“The Silicon Valley of the automotive industry has long been located in Zuffenhausen and Weissach.”
Michael Mauer, Head of Style Porsche
For the first time in its recent history, the studio of Style Porsche in Weissach is opening the doors to its archives, which are off-limits to the public. The “Porsche Unseen” series is now delivering a daily dose of exclusive insights into fascinating design studies. Michael Mauer, Head of Style Porsche, explains his vision and takes us on a journey through time – from the future back to the present.
Officially, Michael Mauer is the Chief Designer at Porsche – but secretly, he is the head of a gigantic time travel project at the Development Center Weissach. In the morning, designers may work on the details of a model variant for the Porsche Macan, while spending the afternoon developing a vision for 2050. There is a constant back and forth between evolution and revolution. In fact, the studio of Style Porsche is a massive ideas workshop and think tank for innovations. “The Silicon Valley of the automotive industry has long been located in Zuffenhausen and Weissach,” as Michael Mauer puts it.
He joined Porsche as Chief Designer back in 2004. Weissach is where he and his team designed the Porsche Panamera and Macan, revised the Cayenne, achieved a milestone in sports car history with the 918 Spyder, and reinvented the 911 twice with the 991 and 992 generations. Michael Mauer penned Porsche’s product identity – the brand’s look as we know it. Designs from the studio of Style Porsche frequently receive major international awards, and the Chief Designer himself is considered one of the most influential creators of our times.
Michael Mauer and his team see themselves as product developers and thought leaders of the brand who raise the curtain to the future a little with their visions. Some ideas remain drawings on paper or in virtual space. Others are pursued and built as a three-dimensional scale model to help understand sizes and proportions. This is how the ideas of today’s designers shape tomorrow’s world. Michael Mauer strongly believes that you have to think the future first before it can be created. “The idea is to let your thoughts go all the way to the far future, and come from there back to the near future.” The designers consider which preliminary stages of a vision could be realized in ten or five years with the available technology. That’s what designers call forecasting and backcasting. “I would argue that this is the way to be much more innovative and cutting-edge.”
An automotive genre the Chief Designer and his team are particularly fond of is that of the small, purist and agile sports cars, similar to lightweight icons such as the Porsche 904 or 550 Spyder. Michael Mauer is convinced that the sports car brand community would still be thrilled about a compact ‘king of the curve’ today. Especially dramatic are the studies for a new hyper sports car that could be the successor to the Porsche 918 Spyder at some point in the future: many of the draft designs are inspired by the victories of the LMP1 race cars in Le Mans and the initial experiences gained in Formula E.
Over the next few days, you can embark on a fascinating, daily journey into the world of ideas of the Style Porsche studio. Find out, for instance, how the Taycan was created based on the Porsche Vision 960 Turismo. You will see an off-road safari version of a Macan as well as a purist Bergspyder version of a Boxster. In other words, the series reveals sneak peeks one may not expect from Porsche and, in some cases, may not even have dared to dream about.
by Jo Failer