2023 NYIAS | Surfaces and Materials


The trend of increased form and surface complexity has had a hold on automotive design for a while now. It used to be a space owned by Lexus but the layering of shapes and textures is broadly in use by most manufacturers currently in an effort to create distinctive flavors to similar looking SUVs and crossovers.

A lot of what we see today are complex geometric patterns applied to wheel designs, grilles and trim pieces. That was the case at the 2023 New York Auto Show. A walk around the show floor revealed angles with rounded corners still serving as the default car design shape vocabulary. Is it a style convergence of just everyone looking at what everyone else it doing?

I think eventually we’ll start to see simplification return, first with the top end luxury brands leading to a general aesthetic reset. On the luxury side the motivation could be a desire to separate from the mass market brands. Land Rover is already well on this path. For the mainstream, cost will become a reigning in factor as some parts get increasingly expensive to engineer and produce.

If you missed it, check out the full 2023 New York Auto Show gallery.

Photos and Text: Dave Pinter