Ian Callum has just revealed our latest Jaguar concept car, the all-electric I-PACE Concept. We took the chance to talk to him about how he’s used concept cars to push design forwards – hearing about past Jaguar successes, his biggest inspirations, and where things are moving in the future.
How have you used concept cars to change the direction of Jaguar design?
When I first started, I used concept cars to try and explain to our management how we can move forward. Concept cars are catalysts, a starting point to change minds.
Which concept cars of the past really stand out?
The R-D6 was a particularly radical car – a 5 door hatchback. Even to this day, some say we should have built it way back in 2003. We were toying with the identity of the car.
The big fascination at this point was the interior, and the bringing together of components – and electronics were just starting to kick in too. That was a really good, creative time.
2003 | Jaguar R-D6 Concept
How was R-D6 received?
It was showing how Jaguar could change, and it met with a fair amount of resistance. I’m really pleased when I’m met with resistance, because I know it’s working! Being disruptive is a good place to be.
What about interiors? How do you push those from a design perspective?
You expect to see wood and leather in a Jaguar – so when we started doing concept cars, I said let’s use wood and leather but in a way that hasn’t been seen before, using a lot of experimentation. But we'll see a point soon where we’re using materials inspired by all sorts of things from outside the car industry.
So where do you look for your design inspiration?
Everywhere, all the time; we’re very aware of what’s going on in the outside world. I’ve got a young team, and we look from clothing to product design to architecture – it’s all there. The more eclectic a mix of people we have coming from other disciplines, the more comfortable I feel.
2016 | I-PACE Concept interior detail
What’s something you’ve learnt from another industry that’s impacted your designs?
We’re looking at materials which are woven into exactly the right shape – it’s not woven, then cut, then sewn in. It’s woven to the exact shape that you want to use, and we’ve learned that from the shoe industry. Car designers and shoe designers actually have some interesting parallels – for both of us, it’s all about visual life, form, and function. Gone are the days where car designers are just car designers – we’re very much ‘of the design world’.
F-PACE is one of your recent success stories. How did that start as a concept?
F-PACE was based on the C-X17 concept car. This concept was built from the ground up with a distinct set of principles, a deep sense of what makes a Jaguar – clean lines, exciting proportions, a balance of form. It was assertive and powerful, yet with a beautiful sensuality about it. C-X17 was boldly, distinctively Jaguar.
2013 | C-X17 Concept
But seriously, the big question is: what’s going to happen in the future?
We believed quite a while ago that the days of the internal combustion engine, as much as we love it, were numbered. The electric car is on its way, and it’s on its way with real vengeance. There’s no doubt about that.
And you’ve just shown that with I-PACE Concept. How does that sit within Jaguar’s design outlook?
The I-PACE Concept represents the next generation of electric vehicle design. It’s a dramatic, future-facing cab-forward design with a beautiful interior – the product of authentic Jaguar DNA, electric technology and contemporary craftsmanship.
2016 | I-PACE Concept
How about the interior?
The interior of the I-PACE Concept is finished with beautiful, premium materials and an unwavering attention to detail. Throughout the interior you’ll discover a host of beautiful details to surprise and delight. From the expansive panoramic glass roof to the sporting, beautifully finished seats, every feature bears the hallmark of British craftsmanship.
And there is digital craftsmanship too, with two touch screens serving up information when and where you need it, limiting distraction and improving the driving experience.
2016 | I-PACE Concept interior
And lastly, how do you sum up your philosophy for Jaguar design?
You’ve got to have a sense of fun in a Jaguar. That’s a certain philosophy we’ve built up. Being British, you have to build this sense of humour into your product; for example, when XF’s gear selector rises up as the engine starts. You’ll see this and think, that’s very James Bond – and that’s exactly what we want to make people feel when they drive our cars.