Manager, User Experience
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Toyota Prius Interior - Advanced Concept

After gaining deeper insights from both existing and potential customers of the Toyota Prius, in 2011 an exploration to rethink the vehicle interior design began. A primary goal for this advanced concept study was to transform perceptions of hybrid car design as sterile and pragmatic into a more warm and resonating experience. Inspiration from abstract art sculpture, fashion and organic textiles led to new interpretations of the interior.   

Role: Lead Interior Designer

Studio: Calty Design Research, Toyota North America

Strategic Questions

Strategic Questions

How can the vehicle interior better express the Prius driving experience and enhance the brand's personality?

How might the interior environment invite engagement through its form architecture and digital interaction design?

What new design language and digital interface could be created that reflected customers stated desires for less complication and more emotional connection with the car interior? 

Theme Ideation

Theme Ideation

Seeking to explore the juxtaposition of sculpture and nature as a thematic direction, these sketches focus on rethinking the instrument panel form and configuration of the digital display.

Inspiration of Fine Art

Inspiration of Fine Art

This sculpture by the artist, Anish Kapoor was a catalyst of inspiration with it's intriguing study of a geometric shape under tension. I saw this as a way to reveal the internal safety structure of the cross-car beam housed within a graceful form.

Concept Development

Concept Development

Began with abstracting a photograph of the sculpture to reinterpret it as a structural form protruding from inside the wall. These sketches expanded on a theme of artful structure as the foundation to build the vehicle interior upon. 

Interior Architecture

Interior Architecture

1. Stretched elliptical beam houses internal cross-car safety structure.

2. Information screen formed in a U-shape with front touch area flowing back into a large remote display.

3. Lower knee bolster cradles the beam and display with a protruding surface for the shift knob and open storage tray.

3D Model Development

3D Model Development

The final design was created entirely in Alias Autostudio. This hybrid 3D sketch illustrates how the materials and colorways would work in combination with each other to create a 'Warm Tech' environment.

Full-Size Interior Model

Full-Size Interior Model

The final model created a lightened feeling to the instrument panel's mass. Dual central displays work in tandem with front display serving as the touch interface passing user inputs and information back into the large remote screen.

 Architecture of the interior form construction is highlighted in this view. Elliptical beam structure stretched into a flowing form and cradled by the center display panels and lower knee bolster. The 'non-automotive' design was internally controversial at the time (2011) but it opened a new interpretation of what a hybrid car interior environment could be.

Architecture of the interior form construction is highlighted in this view. Elliptical beam structure stretched into a flowing form and cradled by the center display panels and lower knee bolster. The 'non-automotive' design was internally controversial at the time (2011) but it opened a new interpretation of what a hybrid car interior environment could be.

 Hidden beneath the mesh fabric, interior air ventilation system is digitally controlled to create an ambient air flow. 

Hidden beneath the mesh fabric, interior air ventilation system is digitally controlled to create an ambient air flow. 

 Door release handle grows outward from the aluminum trim detail. Armrest and door storage is designed as a fluid single element with an interior hammock for holding small items.

Door release handle grows outward from the aluminum trim detail. Armrest and door storage is designed as a fluid single element with an interior hammock for holding small items.

 Center console picks up on the sculpted elliptical form language. It appears to emerge from beneath the floor as it is highlighted by a recessed LED edge light.

Center console picks up on the sculpted elliptical form language. It appears to emerge from beneath the floor as it is highlighted by a recessed LED edge light.

2018 Prius Interior

2018 Prius Interior

The current Prius production interior developed by Toyota's global design team in Japan was influenced by the original conceptual theme model from Calty Design Research in 2011. Even with obvious engineering limitations, the overall architecture of the original concept is evident. The theme maintains an elliptical cross beam stretching across the interior cradled by the information display and lower bolster.