KODO on Show
Mazda designers turned their collective hand to furniture to bring “KODO—Soul of Motion” to a whole new audience.
The Milan Furniture Fair is the largest design festival in the world –attracting the who’s who of design since the 1960s. And whilst carmakers have also been in attendance, typically their role was limited to shuttling VIPs around. Until 2013…
This was the year that Mazda created MACS (Mazda Con-Temporary Space), a contemporary pop-up nestled off a narrow side street in the achingly cool Zona Tortona district.
Inside the atmospherically lit MACS gallery stood a Soul Red 2015 Mazda6, but for once the car wasn’t the only star of the show. Instead, the space was filled with installations by cult Italian artist Giuliana Cunéaz, who harnessed 3D video, photography, drawing, and sculpture to evoke motion. And this theme of “motion” served to amplify a surprise unveiling from Mazda’s head of global design, Ikuo Maeda, and his Hiroshima team –a chair showcasing the “KODO—Soul of Motion” design language.
Sitting on four legs that mimic a big cat’s, the KODO chair was designed to convey a sudden release of pent-up energy and to express movement similar to that of an athlete. The material used to cover the chair resembled Japanese kimono—beautiful and precise, right down to the stitching. The flawless quality of the polished aluminium legs also demonstrated Maeda’s and the firm’s renowned levels of craftsmanship.
(The above 2 photos show the preliminary renderings of KODO chair)
“You have to understand that for as long as I’m alive, KODO will be the language all Mazda cars are designed by,” Maeda explained.
“The advantage with KODO is that it isn’t a single concept car that is adapted to a production vehicle. KODO is a set of principles, a philosophy if you like, and that’s why it can be adapted to something besides a car and that’s why it will never date or go out of fashion.”
The chair was a challenge for Maeda’s team, but ultimately one that provided valuable insight in understanding Mazda’s future design direction.
Of course, even if the chair never makes it to production you can still purchase a KODO-inspired piece. Mazda will even throw in a SKYACTIV engine, body, and chassis to boot.
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