Since Mazda embarked on its exploration of the KODO—Soul Of Motion design language in 2010, the company has placed art and craftsmanship at the center of its development process.
At this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, Mazda devoted an evening to illuminate and celebrate the art of design. The event focused on the company’s leadership with the RX-VISION concept and the MX-5 Miata RF sports car, then moving on to unveil the latest interpretation of KODO design in the 2017 CX-5 crossover SUV.
“Mazdas are not commodities, and never will be,” declared Masahiro Moro, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations. “Every Mazda is designed to stand out from the crowd. That is what we are here to discuss tonight.”
Beginning from the first principles of natural forms, tension, and dynamism, several speakers from Mazda’s global design team emphasized the commitment to KODO design principles to create true art in a form that is simultaneously functional and beautiful.
“Design is one of the core values of our brand,” explained Ikuo Maeda, head of global design at Mazda. “I believe a car can be more than just a mass of metal. I want to turn it into a living thing.”
Throughout the program, the conversation focused closely on the human connection, whether that was through the craftsmanship of sculptors and engineers, or the driver’s response to a car’s sensuous nature.
“We are obsessed with the power of human hands,” said Julien Montoussé, director of design at Mazda North American Operations, “and the artistic forms that can only be shaped by human hands.”
KODO design reflects the work of a sculptor’s hand as experienced through touch and visually in the reflection of light. That concept was highlighted during the reveal of the 2017 CX-5 crossover SUV. Painted in a new formulation called Soul Red Crystal, the sculpted surface of the vehicle illustrated the soul of motion in its liquid reflections.
“Exploring new ways of reflection moving across the car is an artistic practice,” Montoussé shared.
The final test of any design is the response created in the viewer, and those attending this event were eager to be invited onto the stage to examine the CX-5, the MX-5 RF, and the RX-VISION concept. Together, these diverse culminations of Mazda’s design process showed that the KODO design philosophy has gained depth and scope as it has matured, and this design vocabulary has much more yet to be revealed.
“Today’s announcements are further evidence that Mazda is going from strength to strength,” said Akira Marumoto, executive vice president at Mazda Corporation. “We will stay true to our human-centered engineering philosophy, and I’m sure we will keep surprising you with our products and technology.”