Vision 1789 : The Spirit of Endurance
VISION Automobiles Paris founders, Thomas Castex and Florian Gravouil, had a specific idea, a vision ; and they needed a designer to represent this car and create all the brand’s DNA.
Before starting to draw, they briefed Martin Chatelier (Head of Design) about the purpose of the project and together, they defined the different characteristics to be respected. The goal was to create the first two-seater hypercar running on biomethane, 100% developed and produced in France.
Martin needed to know & understand what inspired them for this project, both in the automotive and other fields: aeronautics, architecture, haute-couture but also music, which can indeed spread much more emotions than a simple image.
Then they mixed it all up with the team’s strongest common source of inspiration: the 24H of Le Mans, the race that has driven the team and the project since its beginnings. This race and its spirit played a very important role in the definition of 1789, from a technical point of view, but also gave the team the ambition to give birth to the VISION brand during this race, what we have not seen for years among the new prestigious car manufacturers.
VISION 1789’s current design is the result of a strong collaboration and passionate discussions between the core team members: Thomas Castex, Florian Gravouil, Martin Chatelier, Adrien Bleriot & Thomas Dufour.
The research process can be divided into 3 major stages:
Research stage 1: Definition of the brand DNA – creating everything from scratch. The first realisation was the logo, which had to represent the passion for motor sports, the sense of detail and French craftsmanship, and above all the breakthrough and the no-compromise characteristic; both in the lines and in the technology. It helped defining the basis of our identity.
We then started to draw what 1789 might look like. This is a very special phase where you have to let go, to succeed in transcribing ideas and values into lines, an attitude to find an iconic design that will make an impression. VISION 1789 is mainly built around the position of the passengers in the cockpit, i.e. in the LMP-type position, and also around the flat bottom, which is one of the key elements of the 1789 design. During this first step, we went very far in the creative process, looking for ideas that are breaking, sometimes crazy, in order to have the strongest possible concept. We very quickly tested some of these ideas in 3D to see the coherence and the feasibility of it.
Research stage 2: During phase 2, we selected the ideas from phase 1 with the highest potential to make a single vehicle that we pushed forward until the end of the creative process. We went back and forth between drawing and 3D modeling to build the exterior and interior of the vehicle, and to put every element in the right place (engine, tank, etc.). That’s when our first driver, Paul Loup Chatin, joined us to help us with the development of the car, especially the parts concerning the ergonomics of the vehicle, the steering wheel, the interior etc.
We also started to use the VR (virtual reality) to get a good idea of the volumes, the size and the distances between objects in order to design the most realistic hyper-car that is as pleasant to look at as it is to use. To sum up, this second phase helped to validate the main idea and key sketch chosen in phase 1, and to rationalize it to make it functional and credible.
Research stage 3: This last phase is mainly dedicated to the design adjustments allowing us to have lines, volumes and reflections as clean as possible. It is also the phase dedicated to details, to the choice of colours and materials. This is the moment when you finish creating each small part, the buttons on the steering wheel, the pedals, the harness, the inside of the lights and rims etc.
After the research process came the 3D modeling phase. During this stage, our class A modelers worked on 1789 using very precise numerical tools in order to be able to industrialize the vehicle afterwards. This step allowed us to start the manufacturing of the models ¼ then scale 1 which will be exhibited on various shows and prestigious automotive events very soon. It also allows us to progress in the development of the vehicle with our technical partners such as Faster, Estival and others, with whom we are constantly connected.
One of the most important challenges in designing 1789 was combining French luxury (comfort and elegance) and the ultra-sporty side. For example in the bodywork, this can be seen between the upper and lower part of the vehicle. The upper part is intentionally very pure, round and elegant while the lower part is much more radical, technical and efficient in terms of aerodynamics. Inside the car, this can be seen through the contrast between the driving position and the materials used as well as its simplicity. The 1789 interior is surprising as it lets the light enter to create a unique atmosphere.
Another big challenge was the design of the steering wheel. It is a particularly complex part that has to replicate the sensations and ergonomics of LMP steering wheels in a much simpler, more modern steering wheel designed for customers who are not necessarily racing drivers.
The VISION team is made of passionate and talented people from very diverse backgrounds: luxury industry, automotive, engineering, marketing, design, technology and many other fields. There are also 3 professional endurance drivers in the team: Paul-Loup Chatin, Matthieu Vaxivière and Inès Taittinger who highly contribute to the development of the car.