Syd Mead: the universe of Star Trek to design a car for the Soviet Union
Universes created in the series and movies Science fiction They are often works of a designer artist. The universe of Star Wars -visualmente speaking- we owe it to Ralph McQuarrie, while the Star Trek is the work of Jay Sydney Mead, better known as Syd Mead.
Syd Mead is a specialist when it comes to shaping future worlds, as well as Star Trek is also responsible for the world of Blade Runner and Tron, for example. The funny thing is that it also helped design a car for the former Soviet brand Moskvich.
The Kitchen IncidentNikita Jrushchov and Richard Nixon arguing to see who has the largest kitchen
Before the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States were already at odds ideologically. That rivalry was even televised in 1959 on the occasion of the American National Exhibition in Moscow (similar exposure followed by the Soviet Union that had been developed a few months earlier in New York City).
Then-Vice President Richard Nixon and Nikita Jrushchov Soviet leader was lifted up in a debate over which country offered the best technological advances. Y they did it in front of a kitchen General Electric in a typical American suburb townhouse. Yes, it's all a bit surreal ...The Moskvich, like this 427 were rustic and suitable models for the Russian climate, but not necessarily very attractive.
East "Kitchen incident", a priori, has little to do with the car. But marks the beginning of the will of the USSR to be superior technologically speaking about the United States. And that superiority was seen in all fields, not only in space conquest. And therefore also in the car.
In 1962, Yuri Soloviev (1920-2013) was appointed director of VNIITE -the Soviet research institute and design with the aim of expanding the activities of design and creation of the USSR. From VNIITE, Soloviev created ten branches that grouped 400 design studios, all linked to a nationalized industry. The aim of Soloviev and his followers was to improve the quality of local productions, ergonomics, etc.
And in this Raymond Loewy she chimedRaymond Loewy next to one of his most famous creations, the Studebaker Avanti.
In 1969, Soloviev meets Raymond Loewy, the famous French designer who lives in the United States. Lowey invited him to the United States-and surprisingly, the Soviet government accede-. On his return to the USSR, Soloviev hires Loewy to design 10 products for local industry. The Soviet foreign trade ministry would be responsible for deciding which products should be designed. Among the orders are the camera Zenit, inside commercial aircraft Tupolev and Moskvich car.
At that time, Moskvich needed a new car to sell a certain image of modernity. The state company was designing a new rear-drive model, but for Raymond Loewy body would eventually be responsible for creating it.
Loewy had a talent for design, but it was above all a publicity genius and knew sold very well. Like many successful design studios, the founder stops drawing and has a team of designers who do it for him. It has always been like Pininfarina, Bertone or Zagato also have. And while Loewy has its own team no doubt to contact an external designer who has just started his solo career: Syd Mead.
Syd Mead's creativity
Young Syd Mead, who debuted in the design studio of Ford opened his own design studio in 1970. The French genius pays attention to him and instructs the project Moskvich. In the designs of Syd Mead, the late 70s modernism and refined and buoyant that aspect of its most futuristic designs are appreciated. One of the most striking aspects is the use of a strip of the same color inside the car on the side, right where the door handles are, and what could be a side rear turn signal.
In these cases, you never know quite who is responsible for 100% of the design of a car, as today where the final design is usually the work of a team of several members. So you may have Loewy designed the sketches with basic shapes (fastback body, wedge design) and Syd Mead has developed the idea. Indeed, in some designs a typical feature Loewy designs can be seen: the asymmetry present, for example in the design model black.The AZLK Moskvich 2141 "Aleko" Aleko Lada or in foreign markets.
Syd Mead design and Loewy never materialized. There is a certain aura of mystery about the influence of the designs of Syd Mead and the decision of the Soviets finally copy the design and architecture of the Simca 1307 (also known as markets and years as Simca 1308 or 1309, Chrysler Alpine, Chrysler 150, Dodge and Talbot Alpine Solara in its body three volumes).The Simca 1307 both the Soviet leaders liked and served as inspiration for the Moskvich Aleko.
He Simca 1307 released in 1975. The car was designed in the English subsidiary by Roy Ax and his team, while all internal mechanical parts, and chassis were developed in France. As for the Mosckvich Aleko, he did not reach the market until 1986 (and then wonder why they never succeeded). And although Aleko and Simca 1307 are very similar in terms of style, the reality is that they could not be more different. So there is only a couple of elements in common.
As for Syd Mead, freed from the constraints of any kind when you have to design a car or any product could unleash your imagination and create all kinds of universes for film or television.