Nearly a decade after its birth, the Range Rover Evoque returns to the market with a second generation, with cutting-edge design, to meet the needs of a new generation of motorists, more aware but no less demanding. The orchestrators of this encounter between force and sophistication are Massimo and Amy Frascella, respectively Land Rover Exterior Creative Director and Chief Designer for Colors and Materials.
How does one reinvent an iconic product like the Evoque, after the success of the first generation? The term has been abused a bit in the design world… but Evoque is a recent car that will undoubtedly become iconic: this is why we have conserved its very strong character, without any desire to reinvent it. I am certain that in time this coherent approach will ensure the status as an ‘icon,’ which the car is still earning at the moment.
When you work on a new product, how do you decide to approach its predecessor?
It depends. When you start working on a new generation, at first you develop ideas in different directions, from the most radical to those closer to the evolution of the current concept. With Evoque the choice was very simple from the outset: to evolve without disrupting, because this model came into the world with a distinctive, unique character that has changed Land Rover’s way of doing business. We wanted to make it more sophisticated, clean, refined in its execution, removing superfluous lines and details.
How do designers operate in this new automotive world, where technology seems to call the shots? The auto industry is going through the most sweeping change in its history: over the next 10 years it will change more than it ever did in the past, and these new technologies will have an amazing impact on our work. The important thing is to use them to advantage, while conserving a very clear character; the technology has to follow a ‘design leadership’ that permits emotional bonding with people. This is the fundamental spark.
The use of different materials for car interiors is also a new challenge.
Yes, for us it certainly is. We have forcefully advocated the use of alternative materials inside the company, and we have developed them, obtaining excellent results, I think. The auto industry is quite conservative, in a way, but we have seen an opportunity, we have taken stock of where the world is headed. We might say we are pioneers in this area, able to propose sustainable materials of very high quality that change perceptions. Luxury, basically, also means the possibility of choice.
Amy Frascella: With respect to leather, the new materials offer a different product, based on where clients live, the climate, their preferences. We knew that at a certain point, it would be very important for them to have another option. Our biggest challenge is to ‘educate’ the public and our dealers, to transmit the value of these new products.
And how do clients respond?
A.F. I think the clients of Range Rover Evoque are very progressive. They are clearly interested in the composition of materials, where they come from, the expectations they can fulfill: they want a more responsible and sustainable product, but it is fundamental that it also be durable and of high quality. The overview has changed very quickly, the trends have become more popular: today it is normal to be a vegan, and people are ready to reject certain products because of how or where they are made. In the future all this will change even more rapidly. What we have done with Evoque is only the beginning. Many changes are on the way, in terms of new legislation, regarding what a product will or will not be able to have, and materials are part of this process. The impact will be strong and it will effect the entire car.
Photos Range Rover archives - Article Nina Stefenelli