Audi has always been in a tough spot, overshadowed by the mighty brands of their German compatriots, Mercedes Benz and BMW. But in recent years, you might have noticed that they’ve been turning up the dial, with high profile sponsorships and their very own supercar, the R8. And recently, they’ve been turning to design, presumably in hopes that they can be as synonymous with Teutonic good looks as BMW has become, thanks its BMW Design Works.
This year marks Audi’s 100th anniversary, and they’ve been pushing hard to extend the “language” of their brand–in fact, they’ve just release three new projects: A yacht, a piano, and a massive sculpture.
The sculpture, which was on display during last weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, a celebration of hot cars. Designed by Gerry Judah, it featured two of Audi’s best-known cars at either end of a vertical loop that brings to mind Speed Racer: At the top, the R8, and to the left, the 1937 Auto Union Streamliner:
It’s a bit smaller, but it looks just as speedy: The Audi Design Team joined forces with piano maker Bosendorfer, to create a slick looking grand piano. It’s not a technical innovation per se–the basic shape is meant to retain the unmatched acoustics of classical piano designs–but the detailing, right down to the Formula 1-worthy pedals, makes you wish the thing had a turbocharger and a mean-sounding muffler:
Last, Audi recently tasked German design students at Joanneum University, in Graz, to create a sailboat using the car company’s design motifs. The aim was to create a “brand beyond the car” whose styling cues could ultimately filter back into the cars themselves. Here’s the design created by 25-year old Mark Klug: