Karim Habib, the Montreal-raised designer leading Infiniti’s global styling shop, voiced an interesting goal in a profile of him on Page 10 of this issue.
Habib said his goal is for Infiniti vehicles to have a subtle look, one that reveals its appeal gradually: “From a distance, the first impression should be reduced, almost restrained. And when you get close, you feel the intricacies, the beauty, the work that’s been invested in it.
“In terms of form language, we’re trying to clean things up,” he said.
That puts Habib clearly on one side of a split that has been emerging in luxury-vehicle design. On one side, you have the clean-look minimalists. Probably the leader of this group is Daimler design boss Gorden Wagener, who has been smoothing Mercedes-Benz vehicle surfaces.
His philosophy is that no unneeded decoration should appear on vehicles. As he put it in an interview with GQ magazine last fall, “That is our design discipline: If we don’t like something, we take a line off; if we still don’t like it, we take another line off — which is harder than adding lines, right?”
He has expanded on his aesthetic in a book, “Sensual Purity: Gorden Wagener on Design,” which shows some stunning futuristic architectural renderings. More concretely, look at Mercedes’ EQA concept, a preview of electric-vehicle design shown in Frankfurt auto show in 2017.
ON THE OTHER SIDE