Design as Art: Evolution of Mazda's KODO Philosophy

The main principle of the KODO design is the expression of feelings and experience of power and beauty that accompany the image of things in motion even when a car is standing still.

The Mazda KODO design philosophy, first shown to the public in 2010 through the Shinari concept, has been shaping the look of the company’s models for the past 8 years. The KODO design was embodied in the production model of 2012, when the Mazda CX-5 was released.

Design as Art: Evolution of Mazda's KODO Philosophy photo 2

Since then, the ability of the “Soul of Motion”, which is the main motto of KODO, to breathe life energy into the car has not only charmed many customers around the world but has been repeatedly awarded honorary design awards. Most recently, the Mazda CX-30 and Mazda MX-30 won the Red Dot Design Awards, receiving the title Product Design 2020.

In 2010, Mazda Shinari showed what the next models of the brand will look like In 2010, Mazda Shinari showed what the next models of the brand will look like

The principle of the design philosophy was laid down in the Shinari concept. In Japanese, this word describes a kind of powerful but elastic force. At the same time, while maintaining the fundamental principles, KODO is constantly developing and progressing, what can be even through the examples of the Mazda3, Mazda CX-30 and Mazda MX-30.

Mazda Europe Design Director Jo Stenuit explains:

the first EVs on the market were designed with very futuristic, sometimes alien looking styling, disconnected from humans. I guess this was to make people understand that these early EVs had an electric drivetrain. As the electric drivetrain becomes more usual, though, this kind of futuristic design is not needed anymore.
Design as Art: Evolution of Mazda's KODO Philosophy photo 3

Therefore, the KODO design of the Mazda MX-30 is expressed in a more utilitarian way. The company’s designers have made it emphatically clean and simple. Clamshell doors without B-pillars should also emphasize lightness. To some extent, this is an experiment and an attempt to expand the boundaries of the design philosophy.

While the MX-30, which is due to go on sale in Europe in the second half of 2020, explores new aspects of the KODO design, the Mazda CX-30 professes plasticity and elegance of forms. Smooth curves and the play of light and shade are given considerable attention here.

Design as Art: Evolution of Mazda's KODO Philosophy photo 4

Three key elements of Mazda's design are known to the Japanese as Yohaku or Ma: the beauty of empty space, Sori: curves with poise and balance, and Utsuroi: the play of light and shade.

We used Yohaku or Ma for both the exterior and interior of the CX-30, it is based on our second phase of KODO, which is all about creating emotional designs with the fewest possible elements. Basically, going back to the roots of good car design: only use the elements you really need and fine-tune them the best you can.

explains Jo Stenuit.

Design as Art: Evolution of Mazda's KODO Philosophy photo 5

If we speak about the interior, here the designers sought to ensure that the first impression of the driver and passengers was a sense of calm. Thoughtful ergonomics should help the driver focus on driving. Certainly, this style and design requires long hours of painstaking work, revealing the very balance of power and stress. Creating such a controlled life force — a form that is beautiful and thoughtfully simple -requires tremendous time, discipline, and skill. However, it is fundamental to the distinctive Japanese elegance of Mazda's next-generation design vision.

We can understand what will be Mazda’s next new products by looking at its concept cars and prototypes.

Design as Art: Evolution of Mazda's KODO Philosophy photo 6

Related News

Sign up or log in to post a comment