C​hange. Imagine. No substitute.

A design project, from a Porsche enthusiast to Porsche themselves, with more questions than answers.

11w ago
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This is a car-design fast forward to the not so distant future. A story and proposal honouring the past and celebrating Porsche’s future, one of the most important and iconic automotive manufacturers in history. From the 356 to the 918 – and the freshly revealed all-electric Mission R concept study, today’s digital yet technical “tour de force”. To this day, Porsche is a brand that still remains resolute to its original design ethos.

Through this personal, non-affiliated, design exercise I look to explore this. Be warned there is some history, some Photoshop illustrations and great amount of learnings. Set your Do Not Disturb and follow me on this 7 minute road for a memorable journey.

(If you’re a fan of anything classic Porsche 911, you might want to look away now and close this page. Or… if you’re feeling brave, take a look.)

A​ LITTLE BIT OF BACKGROUND

Back in 2015, Porsche introduced the future Taycan through its Mission E concept premiering at the IAA in Frankfurt; the first all-electrically powered four-seat sports car in the brand's history. Same show, fast forward six years to this time last week; the new Mission R is announced. An all-electric concept study – in Porsche’s own words – “made for sprint races for the next generation of customer motorsport.”

Let’s now jump four years, into 2019, and take a trip down Alternative Memory Lane with the Half 11 project - created by the Canadian company “Oil Stain Lab”, Iliya and Nikita Bridan’s brain child: A 70s styled radical design approach with a Formula 1 V8 engine slapped into the rear of a tubular framed Porsche 911.

Called “Insane” and labelled “Heretical” by most.

Their original vision and story made me chuckle - actually maybe closer to a psychotic laugh but I was hooked.

This 'what if' type of question raised is also what drives me on a daily basis. Shaking up the status-quo is a must for developments, challenges to be overcome. As designers, when we are not looking for a potential problem to solve, in order to give depth to projects we often look for heroes (not just racing) that could be created, partnerships between brands that could happen, championships that could be invented, races that could be won…As much as I can be keen on their vision, I couldn’t help but look around and found it was a shame that no one had tried to create a modern version of it.

This is where my vision comes in…

A​ CASE FOR FUTURE VISION

The OilStain Lab project was a good starting base, full of potential. So I pushed the concept even further. Staying completely out of the box and purposefully going against most design trends.

So, technically on the market, how does it look?

On one side (see it as a Venn diagram, or maybe a UFC octagon if you will) we have the “restored and modified” cars. 911 Restomods are innumerable. Digital iterations (from students, pro or enthusiasts alike) are incommensurable. Everything about that scene is almost pervasive. It’s actually far easier to count the stars you can see with the naked eye and a good vision) on any given night, on a mountain top, and without any clouds or moon!

(It’s about three thousand stars. And that’s just for half the sky. On the other hemisphere; another three thousand. So the total number of stars that are brighter than the detection threshold of the human eye (retina) is about Six thousand. Only. On a full moon night; down to about three hundred. You’re welcome.)

And on the other side, we have the official manufacturer’s vision. The Volkswagen I.D. R, the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo concept – and, even though at the time of me putting the finishing touch on this concept’s development, it didn’t exist yet, we also have now the Porsche Mission R to add. To name just a few of the current competition.

In the middle of this showdown, this is where the LS11 2025, my take on the all-electric concept study, could actually help supercharge ultimate customer motorsport.

D​ESIGN, A PORSCHE BLEND

=> What is it and why would it be an interesting car to make?

(We are going to need a drink and a good safe word first, and with what follows, we’ll hear all the Porsche purist’s teeth grind out of existence soon enough.)

First, it is partly because a car that you must tame (combustion engine or full electric) still sounds appealing amid today’s electronically protected machines.

Second, in pure marketing manner, I could say that this concept study is “Offensively racing oriented” and underneath this fancy striking headline, adding something maybe like “The drive system of the LS11 2025 is entirely new, yet it is typical Porsche (i.e. something that is proven in motor racing). An emotional design of a Porsche with excellent performance and the forward-thinking practicality of the electric powertrain... ” and so on.

But in all honesty...

- Is it convenient? Doubtful. (But then again, is anything truly convenient? Hm... Maybe a Crocs shoe...)

- Is the ‘Golden rule of design proportions’ respected? In an improbably swollen sort of way.

- A passionate sportiness? Naturally and traditionally so

All in all it’s a pure breed of Porsche DNA!

At first glance, this LS11 concept is a personal and conceptual tease of Porsche’s electric expertise in hardcore GT form. Lightweight by design. In any high-performance sports car, every excess kilo is one too many. That is why I comprehensively visually optimised the car's perceived weight.

The LS11 aerodynamic features incorporates new and current trends within Porsche’s design philosophy, such as swan neck rear wing, front lip, and the obligatory, almost ostentatious, aft opening (taking inspiration from the 917).

Every square centimetre - or inch, every angle, every radius of the LS11 reflects one thing above all else:

Emotional and unapologetically offensive sportiness.

The starting point is the front end sculpture referencing a Taycan, the brand’s newest sport saloon refreshing the model line up. A low height with sports car attributes. Carbon pieces serve as air guides to improve airflow around the wheels, and air outlets on the sides reduce overpressure in the wheel well (thereby reducing lift!).

The middle to aft design underscores the typical Porsche’s sports car architecture; a classic Porsche 911 sweepback, typifying the body's full flow-through design that enhances efficiency and performance. A lean cabin with its accelerated rear windscreen and dramatically flared wheelarches; home of the 22-inch wheels at the front, and nearing offensively wide tyres at the rear.

Rear headlights integrated as an element hovering below the tail in the airflow, lending a fairly futuristic and technical character to the back end. Finishing with sophisticated aerodynamics with a striking low profile swan neck rear wing, like two shy tailfins, and open power unit originating from the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team.

The result is a brilliant racing machine: efficient and emotional (in an Opera sort of way), precise and high-performance, perfect for the circuit and completely impractical for everyday use.

The distinctive strength of the LS11 lies in the sum of its characteristics;

- The (potential) top speed,

- Its (potential) acceleration,

- The (potential and unfathomable) nine-speed GT manual transmission with auto-blip function, for a pure, uninterruptable driving experience,

- The (mandatory) sophisticated engineering and aerodynamics benefit from the experiences gained from Formula E racing and (potentially) generate significantly more downforce without noticeably affecting the drag coefficient.

So, would I build it?... Would it race?... Would it only compete in virtual championships?...

… Why stop there?!

D​ESIGN AS ART

My favourite - yet sad - bit of this concept and these renders? It is that it’s all made up. The simple role of a designer; to dream, to try, to challenge, to develop, to embolden the next generation.

This vehicle doesn’t exist….yet… Most likely it never will, unless Oliver Blume or Michael Mauer are reading this with a spare slot in design and engineering. There is no version of the LS11 for 2025. No ‘Taycan crossed 911’... So many design ideas and concepts existing in the digital landscape that is the modern world, never to see the light of day. It can be very unsatisfying at times. But it exists firmly in my mind. This Porsche “tribute”.

The IAA Mobility 2021 was running its course last week. The International Motor Show in Germany. Many interesting new concepts and visions. I have tried to follow the different discussions and presentations addressing the future of mobility. Why is it we can feel so frustrated when a brand, a company, shows us visuals of a ‘trend-defining’ vehicle and tells us the concept we just saw isn’t real and will never be, and yet so satisfied at the end of the official presentation of it?

If I challenge pre-conceived ideas and tell a great design story, make interesting visuals supported by a clear speech, maybe people will remember that, instead. Remember the Photoshop card trick and just pretend that they don't know how unrealistic and far from production it is…

But, as a designer outside of any brand, must we leave a legacy? Must we make an impact? Do designers (and companies) have to leave a footprint? Is it okay to just settle in a social movement? Seek the safety of trends and defined brands identity? Nest...

Or must we constantly shake our design codes up (like a chef re-learning the classics and forging a new dish), or on the contrary, suffer the indiscriminate cruelty of having it shaken against our will by the passing of time?

Do we feel like the path that we are carving through codified aesthetics principle is all our own, only to finally float above the design studio, with the sweet relief of a pen clicking to the “closed” position, and realise that the studio is insignificantly minuscule in size, and that’s there’s only one path through the principles, the exact same one that every stylist and designer has tried before us and will ever, just stumbling blindly along a tiny hyphen between the words Dream and Reality…

And when reduced to that level of crisp simplicity, status quo cannot exist.

So, Porsche, until we meet, thank you for the drive.

LS.

Addendum: a little bit about me

Paris-London Vehicle Designer and mechanic, I believe in great design through innovations, bespoke craftsmanship and inspirational for people. I am resourceful and solution focused. I work out how to make a vehicle as good as it can be, and love the process.

M​echanical sports fanatic and watch enthusiast, I am used to pushing back the limits of imagination and capabilities as much as those of chronometers, striving for continued excellence. Passionate, involved in a great deal of creative research and ideation, I strive in the strong spirit of a challenging environment.

I worked on diverse design projects including car design for video games, design for industrial equipment, car and motorcycle styling and fine art.

With a BA in Automotive & Transport Design from Coventry University, a degree in Automotive Styling and Prototyping from Espera Sbarro in France and a Master's Degree in Intelligent Mobility (Vehicle Design) from the Royal College of Art in London, I provide technical leadership in the design of vehicles and concepts.

Resourceful and always curious.

I grew up in a family of Jaguar cars enthusiasts. E-Types, XJ6s, MK2s,... (to name just a few) were all around us growing up. Models in different scales, materials and colours. But my most cherished toy; a 1/43 scale white Porsche 911 Turbo 3.0l. The ‘typ 930’, removing the Bürzel ducktail of its predecessor for ‘the whale tail’ (or ‘The Antlers’ for Germans) rear wing. At the time, embarrassing Ernst Furhmann, Porsche’s CEO, into demanding black paint on it so it would be less obvious.

p​hotography; Sam Chick

p​hotography; Sam Chick

Nonetheless, this particular upbringing let me to be exposed to three different automotive design and engineering methods;

a French one through Childhood

a German one through Passion

an English one through Higher Education

Add a motorcycle culture and a musical education to it, trying to figure my background out is like trying to predict the migrating habits of Africanized bees! You can do it, but somebody’s always going to get stung!

Enough with my origin story. – interested in seeing more then check out my portfolio of my other projects or drop me a message directly.

L​.

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