When 22-year-old Jamie Barrett enrolled at Coventry School of Art and Design, he never thought he would be slated with the task of creating a flagship design for the brand-new Qoros automaker. The Chinese company is looking to make a splash with a unique new design approach and hired Jamie as soon as graduation, thanks to a concept he developed in part with the Qoros head designers.
The Qoros concept pictured here is that design. Approaching the market with a new angle, the concept is one of the most unique and creative new approaches we’ve come across in recent history. So, we stopped for a quick chat with the young designer to learn a bit more about what makes this concept so unique, and what to expect from Qoros in the future.
Boldride: When did you First Realize You Were Interested in the Auto Industry?
Barrett: I first realized that I was interested in the auto industry during my teens. Cars became a big part of my life, from playing Gran Turismo to going to car shows with my Dad, everything seemed to revolve around them, and from then on I just became more into cars and anything with an engine!
This then evolved with me loving to draw as well, so then I started to design cars. This is when I realized that I wanted to become an automotive designer, and from then on it was my goal to achieve this (which I now have). It has always been a passion of mine, and I am very lucky to be part of such a great company with a flourishing design department.
When Designing A Concept Such as the Qoros, from what do you draw your inspiration?
Barrett: I try to draw inspiration from other industries, such as the aerospace industry; jet fighters and military vehicles. They all interest me greatly as it is pure function over form, but somehow creates a design that looks fantastic. I tried to push the aerodynamic side of the styling, as I think this will be a big factor in car design in the future, I also looked at many vehicles that I have admired in the past and taken inspiration from them.
How long did the concept take you from start to finish?
Barrett: The whole design took a long time; the whole project was spread from December 2011 to June 2012 , so around 6 months. This starts with a research phase, which allowed me to understand the market that the vehicle was going to be used in, and see how trends were developing by understanding China in the year 2020. This stage then leads onto the design side, where I started to develop the vehicle using sketches and Photoshop to create ideas and themes for the vehicle, these ideas were reviewed weekly by Tim Pilsbury (lead designer Qoros Shanghai) and from there the ideas were narrowed down to the final concept, this then led to the modeling stage, which was around two months, and then finally onto the hard modeling stage, in which a fiberglass mould was taken and then prepped for paint and detailed parts to be put in. Everything was made by hand (which is incredibly challenging) the model then started to come together as a finished car.
The model was then presented at my degree show at the end of May to students and professionals from the automotive industry, both myself and the model received a lot of attention from the guests at the show, but was also great having Gert Hilderbrand and Tim Pilsbury there to support on the night.
What was the most difficult aspect in creating the concept?
Barrett: The most difficult aspect of creating the concept was the fact that Qoros hasn’t even released a vehicle yet, a lot of pressure was on me to represent the brand but also push what I knew of the design to new levels for a futuristic vehicle. Another difficult aspect was to create a vehicle that stood out from the crowd in its own individual way; a vehicle that represented not only the brand but also what the Chinese automobile industry could bring to the table. For this segment, it is hard to break away from the norm. This is why I tried to create a more coupe-like look with sporty characteristics and muscular surfaces.
Talking more about the brand; with harsh criticisms of other Chinese automakers in the past, how will the design of Qoros in the future, prove to the rest of the world they are serious competition?
Barrett: Qoros, as a company, is very serious. A lot of previous manufacturers have tarnished the Chinese Auto industry. But the people who are working here and the lengths that they have gone, to ensure that this vehicle is up to standard, is quite incredible (especially for a new company). The Qoros design team is making sure that future vehicles are competitive within the market, not only competing against fellow Chinese manufacturers, but trying to out do the joint ventures and European vehicles.
Qoros is an international company with strong ties to other suppliers and has design studios not only here in Shanghai, but also in Europe as well (so it is a truly global team) this is how we achieve a cultural fusion within the brand, mixing the best of European design with Chinese.
I know you handle the design aspects of the brand, but do you know of any plans to bring Qoros to the North American market in the future?
Barrett: From what I know I think that Qoros doesn’t plan to bring any vehicles to the North American Market.
Finally, in general, what are your plans moving forward with the Qoros brand?
Barrett: My plans for moving forward with the Qoros brand are to develop my skill set and try to learn as much as possible, I am the youngest designer on the team so I have got a lot of catching up to do. As the brand grows– so will the design strategy. New concepts will develop and the vehicles will change, and I am excited to be a part of this, Qoros has big plans for the future!
Thanks to Jamie for sitting down with us for this interview!