How Sean Wotherspoon designed a Porsche Taycan art car
Sneaker design meets electric sportscar
Man in multicoloured jacket sits in front of multicoloured Porsche
The designer on how he translated his instantly recognisable footwear design to a fully electric Porsche to create a multicoloured masterpiece – his Taycan 4 Cross Turismo art car
There’s a colourful new addition to the famed ranks of Porsche art cars. American designer Sean Wotherspoon, known for his vividly coloured streetwear and use of unusual materials, has joined forces with Porsche to design a one-off Taycan 4 Cross Turismo with an attention-grabbing colour block style. After revealing the exterior at the South by Southwest® festival in Austin, Texas, the doors to the interior were finally opened – hosted by the man himself from a top-secret location in the Porsche Development Centre Weissach – during which he answered questions on the project from fans all over the world. 
Multicoloured Taycan Cross Turismo with driver’s door open
Colouring outside the lines brought the Taycan Cross Turismo art car to life
What inspired you to create a Porsche art car in the first place? My whole life journey was ultimately the inspiration for this Porsche art car. I’ve been into cars almost my entire life – I’d just never had the opportunity to envision one through my own lens. It was the chance itself that inspired me. So, when Porsche came to me with the proposition to work together to develop the Taycan Cross Turismo, it just felt right.  What’s the design concept behind the car? It was essentially the same concept that goes into all my projects: colour. I wanted to use as much colour as possible to see how Porsche and I could make this bold idea work while breaking down barriers in the process; to see how many noes we could turn into yesses!  and the concept behind this Porsche was to offer something that inspires. I hope people see this and it ignites some crazy ideas.  
Interior view of cockpit of multicoloured Taycan Cross Turismo
Sean named the four colours used in the car after family members
Why did you choose these specific colours?  Since colour is such a huge theme in my work, I wanted to introduce the  people have seen me use many times, but with different tones. First, we decided which colours to use and then defined shades of each one. After I decided which four I loved the most, we tried to select versions of these colours that people might have never seen before. When you look at the final car, I think we achieved that, as they are slightly off what you would typically see. We wanted to use recognisable colours, but from a fun perspective. I also named the colours themselves after my family – Nash Blue, Sean Peach, Loretta Purple and Ashley Green – which makes them extra special. All of them are completely original, and they will be available in the future through Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur’s Paint To Sample service. What materials are used inside the car? Around 30% of the interior is corduroy. You’ll also see a lot of cork and faux leather represented. One of my favourite things is that the carpet is made from recycled fishing nets. Not only did we change the traditional colour (which is rarely anything other than black or grey) by making it all green, the repurposing of the fishing nets was a big deal, because the materials we used and how we used them meant so much to me. We kept some things purposely original. There still needed to be this Porsche heritage to ensure the car made sense. We wanted to keep a lot of the black around the windows and locks, with the Bose speaker and inside the centre console. If we did certain things in green, for example, it would have been too much. The black starting from the infotainment system forms a continuous road down the centre of the car, right up the back. I've been calling the cork elements around the windows ‘trees’. You really feel like you're sitting in nature when you’re inside this car. You have the green rug, which represents grass, then you look up and see the Atacama Beige corduroy roof lining. You also have the cork dashboard and steering wheel, which feels very earthy. I love being in the car and having this sense of the natural environment around me. I've never had that experience in a car before, so it feels really good to know that we achieved this. 
Side view of multicoloured Taycan Cross Turismo against wooden building
Showing his true colours: Sean’s final design for the Taycan is highly personal
How easy was it to scale up your designs to something as large as a car?  It was cool realising my design technique on a much larger scale, because car design has many similarities to sneaker design. I tried to envision how I would design a sneaker that’s as big as a car. The silhouette is very similar to that of a car, and all the different shapes that make up the shoe – from toe box to the midsole – have this harmony with that of vehicle panels. Being inside this Porsche art car feels like I’m sitting in a giant sneaker! I use cork on the insoles of all my shoes which made this material a necessity for me to have inside. Plus, I use a lot of faux leathers and a tonne of corduroy across my designs, so I essentially took the same materials that I use on footwear and apparel and applied them to an automobile. It’s amazing to see my design language represented like this. I’m very proud of it.
Colourful Taycan art car interior: cork steering wheel and dashboard
Sneaker design goes macro: the cork and corduroy materials used in Sean’s shoe designs were incorporated in his Taycan art car
What was your favourite part of the process?  By travelling to Germany, I’ve garnered so much inspiration from the Porsche designers in Stuttgart and the Porsche Design Studio in Weissach. Working with the team and seeing how much passion that the Porsche Design Studio has put into this has made me happier than I could ever have imagined. When the team presented the car to me and I saw how proud they were, it felt like we were truly one big team. They took my vision and brought it to life better than I could have ever explained.  Even earlier, when we were reviewing the design, the team changed a few things that I didn’t even have an opinion on, and they did so in ways that were fully how I would have done them. It’s like they were able to dig in my brain and make a decision that I would have made. This connection we had as a team has got to be one of my favourite parts of the entire project. 
Colourful corduroy seats and panoramic glass roof of Taycan art car
Sean likens sitting inside his Taycan art car to being surrounded by nature
What was it like when you first saw the final car? Seeing the interior for the first time, I went insane. I was actually going crazy! I’m still on the natural high from it. I was telling everyone that I just wanted to live in the car. My first time sitting in it blew my mind off the planet! Being able to finally sit inside it means the world. It doesn’t get much better than this.  When did you realise you first wanted to be a designer? I honestly never really realised I wanted to be a designer. I just always had an opinion about what I liked and how I wanted things to look. When the first sneaker company picked me up and told me I was going to design a shoe, it changed everything. I realised that my perspective on things was turning into design – so it just naturally happened without me making the decision. I was able to use all these things that I collected – vintage sneakers, clothing, antiques – as inspiration for things that I wanted to design. It’s been very organic for me, and I’m still going through that journey today. Do you set aside time to be creative? I just go with the flow. I try to set aside time for creativity if I can, but I feel pressured in those moments. Instead, I like to experience as much as I can through normal life by seeing, smelling, listening and touching. I could be at the park with my kids and see a certain tree which gives me inspiration from the green of the leaves. Or I might see how a slide was constructed at the playground and think of a new type of sneaker design. Basically, I try to take in what’s around me, including what people are wearing. I love looking at people’s outfits and seeing how I might be able to highlight the way they dress in a design. You never know what you’re going to get just from taking a walk.  
Man crouching in grass, viewed through open doors of colourful art car
Taking inspiration from all aspects of everyday life, Sean’s creative time is all the time, he says
Continue reading
Classic Porsche 911 behind Porsche Pepita Edition by Vitra chairs
What is the Porsche Pepita Edition by Vitra? Vitra for Porsche. Two brands passionate about design, craftsmanship and innovation – and now bringing a new dimension to classic designs Read more
Close-up of Porsche Pepita fabric on car seat
The story of the famous Porsche Pepita fabric It’s not just a celebrated Porsche design classic, it’s also one of the most famous patterns in the automotive world, with many decades of history. This is the story of the legendary Pepita fabric Read more
New Porsche crest 2023
The history of the Porsche logo and crest The Porsche logo is one of the world’s most recognisable brand identities. But did you know that the striking coat of arms first adorned a Porsche in 1952? This is its story Read more