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Car and craftsmanship

Unfold the history of cars—a report of craftsmanship active in different fields Witten by motor lighter -Jun NISHIKAWA

Through the time, make the function into art

Written by Jun NISHIKAWA Photo by Jun e Co.

Jun NISHIKAWA
Motor journalist
Born in 1965, Nara Kyoto. Graduated from Engineering Department of Kyoto University. He has been the Deputy Editor of Recruit Car Sensor Company and made an independent editorial production in 1999. Writes for magazines, news expresses and net-media as a freelancer. Writes articles about luxury car, vintage car and super sport. During 2018 to 2019, serving as the selection committee for Car of The Year Japan. And he is member of Japan journalist association. He writes and spreads the history and culture of automobiles and keep criticizing the industry and civilization. Now living in Kyoto.

When you hear the words about skills of artisans, you may imagine of the artistic jobs. But a real artisan doesn’t like to be explained his job as art works. Everything for the needs of customers. Depend on the experiences, knowledges, originality and time, make all asks of the orders realize and 100% satisfied by whoever at wherever. This is the job of an artisan. Certainly, the wonderful works in the others’ eyes are as same as kind of art though. And this time, by the relationship between human and cars, and by the interior of car, where should be paid attention mostly, we want to fit kinds of needs by artisans’ skills, make the cab as an art work. We selected the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as interview place, where is famous of the 18th hole of golf course, and which dose open every summer for car beauty contest.

At first, what is the development opportunity for auto interior? It’s easy to imagine the cabin which contains seats space is developed from carriage. And in modern time, it’s the cab established by steering wheel and instruments. The place where meters, switches and monitors lined up is called dashboard. The carriage which was made for protect coachmen and passengers from the mud and small rocks kicked up by horses at first, though the horses already exchanged by engines, nothing changed of the role they played. The structure of the car gradually becomes complicated, especially in proportion to improving engine performance, in order to monitor the mechanical condition, the types of instruments are needed. Then there are variety of meters set in the dashboard. The layout of dashboard today, keeps the style from the very first, only some evolutions in the design of panels, wood panel or leather panel, metal panel with decoration, body integral panel etc. The instruments also progressed from analogue to digital, although the monitor and the air conditioner were added, the configuration and function of dashboard has never changed. So hasn’t steering wheel. It’s rare to see a slender design of steering wheel, while the new functions of airbag and semi-automatic transmission etc. has been added, but the shape and function never changed. (The structures changed by time, and the time of disconnect with mechanical is come).

Although the function doesn’t change, we can still feel the old dashboard like an art. In the past, the artisans designed, fixed and even distinguished the selection of materials by the asks of customers, after 50years, after a century, it sublimated to a fine piece of Art. We can understand the design from the unchangeable things and attracted by the design impossibly in modern time. This is a reason why vintage car is called “Art with wheels”. At first, the dashboard which consists of only a few meters and switches becomes complicated, the more convenience the instruments change, the more implicate the system constructed. Not only the dashboard, the handle and roof liner also configured operating system, and center console has been added too.

The innovation is waiting in the near future. The interesting fact is about the CASE (Connected, autonomous, sharing, electronic) progressed, but the dashboard returned to the initial state. The monitor will become a simple board again, even the steering wheel will disappear. At least, our aesthetic will not be hindered. And how to draw the future of board design on canvas, it’s the job of artisans.

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