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Tesla interior design has nowhere to go but down. Get this version while you can.

Discussion in 'Model S' started by calisnow, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    Tesla's interior is often criticized for not being up to the standard of its price. I would disagree (with the exception of interior road noise level, seat comfort and the feel of some of the plastics and leathers). Busy design does not = luxury. With the upcoming Model 3 I feel that we could possibly be only weeks away from a new, "busier" interior. I'll admit that minimalism and extensive storage do not go together - the S's door panels are a purer, more severe design than the X's - but the X's do hold stuff.

    Let us contemplate beautiful - and timeless - minimalism for a moment (and separate the discussion from the issue of quality and/or luxurious feeling materials). Oh be still my beating heart for the 1946 Eames molded plywood chair:

    Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.01.48 PM.png


    Here is Marcel Breur's 1925 B3 chair - a famous Bauhaus design which introduced the use of tubular steel in furniture:

    Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.06.15 PM.png

    Here is Le Corbusier's LC2 Grand Confort from 1928:

    Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.09.29 PM.png

    We have all seen on screen or in person real or knock off versions of Mies van der Rohe's 1929 Barcelona Chair

    Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.10.34 PM.png

    Florence Knoll's 1954 sofa

    Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.17.25 PM.png
     

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  2. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    #2 calisnow, Feb 1, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
    These iconic designs never need to change or be updated. And you can still purchase licensed versions of them today - brand new. Unfortunately automotive design must be refreshed for sales regardless of whether a current design has reached visual perfection. Which brings me to the 2012-2017 Model S interior - which I believe is perhaps the most peaceful, meditative automotive interior available. And unfortunately, like many automotive interiors/exteriors, the design is becoming more "busy" as time goes by (even though it may become more functional).

    Witness the progression from 2012 - 2017 seats:

    2012

    Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.22.52 PM.png

    2015 Next Generation

    Heavier bolstering - more functional - not as beautiful.

    Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.23.52 PM.png

    2017 Premium Seat - visually even busier

    Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.25.09 PM.png

    I like the premium seat - but it is not peaceful to the eye. It has its own beauty - but it's a complex beauty.
     
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  3. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    Subtle interior changes have also made the car perhaps more useful but feel less spacious. The original 2012 Model S had a cantilevered dash which seemed to hang in space - due to no transmission tunnel. When coupled with a light colored dash and the subtle gray matte obeche wood finish (to avoid the visual distraction of one of the gloss finish choices) it is as timeless as timeless gets and the effect of the dash hanging in space is enhanced.

    Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.31.30 PM.png

    Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.32.45 PM.png

    Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.33.53 PM.png
     
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  4. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    The addition of the yacht floor breaks the illusion because it draws the eye down toward the floor rather than across the dash, and also breaks up the black space beneath it. I would guess it was not part of the concept sketches by whoever designed the interior but rather was something asked for by some customers:

    Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.36.56 PM.png
     
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  5. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    #5 calisnow, Feb 1, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
    Later of course Tesla introduced the center console - which while adding storage space makes the interior look smaller and more cramped - especially when coupled with the latest premium seats - which look bulky compared to the original 2012 seats shown earlier in this thread.

    The one below is an aftermarket design by, I believe, EVannex.

    Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.40.34 PM.png
     
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  6. ev-now

    ev-now Member

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    Interesting observations. On the one hand I do like the openness of the original, do not much like the yacht floor but crave storage space ... From an aesthetic perspective, you are dead on though.
     
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  7. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    #7 calisnow, Feb 1, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
    EDIT - accidentally double posted with one further in the thread. See below.
     
  8. FlatSix911

    FlatSix911 918 Hybrid

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    The timeless beauty of iconic furniture design is unquestionable ... :cool:
    However, I have to disagree on the seating evolution in the model Tesla.
    The next gen seats are more functional with improved lateral support for cornering ... something that static furniture design does not require.

     
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  9. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    Finally compare side by side all features of the 2012 interior with the 2017. Note several subtle changes which add up to a significant loss of visual harmony and lightness in the newer cars.

    1 - The 2012 seats are visually lighter - the black plastic back curves around the side of the seat - helping to create the illusion of a minimal, compound curved, two dimensional plane suspended in space against which you rest your back. The 2017 premium seat is visually bulky - with the light colored seat material stretching around the sides of the seat destroying the illusion of the plane suspended in space. This shrinks the appearance of the interior.

    2 - The 2012 seat is in harmony with the minimal door panels - clearly designed together to go together. As with the seat - the door panels are light in color, suspended visually against the blackness of space - appearing to hang in place with no support - and contributing to the sense of open airiness, along with the cantilevered dash appearing to also hang in space. The 2017 seat clashes with the door panels and also is not in harmony with the dash.

    3 - Finally, the addition of the center console in the 2017 car further breaks the illusion of curved, compound planes hanging in space that was so perfectly executed in the 2012 original design.

    Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.53.26 PM.png Screenshot 2017-02-01 at 11.49.42 PM.png
     
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  10. George Jetson

    George Jetson Member

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    Frank Lloyd Wright's interior designs and especially the furniture were works of art. Beautiful to behold, utterly impractical for everyday use. I'm not offended at all by the interior of my '16 MS. It still seems more like a spaceship than an automobile to me.
     
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  11. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    I agree that the Next Gens are more functional. But I don't think they're as beautiful - sometimes function does come at the cost of form.
     
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  12. privater

    privater 2016 Model S60 owner

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    I can live with the minimalism of the interior design, The control button and dial on wheel feels cheapo, don't understand why Tesla save corners on stuff you use and see it every day. And the space and position of chair adjust button is unfriendly for people wearing a watch.
    Last, cup holder, don't even mention it.
     
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  13. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    I completely disagree. For one thing, the things you do call out "(with the exception of interior road noise level, seat comfort and the feel of some of the plastics and leathers)" are half of what the issue is with Tesla's interior. You continually talk about the minimalist design, however ignore the fact that the 17" screen is far far busier during any typical usage pattern that most every other luxury car (with the exception of the mess of buttons on some of the Porsches). The original seats don't look any better, or match the car any better, they look flat and dull, even lazy. (and were so uncomfortable that I almost didn't buy a Tesla).

    I would agree with the center console, although in practical use it is not nearly as noticeable as in the pictures you show. Particularity when you are showing pictures of an aftermarket console that is far busier than the one Tesla designed.
     
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  14. jelloslug

    jelloslug Active Member

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    There is a huge difference between the examples of the classically style furniture examples that you presented and the early versions of the Model S interior: functionality. All of the furniture styles are still fully functional and work well. The early Model S interior, while looking very clean an modern, is not a particularly great place to sit for a few hours.
     
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  15. jelloslug

    jelloslug Active Member

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    As for the console on the more recent versions: the old console is still there under the new console. If someone so desired you could remove the new console, acquire the old side panels and the yacht planking, and then completely convert it to the old style.
     
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  16. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    @calisnow:

    We have the same taste. I revere those designs and my house shows it. Frank Lloyd Wright is my hero. And that design ethos is a big part of why I fell in love with the MS the very first time I sat in one. It wasn't 45 minutes later that I bought the best offered and walked out with a hell of a lot less in my bank account!

    And from an esthetics POV, I think the new seats killed the pure simplicity of the cabin.
     
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  17. Solarman004

    Solarman004 Member

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    I agree...this would look great in the Model 3 with a tan headliner. :)
     
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  18. K-MTG

    K-MTG Sunshade Captain of TMC

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    Bring back the executive seats with massage functionality?
     
  19. Mikeavelli

    Mikeavelli Member

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    My favorite architect....

    I'm sure a lot of the changes was from customer input....
     
  20. johnnyS

    johnnyS Member

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    I agree with you. My new S90D feels more cramped than my former 2012. I preferred not having a center counsel. I really liked the original interior design and think you have expressed it in a way others can understand. I did not find the original seats uncomfortable, but the new ones are better.
     

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