When Car Design Meets Luxury

If I was a car company, I think I’d relish the chance to constantly be coming up with new vehicles that were pleasing to the eye. I was mediocre at Math in school, but to me and hundreds of thousands of others, the beauty of cars is in the numerous angles – the angles in the windows, the angles in the windscreen and the angles on the bonnet. From whichever viewpoint you look at a car you see different aspects and different touches that you’d not noticed before, all of which have been very carefully thought through by the design team, to make the car faster, more stable or even just nicer to look at.

But for car companies, making cars isn’t always enough. Dare I say it, some of the more high-end car makers appear to have got bored at times, and have decided to branch out into other industries. Some of these collaborations cause nothing more than a knowing nod – an “ah yes, that makes sense”, if you will – but others, both with luxury-goods companies and companies in a more affordable price-bracket, have raised an eyebrow or two. Here’s a reminder of partnerships, both good and bad, that have spread the gospel of the automobile further than you’d expect.

Smart + BoConcept

Broadly speaking we’ll work our way up in terms of the car brand’s luxuriousness, and so we’ll start with Daimler. In particular its Smart cars, who recently teamed up with BoConcept, a Danish urban interior design company. When you consider that Smart are all about practicality and small spaces, a link up with an urban interior design company – presumably dealing with compact apartments – isn’t that far-fetched. The two brands say they started the collaboration with a focus purely on creative exchange, but it’s quickly led to the Smart ForTwo as well as the ‘smartville collection’– a range of furniture with car references, which will go on sale in March.

Porsche + Sagem

Racing from one end of the car market to the other, Porsche are no stranger to design collaborations, having teamed-up with Adidas to create some racing-driver trainers. More recently – but still six years ago now, they joined up with Sagem to create a mobile phone, maybe drawing inspiration from the plethora of fake mobile phone covers with Porsche/Ferrari logos on at markets up and down the country. The phone, for its time, wasn’t too shabby. Smart phones have moved on a lot since then, though.

Aston Martin + Mobiado

Aston Martin also dabbled in the mobile phone market, when they partnered with Mobiado in 2011 to create the CPT002 – not just a phone, but a car key as well. You know a mobile phone is luxury when not only does the man in the advert have to wear gloves to hold it, but when it also premieres at a Swiss jewellery and watch show.

Bentley + Breitling

Talking of watches, something would be amiss if we didn’t include some wrist-wear in this piece. There’s something about watches and cars – I don’t know if anyone’s ever defined what it is – but adverts for one of the two almost always contain the other. Bentley is the latest luxury car company to fancy a (time) piece of the action, teaming up with equally luxurious watch brand Breitling to create the imaginatively-named ‘Breitling for Bentley’ range of watches – and we’re pretty sure you can only have (read: afford) a Breitling for Bentley if you actually own a Bentley too.

Maserati + Milani

Finally, one of the UK status symbols of 2013 is the bicycle, down of course to Bradley Wiggins and Olympic-mania. Maserati was way ahead of the game in 2010, when they collaborated with Milani- a top-end bicycle manufacturer- to create a bike called, ‘fast’. You might think that bikes are, certainly in comparison to four-wheeled vehicles, cheap – and you’d be right. But not this one, for Maserati and Milani’s Italian feast cost more than a small hatchback when it was released, at a jaw-dropping $9,800. It’s about as high-end as bikes come, and nothing says status symbol more than handing over almost $10k for a bicycle.

If you’ve seen any strange collaborations involving car companies then be sure to point them out to us. As for those above, we’re looking forward to seeing the range of Smart car inspired furniture – and not just because it’s the only result of a collaboration that we’ll ever have a chance of affording (and even then, second hand off eBay…).

This detour into the (un)necessary car-luxuries was prepared by Jack Rich

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