ICIAN A Concept by Michael Heasman, United Kingdom

2005: Germany.

Illustrations on Display at Michelin Challenge Design™


Michael Heasman is a designer with alloy wheel manufacturer O.Z Racing in Italy where he has worked since September 2004. Prior to this position, Heasman worked as a research associate in the field of clinical management and has co-authored numerous reports into asset planning in European health economies including a well-regarded document into private finance that has had significant impact in Europe. He is well regarded in European health asset planning and continues to work with the European Health Property Network on a consultancy basis. Heasman’s real passion however is automotive design and this is the second year he has entered the Michelin Challenge Design with a view to promoting his abilities to the audience of the Detroit design community with a view to a career within the heart of the auto industry.


This concept is of a four-door saloon, perhaps the most successful German car format. Glass is used as a feature, allowing the occupants better visibility of the constantly evolving German landscape. The vehicle will harmonize with its environment. This is a people car, for those in, and outside of it.

It’s the use of high quality materials and functional engineering that is perhaps most indicative of German design. New technology is embraced and new German design is always a step forward from the previous. Collaborations of form and function have inspired some of history’s most influential design movements, such as Bauhaus. German design is at its best when meeting a demand. This concept explores the issues visibility and attempts to tackle the problem of A-pillar obstruction while maintaining a ‘sense of solidity’.

The traditional roof structure would be eschewed in favor more rigid space frame chassis structure, much like that of a Lotus Elise. In order to provide the necessary roll protection the vehicle would utile technologies from the convertible car market – namely pyrotechnic roll hoops. These systems used widely on vehicles such as the BMW 3-series convertible would be placed at the traditional C pillar position, but also fore of the A pillar. In the event of a roll these would deploy providing. A permanent roll structure at the B pillar would complement overall structural integrity in the event of a roll.

Traditionally German vehicles have exuded a sense of solidity aided by thick supporting pillars and solid form. This concept perhaps appears contrary to the theme of blind spot reduction, the solution has been to consider the DLO and body in white as a common component. The quarter lights are finished in a mirrored film such that it appears from the outside of the vehicle to be an extension of the silver painted main body structure. The remaining glazed area is dark tinted to match areas of the bodywork such as the doors. The overall effect is of a solid hewn structure. This premise reflects the theme of Bauhaus, the forms and function are harmonized.

This concept recognizes design as a function; aesthetics are a primary motivator of car purchase, here is a vehicle that should look and feel like no other, yet could only be inspired by Germany.