Theme of Last Month: Shutlines – A Trend

Will this theme not tire us all? This BMW i3 caught my eye because of the novel arrangment of the bumper and bodysides.

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Another element is the way the tailgate covers the lights. Audi have deployed this on some of their Q-series SUVs and good old Opel have managed it on their delightful Insignia estate. I have some history with this feature: as a newbie-designer (in 2002) I proposed this concept for a saloon and was told it was “not feasible”. Note to other designers, unless the laws of physics are challenged, everything is feasible given time and money. Always dispute the power of “no.”

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

6 thoughts on “Theme of Last Month: Shutlines – A Trend”

  1. Since you’ve brought it up Richard, I have been seriously considering calling an extraordinary editorial meeting with a view to changing the site name to shutlines.com and specialising in that subject alone. I think there is certainly a gap in the market.

    The i3 of course has the soon to be very fashionable floating C pillar, but for me, somehow the rear lights under tailgate don’t please exactly as they did on the show car.

  2. I like those “hidden lights” in principle (as I did on the Citroën XM). However, on the i3 they do look slightly wrong for me, too. It looks too much like they have taken the Up!wards pointing units from VW’s smallest and just used them sideways. Maybe the horizontal arrangement is meant to hide the tall and narrow appearance of the car, but insetad of this, they rather seem to enhance that impression. Is it because they are set too much inwards and almost seem to touch in the centre?

  3. I’m all for the hidden lights and have wondered why headlamps on one box designs with a deep enough windscreen couldn’t be behind the base of the windscreen and wiped with the screen wiper. I chamois my car down almost daily and am all too aware of the gaps and crevices that hold water and dirt so anything that eliminates body components and simplifies I believe to be an advantage.

  4. That would be a Multipla with an extended windscreen instead of that bulge. Sounds promising.
    Although I’m not sure I’d want to change a bulb on such a car.

  5. I hadn’t thought of that, dgate. The problems to be overcome are access as Simon S pointed out and focussing the beams (or maybe not even that as projectors sit under polycarbonate covers). In solving the access problem you’d create new form combinations, I think. Or the windscreen/front panel could be made to be easily removable (velcro!). It’s intriguing, I think.
    Ah: maybe crash regs preclude it. Glass is not bendy enough. Answer: create a smart material that is laminated. On impact it turns into a flexible sheet?
    The i3 has a small zig in the tailgate – why? I note the Audi A2 nearly had a simple trapezoidal tailgate but the designers let the rear lamps intrude. Same reason?

    1. I was thinking of a dash/facia shelf as in the i3 where an access panel at the forward most position near the screen would allow for bulb replacement, this would be done from the interior.
      Or LED lighting which may not require much in the way of maintenance or fibre optics where the light source could be in a very accessible place remote from the final output location.

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