Seat Leon2049 : Marcello Aguiar
The Seat Leon2049 is a 3-in-1 leisure vehicle. Thanks to electro-responsive materials, the glazed surface changes shape according to user’s needs. 3 modes are available: Coupé (1+1 seat), Standard (5 seats) and Cruiser (6 seats facing each other). Thanks to Plasmagnetic Levitation, it doesn’t need wheels or asphalt to move. Or tracks, for that matter. Huge stretches of lawn will replace today’s unsustainable streets.
SEAT releases the Leon2049, the commemoration model of the 50-year anniversary of the Seat Leon. CARS NO LONGER EXIST. Nowadays we have single or multiple passenger specialized transportation vehicles, automatic or controlled by the user. Everything designed for efficiency in an urban tissue that keeps getting denser and more complex. A car, as we knew it in the past, does not meet the efficiency requirement of today’s metropolis anymore. Hence the mandatory use of the public transportation system. However, today’s way of life is not just about complicated cities and stress. Leisure vehicles, for the enjoyment of a trip, family environment or the vehicle itself should still be part in our lives and that’s where the Leon2049 comes in.
Discussions on environment and sustainability began in the 1970’s and the concept “Think globally, act locally” has since been applied more and more, connecting individual actions with global problems. In 1992 a conference was held in Rio de Janeiro by the UN – “Earth Summit” – in which strategies to apply this concept were outlined, through the program “Agenda 21”. Five years later the situation was reviewed – “Rio+5” and flaws in the program were identified and new strategies were defined to better its implementation.
50 years after Earth Summit, in 2042, the “Rio+50” conference was held and Sustainability measures became stricter in all sectors and transportation was no exception. Several technologies that were nothing more than dreams in the beginning of this century were used in the L3on2049 to cope with increasingly stern environmental regulations.
Hydrogen. The rise of Hybrid Internal Combustion/Electric cars in the beginning of the century proved to be a mere passing phase towards an efficient use of hydrogen fuel cells. In 40 years, it became mainstream.
Solar Concentrator Membrane Glass is also a common and accessible feature nowadays. With constant research, it became possible to efficiently capture sun light in the glazed surface and intensify it on the edges where PV cells are located.
Electro-deformable Materials use nanoscales that change their global shape through electric current and acquire a predefined structure depending on electric frequency. It changes its shape between a number of fixed memories.
Plasmagnectic Levitation System allows levitation without the use of tracks. It makes a large body float at an acceptable height with acceptable stability. Research began with small steps but achieved maturity some years ago. The L3on2049 is the first vehicle to use this system efficiently.
All these technological developments meet the global desire of having a pleasant urban experience, of rendering our cities more sustainable, of returning the city to the pedestrian.But the L3on2049 took this concept a little further: the day will come when all vehicles use its levitation system and the asphalt that contaminated our cities for more than one century will become obsolete. We will have long stretches of lawn – why not? – instead of a heavy dark layer of asphalt.
Target: The buyer of the Seat Leon2049 is a young family with a lifestyle that justifies owning a private vehicle. They can work at home or in the office, but they like to spend quality time together. They like to travel not only by aircraft but also in their private vehicle.
To meet the demands of a family the Leon2049 must be a flexible to cope with the needs of each member – whether it is daddy that wants to drive a little faster, or the family that wants to take a short or long trip with the kids. But above all, the vehicle experience should be pleasant and lively.
To design a vehicle for the year 2049 it was necessary to think not only about the concept of a car for that time, but also about the environment – the city, people’s lifestyles, and so on – and how this would influence automotive design. A whole Reality was created, as described above, and imagine how the SEAT Leon would fit in that reality. SEAT’s DNA was rather important in the design of the 50-year anniversary edition of the Leon. Starting with the Seat 600, touching the Toledo and ending in the Leon.
Besides the context of technology evolution, two images were relevant in the design process: the hands holding a planet, suggesting protection and the image of a highway at night with its dynamism. These pictures were interpreted and used in the shaping of the Seat Leon2049.
The design made several conceptual jumps as iterations were completed. One of the main changes was the adoption of the Plasmagnetic Levitation System. This change occurred because at one point it became coherent with the reality that was constructed: it made sense, considering the context.
A 1:5 clay model was developed. Several improvements were made during this phase.For instance, a cut along the side of the body to add visual lightness. Also, the levitator bulges were widened to give the car a more powerful stance.The body features (the bulges, shoulder line, tail) were connected to add consistency to the whole.
Matte paint was chosen to simulate aerodynamic micro-recesses in the surface and to give the car a more “product design” feel.
Originally an architect graduated in Lisbon, Portugal, Marcelo Aguiar soon decided to change career to car design and pursue his all-time passion. After a kickstart at SEAT in Barcelona, he worked with several start-ups and independent companies, on a wide array of products – from off-road buggies to supercars. After designing the first concept of the Indian start-up Mean Metal Motors, the M-Zero, Marcelo Aguiar is now responsible for the Exterior and Interior design of the Uniti One concept and production version, the first models of the Swedish start-up. you can follow more of his work on Behance.