional” product, the hybrid model naturally has its significance and value. At least for now, it will be the mainstream choice for most consumers. And “GE” means Geely's determination to innovate and upgrade its products as new technologies and new energy emerge in endlessly.
Technology is changing with each passing day, especially the Internet-centric changes that are sweeping cities, towns, streets and even villages. On the surface, this is not directly related to design, but Hobury and his team believe that this kind of change has given the new generation of young Chinese young people an international vision and thinking, and they are more eager to enjoy technology and taste. As a new energy vehicle, Borui GE actually needs more thoughts to exceed their expectations.
■ “Design should use simple language to tell stories”
Since Borui GE is built on Borui, there is no particularly intuitive difference between the first impressions of the two. Of course, this is largely due to the Geely family-style front grille unifying the look and feel. But Hobury told us that the front face of Borui GE is a whole, and its design inspiration and details still have its own characteristics compared with Borui.
Bai Gaoyi told us that for all Geely models, including Borui GE, the three rings of the front grille can show gradual changes from different angles. This is a very important design feature of the Geely brand. Chairman Li Shufu once showed them a vase. When viewed from different angles, the whole texture of the vase is rotating. This principle inspired the design team. So they have always wanted to achieve a sense of movement in silence and apply it to all design details.
The pursuit of detailed design is fully embodied in the headlights, which are inspired by the fan and the popular spiral texture artwork that has been circulated in China for a long time. Bai Gaoyi believes that a fan can also be compared to the wings of a bird. The effect of spreading wings is a bit like the elegant feeling of a gymnast, which is a very complicated design expression. In addition, the designer hopes that when it is at rest, looking at it from different angles, or when walking around it, it can be found to be deflected, and it feels moving in the stillness.
There is another detail worth sharing. Borui GE's turn signal adopts a light guide water design. When it is lit, the three vertical light strips will flash one after another, and there is a time difference. The design team based on the “persistence of vision” phenomenon, that is, when an object is moving, the human eye can retain its image for about 0.1 to 0.4 seconds, and keep the lighting time difference of the three light strips within this value to make it look more For coherence.
In addition to the headlights, another detail on the front face of Borui GE that is significantly different from Borui is the lower grille. According to the views of Hobury and Bai Gaoyi, it is designed to pursue a sense of movement and tension, which requires the processing of lines to be rigid and flexible, with a degree of relaxation.
Compared with the front face, the design of the side of Borui GE's body is not so obvious. But this does not mean that there is nothing to talk about. The designers and engineers have interpreted for us the “mystery” of the lengthening of its body, the location of the plug, the style of the rim and other details. Li Chuanhai, the director of the Geely Brand Research Institute, also We shared some stories about the development process of Borui GE project.
For vehicle development, design is only a part of it. Without an engineer, design cannot be achieved. Hobury knew this from the beginning. Compared with the team created by Hobury and his team, Dean Li can be regarded as an experienced Geely person. He joined Geely Automobile in July 2004 and has been responsible for the development of Geely Vision, Emgrand, and Borui and other strategic models of Geely Group. Design and project management work.
The platforms of Borui GE and Borui are the same platform. The difference is that Borui GE is a hybrid vehicle and has some special arrangements in the chassis. It needs to place a battery, which will have a certain impact on the riding space. Dean Li said frankly that the team hopes that the back row floor is level, but it is impossible to achieve a complete leveling in engineering. So the team tried their best to minimize the impact. Their plan was to extend the wheelbase so that passengers sitting in the middle would have plenty of space when they put their feet on the raised floor.
Regarding the side adjustment of the body, the Geely team believes that it needs to be considered from an economic point of view. Because developing a car also has a certain cost, they want to spend more money in the most critical position. The first is the front face of the car, which is the most recognizable position for Chinese consumers. Secondly, we spend part of our energy on interior design, which is where most users experience the most. The third is the design of the tail. Borui GE has made great changes.
In recent years, many new cars will do a lot of articles on the side lines of the body. But Borui did not do this. Hobury believes that excessive use of sharp lines will destroy the beauty of the contrast between the light and the surface of the car. Then Dean Li added: “We want to be more European. From the craft itself, we think we can do it. There is no conflict between modeling and engineering. This is a question of style choice.”
In fact, Borui GE’s rims were originally designed in as many as 50 styles, and dozens of prototypes have been made. There will be two types that will be adopted. Now everyone sees this rim is the most technological one of. In addition to the style, it also has some details that are invisible to the naked eye, such as the use of lightweight materials. In addition, in order to optimize the aerodynamics better, the rim is made more refined and refined through the diamond cut surface.
The designer in charge of the external design of Borui GE told us: “Peter (Hobley) and Guy (Bai Gaoyi) have always said that we do not take cumbersome and add elements to the design, but try to subtract as much as possible, and do not do three things that can be solved by two. The four-rooted thing.” The slip-back design originally used on Borui has been recognized by the market, so the designer has not changed its overall style. Taken together, the overall concept of the tail is a word “wide”, and all elements spread horizontally.
The rear lights of Borui GE also use full LED lights, including 17 brake lights, 12 turn lights, 67 width lights, 12 reversing lights, and a total of 108 single-side rear lights. In the choice of light strip design, it uses a very creative folding design, which looks a bit like a traditional Chinese folding fan. For this reason, a lot of work has been done to study the extraction of Chinese elements and related concepts.
■ Interior design that was almost abandoned
About three years ago, when Borui GE's vehicle project was approved, the positioning of the whole team must highlight the sense of science and technology. What exactly is it like? The moment the user opens the door, he can feel more high-end and technological sense.
Horbury calls designers who have just graduated and joined the team as “white paper designers”. They are brave and think that nothing is impossible. The biggest advantage of young designers is that they are not afraid of tigers when they are born, and they have many design options. In the eyes of experienced designers, some solutions may not work, but young people think that everything is possible, so they will inspire the engineering department to make the impossible possible. This is the biggest advantage.
The biggest highlight of Borui GE's interior is the breakthrough integration of the instrument panel, central control panel, and co-driver's platform, presenting an “IMAX giant screen-like” visual effect. This design proposal was proposed by Zhang Wenli, a young designer who just joined three years ago. This design language requires breakthroughs in materials, craftsmanship, and assembly. During the interview, Dean Li frankly from the engineering perspective at the beginning, they thought that this “one-piece large-screen solution” was difficult to achieve because of related requirements such as collision safety. Finally, they studied a lot of materials, including the manufacturing process, to figure out how to attach the center control screen to the right side panel. In order to realize such an idea, let users feel it, and finally realized it.
When the Geely design team was doing user research, they found that everyone’s mobile phones and tablet computers, including home TVs, are very large. There is also a very important point among them. It cannot be simple while being big. It must be the concept of Less is More. In addition to the technological atmosphere, it also inherits Geely's previous elements. After entering, people feel that this is Geely's car.
In the functional area, the designer considers the driver as much as possible, and the exact details of the entire design are like this. From the beginning, Bai Gaoyi gave the designer a definition. When designing, it was first of all very data-based, and it had a very flat design and strong visual communication. Among them, the air-conditioning control area adopts piano key design, in order to reflect the elegance and sense of ceremony.
Compared with Borui, Borui GE's seats have been upgraded in terms of materials, fabric selection and design. The team hopes that this can significantly improve the user experience. The active design of the headrest fits the contour of the head better, allowing the comfort to reach the level of a home pillow. The materials and fabrics are closely related to the touch, allowing users to contact for a long time without leaving marks and avoiding embarrassment.
■ Peter and Guy talk about “Chinese elements” in design
Since 2002, Peter Horbury has a deeper understanding of the Chinese market and consumer preferences. He believes that local design elements can add points to the brand and enhance user pride. In this process, the designer is like a chef, who needs to keep a good sense of measure. The cooking can't add too much flavor to the food, and it becomes a state of excessive accumulation of Chinese elements. What everyone wants is an appropriate menu.
Peter Holbury and Bai Gaoyi mentioned their past work experience. When they worked for other brands, they were also non-local designers, but they also shaped the family design of a brand, and the same is true in China. At the same time, as a native, he may lack an objective and third-party perspective to view this culture. It may be a feeling of being in this mountain alone. However, looking at and extracting cultural elements from an international perspective is even more important. Objective and more acceptable practice.
Full text summary:
At the end of the interview, we asked Hobury if there were any shortcomings in the design of this Borui GE model. He replied: “I am often asked, which car is my most proud of? I will always say the next one.” There is no doubt that designers are sometimes melancholy. They always hope for something. To further enhance its beauty, there is never a time to end. For Borui GE, as a new energy vehicle based on the fuel version, it has given us enough surprises in terms of styling details and user experience improvement.