Bugatti Design Boss ‘Scared’ by How Many Screens Are in Today’s Cars
Screens give us more access to a car’s options than ever, but what happens when they break or become outdated?
I have heard from a great number of you that the trend toward screen-filled interiors is a detested one. It looks terrible and causes distraction, you correctly argue. You aren't alone in your feelings. They are also echoed by Achim Anscheidt, Bugatti's design director and the pen responsible for the Bugatti Chiron. He understands the logic behind the onslaught of screens. But he's also concerned about their longevity.
"What's going on in automotive interiors is, in one way, logical that it would be happening," Anscheidt told us recently in an interview. "On the other hand, it scares me. What is going to happen to all those devices and all those things when operating systems are not working one day? What's happening in 10 years, even? Are you still interested in the iPhone 3?"
Anyone can tell a UI is old just by glancing at and interacting with it. And once the dead pixels start showing up? Those are two very ugly problems—not just in a very expensive Bugatti, but in any car.
The Chiron and its roadster version, the newly unveiled Bugatti Mistral, both benefit from very minimalist interiors that boast an analog speedometer. This is just one of the ways in which Anscheidt and Bugatti can guarantee timelessness in their cars' design.
"Bugatti [is] ... doing something that is much more appreciation for analog fascination," Anscheidt went on. "Like our mechanical watches, for example. So I think there is a point to doing things different[ly] compared to the rest of the automotive field. Our main slogan is if it's comparable, it no longer is Bugatti. It pays off as a designer to think about that."
It also pays off when you're selling $5 million hyper-rare roadsters, not $30,000 economy cars. That affords Anscheidt and co. the opportunity to design for exclusivity's sake. "The [Mistral] design is ultra clean, and you know that we are always on the hunt and searching for ultimate simplicity and cleanliness in our products," Anscheidt said. "Because I think that's what assures longevity, when a car sits in a collection and when it maybe sits on the lawn of The Quail in 30 years' time. And it can not look up-to-date anymore, but it can still look authentic and it, hopefully, still has a sovereignty to it. That will last the test of time, so to say."
There's truth to Anscheidt's views. At first, it can be a little surprising when you peek in a Chiron and its interior is as skeletal as it is. On a car worth easily $3 million, I remember being slightly underwhelmed at first. But I can certainly see it aging better than a Mercedes with the Mercedes-Benz Hyperscreen. It's an interior that shows restraint and resistance toward fickle modern trends, and I can respect that. I spend enough time with my face glued to my phone, anyway. I don't need to look at yet another screen in my Bugatti.
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