Modern Design with – Tesla

The goal was a mid-sized sedan that seats 7 people, plus luggage, in a package that is highly energy efficient, functional, and good looking. Okay, extremely good looking. The Model S was the first car to accomplish this and much of it had to do with Franz von Holzhausen, Chief Designer at Tesla Motors. Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO and Chief Product Architect, and Mr. von Holzhausen are both committed to a car future requiring no fossil fuels.

Mr. von Holzhausen, in an interview with GigaOm, said, “Something needed to trigger a change in behavior and in manufacturer’s behavior towards moving to a more green, sustainable environment…and really create the foundation and win the acceptance of electric cars. My job, my goal, is to do that through the power of design. That emotional response, that engagement that you get is what sparks the curiosity and makes you go over and look at that thing or see that car…”

He further discussed the performance spirited vibe he wanted in the car design, explaining he thought the icon of a high performance athlete was the right theme. “And if you see the car, it has broad shoulders, it has a great stance, has a really purposefully built body. It goes back to this athletic theme.” It also has a face. The designers spent time on the “face” of the car, making it distinct and recognizable up close and employing what they call “down the road graphics,” ensuring that you can see it from afar and recognize it right away.

Our interaction with a car – and a house – is indeed tactile. The Tesla team wanted this superior experience to start when you reach for the door handle of a Tesla, or actually - just before then. The shiny chrome handle lies waiting, flush with the door itself. But as you approach with the key in your pocket, (which is a sleek little pod that looks like a tiny Tesla) the door handles silently slide out from the body to meet your hand. A product born of planning, prototyping, design functionality, and beauty - we get it.

This very human, emotional response to our designs is an essential component of our work at Whipple Russell Architects. The space must function, but also provide a range of sensory appeal. And we admit it. A Tesla would look very good in front of a Whipple Russell house.