In 2010, Mazda inaugurated a new design philosophy: KODO—Soul of Motion. For Mazda, a car is more than just a means of transport or a mass of metal. It should be a vital presence in people’s lives, like a friend or family member. That’s why the KODO design philosophy is all about breathing life into the very form of our cars. Mazda has captured the energy found in the frame-by-frame dynamism of living creatures as they move, and infused this energy and rhythm into the form of our vehicles, creating cars with a vitality that makes them truly alive. This is their philosophy, an all-encompassing vision that they intend to carry forward and develop into the future as an ongoing tradition.
The Mazda look is not “Japonism” in a simple sense; it is about reinterpreting the very essence flowing from the fundamental elements of Japanese aesthetics, and expressing this as a new kind of elegance.
The goal: the pursuit of a unique elegance, which was the theme of Mazda’s Design Forum this year.
The elegance that Mazda seeks to express traces its heritage right through classic Japanese aesthetics, a beauty that is subtle and restrained, yet rich and abundant. Superfluous elements are carefully eliminated until only that which is essential remains. In this style, a sense of richness emanates from something that appears deceptively simple in design. A car with a dignified presence, yet with a subtle yet pervasive allure that shines through; in the coming generation of Mazda cars, we aim to express our own unique vision of elegance as part of this image.
The Japanese aesthetic typically expresses a kind of elegance that is found nowhere else. This could be described as a style which grows out of an exquisite sense of balance, beautifully restrained, with nothing overemphasized. Much of Japanese traditional culture is based on the minimalist concept of “less is more,” where the emphasis is on removing or minimizing elements to create an abundance of empty space.
In Mazda’s current lineup, they have captured the frame-by-frame dynamism of a living creature and translated this directly into the physical form of each car to create a look of vitality; going forward, however, they plan to focus on showcasing the bodywork of their cars through an ever-changing interplay of light and shadow that glides over the surface as the viewing angle changes, creating cars that look truly alive. Mazda’s mission here is to craft a form that is beautifully simple, with all superfluous elements stripped away, and then breathe life into this creation through an exquisitely honed display of light across its body.