Exclusive: interview with Peugeot designer Olivier Gamiette

Automotive Design 8 Feb 2011
Exclusive: interview with Peugeot designer Olivier Gamiette

An exclusive interview with Olivier Gamiette, exterior designer and engineer at Peugeot, who shares some insights on the development of the B1K concept bike and on his approach to automotive and product design.

Peugeot EX1 Concept Design SketchWe had the opportunity to interview Olivier Gamiette, engineer and designer at Peugeot, who has recently worked on the EX1 Concept.

In the interview Olivier talks about the development of the B1K, the concept bike created by Peugeot as an exceptional companion for the SR1 showcar.

He also talks about his approach to design and his workflow process.

Italian readers can find an exclusive translation of the interview on Virtual Car.

What is the story behind the B1K? Was it conceived as a standalone project or as a “companion” to the SR1 concept car?

Peugeot B1K at Geneva ShowAt the beginning of 2010 Peugeot has revealed its new design identity with the concept car SR1. SR1 is a dream car – elegant, athletic, sculpted by emotion.

To underline the importance of this design manifesto, it has been decided to couple this dream car with another extraordinary object.

This is how B1K is born – a bicycle that echoes with the same athletic allure as SR1, with a sculpted body frame, equipped with the latest technologies.

Tailored for racing, its unique posture and astonishing conception inspire respect and fascination. This strong design will shows through this object.

What are the main inspirations for the design?

Peugeot B1K Concept The SR1 concept car’s silhouette is tight to its mechanical base, as a well-adjusted Italian tailor suit, in the same way B1K ‘s athletic body shows through its sophisticated carbon fibre frame.

I have imagined a unique, tough posture, that would give this object the power to impress, to be outstanding, something that would haunt people’s imagination – that’s its signature.

It’s a unique balance between fullness and emptiness, with some “ghost effects” as for the rear wheel and the suspended back light.

Peugeot B1K Top viewAt different areas I have “omitted” matter so that the brain could recreate lines throughout emptiness, as I intended giving a sense of lightness and pureness to its design.

Its whole attitude has been inspired by an athlete in full action.

The B1K has some really innovative features: carbon fiber construction, chainless drive, “wrapped” tires.

Is it a 100% working prototype or is it a laboratory vehicle for possible future applications?

We all know the main goal and the future of concepts: they are laboratories of ideas that nourish the invisible, everybody’s imagination and aspirations.

B1K is not an exception – it is a design object which, as fertile ground, will nurture new design patterns and inspire innovative technologies.

Peugeot B1K Rear wheel detailsBeing an engineer, I try to rise emotions not only by bold styling but also by amazing mechanical conception.

In B1K it is the mechanical structure that defines the object’s design, nothing is superfluous, everything is meaningful.

I have really appreciated the possibility of going through this exercise.

What are the design connections between the B1K and the SR1?

The common denominator between SR1 and B1K is precision. Gaps are mastered, curves are controlled and volume’s curvature adjusted. I did not want to leave anything unintended.

B1K’s style is well adapted to its audacious conception: unlike other projects, in B1K there is no visible rupture between pure styling and functional mechanics.

Every line brings you on to the next, which leads you to an “infinite” interpretation of the object: it is hypnotic.

As far as Colour and Trim , B1K and SR1 share the same colour palette and an unexpected and unique see-through carbon fibre pattern.

What were the main steps in the design process of the bike? Did you use the conventional workflow (2D Sketch > 3D Modeling > Construction) or did you adopt a different approach? Could you list the main tools and software used for the projects?

Peugeot B1K Concept Design Sketch by Olivier Gamiette We can still design wonderful things with the traditional method, whose possibilities remain unlimited.

I love to draw by hand, I am very “old school” as I love paper and pencils. Not one of my ideas can resist to this exchange – the one between the hand, paper and pencil.

It is for me as if those positive vibrations would help bring to life what is in my head, through a necessary flow between these fundamental elements.

I love all my little free-hand drawings: even though they are rapidly executed, incredible concepts are embedded within.

Peugeot B1K Design Process StagesB1K was born this way, with a free-hand sketch. Later, the Photoshop phase helps to validate my intentions and allows me to go further into the representation of details, anticipating parts’ finishing and mechanical conception.

The next phase is 3D modelling with IcemSurf software. This is a phase which I know very well, as I have been a CAS modeller at the Peugeot Design Centre for 8 years.

Peugeot EX1 Design SketchDue to the close relationship between styling and mechanical conception, I have myself imagined the most subtle part assemblies as the rear wheel.

As a designer working in the automotive industry, what was your approach towards this non-automotive project?

Even though I am a car designer today, I have always loved to cross unrelated universes to find fresh ideas.

Peugeot Chistmas TreeI often explore other domains before coming back to automotive.

I enjoy crossovers and mix-and-matches: as a child I used to draw cat headed horses…with ostrich legs!

I draw anything that might cross my mind and I admit getting up at night just to sketch my ideas on paper, as a reminder for later.

As for my experience as product designer, I have also drawn Peugeot 2009 Christmas Tree, “Tree-glow”, which you can still buy at Peugeot Avenue Brand Store on the Champs Elysées and in other design stores worldwide.

My design approach is the same, in automotive and in product design: to me the main difference between B1K and an automotive project was the boundaries for volume amplitude, as surfaces are more extended on cars than on a bicycle.

Thank you very much for this interview Olivier!

About Olivier Gamiette

  • Peugeot Exterior Designer Olivier GamietteBio: 37 years old, from Paris
  • Background: mechanical engineer, Self-taught in drawing
  • works: Peugeot Ex1 concept car (exterior designer), Peugeot B1K , Peugeot 2009 tree glow (christmas tree)
  • likes: Hotrods, funk music and nice drawings
  • doesn’t like: autumn and olives

(Image source: Peugeot)

Image Gallery

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Leave a Comment

  1. 9/2/2011

    cool bike. but i dont see the suspension.

  2. 10/2/2011

    The result of the union between a car and a bike is the VELOMOBILE.
    There is no more time to waste !
    Peugeot is probably the best industrial to produce a velomobile for everyone.
    They exist in Nederland but they are realy to expensive for the moment.
    I use one (see my web site) and I can tell you that the velomobile is a very smart vehicle for every day using.
    How much for 1 l petrol today ? And tomorrow ?

    Sry for my bad english

  3. 12/2/2011

    i love your design.


  4. 12/2/2011

    this is a smack in the face for those who believe it’s impossible to be a mechanical engineer and a car designer at the same time.


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