Designing the Car of The Future: Einar Castillo Aranda

Einar Castillo Aranda, a UNAM graduate, is the author of the i.D. Buzz, a German electric vehicle inspired by the emblematic Combi.

Designing the Car of The Future: Einar Castillo Aranda
This is the car of the future that "shakes up" designers. Images and text: UNAM

The automotive industry is in a process of transformation, in which ordinary engines will be left aside, we will move to the electrification and autonomy of vehicles, which will be able to drive themselves through voice command, said Einar Castillo Aranda, designer of the i.D. Buzz van, of the VW brand, and graduate of the Center for Industrial Design Research (CIDI) of the UNAM.

"The car will become whatever you want it to be: an office, a living room, or a place to spend time with friends, this will shake up how designers will face the cars of the future," he argued.

Castillo Aranda had a web meeting with CIDI students and academics, to whom he presented remotely the all-electric unit that will be produced globally, which is inspired by the iconic Combi.

The university student is a permanent member of the German automaker's Design Team at the parent plant in Wolfsburg, Germany, which chose him as the main designer of the vehicle that was recently unveiled.

In 2002, the then CIDI student competed for and won an official contract as a national exterior designer for the German automaker, and in 2005 he became a permanent member of the global Design Team at the Wolfsburg headquarters.

Earlier in 2004, he graduated with a degree in Industrial Design with the thesis: "Front and rear design proposal for an urban public transport bus", with the advice of Armando Mercado Villalobos.

"The current project (the i.D. Buzz design) has been incredible for me, it was a privilege, this is the opportunity of a lifetime, to be at the right time, all the planets came together to be able to participate in an initiative of this magnitude with this amount of history, it was incredible, and here you can see, you can appreciate all the design spirit that we took from the bus (Combi), in this modern and fresh interpretation."

The Combi i.D. Buzz: The Concept of an Icon
The Combi i.D. Buzz: The Concept of an Icon

i.D. Buzz

In its concept format, it was first shown as a prototype at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, USA. Our goal, Einar clarified, was never to make a "copy-paste" of the Combi, we wanted to project it into the future, to bring it back in a new, modern interpretation.

"We had to look forward. The Combi is very much alive to this day, it became an iconic car, thanks to its construction with its configuration of elements so charismatic and so flexible to use, its proportion and silhouette made it unique, a car that you could do anything you could think of, turn it into any number of different vehicles, configure the space as you wanted," he described.

The Combi or Type 2 (T2), he continued, is a relevant car in automotive history for its architecture, proportion, and face. This monolithic shape, with no hard corners, and rounded, is friendly and digestible.

"It is a very strong icon, when we see this constellation of elements with huge 'eyes', which are like a child's face, expressive, it is one of the most recognized and iconic fronts ends in the automotive world. We are trying to reinterpret this by looking to the future".

Einar Castillo Aranda: A Visionary of a Changing World
Einar Castillo Aranda: A Visionary of a Changing World

This is UNAM

What I learned at CIDI in terms of the materials was very useful to me, plus I took away irreplaceable experiences. It is the teachers, the people who support you and push you forward, and the communication with colleagues, that is what strengthens, said Castillo Aranda.

"I was very happy to have won the design competition in 2002 for the company where I work today because at that time the strike was over, and there have always been some sectors in Mexico that paint UNAM in a different light. I was happy to be a graduate of CIDI and to say: 'here we are, this is UNAM,' and the greatest asset of our university is still its faculty and students".

With a photograph from 1983 showing him in front of a Combi, Einar confessed that he has always been a completely visual person, with image retention.

"I was a designer since I was a child and didn't know it, I liked the idea of robots, of space, of technology. I already dreamed of doing something, of creating things, and this is where the whole thing started, the whole dream that can come true; everything can be achieved if there is passion and determination, I put all my efforts to achieve this," he concluded.

Einar Castillo Aranda, designer of the i.D. Buzz van, of the VW brand.