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Mazda Gets Artsy in Milan

17 Avril 2015 - Automotive News

Mazda Gets Artsy in Milan

Is Ikuo “Speedy” Maeda, the black-clad lead stylist at Mazda Motor Corp., making good on his ambition to launch a designer goods line tied to the Japanese carmaker?

Just months after he floated the dream, his studio debuted a futuristic bicycle and avant garde sofa at an art exhibit in Milan, Italy. The “Mazda-designed artworks” are part of an event dubbed “Mazda Design: The Car as Art,” the company said in a release.

The metallic red bicycle is a minimalist track racer with a frame painstakingly hammered from a single sheet of steel. The hand-sewn leather seat gets the same red thread and stitch pattern as the MX-5 Miata roadster. Meanwhile, the sleek, low-slung black and silver couch embodies the twisted surface tension seen in the Kodo design language of Mazda’s street vehicles.

The works aim to express “two key sensibilities rooted in Japanese aesthetics.” The first is rin, a sense of self-restrained dignity. The other is en, a sensuality that speaks directly to the senses.

Last year, Maeda told Automotive News he wants to try a Mazda Design line in the vein of luxury marques such as Porsche. His first gambit in the arena was a metal and leather recliner chair.

Now he’s dabbling with some new items.

Maeda, nicknamed Speedy because of his penchant for racing his yellow modified race-spec Lotus Elise, thinks such fashionable goods may help cultivate a more premium, edgy image for Mazda as the brand looks to lift itself from the mass-market mainstream.

Masahiro Moro, Mazda's managing executive officer in charge of global marketing, customer service and sales innovation, said to expect more such works.

“Moving forward,” he said in the release, “we will create more opportunities to familiarize customers with Mazda and Mazda design in order to raise the value of our brand and strengthen our bond with customers.”

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