Design. The Porsche DNA - A glimpse into the secret halls of the design studio in Weissach.
Design. The Porsche DNA
A glimpse into the secret halls of the design studio in Weissach.

Design. The Porsche DNA


Porsche is shaping the future of the sports car. Surprising: Soldering irons and programming work are included – as well as 3D glasses and tablets. What’s more: Mistakes are welcome.

"The main difference between a Porsche and other brands will always be that we give the driver the choice – the choice of whether they want to be driven autonomously or drive themselves. That's why a Porsche will always have a steering wheel," says Michael Mauer, Chief Designer.

Mission E gives clues as to what this will look like. It has been set up to make sure the driver can act very directly. Where there used to be many push buttons, functionality in the future will be very simple and digitally supported. Mauer outlines how Porsche is approaching this task: "In the beginning, we discuss within the group. Ideas are collected and quick sketches are made. Then the topic is further developed in a project group. After a short time – often in less than a month – there is a result. We operate a lot according to the trial-and-error principle. Mistakes are welcome because they make it clear what doesn't work."

The 911 is the reference for all new designs.

All research begins with a consideration of history. Using the example of a 1973 911 T, designer Thorsten Klein describes those elements that still make the interior of a Porsche unmistakable today. He points to the round instruments with the rev counter in the middle. "Klein has been working in Weissach for more than ten years, but the principle of driver orientation remains the same. "The 911," he says, "is our reference for every new development."

Series of the future.

Michael Mauer is attracted by this noticeable, new uncertainty when looking into the future. Everything changes: "For creatives, this acceleration in transformation is an inspiring situation." The design team is trained to anticipate what is to come – to think their way into tomorrow. Mauer also thought ahead when putting the team together. "We have more generalists on board in order to think further," he says. Even in 2048, when the Porsche brand will be 100 years old, a hand will probably still draw a sketch at the beginning of a project "and feel if it feels right."

Ivo van Hulten has been head of interior design at Porsche for three years. The main principle guiding his interior design is distraction-free operation. The Dutchman might also proclaim that less is more – not an easy task at a time with more and more technology. "We observe very closely what people do in our cars," says van Hulten. Or what they're not doing. Some displays in the instrument cluster, for example, are rarely modified by anyone – and if they are, then only at the beginning, when the curiosity for equipment details is great and the play instinct has not been broken. The newCayenne proves that van Hulten really knows how to clean up: more options, fewer buttons. Only order creates space for new things. For example, for augmented reality. This concept may be freely translated as the "insertion of virtual elements into the driver's field of vision". Van Hulten is sure that this technology will become relevant for Porsche, even if it has not yet been sufficiently perfected. After all, every moment you look at the road and not at the display of a smartphone means more security and speed.

Solutions that increase driving pleasure.

Interior design encompasses not only how displays are conceived structurally, but also what can be seen on them. Gantimur Meißner's business card says "Head of UX/UI Design" – not a particularly self-explanatory term. UX, an abbreviation borrowed from web design, stands for ‘user experience’ – in other words, what you can experience in and with a Porsche. "A typical user experience for Porsche drivers is to improve their own driving skills on a track. Hours later, the same user in the same vehicle could be looking for a parking space in the city centre." The nine-member team from Meißner develops solutions to increase driving pleasure. The starting point is always the question: What does the everyday life of a Porsche driver look like? For days on end, they accompany both customers and non-customers. Immerse themselves in their environments, take photos and formulate descriptions. "We then work together to determine how situations that frequently occur can be ideally solved for the customer," says Meißner. "First of all, the objective is not to create a definitive design, but to find a customer-friendly solution." If an idea – usually captured in simple sketches – is so good that it needs to be tested, an interactive prototype is created for the second abbreviation, UI or user interface. Concept developers, designers, engineers, electronics experts, programmers and model builders work hand-in-hand. They are all integral parts of Michael Mauer's team in Weissach. Meißner has high expectations: "We want to be the place where technology and design flow together and merge into a perfect user experience."

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