Debuting today at the Detroit Motor Show, the Avenir Concept is characterized by an exterior that reinterprets the classic read-wheel-drive sedan layout, and by a luxuriou yet modern interior focused on connectivity and well being.
The project is a collaboration between GM’s design studio near Melbourne, in Australia, and Buick’s North American design center, in Warren, Mich., with over 100 designers, sculptors and fabricator involved in the development process.
While the name Avenir – French for future – signals how the concept paves the way for upcoming models, the four seat, four door sedan also takes inspiration from historic Buick models.
The exterior features a sculptural surfacing, and Buick’s signature sweep-spear bodyside. The proportions are characterized by the long hood, reduced overhangs, and sweeping lines that extend up to the sloping, rear deck, a distinctive feature that pays homage to historical models, such as the Riviera.
Among the new design elements is the front grille, that redefines the brand’s “face”, reinterpreting a design that appeared on the 1954 Wildcat II concept.
The cabin features flowing lines and surfaces inspired by nature and sea waves receding on a beach. The sense of dynamism and lightness are enhanced by the light tones and the layered and floating elements.
Among the technical highlights are an advanced infotainment system, which includes a number of large touch screens, including twodisplays for the rear passengers.
Below we report the video of the Avenir reveal and the design details and statements from the official press releases.
“Avenir embodies Buick design, which centers on effortless beauty and presence without pretense,” said Ed Welburn, vice president of General Motors Global Design. “It demonstrates the growing international reach of Buick and offers an exciting vision of where it can go.”
“Simply put, Avenir is a beautiful piece of sculpture, delivered on a premium proportion that acknowledges the Buick design heritage in a very progressive way,” said Michael Simcoe, vice president of design, GM International Operations.
“The vehicle remains unmistakably Buick with a modern take on the traditional Buick cues such as the sweep spear and boattail. The result is a piece of artistry that is precise in its character, beautifully proportioned. It really takes your breath away.”
The most striking departure from contemporary Buick models is a new grille design that puts a new face on the brand. It features a large opening accented by a return to the three-color – red, silver and blue – Buick tri-shield insignia, accented by wing-shaped elements.
The grille is flanked by bold headlamps featuring full LED lighting.
“The new grille is a modern interpretation of a design introduced on the landmark 1954 Wildcat II concept, which shattered expectations of what a Buick was supposed to be,” said Simcoe. “On the Avenir, it represents a break from convention and progressiveness in technology.”
Sculptural surfaces, taught lines, short overhangs and a broad-shouldered stance stretches 204.5 inches (5,195 mm) in length and 76 inches (1,931 mm) in width. Its reimagined sweep-spear element complements the long body lines and conveys a sense of motion, as does tapered rear-end styling.
Avenir’s sophisticated color palette, including a Crystalline exterior color and strained use of bright work accent the Avenir’s body lines and sets up the interior for a combination that takes Buick’s contemporary style to a higher level.
“It’s a sculpted design with a lot of snap in the character lines – with a classic long, low proportion,” said Simcoe.
“Its length enables exceptional spaciousness inside, but just as importantly, a presence that speaks to luxury and the importance of style. In short, it’s the befitting proportion for a Buick flagship.”
The Avenir’s four-place interior rewards the senses, makes managing technologies easier and enhances the feelings of personal space and well-being.
“A flowing, sculptural quality in the interior forms, deco trim, premium leather and ambient lighting, create an environment that is inviting and comfortable,” said Liz Wetzel, Buick interior design director.
Interior surfaces – inspired by nature and sea waves receding on a beach – flow seamlessly through the cabin. It is a motif featured on the seats and carried through in other trim components – even the carpet. In fact, a patterned insert for the carpet carries the motif in silk and bamboo.
“There’s an almost-three-dimensional or bas-relief effect to the design motif that adds depth and heightens the sense of place,” said Wetzel. “Layered and floating elements such as the center console enhance the perception of lightness, efficiency and dynamism.”
A color palette of light and natural tones blended with oiled and buffed wood trim, and Galvano satin-chrome accents, enhance the Avenir’s ambience.
“They’re rich, premium materials and warm colors innovatively executed to enhance the soothing effect of the interior environment,” said Wetzel.
Functionality is manifested in the Avenir’s device-integration technologies, which are designed to lift the user’s mood and make the details associated with daily life a little easier. It starts the moment the vehicle is started, synchronizing information and devices within seconds.
The Avenir instantly configures gauge cluster and infotainment screen displays based on prior customization while also recognizing the user’s music preferences, calendar schedule and recently visited locations from a cellphone’s GPS. It can even pick up a podcast the user was listening to at the moment it was interrupted.
Buick’s user experience designers are also pushing the Avenir’s technologies for home integration, which would allow accessing home security cameras or the capability of turning on outside lights and closing a garage door that was inadvertently left open.
“The Avenir’s integration features build on the technologies already available or coming soon in smartphones and streamline them in a system that makes accessing and interacting with them easier,” said Wetzel.
Personal connectivity extends to rear-seat passengers, where USB ports and video screens allow occupants to plug in to their favorite media and slip into complete relaxation, arriving at their destination refreshed and rejuvenated.
“The use of color, material, form and amenities can affect a person’s mood and feeling,” said Wetzel. “The Avenir is a showcase of thoughtful and modern design with the capacity to anticipate and facilitate the personal needs of its occupants. It’s absolutely its own getaway destination.”
“The interior is designed with the driver and passengers’ comfort and well-being in mind,” said Welburn. “Technology is seamlessly integrated and builds on the features that have become hallmarks for today’s production models – helping drive a new generation of customers to Buick.”
The Design: a global collaboration
The Buick Avenir concept represents a collaboration of General Motors’ global designers and fabricators, who worked between studios in Australia and the United States to develop the striking design statement.
More than 100 designers, sculptors and fabricators at GM’s design studio near Melbourne, in Australia, and Buick’s North American design center, in Warren, Mich., contributed to the project, which leverages Buick’s styling legacy to explore a vision for a modern flagship sedan.
“The Buick Avenir concept showcases the very best of GM’s advanced design talent and capabilities,” said Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design. “Developing a concept between studios on opposite sides of the earth is challenging and the Avenir demonstrates how Buick’s strong design heritage linked the teams with a singular vision.”
Approximately 10,000 miles and 16 time zones separated the Melbourne and Detroit-area studios. Designers shared their renderings and communicated via live conference in the middle of the day in Detroit and the beginning of the next day in Melbourne.
“As a brand with one the richest histories of design, Buick’s legacy is recognized and revered around the world,” said Welburn.
“The designers in Australia understood the essence of Buick’s design language just as well as those in America, which fostered a more cohesive collaboration between teams, with seamless integration.”
Avenir’s classic rear-wheel drive proportion and exterior design theme originated at GM’s Australia design studio, while the interior theme was penned in the United States, with elements and unique cues, inside and out, shared by both creative staffs.
“Time and distance were variables, but the teams’ understanding of the project brief and the sculptural essence of Buick transcended the time zones,” said Michael Simcoe, vice president of design, GM International Operations.
“GM’s global design studios are very well connected and we contribute to each other’s projects all the time. There is a tremendous understanding of the brand’s design language and passion for the future of the portfolio.”
The Avenir concept’s signature sweep-spear body side motif and nod to the “boat-tail” styling of the 1971-73 Riviera are modern interpretations of classic Buick cues proposed by Lead Designer Warrack Leach and the Australia-based staff.
The designers were given the freedom to explore form language, graphic elements and interface.
The interior studios proposed a variety of ideas and, in the end, rallied around the sculpture in the interior sketch by Lead Creative Designer Blake Allen in the North American design center.
Construction of the concept took place Down Under, with the support of GM’s fabrication team, which overcame the time-zone challenge with precise communications and in-house craftsmanship.
“Simply put, Avenir is a beautiful piece of sculpture, delivered on a premium proportion that acknowledges the Buick design heritage in a very progressive way,” said Simcoe. “It has been a wonderful opportunity for all involved.”