Monthly Archives: December 2009

Sub-culture: AutoSalon Tilburg (reprise)

About a month ago I posted a last-minute event alert on our CFX|NL sister site, to try and tempt some of my Dutch buddies into visiting a one-off local 'car meets art' happening downtown Tilburg; the AutoSalon. Rik picked up the gauntlet and brought his son Henk along, while Gerard went to check out the Auto Salon's audio channel on the 013 rock temple stage.

I wonder how many unsuspecting car-lovers were lured into that underground parking in the city centre, only to find out that some local artists (a.kold_images. the illustrious Tilburg CowBoys) had set them up for something completely different. Spread out over most of the bottom level of the multi-storey car park were not cars, but art. Automotive art. Well, there were parked cars in between. And a couple of show room exhibits. Or was this all part of the event?

All was kind of difficult to fathom. The first surprise came pretty soon though. After a harmless collection of photographs (Dutch owners of American muscle), some of the more unsettling exhibits grabbed us before we knew it. Not aware of what could be our part, we sat down in an old boxy Volvo 740 – only to witness a modern dance performance from the comfy seats in this safe and protective Swedish enclosure.

The dance… was very modern indeed, and seemed inspired by creepy horror movies if anything. Our car was standing still, yet a hysterically running damsel chased it down the deck. And before we knew it, we'd hit and run over something (someone) in the front. Disturbing. The Vloeistof ('Fluid') dancers kept disappearing and popping up, out of nowhere, did a 'Blair Witch' closing scene under the ramp and ended up perched right onto our windscreen, eyes staring as possessed body snatchers, out to do something unspeakably horrible to us, harmless passengers. They finished, of course, on the roof of the Volvo, rocking it about while peering down the sunroof. It was not a very comfortable feeling when, at the end, they suddenly jerked the doors open.

~4x4 AST 02

Car related, yes, I guess. But from quite a different perspective.

On that same note, a bit further down, a collection of road kills had been artistically framed and arranged by Bart Jansen. Not a lot of time was spent on preparation (or should I say preservation) of the artwork though – the stench was unbearable. Thank God, Bart had decided not to also run his second exhibition piece, 'Fuel Press', there and then; this perpetuum mobile was pressing seeds, in order to extract oil – to run its own engine. Weird and wonderful.

While one artist had violently fired rounds at a white UN car before compressing it to a small package of rusted metal, rubber and textile, another one had merely painted shadows and refections of a car on the concrete floor, setting off the alarm of this invisible vehicle if one approached its 'private space' footprint too closely.

~4x4 AST 05A

Others had taken a more straightforward approach and built tangible visions of their dream vehicles – be it a stationary, dragster-like tribute to 30's and 40's silver arrow race cars in welded steel, or a bizarre polyester trailer that looked like an amputated Beetle with large tumor-like bulges on its back. The tumor-bug, also known as Appenda 3000, was towed through the city all weekend long, leaving behind bemused (or just plain confused) spectators.

~4x4 AST 06
 

The (moving part of the) exhibition had in fact started off on Day One with the 'Merry Go Roundabout', a 'live' merry-go-round on one of the city's roundabouts (this time including full size icons like the obligatory fire truck, a convertible, horse cart and two motorcycles, side-by-side of course) and also included a driving Boom Car Concert, which randomly appeared throughout the city. Next to these 'traditionally' tuned hot hatches (is there such a thing as traditional customizing?), the 'Ben Hur Tuning Studio' offered a more ground breaking pimping service for individual cars – applying large, hand painted decals that varied from imagery of flames and animals to …Frankfurter sausages.

~4x4 AST 01B
 

That all? Well… no.

Hand drawn animations (including one of a thumping engine in line art) were projected by artist Nick Castricum on the hood of a white Daihatsu, while Paul Veroude -of Jenson Button Honda F1 fame- had meticulously arranged and laid out all the components of a torn-down Toyota 1000, resulting in an almost religious pattern. Danitsja van Dijk re-created a traffic jam with inflatable youngtimers…

~4x4 AST 03C

~4x4 AST 04
  

..old_imagesnd all of this inside a poorly lit car park. 

Truly
underground – in more ways than one.

- G

THE DAUPHIN COLLECTION

Our Audi Design team in
Munich thought it was about time we had a “workshop” Now, for me workshop is
somewhere you do woodwork or repair cars. But no, apparently für zee Germans a workshop is a long, long meeting to
discuss future projects and scenarios. Luckily someone had the
bright idea of kicking off the workshop day with a visit to the Dauphin private
collection.

Dauphin Collection1a

 Ignorant Englander Das ich
bin, I hadn’t heard about Herr Dauphin or his collection. First stop then, Internet, www.dauphinspeedevent.de to find out
more about this mysterious museum.

Friedrich-W. Dauphin made his
fortune designing, manufacturing and selling ergonomic office furniture under the brand label Human Design® (no! I hadn’t heard of them either) 

Founded in 1969, the Dauphin
group today employs over 820 staff and produces approx. 2500 chairs a day. In 2008 Dauphin achieved a
turnover of 153 million euros. 

Originally an enthusiastic
collector of historic firearms, Friedrich-W. Dauphin’s interest in classic cars
was initiated by his wife who told him to “collect something that interests the
whole family” Two weeks later, the Dauphins
had their first classic: a Bordeaux colored Mercedes 280SE convertible from
1971. A 300SL roadster from 1961 quickly followed. 

Dauphin Collection3a

The Dauphins have now been
collecting cars for almost 30 years and have accumulated 130 classic cars and
200 classic motorcycles. Located near Nürmburg just off the A9 their 18,000 square meter hall houses
one of the biggest private collections of classic cars in Germany. Under the guise of the
Dauphin Speed Event Company, the collection hall with its dramatic backdrop is
often booked out for auctions, fashion shows, concerts and company events.

Dauphin Collection4a

Well, that’s enough facts,
let’s get to the juicy part!

We found ourselves at 8.00
a.m on a wet and windy day in November entering the warm, inviting foyer of the
Dauphin collection.  One cappuccino later and my
shutter finger is twitching to start clicking and we only have
3
hours to see everything before our “werkshop” starts.

The website hadn’t given a
great deal of information about the car collection, so I really wasn’t
expecting too much, but boy! was I in for a surprise!

Dauphin Collection2a

We move towards the 3-meter
high glass walls that divide the entrance from the exhibit area. A Bugatti
Atlantic (which I later learn is a replica built on an original chassis) and
Mercedes 300 SL Gull-wing guard the entrance and beyond these are just rows and
rows of cars.

Dauphin Collection6a
 Dauphin Collection5a

Dauphin Collection7a 

The first thing that hits you is the amount of exotic metal on display, Bugatti’s, Ferrari’s, Porsche’s, Jaguar’s and Lamborghini’s. All compete to attract your attention, but in-between you see the occasional Alfa or Lancia and look even harder and you find more humble cars, like Fiat’s, MG’s and Austin’s.

  

Dauphin Collection9a

We are being guided around by
a very well informed white haired gentleman, most of his words are wasted on
this group of petrol heads, we just want to drool over the curves of the
beautiful metal.

Dauphin Collection10a

 Some of our group politely
follows him round, pretending to listen, but they secretly wish they had
brought their cameras too, because
this
gives me the licence to lag behind a little. I have a new camera, an
Olympus Pen and it’s the first time I’m using it in anger! The light is terrible and I’m
fumbling to find the right settings on my camera, which doesn’t have a flash. I
should have read the instruction manual a bit more thoroughly! But, importantly
I’ve remembered the spare battery and the cameras loaded with an 8GB memory
card. As we walk slowly among the collection
I hear the occasional rumble of approval from the group as a dream car is
discovered.

Dauphin Collection8a

When I hear a louder rumble it attracts my attention, and I find my colleagues gathered around a bright
green Lancia Stratos with it’s matching green helmet tucked into the door pocket.
I wait for the last of the droolers to leave before I click off a few photos.

Dauphin Collection12a

Time is running short, we’ve
already been here over two hours, I’m on my second battery and it’s time to
move on to the motorcycle section.

Dauphin Collection15a

 I’m not really a motorcycle freak,
but I can admire the design and exposed mechanics of these machines and I have
to admit the sight of 200 bikes all neatly lined up is very impressive. At least half the bikes are
BMW’s, but being a Brit the Norton’s and Triumph’s appeal to me the most.  

Dauphin Collection16a

The time has come to leave,
and as we walk out from the showroom I can’t help but admire how clean
everything is, I can only begin to imagine what it costs to maintain this
superb private collection. 

Dauphin Collection13a

The collection is apparently
missing 15 extremely rare cars, including a Porsche 356 Carrera Abarth, a
Talbot-Lago 150 SS “Teardrop” and a 1947 Cisitalia 202 coupe.

But I never missed them!

 

 

 

JUGAAD

Jugaad (reduced)
 

What do the Tata Nano, Ronald Mc Donald, the Gillette LubraStrip and orange Tokyo Drift tyres have in common?

They are, all four, successful examples of the 'jugaad' method of innovation.

Under economic pressure you will often find that the most efficient and low-cost 'quick fixes' are invented by creative, yet frustrated individuals. It is in that particular state of mind that one can truly concentrate on the essence of a (design- or other) challenge and, well, see the light of true invention I suppose. 

The innovation philosophy is now quickly finding its way to the big corporations' board rooms, where it is hailed as the next big thing after Kaizen, Six Sigma, Lean Design and Zero Tolerance (well, most of those anyway).

Learn all about the 'jugaad' method of innovation by reading this entertaining article. Once you get the knack of it, all you have to do is scale up your brilliant idea and the world is your oyster; that big juicy global market that doesn't even know it's there – and big bucks will come flowing your way !

But I have this uneasy feeling it won't be that easy. The scaling up bit isn't for sure. 

At least it's encouraging to read that in these days of poverty and need, there is light at the end of the tunnel – even though it's a long one. Parental guidance advised when venturing through that tunnel – especially when having a go at automotive design challenges…

…particularly those concerning ergonomics, electric circuitry or suspension componentry !

- G

GULF WARS

091222-Gulf917
 

Getting close to the end of the year, spare time at last! Before the new year starts I have to finish some unfinished business. My apple has been my companion the last months. Sitting comfortably on the couch, sipping on a tea, a glowing telly in the background while moving digital pics over the screen. Over are those days. Moving over to the other room for some graphical stuff. I start up the old pc and turn on the heater. There it is, the typical MS tune from Brian Eno I have almost forgotten. Not your usual Apple "pong". Before I get started I realize I am running out of disc space. I take a closer look at my drives and realize why that laptop on the couch was so comfortable. Enough said, time for a major clean up. My folders are a mess. Backups and pre millenium back ups of old computers, double data all over the place. I wander through old files as I move along, restructuring big time this time. After two days most of the stuff seems in place. Cleaning up the whole Nomads section, an early attempt of online creativity. I end up with one folder filled up with over ten years of sketching and stumble on some old stuff I almost forgotten about. Shades of digital painting. The greed of old memories keeps me going, cleaning and archiving gigabytes of data. Is it coincidence or the end of the year syndrome? Three other colleagues are doing the same thing I hear later.

Anyway, back to cars. In between all those files I stumble onto some old forgotten sketches. Those were the days of digital painting exploration. Palette knives in Painter were razor sharp as I attempted to make some quick impressions on digital canvas. Gulf wars in blue and orange. Looking back, …old_imagesnd forward….one of the resolutions for next year is to return to the digital canvas for more free work. Psychedelic Martini graphics anyone?


091222-Gulf Targa Florio
 

MEILENWERK D-DORF

091213-Meilenwerk D-Dorf-01

Too close to ignore the opportunity. 2000 km through Europe within five days. A couple of hundred more won't hurt so Michiel and I decide to pay a spontaneous visit to Duesseldorf. After Berlin this will be another Meilenwerk tour we have done. 


Before we hit the road Michiel straps the maxicosy into the Isofix. Our small section of CFX for today will be completed by the probably youngest petrol head. Abel is snoozing when we cross the border. Fastlaning towards D-dorf. Woken up by the stop and go traffic close to our destination he remarks: "the people here speak a different language, all the numberplates are white!".


091213-Meilenwerk D-Dorf-02
 

We enter the half circled building and sniff up the glorious smell of oil and patina. "Look there, two "Snoeks" (Citroen DS) next to each other! We take a quick look, where do we start? To much input. Meanwhile a low revving 911 Speedster slowly finds its way through the hall, looking for a private garage. The workshops, classic dealerships and boutiques are located at the outer rim of the old tram station. In the Gulf shop I ask for the price of a  Steve Mc Queen tee. No thank you, highly overpriced. The re-branding of the classic petrol brand has had its peak. Too much, too easy, too expensive. Martini please!


091213-Meilenwerk D-Dorf-03
 

We stroll across the outer galleries, taking pictures en enjoying the reflections on steel sculptures. Click, click, click. Have you ever seen this Alfa? Most of the cars are hard to capture, stored in glass boxes, oil on the floor. I try to wrench my camera in between the panels to get a clear view. Abel has discovered his own playground. Fifty cents and you are master of the universe for a couple of minutes in a world full of model trains. Meanwhile I take a peak outside the building. The parking lot around the Meilenwerk has its own hidden treasures. A beautiful brown coupe from Maranello, edged lines and minimalistic surfacing. A Monteverdi Safari behind the fence, Suisse Ranger avant la lettre.


091213-Meilenwerk D-Dorf-04
 

Back inside we work the main hall towards the centre. My highlights are a fine selection of Porsches, a Talbot racer and the Toyota 200 GT.  Abel has a different view. Pointing at a Jag S-type track car:" look a Cars-car, but it is not talking back to me!" Pancakes in the restaurant, all dressed up as a fifties drive inn, boots with fat cushions. Time for some last shots on Duesseldorfs beauties. The ambient light in the building changes from blue to red to purple and has a psychedelic effect on hoods and fenders. Maseratis transformed into hot rods with flame jobs.

Miles and more, I could spend a couple of hours more here to capture the spirit. A good CFX'd sunday goes to an end. We will be back one day. For those of you who plan a visit, try to come early to enjoy the natural light and stay late to see cars go disco. Meilenwerk, two down, one to go. Stuttgart anyone?


091213-Meilenwerk D-Dorf-05
 

DERRICK MEETS EAMES

091203-Berlin-01

A quick hit and run to Berlin. This time for business reasons. After our arrival my colleague Torsten and I drop of our bags at the hotel. It is located near the Kurfuerstendamm, the famous shopping mile known for its exclusive flagship stores. After work has been done we decide to hit that road for an late night breeze. It is early december and it turns out to be a tat colder then we expected. Walking and window shopping keeps us warm. A strange mix of luxurious shops and those who pretend to be. This translates to the cars that are curbed near the ultra wide board walks. The spectrum ranges from a charging Tesla to an over the top pimped up Beamer. Ku-Damm, not hip but worth taking a hike and a curry wurst.

091204-Berlin-02
 

After breakfast we leave our four star hotel. It is a derelict from the early eighties. Once spot on taste, now the perfect, because hopelessly outdated, decorum for a "Derrick" remake. Miniscule TVs included. Before we return to headquarters we pick up some Berlin vibes in Prenzlauerberg. Colorful and arty, lots of design shops with second hand furniture. If one wants to buy an original Eames or just enjoy a warming coffee in one of the many down to earth bars, Prenze is your place.

091204-Berlin-03
 

 

PORSCHE 904

 A few months ago I got into a conversation about cars with a work colleague. Nothing unusual about that you may think for a car designer, but we were arguing over what was the greatest Porsche ever. Nice chap that he is, my colleague can be a bit of a car bore and is full of useless information, facts and figures plus he is an absolute Porsche freak.

“The 917” I say without hesitation, but my colleague said “No! No! No! What about the 904?” with a smug smile on his face. The proportions of the 904 were never quite right for me "It looks too narrow and the front overhang looks like Barry Manilow's nose" I blurted, and to my surprise he sort of agreed with me, but it was what he said next that surprised me even more " You wanna see the one I’ve got?” Apparently he was storing a 904 for a friend in his underground garage. Luckily I had my camera with me and it was close to lunch time, so we immediately set off to his home in the centre of Munich.

The garage was dark and cold, I waited with anticipation as he flicked the lights on and operated the double-deck parking system. Slowly the 904 revealed itself, the car lift clunked to a stop and my colleague rolled the car off its ramp. In the stark fluorescent light I could see it had been well used, but it was clean and straight and looked tiny in this huge underground garage. As I slowly moved around the car snapping off photos my colleague filled me in with a brief history of the 904.

Porsche 904a 

“It weighs only 650 kilos, you know? the bodywork is made from fibre-glass and bonded to the frame” He opens the rear to reveal a clean looking engine. “Its a 2-litre 6-cylinder, which was later fitted to the 911. Early cars only had 4-cylinder engines with 180 hp, you know? and in 19……” he continues reeling off other detailed information about the engine, but it’s just lost on me. He attempts to start it, nothing, not even a click, the battery is flat, he curses loudly and the sound of “Fuck it!” echoes around the room. He also realizes for the first time there's no heater and I later learn he has to deliver it to the owner in Turin the next day. It’s March, very cold and the 904 has no heater!

I have to admit after spending some time studying the 904 you become aware of how delicate and minimalistic its design is and after learning about its racing achievements it just makes It that little bit more desirable, it’s a no compromise tool designed to win races. 

After realizing he's going to have to charge the battery overnight and wear an Antarctic survival suit to to drive it to Turin, he still hits me with the facts "Its very rare, you know? Only 120 cars were ever built from 1963 to 1964 and most of those were homologated for racing, you know? It won at Lemans, Targa Florio and,and……"I interrupt him before he can continue “With no heater of course! You know?”  

The echoes were much louder this time!

MUNICH

091207-02-Munich

Niet ver van de plek waar elk jaar het Oktoberfest gehouden wordt ligt het Deutsches Museum- Verkehrszentrum. Tentoongesteld zijn allerlei objecten die met mobiliteit van doen hebben. Van rollerskates tot grote locomotieven. Vandaag staan we om half tien met het interieur team voor de deur. Tijd om in alle rust de creatieve batterij te voorzien van fresh juices. Muenchen kent vele museums. Het interessante hier is de complete overblik. Geen aaneenrijging van highlights, laten we het houden op "vlak, maar breed". En toch, met een beetje geduld loop je tegen parels aan. Ik probeer gekund langs de bordjes voorbij te schieten terwijl mijn camera zich vult met fotos. Veel detail shots. Kan ik hier een verhaal van maken, waar is de samenhang? Een impressie, laten we het daar bij houden.

091207-03-Munich

Late lunch bij een "Currywurstbude" die je eerder in Berlijn zou verwachten. Hier in de weisswurst hoofdstad blijken ze er ook wat van te kunnen. Strombergs' Curry 73 ligt op de rand van een industriepark. Wie goed kijkt ziet de humor van de eigenaar terugkomen in de details. Stylish met een knipoog.


091207-04-Munich
 

We hebben nog een paar uur voordat we de A9 terug nemen naar het Noorden. Waarom niet een kijkje nemen bij de concurrent? Niet veel later staan we in de BMW Welt. Het is er rustig. Een dik jaar na opening zijn eerste lichte sporen van gebruik zichtbaar. Niet iedereen vindt intuitief de zeep in de toiletten. Ook ik betrap me erop aan de spiegel te staan trekken. De inhoud van dit gebouw blijft echter in beweging. "Joy does not compromise". Goeie interieurthemas bij de jongste creaties van de Beieren. X1 en 5GT, kijken, voelen en blijven hangen. Een goed teken.


091207-05-Munich