The Elite i20 is the first Hyundai to embody Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 in India

Written by Vikram Chaudhary | Updated: Aug 16 2014, 07:40am hrs
This week, the Hyundai Elite i20s global launch took place in New Delhi. The car, which replaces the i20, sets new standards in designit is the first Hyundai to embody Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 in India. In this interview, Casey Hyun, Creative Design Manager, Hyundai Motor Company, tells FEs Vikram Chaudhary how the Fluidic Sculpture idea was born and what is its future. Excerpts:

The Fluidic Sculpture design has changed how the world looks at Hyundai. How was the idea born

The Fluidic Sculpture concept was the vision of chairman MK Chung and then chief designer Oh Suk Geun who wanted to create a distinct identity for Hyundai cars. Work on it started in 2007. Until then, each car was designed individually. But this design now unites the entire family, from the Eon to the Equus.

It is a two-part design idea where the fluidic element evokes the organic flow of design found in nature, and sculpture evokes the idea that Hyundai vehicles are much more than just sheet metal.

What inspires the designers

We get inspiration by drawing on specific images from nature. For example, one we frequently use is a rock formation in Arizona, US, called the Antelope Canyon. Apart from aesthetic design, the Fluidic Sculpture has measurable benefits in the lowering of the coefficient of drag (Cd), which makes the car more slippery through the air and saves fuel. For example, the Sonata Hybrid has a Cd of just 0.25, among the lowest for any production cars in the world.

Has Fluidic Sculpture found acceptance across the world

We have had very good response to the Fluidic Sculpture design worldwide, but being a strong design, it elicits strong opinions. For instance, even though the Sonata is a hitespecially in the USthere are some who believe its design is over-the-top. However, such opinions not withstanding, we ensure that the Fluidic Sculpture encompasses simplicity, ease of use, comfort, reliability, enhanced safety, high quality, style and is both modern and premium.

Do you specifically design for regional markets also

Yes, we do. During the Eon design phase, the designers made several trips to India, travelling around, sketching and learning the forms of Indian architecture and design. The idea was not necessarily to create an Eon that looked Indian, but to explore the possibility of incorporating the Indian form into the Eon. For example, the gentle facing curves on either side of Eons centre console represent a form that our designers saw in India. Also, they designed the Eon in such a way that it satisfies the practical needs of Indian driversthey made bottle holders in the doors that hold a 0.7-litre water bottle, the most popular size in India, and they made a flat space in the middle of the dashboard, so drivers can affix their deities and charms. A similar strategy was followed in Brazil where we entered with HB20, a hatchback manufactured especially for Brazilians.

What next

The next phase we call as Fluidic Sculpture 2.0. In fact, the Elite i20 that you see here is the first Hyundai to embody Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 in India. Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 is a more refined and sophisticated version of our design philosophy. It will focus especially on fluid aesthetics, modern appeal and premium interiors.

Since it was the global launch of the Elite i20, do we see the same car with the same design going to the developed markets or will the Elite i20 that will be sold in, say, Europe look different

We design differently for different markets but we dont overhaul the design. Even though there may be some delicate changes to the Elite i20 that will be sold in other markets, the basic design will remain the same. The great thing about good design is that you cant tell the difference.