Living Progress by Audi
Audi invited to the Milano Design Week for the ninth time. In addition to two concept vehicles, future ideas were presented by the car manufacturer. All topics had one thing in common: sustainability!
Audi’ s choice of Milan as the venue for the presentations of its visions of the future is no coincidence. The capital of the Lombardy region is considered the metropolis of design and therefore a place of fine arts and style. Now it’s Milano Design Week and from the sixth to the 13th of June Audi will also be present in the heart of Milan’s city center at Piazza Cordusio. We guests are welcomed in the “House of Progress”, which is housed in the old walls of the historic Palazzo Medelan from 1902.
I am greeted as I enter by two concept cars that are being introduced here for the first time. The Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept and Audi Grandsphere concept. They shine all around. Both expressive despite or perhaps because of the clear and minimalist design. Just looking at these two pieces of artistry on four wheels, it is clear why Audi is entitled to be present at the most important and significant design fair.
Audi – Future is an Attitude
But these days are not just about design. Interesting panels with interesting invited international guests as speakers discuss the present and how it positively affects the future of mobility in terms of sustainability.
Audi is aware and acts: if we do not work in harmony with the environment and nature, mobility will bring nothing!
We Have to Make a Better Place for Us!
The panel Re-Generation – The Future of Progress is all about Mission Zero by 2025. From the birth of a car and even before that, everything will become sustainable. In some places this is already the case, as in the Brussels and Hungarian plants. Co2 emission-free construction has been underway there since 2018.
There is discussion about our planet, society, but also about ourselves. Because everything is connected. Johanna Klewitz, Head of Supply Chain Sustainability, explains how the choice was made among the more than 14,000 current suppliers and sub-suppliers. Thanks to AI, it is trying to find out which of these partners also work sustainably. This is one of the main conditions for starting a cooperation with Audi in the first place. This is not only about the manufacture of the products, but also about the good treatment of the employees, to which great importance is attached. Diversity thus plays a major role, because only through it “can we create something new together,” explains Denise Mathieu, Head of Diversity Management.
Greta was the turning point
One of the most interesting and surprising panels is a conversation between Henrik Wenders, Chief Marketing Officer Audi AG with journalist Francesca Gambarini and professor Ilaria Capua. Gambarini explains why Greta was the catalyst for a change in thinking: “You can think what you want about her, but she was the one who brought attention to the fact that sustainability is intergenerational equity.” The professor also says a crucial sentence that sounds so simple and that we never really realized: “Using words is most important. We also need to remove fear of terms like sustainability, climate change, etc. Fear blocks us. We need a new strategy!”
The pandemic and the clear blue sky
Professor of Virology Ilaria Capua addresses the pandemic. Your words are promising and uplifting. “The global pandemic has changed us. But it also gives us a glimpse of clear and blue skies.” She tells how she organized a lecture about possible pandemics several years ago: “At that time, I spoke to empty halls.” It explains how the blue sky teaches us that we are connected to Grandsphere. “We are animals, whether you like that fact or not. We humans are connected to animals and plants so that we can survive.” That connection has always been there, he said, and now is the time to save Planet Earth and its animals: “Something that happens on the other side of our planet can kill us.” This also includes a solution for healthy food. If we don’t act now, it won’t affect the next generation, “But our children’s children already won’t have the same life expectancy.”
(Audi) Grandsphere is the future
According to Capua, it is important that civilians realize Grandsphere is our future. A better naming of the concept vehicle could not be chosen. But what is the Audi Grandsphere concept?
Marc Lichte, Head of Design Audi AG, explains the design of the Grandsphere as our home. The Mobile Livingspace, unlike a car with an internal combustion engine, is created from the inside out. The interior is enormous and there is no dashboard. What’s the point, autonomous driving is becoming more and more realistic: “Here, you’re supposed to feel like you’re in first class on an airplane, not business class.”
Sustainable mobile living place
Of course, the luxury home on four wheels is produced sustainably, both externally and internally. At the Re-Generate Our Lives panel, Henrik Wenders explains why Audi calls its location House of Progress: “Our planet is overburdened. We have clear ideas for solutions and are passionate about a positive future.” Tiziana Mauri, Head of C&T Design, explains how she and her team use sustainable materials. Recycling is the magic word – they give materials a second life without the customer having to sacrifice luxury and comfort. Norbert Weber, Head of Interior Design, describes it beautifully: “Shape of the car is character, material is the feeling. That’s why it should be without chemicals. The car of the future will bring you home without feeling like you’re sitting in a car, but in your own home.”
Audi x Poliform and the smallest living room
The trend of the future is towards smaller living areas. And that, of course, also wants to be nicely decorated. We are in Italy, where modernity meets traditional craftsmanship. Italian elegance is in demand internationally. Audi is taking advantage of this in an extraordinary project. Audi x Poliform – Vision of a mobile private sphere is a virtual idea of how the interior of the Audi urbansphere concept could look like. The future autonomous vehicle study has the largest interior space and ideally serves as an individual living room. Therefore Audi asked the Italian furniture manufacturer Poliform to redesign the interior to show new possibilities. Hardly any company on the design scene shares this philosophy as much as this furniture manufacturer. Founded in Italy, the company uncompromisingly sets the highest standards of aesthetics and quality. As a result, it has risen to become one of the world’s most influential companies in the industry. Marta Anzani and Marco Spinelli said yes and virtually presented their idea of an interior design for the Audi urbansphere concept. The result is a minimalist interior made of natural fabrics in earth tones. The job was a challenge to the team: “This was the smallest living space we’ve ever furnished!”
The future is female
Virologist Ilaria Capua tells us about her WeTree project – urban gardens planted in some Italian cities: “They are dedicated to women because the future is a female vision.”
Indian poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941) once said, “He who sets trees, though he knows he will never sit in their shade, has at least begun to understand the meaning of life.” Audi seems to follow this wisdom – also or especially together with women, as the panel discussions at Milano Design Week prove. Only as Audi “steps on the gas” in terms of sustainability will our generation benefit from the protective shadow.