Portfolio

As an engineer I have had the pleasure to create many objects or participate in their creation. Most often these objects are just useful or necessary (and usually simply made 'on demand'), but some have that extra magic, which makes them special (and me kind of proud). The work I did for Koenigsegg Automotive AB and Spyker Automobielen BV certainly was satisfying. On the following pages you will find some of the products I created for them and a small explanation of the rationale behind the designs.

Design work for Koenigsegg Automotive AB (KAAB)

Chronograph Instrument Cluster

For the 2007 Geneva Motorshow KAAB wanted to introduce a new instrument cluster which would feature a more modern and refined look to match rest of vehicle interior and exterior styling than the existing Stack panel.

Stack panel in Koenigsegg CCX interior

Stack panel in Koenigsegg CCX interior

The main design requirement was that it had to emulate the functionality of a watch (Chronograph in CvK language), with three pointers (vehicle speed, engine speed and boost pressure) rotating around a single axis. Furthermore it was requested to look like “something sporty, like a motorbike cluster or so.”

Constraints were that it needed to be backwards compatible with the existing electronic hardware, so that it could also be plug-and-play retrofitted in already delivered CCX and even previous-generation CCR vehicles. All the functionality from the existing Stack panel had to be carried over and some new features needed to be added, so that it would be ready for the CAN transition. It had to be dimensionally compatible with the existing structure.

It also needed to be compliant with global regulations, which basically meant EU (/UN ECE) and USA (DOT) regulations regarding the use of symbols and their dimensions, colours and light intensity.

To make it a bit more challenging, I wanted to keep it very Swedish: clean and functional styling with basic geometric like shapes without looking simple or clinical. The usability was also an area with room for improvement, while it also should provide a high-end experience. It was going to be the component of the car an owner looks at the most (assuming the owner did not buy a garage queen) and it needed to look the part.

Triple tail lights on a Koenigsegg CCX

Triple tail lights on a Koenigsegg CCX

From a rearview of the CCX model, the styling is dominated by three circular tail lamps on either side. When looking at the interior of the CCX, it also featured several circles with an aluminium bezel (e.g. ventilation nozzles).

This inspired me to use three circles as the defining shapes of the cluster. The centre dial would be larger, since it would contain the most important information (from a driver's perspective).

My initial design proposal looked a bit bland, though it already had some of that sporty motorbike cluster feel. The suggestion from the technical director to use protruding bezels around the main dials proved to be the missing link. When I used a scaled down version of the elliptic curvature from the vent bezels for the protrusion shape, it matched very well with the rest of the interior, while giving the desired look as a component.

To keep the design clean, I applied a combination of direct and indirect illumination. The tell-tales and indicator symbols on the dials were 'ghosted' by printing them only once in black, while the rest of the dials was fully printed in colours and black to keep surface clean. The result was that the symbols did not show up, until illuminated. The colour of the warning symbol inserts which were placed outside of the main dials matched the colour of the aluminium frame. The actual colour of the warning symbol when used was generated by LEDs in the by the regulations prescribed colours.

Koenigsegg CCX interior with circular aluminium bezels which inspired the protrusions

Koenigsegg CCX interior with circular aluminium bezels which inspired the protrusions

The usability was improved by logically grouping the various symbols and indicators and placing these groups logically on the main and satellite dials and the other surface.

The front of the aluminium frame functioned as the facia, while the rear provided the mounting surface for all functional components.

Early packaging prototype of Chronograph Instrument Cluster

Early packaging prototype of Chronograph Instrument Cluster

One of the challenges with using both direct and indirect illumination was to diffuse the concentrated LED light to create an even illumination intensity. This was achieved for the dial faces via backside printing in several layers to reduce the transparency. For the indirect lighting this was achieved via a 'frosted' effect on the inner edges of the illuminating ring around the front face of the dials. The other surfaces were kept polished to achieve a good illumination strength.

The matte black coating on the dials provides a better contrast than regular printed items; the pointer tips were painted with with day-glow paint, while redline indicators were kept as bright as possible in the printing process.

The Chronograph Instrument Cluster – installed in a customer vehicle

The Chronograph Instrument Cluster – installed in a customer vehicle

All electric input signals were reverse engineered with KAAB electro engineers. This information served as input for e-hardware and software developers (external companies).

The actual graphical design of the dials was done again with feedback from the technical director, as well as with the Norwegian partner design agency.

Some side-effects of the development of this instrument cluster were the selection of a font-face (Eurostil derived), which since has been used for all interior design and publications (e.g. brochures, websites, IVI, HMI), LED colour matching of all interior lighting, as well as a harmonization of the anodizing colour (which depends on the aluminium alloy specification and even production batch) and surface finish (roughness and curvature continuation) of all machined aluminium components.

The fact that about a dozen of clients decided to retro-fit their vehicle with this cluster, as well as it becoming the standard item until the Agera model was introduced (about 30 cars), proved that the design goals had been achieved.

Design work for Spyker Automobielen BV

C8 Aileron based specials

Not all customers appreciated the transition from the propeller- to the turbine-era styling. One customer requested a custom vehicle which would feature styling elements from previous production vehicles as well as show-only prototypes on the then new C8 Aileron platform.

Spyker C12 LaTurbie prototype

Spyker C12 LaTurbie prototype

Similar to the C12 LaTurbie prototype, the customer wanted his vehicle to feature 'nostrils', polished metal/chrome ornaments such as door mirrors, light tubes and side air intakes and a quad-pipe exhaust configuration.

Spyker C8 Long Wheelbase with faux riveted body panels and extended wheel arches.

Spyker C8 Long Wheelbase with faux riveted body panels and extended wheel arches.

Furthermore the customer requested propeller style wheels, riveted body panels and extended wheel arches as on some special Long Wheelbase versions of the C8.

'Standard' Spyker C8 Aileron and custom design proposal

'Standard' Spyker C8 Aileron and custom design proposal

The customer liked the design proposal so much that he ordered a second vehicle for his brother! The brother requested the styling to be similar to the LM85 edition of the C8, so we made another proposal for that one.

Spyker C8 LM85 and the second custom design proposal

Spyker C8 LM85 and the second custom design proposal

The designs were approved on the basis of discussions and several renderings and the technical development then started properly. The custom wheels were optimised for strength and manufacturability with the supplier. All wheels were individually machined, allowing the 'propeller vanes' to point in the correct direction, opposed to the cast items on the series vehicle which pointed in the wrong direction on one side of the vehicle. It was a challenge to make the transition from single center-nut to the 5-nut hub and not mess up the spoke styling due to the changed ratios between wheel diameter and spoke length. I managed to make it look pretty good by manipulating the length of some of the surfaces.

Some components of the custom vehicles

Some components of the custom vehicles

The inlet tubes were a bitch to make; we got them machined out of billet in the end, polished and finished with a clear coating.

The custom vehicle being assembled by Spyker colleagues

The custom vehicle being assembled by Spyker colleagues

Fortunately the customers did not request any rear wings.

Road-legal C8 Aileron prototype

One of the main investors in the company wanted to own and drive the first C8 Aileron. He preferred the original show car prototype which was presented on Geneva in 2008 to the 'production' version which was presented on Geneva in 2009.

Problem was that the show car was merely a static dummy. Most of the components were simply not road-worthy. A thorough analysis had to be done to determine which components could be used (and we scrapped about half of them in the end).

The customer wanted the vehicle to be converted from LHD to RHD, since he wanted to use it for commuting to his office in London. Furthermore he wanted an automatic transmission, which made us decide to use the newer C8 Aileron drivetrain. This aided to the emissions requirements from the UK IVA as well. Underbody though it required a completely new design rear frame, to host the new drivetrain and altered suspension. The front was redesigned to feature a better crash structure.

C8 Aileron prototype show car and finished IVA approved vehicle; the devil is in the details.

C8 Aileron prototype show car and finished IVA approved vehicle; the devil is in the details.

Some extra features requested by the customer were a new powerful audio system as well as navigation. Custom housing for this had to be created, as well as extra sound proofing to actually make it worth the effort. For some V8 music is not enough.

This car also featured a new custom wheel design, since the show car featured machined facia which were welded to donor-rims. They were not considered to be safe, so I designed custom items. This time the challenge was to integrate the turbine spokes on a center-nut mounting. The design was modified compared to the Aileron wheels to create less visual mass around the wheel nut by extending the spokes while adjusting the ET-values and tire-/rim-width, allowing the wheels to be positioned correctly relative to the suspension and vehicle body.

Never knew a fuel filler cap could give such a headache.

C8 Aileron remote control

The previous generation remote control not only did not match the 'turbine' styling, it also was not compatible with the new Clifford alarm system.

Previous generation remote control a.k.a. 'the puck'

Previous generation remote control a.k.a. 'the puck'

The new design was supposed to have the same functionality (unlock doors, unlock trunk, open Left and Right door). An extra wish was to use only authentic materials, since this was an item which customers would obviously touch.

My design colleague started the design of this remote control which was supposed to come with the C8 Aileron. Due to other development department priorities, he was not allowed to finish the design and it was handed over to me. Based on his proposal and with his feedback, I got to the following design proposal.

Spyker C8 Aileron top view and the remote control design proposal

Spyker C8 Aileron top view and the remote control design proposal

My design carried over the proposed outer contours and dimensions (since they proved to be comfortable to hold and elegant to look at) and the relative position of the buttons (defined by the PCB of the alarm remote), while I placed the buttons via the golden ratio relative to the housing and added the typography and actual construction details.

Lots of fine-tuning was needed to get the buttons to behave as desired.

This design proposal unfortunately had horrible RF performance, even when we used a microwave oven strength transmitter (the US allows for remotes which can open a garage on 6 miles distance…). The completely metallic enclosure had to be modified and glass and ceramic core options were explored. These could not be made to the required tolerances, so polycarbonate in either black or white (customer option) was chosen. The polished PC surface contrasted nicely with the brushed metal finish of all the other components.

We explored 3D printing/additive manufacturing for these components, but the symbols looked horrible on some samples. We ended up with the rather costly machining, but at least it looked and felt good. Since customers were willing to pay a premium for that, we kept it like this.