Meet Yasutake Tsuchida, chief designer at Mazda Motor Corporation.The 41-year-old designer has been entrusted to bring to market a new car range that will change the way we look at cars. The Mazda Kai concept in Japanese means “the very first” or “the pioneer”.
Has design become a very important factor at Mazda?
Mazda has just 2%-3% of the global market and we need to stand out in more than just great engineering. So, yes, design is a very important part of our car manufacturing.
Mazda seems to be going towards curved, shapely designs whereas the rest of the Japanese car brands are following a boxy, sharp-edged design language. Why is this?
It’s all about being minimalist. Our inspiration stays with what is around us… everything Japanese. Simple, effective design has always been the Japanese way in homes, buildings and now moving objects.
Why the emphasis on curves?
It’s about how the shape of the car takes on the movement of light.
Will this design language keep moving forward with all new models?
The lines must be sculptured and not chiselled. With the Mazda Kai concept, you can see there are no lines. Instead, it is all smooth surfaces.
For the coming generation of Mazda vehicles, we are creating a look that is even more elegant than anything seen before, yet with the sense of vitality that characterises the Mazda style.
We have set out a design philosophy which encapsulates a distinctively Japanese kind of beauty, a style cultivated since ancient times as a look that is sublime yet subtle.
Yes, we will keep following this language.
If you had to admire one car design, past or present, which would it be?
The Ferrari GTO.
Malaysians are applauding your design and even saying it looks very European. Does it?
The Mazda look is not “Japonism” in a simple sense; it is about reinterpreting the very essence flowing from the fundamental elements of Japanese aesthetics, and expressing this as a new kind of elegance.