Craftsmen with a Creative Human Touch (Part 1)
Without clay modeling, it would be impossible to bring Mazda’s “KODO – Soul of Motion’ design to life by capturing the emotional relationship between the horse and rider. A 3D object molded out of industrial clay by a clay modeler based on the designer's idea provides insights vital for translating the horse-rider relationship into the oneness between the car and driver through an actual car form.
Ryosuke Nozaki is Mazda’s chief clay modeler, an artisan capable of processing clay with a precision of less than a millimeter. For Nozaki, who says clay modeling is his true vocation, creating the model of the SHINARI concept car, which is the core of the “KODO – Soul of Motion” design, was one of the most memorable jobs of his career.
“In the case of the SHINARI, there was a clear image of what we should express right from the start. What we had in mind was a mix of the energetic motions of an animal and a kind of graceful beauty that may be unconventional for cars,” Nozaki says. “As we had a clear image, we finished the modeling process, from a 1/4 scale model to a full-size model, in just around six months.”
Although digital modeling is gradually taking over from clay modeling, the computer cannot entirely replace the creative craftsmanship of a clay modeler that is critical to reflecting the nuances of the design in the 3D model. The “KODO – Soul of Motion” design represents the ethos of Mazda’s car making with a human touch. That is why Nozaki predicts with confidence: “Clay modelers will never disappear, at least from Mazda’s design studio.” Nozaki’s calloused hands are evidence of his identity as a master craftsman with a creative human touch. (To be continued)
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Stories about the craftsmanship and design evolution of Mazda
Visions and philosophies of Mazda engineers
The spirit of Mazda owners, collectors, clubs and aficionados around the world
Mazda brand heritage and history