If the world’s best-selling two-seater roadster is about anything, it’s simplicity. The car sticks two fingers up at contrived design and exhausting engineerin, it’s a simple joy to look at and to drive.
As the former owner of a used and much abused but utterly loved MkII, I was chuffed to bits to join Kevin Rice, European design director at Mazda and Claire Andrews, Mazda’s Marketing Director, to judge a competition to design a bespoke wrap for the all-new MX-5. The winning wrap will grace a new MX-5 on Mazda’s stand at the Festival of Speed.
The competition has been run by Talenthouse, a global community that brings brands together with artists to create content that connects with people. The community is made up of artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians and fashion designers spanning 175 countries.
While Kevin Rice brought his undisputed designer’s eye to the submissions, and Claire Andrews her in-depth knowledge of the brand, I found it fascinating to see which designs captured the pure driving joy that can be evoked by a static car. Any visitor to the Festival of Speed will know what I mean; a car can ooze power, speed, aggression and movement just by sitting on a metal stand at the show. That’s the power of design: to display grace and velocity through lines, shadows, curves and light.
Our winning submission, which will now be the livery on the show car, stood out immediately to me, because it took the ethos behind the MX-5, which is essentially the joy of driving, and smacked it on a design that echoes the idea of the car on the move. The bonnet is all about those blue skies, twisting country B-roads, roof back, wind through the hair, and the design moves along the car as the car moves through the day and its journeys, to a cityscape which, I have to say, provided me with some of my best moments in my MX-5, roof down on a summer’s night in the city, Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms humming through the speakers, sodium light streaming off the wings, the smells of restaurants and perfume, the sounds of laughter, traffic and a city at night.
So congrats to Stuart Roy, our selected artist, and also to the splendid Highly Commended entries. Do go to see the winning design on Mazda’s stand.