It’s not uncommon as press to be invited for sneak previews and to test drive new vehicles. And indeed, Lincoln’s “Engage Your Senses” press tour dedicated to the new 2015 Lincoln MKC gave us plenty of quality time both as passenger and driver behind the wheel of the taut MKC to become well acquainted with the iconic American brand’s first small premium utility aimed at a new younger, urban demographic. But as much as we enjoyed our time in and around Lincoln’s latest effort, it was the opportunity to meet a pair of the creative minds from the Lincoln design team which left the greatest imprint over the weekend.
Dillon Blanski and Antonio Molinari – Lincoln exterior and interior designers – were charged to infuse a redefining energy into the Lincoln brand with the new 2015 MKC. Over several days together while traveling across the surrounding genteel hills of Santa Barbara, the pair shared insights about the features, finishes, and detailing unique to the all-new crossover, a model representing Lincoln Motor’s longterm plans to redefine their reputation with younger customers seeking progressive design, luxurious comfort, technological amenities, with the excitement of athletic performance.
Alongside the typical rundown of automotive specs and features (and technological amenities like the push button, ultrasonic sensors rear park assist), the Lincoln team underlined the MKC was formed with a desire to “offer comfort while expressing personal style” in similar spirit with residential interior design. Plush Deepsoft leather seating developed exclusively for the Lincoln MKC by Bridge of Weir contrasts against “open pore” wood trim and unique door-panel stitching, with a spacious, open-air cabin design stretching from the vehicle’s front panel, then over and above to the rear passengers. With the open air view and the surrounding warm materials, the total effect is a harmonious experience where passengers feel comfortably seated, but never afflicted with a sense of confinement.
Driving across the scenic and winding roads across California’s picturesque Santa Ynez Valley, Design Milk was given insight about the visual, architectural, and emotional inspirations injected into the vehicle’s design DNA by each of the designers:
Dillon Blanski – Lincoln MKC exterior designer:
“The Pierres Vives Building in Montpellier, France by Zaha Hadid was referenced for the building’s iconic air register graphic, and it inspired more snap and acceleration with interior line work inside the MKC.”
Typical luxury lines are long and can come off as sometimes lazy; the MKC line work is energetic, reflective of the aesthetics of a younger buyer. I believe the MKC’s interior reads as athletic, spirited, and refined.”
“This image of a sprinter was referenced for his athletic stance and musculature, both reflected in the sculpted surfacing of the body side of the MKC. A sense of ready-to-spring-forth motion was an element that I wanted the MKC to have at first glance.”
“This woman with a sheer sheet gown evokes a sense of grace which was inspirational for the flowing lines of the MKC, design cues which keep the eyes moving from the top of the grill and headlamp, across the muscular shoulders of the body side and around the rear lift gate.”
“The 2015 MKC also reflects its heritage with a nod to the classic 1938 Lincoln Zephyr, displaying exterior hints of the split wing grill with a boat-like bow.”
“A key outcome of interior luxury automotive design is to complement and amplify what you see with a warm and inviting environment,” said Antonio Molinari, interior designer, Lincoln Motor Company.”
Antonio Molinari – Lincoln MKC interior designer:
“This living room overlooking an ocean sunset communicates open spaciousness, evoking a tranquil mood with spanning surfaces that allows the eye to relax. I wanted to instill that same feeling for both driver and passenger of the MKC. The surfacing within is honest and not over-styled, showing a sense of control and does not come off as trying too hard.”
“The Milwaukee Art Museum was inspirational for the front of the MKC. The museum has a structural “spine” that creates a symmetrical “V-shape” of the “wings”, and if you look directly at the front of the MKC there is a “spine” down the center of the hood; the lines on the hood run through the grill and down to the lower grill creating a V-shape.
The graphic shape of the grill and the grill bars create that “wing” like shape also. The Milwaukee Art Museum is very cool, you should see it if you ever get the chance!”
Many thanks to Dillon Blanski, Antonio Molinari, and the Lincoln Motors for their time and insight!