• Image Credit: Drew Phillips
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  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
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  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
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  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
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  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
Design themes in the automotive industry tend to ebb and flow in trends: jelly bean styling, retro design, flame surfacing... we could go on (and probably would if we were better schooled in the language of design), but you get the point. So what's the next big thing in automotive design? Layers.

No, not the "levels" Kramer ranted about when remodeling his apartment on Seinfeld, but layers. It's about adding a three-dimensionality to a vehicle's surface, exposing some of the elements underneath and making room for active aerodynamic components. It's something that BMW has championed with the i8 and which McLaren embodied as well with the P1. Its rival LaFerrari adopts the approach too, as have a handful of concepts like the Toyota FT-1, Aston Martin DP-100 and (maybe to a lesser extent) the Maserati Alfieri.

"With the McLaren P1, we used a 'shrink wrapped' approach," Frank Stephenson wrote in correspondence with The New York Times. "Like an exoskeleton, we were able to expose distinctive features and uncover what doesn't have to be hidden."

Considering the lust-worthy dream machines where the trend has kicked off, we should only expect layered design to further permeate the industry, trickling down to vehicles more people can actually afford... and not just six- and seven-figure hybrid hypercars.


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