10 April 2019, Milan: Traditionally, motor shows are where cars are launched and global headlines made. But with Ford, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Volvo ‘skipping’ the landmark Geneva Show in March 2019, it seems manufacturers are travelling in a different direction. And that direction is design.
Now in its 58th year, Milan Design Week has become known as the most important design event in the world. Exhibitions take over the entire city of Milan during the weeklong “Salone del Mobile” starting on 9th April. And with car shows becoming ever more expensive and with brands competing for airtime, finding other ways of showcasing their product is becoming increasingly important.
Whilst JLR declined to exhibit in Geneva, Jaguar Land Rover have immersive experiences in Milan to catch the media and public eye. In addition, Peugeot is dazzling with an immersive light show, Lamborghini interprets the meaning of avant-garde in technology and design in the Interactive Lab, Hyundai are giving a glimpse of how they envision the in-car experience in the age of self-driving vehicles and Honda is somehow squeezing its new electric prototype through an alleyway and into a high-end fashion boutique.
And lucky it doesn't have traditional wing mirrors as it took three hours to navigate into a fashion boutique with only centimeters to spare. In fact the wing mirrors have been cleverly been replaced with a cameraman mirror system which increases aerodynamics and allows the driver to see what's coming from screens on a high tech dash board.
Overall, the Honda experience “Casa Connessa Tortona” brings connected lifestyle to Milan Design Week with leading furniture designer and acclaimed Italian photographers. At the centre of the venue sits an architectural tree sculpture, created from natural materials. The sculpture acts as a symbol of the seamless link between the outside environment and inside life that inspired the design language of the Honda e Prototype.
Whilst Honda has made the bold step of leading with design for the first time, the brand also exhibits at motor shows. However, the design experience allows people to appreciate the beauty of their new prototype and engage with the car in a very different way. It’s also possible that more of their female audience will engage with the design as it’s arguable that motor shows are more male dominated.
Milan Design Week is allowing manufacturers to beat the competition in the race for their audience’s limited attention. The question is, how long will it remain the industry’s best-kept secret?
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GVs Car brands at Milan Design Week
GVs Honda e Prototype arrival
GVs Honda experience
GVs Milan Design Week
IV Nik Pearson - Head of European PR communications, Honda Europe
IV Uberto Carjati Crivelli - CEO, Tortona Design Week
English translation for Uberto Carjati Crivelli.
1. The car is a precious object for people. We try and find in our car a reflection of our taste and aesthetics. Whether you drive a sport or classic car we are looking at ways to link design to life.
2. We are very proud that Honda is exhibiting as Honda creates high quality products and is a leading global company. We are happy to welcome them to Milan to show the new car.