The following images are from a 2005 automotive interior design studio sponsored by Collins & Aikman/ Sanyo. My goal for this project was to create a design that could be utilized across multiple vehicle lines and would include a modular center console. This would couple with Sanyo’s infotainment systems to create a concept able to be produced in the near future.
Awarded Most Reconfigurable Console Innovation: C&A/Sanyo 2005.
A full scale functioning center console shown here was created complete with ratchet style center console arms able to pivot by locking and unlocking with a turn of the contoured knobs. A DVD player and LCD screen is integrated into to the main body assembly. The silver center portion features storage areas, but is modular in construction and can be removed to replace with in-car entertainment and climate controls. Awarded Most Reconfigurable Console Innovation: C&A/Sanyo 2005.
Initial sketches ranged from a variety of fixed position ‘solid’ console designs, to a mixture of floating center stack designs using large masses of open space to promote both open storage and a less weighted design.
From these concepts, the final design language of the console to be produced was based; taking key features from a select few sketches which would evolve into a console that not only had anamorphic styling cues, but could actually be moved in real time to suit the product end user.
Maximizing Your Design
Exploring further upon the idea of a center console that could be readily reconfigured within the same vehicle or even multiple lines greatly intrigued me. The greatest asset to maintaining interest in a vehicle is personalization and functionality. If you can keep things interesting while providing for ever changing needs; you are going to have happy customers and lifetime followers to your brand.
From an OEM standpoint, the idea of having one set of tooling that can span multiple vehicles is an outstanding accomplishment.
From an OEM standpoint, the idea of having one set of tooling that can span multiple vehicles is an outstanding accomplishment. Generally only small interior items can cross over multiple lines, with the largest being an in-dash stereo or navigation unit. By keeping both the center console re-configurable and the including inset modular in construction; the potential to save large sums of money while achieving vastly different interior aesthetics and trim levels has just become a reality.
The ideation to the side and below show the final design direction and transition from the latest iteration to the concept that will be developed. A key note that is illustrated here, is the carry over mechanics of articulation to the arm rest assembly. By giving the same dual rotation points; you open up even more options for storage, comfort, and aesthetics.
Both assemblies can also now be moved fore and aft along a track inside the vehicle. Combined with the articulation; you now give the user literally
hundreds of possible configurations. Cup holders are fixed in the lower potion of the frame assembly. Ambient LED lighting trims the modular units while also being used underneath to provide for cargo, vanity, and mood lighting.Seating is shown mounted on the winged stanchions flanking the center console.
A modular center stack meant for easily interchangeable console configurations. Sharing a common power outlet, the modular construction let the user then have their own choice of various plug in styles versus being limited with whatever their vehicle sold with.
Self Defined Style
Again, personalization mixed with functionality is key here. It allows for both budget and controlled growth as you want or require more integrated technology or perhaps a plug in focused solely on a key in vehicle aspect; such as a high end audio unit that eliminates all storage. Final marker sketches help to illustrate various plug in and infotainment access points. Storage and stow away sections are also highlighted here. A unique ratcheting mechanism can be locked or unlocked with knobs for the concept model; however this action would be electronically controlled in a production version.
A modular center stack meant for easily interchangeable console configurations.
A series of limit switches and program parameters would eliminate all pinch point scenarios. Sensory nodes placed underneath the armrest and center stack portions would also prevent the end user from crushing any stowed items during a transition.
These final marker renderings represent the three basic configurations of the center console. The main positions can be referred to from top left and clockwise; an upright vertical stack position, a lowered traditional sports position, and an elevated position. These configurations could range from economy cars, SUV platforms, high performance vehicles and touring sedans.
Each offers a vastly different style using the same platform.
Note how each position offers different possible storage solutions and potential accessory placement. Each offers a vastly different style using the same platform.
These Alias models show the final forms in a simplistic mock-up. The dashboard shown is unique in that it can be effectively used to promote all three of the basic console positions. This dash style was used as inspiration in my full scale working prototype build. Also shown are the seats mounted on the console wings.
Completed Full Scale Concept
Featured in the final model was a working LCD screen and inset DVD player.
Shown here is the final working prototype model. This was built to full scale utilizing a production passenger seat and steering wheel to offset the console and
dashboard and giving the user a true sense of the design.The knobs shown on the side act as locking mechanisms for the inset ratchet assemblies in the upright arms of the model. By unlocking them in each direction, the console and arm rest could be re-positioned to all of the aforementioned configurations.
Featured in the final model was a working LCD screen and inset DVD player provided by the co-sponsor, Sanyo. Shown below are storage for media and cellular devices. The middle main storage bin is also functional as well as the lid on the armrest.
This won Most Reconfigurable Center Console Design for 2005 by Collins and Aikman.