A geek's guide to Porsche's secret Development Centre: part 1
Every Porsche begins at the Development Centre in Weissach. The tribe takes a sneak peak at the different departments, starting with the model makers
It all starts with a concept
“We make ideas tangible” is the motto of the model makers at Porsche’s Development Centre in Weissach. In the early stages of a design, when the team wants to illustrate the proportions of a future car, a variety of different plastic block materials are used. But first, the team has to get its hands dirty: with modelling clay.
The first visualisation of any Porsche begins in clay. From there, step by step, the ideas of the department come to life. The remarkable thing about the material is the speed with which it can be worked. It requires a great deal of dexterity and, as the development process continues, the shape is refined.
When it comes to design studies, the exterior skin has a decisive effect on aerodynamics. Flow-through bodies are used before the design is finally approved. Here, joints, air intakes, wheel wells, and other details closely resemble the ultimate series state. Further development steps then follow in the adjacent wind tunnel.
The task of the design team is to develop ideas and advance them quickly to the decision-making stage. Sketches, whether on paper or tablet, are a crucial part of the process. Three-dimensional form follows two-dimensional drawing, first with the help of virtual design software and then as a physical model. Everything hangs on the physical model, and traditional craftspeople play a role here, too. So too, do experts in the user experience, and a team from Porsche Connect.
The fact that Porsche’s designers, model makers and aerodynamics experts all sit in one building fosters communication and confidentiality. Much more than just the body shape emerges in the design studio and the interior design ranges from the basic dimensions to the fine details of a seat seam. A culture of dialogue is crucial – and it's no coincidence that the chief designer’s office doesn’t have a traditional desk, but a long table at which all these disciplines can gather.