While Detroit is fascinated by emotive "retro-designs" like the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger, Walter Maria de'Silva and his design team at Audi headquarters are looking to the future.
In a wide-ranging interview with BusinessWeek magazine, de'Silva gives a designer's perspective on automotive trends, and one area that he sees as ripe for improvement is car interiors. De'Silva is driving Audi's design team to "create a kind of internal architecture and environment that is even more oriented to the customer." This means everything from new, more ergonomic seats to simpler, easier to understand dashboards and instruments.

Certainly, we've seen increasing attention to interior design in our recent coverage of the Los Angeles and Detroit auto shows, with Aston Martin's Rapide, Toyota's F3R and Mazda's Kabura all showing remarkable attention to interior architecture and detail.

Also high on de'Silva's list of interior design improvements is better use of materials, and clear and intuitive information systems in the car. (My guess is he isn't using BMW's iDrive as a role model for the latter.)

De'Silva's favorite (non-Audi) current designs? The Aston Martin DB9, the Porsche 911, and the Fiat Punto. From the Audi stable, the A6 Avant and the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. And even de'Silva isn't immune from the pull of retro-design - witness the Lamborghini Miura concept on display at NAIAS.


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