Mazda Design Exercises in Milan

When it comes to vehicle design, other companies may get more attention (think only of the previous generation Hyundai Sonata; you would have thought that the vehicle was sculpted by a reincarnated Bernini for all of the lavish praise of its formed surfaces), but in our humble estimation, there is no company that is doing a better job, car after car after car, than Mazda.

When it comes to vehicle design, other companies may get more attention (think only of the previous generation Hyundai Sonata; you would have thought that the vehicle was sculpted by a reincarnated Bernini for all of the lavish praise of its formed surfaces), but in our humble estimation, there is no company that is doing a better job, car after car after car, than Mazda.

Five years ago, we went to a palazzo in Milan to see the unveiling of the Shinari concept car and were told that the design language, called “KODO,” would be used as the basis for forthcoming Mazda production vehicles.

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Shinari concept

Which, of course, seemed a bit rhetorically exaggerated.

But they delivered.

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2015 Mazda6

And they’ve consistently delivered on the KODO, “Soul of Motion,” approach to design.

However, maybe they’re getting a little too KODOed.

That is, last week in Milan they unveiled two new products with the design theme, but this time one doesn’t have any wheels.

It is a sofa.

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The other one is a vehicle, but probably not one ordinarily associated with Mazda.

It is a bicycle.

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Yes, a track bike (possibly keeping with the theme of Mazda racing: remember, the official name of the track usually referred to simply as “Laguna Seca” is actually “Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca”).

What is most impressive about this seriously minimalist bike is that the frame was produced by hammering a single sheet of steel. Clearly, this is art, not production.

Mazda created these objects for the Salon del Mobile. Which, the last word notwithstanding, is not a mobility event, but actually the annual Milan international furniture fair.

Clearly, the designers at Mazda are nothing if not fashion-forward.