top of page
Cars Final Tile large.jpg

Episode 04 Car Design with Ian Cameron and Verena Kloos Part 2 - History and Future

What will the cars of the future look like? How does function create an obstacle for design in the future of luxury cars? Ian Cameron and Verena Kloos continue their conversation in part 2 of their episode.

Robert Ross and Bill Curtis speak with Ian Cameron and Verena Kloos about cars that have changed automotive history and why after looking back on their own relationship. They also examine luxury and function in cars and try to imagine the obstacles and possibilities facing automotive design in the near future.





Announcer: From Curtco Media.


Announcer: This is Cars that Matter.


Robert Ross: Continuing our conversation from last week, Ian Cameron, known for his work with Rolls Royce and Verena Kloos, known for her work directing BMW DesignWorks, join Bill and me to discuss cars that matter. But before we get into the history of cars. Bill had an important question about a different history.


Bill Curtis: So here you had Ian, who's developing back in the early 2000s, the new phantom Rolls-Royce. And Verena was involved with DesignWorks and especially with some relationships with BMW. So you guys are married. You've been together for a while. Tell us about the office romance.


Ian Cameron: Oh, it was 8:30 in the evening. And she had...


Verena Kloos: No. And I was always referring to him as the corporate weirdo.


Ian Cameron: Can you believe it?


Bill Curtis: And this attracted you to her?


Ian Cameron: Well,.


Verena Kloos: No, I told him afterwards.


Ian Cameron: It broke my heart. And I thought, well, life's got to be better than that. So I had another go.


Bill Curtis:  How did you get together, really?


Verena Kloos: No he actually.


Ian Cameron: No it started because you know what the magic words are to start a.


Verena Kloos: and he was always, he was always so serious and a grumpy old guy.


Bill Curtis: I really don't , I need to know the magic word.


Ian Cameron: I told her she was dangerous.


Verena Kloos: No, No, you were referring to somebody who had said it.


Ian Cameron: He had never said it,  I made it up.


Verena Kloos: And I was completely confused. How could he know that person who I had met in Italy during my tenures at Mercedes Benz? So that was somehow and then he started to smile. And I was so surprised that he even can smile.


Ian Cameron: The hook was in, the hook  was in, Bill.


Bill Curtis: So he had a reputation of being a real son of a bitch.


Verena Kloos: Yeah. Grumpy.


Ian Cameron: What?


Bill Curtis: How did you get together? Was it a political challenge within the group?


Ian Cameron: Yes.


Verena Kloos: No, not really. There are so many.


Ian Cameron: Obviously, we agree on everything you can tell.


Verena Kloos: So I think we laid it open or made it public pretty quickly. But BMW is a place where so many relationships are going on. It's not a place like other companies where it's completely forbidden to look at your neighbor or anything like that.


Bill Curtis: Did you fall in love with his design sensibilities?


Verena Kloos: No.


Bill Curtis: Or was it his ?


Verena Kloos: It was him.


Bill Curtis: We want details.


Ian Cameron: There has to be something that I must add to relationships within BMW. It's only having reached retirement age and left BMW. There's nothing more beautiful than hindsight. And I'm still in touch with certain former colleagues, etc. People who love engines and old motor cars, et cetera, et cetera. And you start to discover interests and affinities which were never visible during more than 20 years of working together. And this is one of the criticisms I have of such an environment. Teambuilding, real team building where people form relationships and loyalties, which may appear to be perhaps against upper management. I don't know, with enlightment. I refuse to work with people I don't enjoy working with because you do it with your heart and soul. It's such a pain. And if you do and if you discover these affinities and interests you up the output and the commitment. And that's exactly what an environment, an umbrella like BMW should allow, encourage and make use of. And this this is not the case where there's a German cultural thing as a fear of true team building or teams becoming too strong and threatening or disturbing the modus operandi. I don't know. But this happened above and beyond that. As Verena says, office relationships in this day and age can get sticky.


Bill Curtis: They can get sticky.


Ian Cameron: But there's such a pressure of work and not doing anything else. You know, there's this insidious thing of you going to the unions. You are only allowed to work so many hours a day. Let's say from eight  to five, full stop. And you go home, relax, you sleep a certain number hours, you come back and start working. It has to be this gap in between. Then they say, well, you should have a laptop. You know, it's just more flexible. You can walk around with it. And guess what? You can take it home at weekends. But you're not meant to do work. You're not meant to write. But of course, humans are weak assemblies of cells. And this is what you do. It takes more and more of your time. This is all fine. But sometimes there has to be a downtime. And now we come to the question of autonomous driving. What do you do with this supposed downtime when you're being driven autonomously? There will be no downtime. You can also work on the problems when you're there. And slowly, any creativity you have left in your brain, the room is gone, the oxygen is gone, and you just shrivel up.


Bill Curtis: How long have you been together?


Ian Cameron: About 50 years.


Bill Curtis: Which is not bad considering you're both 35.


Verena Kloos: Exactly,


Ian Cameron:  No twelve years old.


Verena Kloos: No 13 you fool.


Ian Cameron: Time flies when you're having fun.


I know how that is and the mutual respect is wonderful. Shall we move on?


Verena Kloos: Yes, please.


Robert Ross: Well, thanks for sharing some of those intimate aspects of what its really like behind the curtain of a designer's home. Really, I always marvel that two people engaged in the same professional and creative endeavors can somehow actually live under the same roof. And I think it's a testament to your patience and skill and maturity and vision that you're able to in fact, do that because usually they end up at one another's throats.


Ian Cameron: That they can do, well that can be healthy. But I have to say, I will say something as a great compliment and an example of my respect for professional skills in spite of the fact we typically speak English together, not German. She has a magical way with words, which I may have referred to some, elsewhere, where it's not the words she uses so much as the words she doesn't use, which makes a point, and that in a foreign language is quite a talent. And it's related to her love of materials, color, textures. That in itself is a very expressive medium. And that's something that she has in spade loads.


Robert Ross:  Well, you're a painter, Verena.


Ian Cameron: And it's very special.


Verena Kloos: When I stepped out of BMW, I decided to have my own art studio. What I have since 2015. And I started to paint. I mean, I did photography for a while, for a long time, and I had started to do smaller paintings on my kitchen counter already in Malibu. But then I thought, that's now a good moment to start to paint bigger. And I'm getting slowly bigger and bigger and the exhibitions are getting bigger and bigger. So it's good, but it's a completely different enterprise, experience compared to being a car designer or creative leader in the automotive world. Where as the  automotive world is so fact driven, so dense, and information and data and aspects. The world of art is somehow very opaque,  what people call it when they say it politely. Very opaque enterprise. But I decided for myself, I just continue to paint to express myself in the various mediums, and then we see where it goes.


Bill Curtis: Well, we'll be right back.


Promo: Hey, this is Chris and Jenny from When Last I Left, another Curtco Media podcast. And we have some awesome news for you. Super exciting if you're anything like me gift giving can be kind of difficult this time of year. I'm not like you. No, you're not. I'm really great at giving as much better gift. You want to know why? Why? I go to, It's the perfect place to get unique curated gifts that don't suck,  like cocktail kits, cool gadgets. Yes, really great liquor. They don't stop there, though. They don't. If you use the code podcastVIP, you get an extra 15 percent off everything in the store. Everything is 15 percent off with the code podcast VIP, everything at That's insane. You should go now. I'm going to go as soon as I finish listening to this episode. Go buy me something. `I will.


Robert Ross: Like I've said before on this program, Cars that Matter is as much about the people who drive them as the cars themselves. But now that we've gotten to know them a little better, Ian, we've talked about some significant automotive designs from the past and I'd like to kind of get into your head, find out what some of those things are. Are they production cars or are they concept cars? Where do we start?


Ian Cameron: Well, I think that where we started the cars we love, obviously. But if we think of it in a broader sense of the industry and what influence and what changes they may have brought to people's lives, I think you'll almost certainly end up focusing on mass produced cars, cars that we can see everyday or really were available to normal people, not just dream cars and super cars.


Robert Ross: Does the fact that a car might have been made in millions and millions of units make it a significant design?


Ian Cameron:  Not necessarily, but usually it certainly there've been some mass produced, examples of mass produced cars and brands which have never touched my heart. I can start to name some that's always puzzling to me, but a part of the attraction will always be nostalgia. Nostalgia obviously goes back to the past and brings us up to whether the products today are still reflecting that or not. If you think of the cars that we see and people like to collect, that is certainly one angle to take. But the other one is simply the mass-produced. Why was it produced in such numbers? Why did they succeed? And maybe in the meantime they've disappeared, but they are significant.


Robert Ross: Well, let's start with one.


Ian Cameron: I don't know, trying to go through my head in alphabetical order because that's what I do.


Bill Curtis: You are that methodical you are going to do this in alphabethical order?


Verena Kloos: When he can't sleep Then I'd like to give him exercises like that,.


Ian Cameron: Yeah, I don't count sheep. I tried to name airport's, name aeroplanes, name cars or companies in alphabetical order or wheel size or.


Robert Ross: Well I'll bet, I'll bet you start with something. If it's not Abarth I'll bet it's Alfa


Ian Cameron: Alfa Romero, Yes. Is a brand very close to my heart. I've had a number of Alphas and I think, if we think of the sort of post-war Alphas, the Giulias and the Giulliettas, this was a mega pre-war style. They produced cars that were the most phenomenal racing cars also for the road. And after the Second World War, they started the mass production program, which brought cars to, you know, these jewels were available to the normal working men. An outstanding example to me was the Bertone, the Sprint, the Coupes.


Robert Ross: Oh the Sprints were fantastic, one of the fast backs with the.. .


Ian Cameron: And in fact, the first Bertone car was, what had happened is the Giuletti., which had been promised typically was late, and the public were getting more and more frustrated. This was a diversion, maybe of an early example of spin to quiet the frustration that was there. And they asked Bertone to produce a design which turned out to be absolutely beautiful.


Robert Ross: Of course, that car evolved into some exquisite sort of outliers like the SS. That was Scaglione's car, is that right?


Ian Cameron: Yeah. Also Scali . So was Giullieta? Scaglione was the in-house designer then in Bertane and absolutely wonderful.,


Robert Ross:  Mercurial and very eccentric and truly unique designer.


Ian Cameron: They're not allowed to exist anymore. Unfortunately


Robert Ross:  Apparently not. What comes next in your pantheon of greats?


Ian Cameron:  BMC, a company that has disappeared long ago.


Robert Ross: Yeah,.


Ian Cameron: The British Motor Corporation.


Robert Ross: Alec's car is not


Ian Cameron: Not so well-known on this side of the of the ocean. BMC was British Motor Corporation, a conglomeration of brands such as Austen, Morris, Wolseley, Riley, BMW acquired the rights to quite a few of them. Riley, Triumph, when they had Rover as part of the group.


Robert Ross: Right.


Ian Cameron: They still have the rights to those brands. One of the models that really stuck within the BMC era was the Mini, which obviously was indeed revived by BMW and as part of the BMW group. But Mini was an unbelievably clever little package by Alec Issigonis,the engineer. A real giant killer on the road track where you had these races, saloon car races with the Mini running circles around things like Falcons and Galaxies, and Jaguars, the sizes of the engine of the Mini was maybe the size of the start motor of the Falcon. But anyway, but the truth about the Mini was it never did anything but lose money. It always lost money.


Robert Ross: Is that right?


Ian Cameron: Yeah


Bill Curtis: So moving through your alphabet back in the 50s,.


Ian Cameron: Perhaps one must consider Citroen, another company with huge history of innovative products. I think the one that everybody always goes to, although there were many others, was the DS. I mean, the DS somehow was a shock when it appeared and simply put Citroen on a pedestal that nobody would ever forget.


Robert Ross: My favorite auto writer, LJ.K.Setright, regarded that as the greatest automotive design in history in terms of its being a really kind of game changing automobile.


Ian Cameron: I mean, the shape alone, it was barely automotive, you know? it was like a spaceship.


Robert Ross: But the French will do that. I mean, you know what amazes me? You know, you designers, OK. You know, the German designers, the British designers, American designers, Japanese designers, they'll all design, say, a door handle for a car and it'll look different one from the other, but they'll all look like door handles. A French designer can design a door handle it and it will be on the roof and look like a shoe. They have a whole different design language, a whole different way of conceptualizing solutions.


Ian Cameron: Yes, I would say there's not a lot that falls naturally to the eye as beauty in the eye of the beholder in French automotive products,.


Robert Ross: Significant cars. What's next?


Ian Cameron: Ford?


Bill Curtis: Specifically what Ford are you talking about?


Ian Cameron: Well, there's so many of them. And I think naturally everybody would pick the Model T. I respect that and recognize that. But the car that changed the ballgame for me and Ford was the Mustang. It's such a simple, essential, clever car. The engine. Every engineering on Ford is clever. It's minimalistic. They don't spend a penny where it doesn't have to be spent. Always when a Mustang goes by, I have to stop and look.


Robert Ross: Well, you actually not only stopped and looked. You stopped and bought one, didn't you? You have a 66.


Ian Cameron: A 66. Yes. Which is grown so much into our hearts, we can't possibly sensibly move it on and do something else. But it's am extraordinary car. I'm also convinced in the meantime, what we have is a notch back, not the fastback. And there's certain aspects of that car, which I believe influence the exterior designer who is from DesignWorks. So based here, there's certain proportions I can see the stance in The Phantom, very interesting, which she has neither confirmed nor denied and only smiled about. What is very different is whereas the Phantom in a very British way, tucks in the proportions of its tail into a little sort of unlike Gandini cars, which always have substantial butts, an American car and the Mustang in particular does not taper to the back. It's wide and bright and bold, and that's the statement it makes. All right. Moving on, Jaguar. As a Brit,.


Robert Ross: Would you say that again just so you can teach us how to say it, pronounce the name.


Ian Cameron:  Jaguar.


Robert Ross:  Thank you.


Ian Cameron:  Jaguar and.


Robert Ross:  Jaguar,.


Ian Cameron: Which is very close to my heart. But certainly the car I would have to mention is the car I love is the E-type Coupe. You know, that claim to fame, apart from the styling, was the affordable prices. The price to which they could produce and deliver these things was quite extraordinary. And suddenly with the E-type, you had sort of racing D type aerodynamics for the racetrack brought onto the high streets at a price that everyone could afford.


Robert Ross: Outperform any Aston Martin of the day at literally less than half the price.


Ian Cameron: What's next in a brand? Jaguar, Lamborghini. The story of Lamborghini started out of frustration of producer owner Lamborghini, who got fed up with his Ferrari and its endless problems and decided he was simply going to produce a car that was better.


Bill Curtis: Except when you're backing up.


Ian Cameron: Yeah, except when you're backing up. And with his second model, the first model, the 350 and the 400 were phenomenal anyway by the same designer as who had done the Alfa we mentioned before, the Giulietta, Scaglione had done that first design. But with the Miura, all stops were pulled out and these three young hotshot engineers Dallara, Stanzani and Bob Wallace were literally given free reign to produce this incredible piece of sculpture. And that, I think, is the only and certainly the last, if not the only time it's happened. Would never happen today. The world is simply too complicated, too mistrusting. It just stands out as an example of initiative, endeavor, trust and success.


Bill Curtis: Robert, would it be inappropriate for you to talk a little about your car? We were all very proud of you bringing it up to Pebble and what a beautiful piece of sculpture you had.


Robert Ross: You know, the Miura is certainly the statement car not only for Lamborghini, but maybe even for that decade,.


Ian Cameron: The supercar,.


Robert Ross: It really ,


Ian Cameron: followed by the Countach, another


Robert Ross: yeah two slam dunks. And both by the same guy, I mean, it's probably now time to get on bended knee and take off my hat and bow to Marcella Gandini. What he created was really a remarkable portfolio of designs that I think affected all of us in many, many ways, both emotionally and I suspect a lot of designers professionally and one of the most modest guys I've ever met and yet did so much when he pinned the Miura. Absolutely.


Bill Curtis: Robert, we're going to have to spend a minute talking about my favorite brand. Can't help it. You know that you almost never see my garage without one of these puppies in there.


Ian Cameron: Would this be a Maserati?


Bill Curtis: No, actually. But we will get back in just a minute and we'll talk about it.


Promo:  I was introduced to Stefano Ricci decades ago, and I was enamored of his creations then and just as impressed now. Stefano Ricci's about style that  matters because it lasts. The design, the craftsmanship, everything about everything he does is made to endure.


Robert Ross: We're back with Ian Cameron and Verena Kloos. What comes after Lamborghini?


Ian Cameron: Mercedes Benz is a brand you can't avoid. Mercedes Benz is one of the most outstanding automotive producers in terms of quality of bodywork. Engineering technology, absolute phenomenal. But there's one model, to my mind, which changed the ballgame for them. And this was not even a model, an event when the 300 SL won the Mille Miglie in record time with Stirling Moss and Jenkinson. It was absolutely fixed in history. And since then that model has changed the ballpark for Mercedes Benz. The grill, the aesthetics, everything relates back to the SL.


Robert Ross: And it's still the gold standard for collectors. I mean, if you have a Gullwing or even an SL roadster in the garage, you have.


Ian Cameron: The roadster, to my mind, is even nicer than the Gullwing. Apart from being a better car to drive. But if you take all of the SLs, the Pagoda from the 60s is the one that stands out that has this phenomenal proportions, stance...


Robert Ross: Gorgeous little things.


Ian Cameron:  very noble, utterly noble. I can never take my eye off one.


Robert Ross: You don't see many any longer,.


Actually. They have disappeared for a bit, but they seem to be coming back now and people are connecting them, I think, or restoring them, spending money on them. There was some beautiful ones up in Pebble Beach in Quail's was just recently. And it is interesting how one model , the influence it's had on the image of the rest of the brand. That's really one event. Yeah, that's true. which was the Mille Miglia.


One of the most iconic competitions of brand in the U.S. was Coke and Pepsi. One of the most iconic competitions in the automotive market has got to be BMW and Mercedes. I was wondering as a designer and I know that you've worked with both, if you could talk a little about the sensibility that they brought to the road and how you saw them different.


Verena Kloos: That's a very interesting question. First of all, I think that kind of competition is very good. It's good for the marketplace, good for the consumer. Having worked for both and I have to say, when I left Mercedes-Benz in 2004 to head over to run DesignWorks ,  a. it was a very hard and tough decision because I really had fallen in love with Mercedes Benz, with the company, the people, the products we had been developing. And of course, the studio I was running, the studio was based in beautiful Lake Como in an old villa, a studio which was fully dedicated to interior design materials and was full freedom to work with the Italian company's suppliers. So it was like for somebody who loves colors and materials, it's kind of lush heaven  to work there and then surrounded by great fashion houses, going here and there to the fashion shows. There was a moment in time when I understood, what does it mean made in Italy? And I always said and preferred when people came to the studio, but what is the Italian secret? It's somehow Italians are born with taste and style. So anyway, so I thought,.


Bill Curtis: Well, then what enticed you out to California?


Verena Kloos: I started to look at BMW because they somehow appeared faster, speedier to me. And when I met with people from BMW, I was pretty much impressed how in-depth research was done for every new project and every new product. And I thought, yeah, that would be a good learning curve for myself. And definitely then running DesignWorks,USA , I was inspired by the idea also to work outside the automotive industry. So that was my motivation.


Bill Curtis: Certainly for those of us who were driving your cars back then between BMW and Mercedes. BMW was a little more of a driver's car, a little more of a feel for the road, a tighter suspension, a tighter drive train, tighter steering. And you knew that you were driving a car and you took it seriously. Mercedes was really all at that time about the build quality. They've both maintained a little of that. So going forward,.


Verena Kloos: Definitely the eye on detail, the eye on design in Mercedes-Benz vs. the tight sitting driving suits, so to speak, when you get into the car, you described it before  as a little bit snug. And I learned that BMWs drive differently, much more towards driver orientation. And it's also what I learned the BMW customer, they know so much more detail about their car. They're much more technology savvy, so to speak.


Bill Curtis: I had one of the SLs where I had a little crane on the ceiling of my garage.


Ian Cameron: For the hardtop.


Bill Curtis: For the hardtop. The hardtop didn't fall down. Like the sophisticated models of today, you actually had to lift it up and you either had a couple of friends with you to help you do it or like some people I know drop it. But having that crane with a hardtop hanging in your garage was always an interesting experience.


Robert Ross: Started with the little pagoda.


Ian Cameron: Yes, it  did.


Verena Kloos: I actually acquired a 1969 Pagoda here in Southern California and then shipped it to Germany. And I love my car.


Robert Ross: I didn't realize you have a pagoda now.


Verena Kloos: Of course


Robert Ross: What do you have 280 or 50 or 30?


Ian Cameron: 280.


Robert Ross: Oh, the last of the Mohicans thing, what a great thing.


Ian Cameron: And manual shift.


Robert Ross: That's a real rare bird.


Verena Kloos: Mercedes Benz you can have too many of the models and mostly more the older ones. You can have more, kind of irrational love affair with the car. It's more romantic. Ian phrased it nostalgia. But for me, it's more romantic. And somehow when you drive in the Pagoda and you sit on these cushiony wide seats, for me, it's fine just cruise and into the nice sunset. So it's, it's like immediately releasing dreams and romanticism.


Robert Ross: You marvel at how car design used to get done. Those of us who aren't designers like myself imagine that these things start as cocktail napkin imaginings. But the fact of the matter is, you might end up with focus groups and committees and boards of directors that can stifle the most promising design before it's even born.


Bill Curtis: By this conversation, you can see that sometimes a special design gets through and makes a difference.


Ian Cameron: It does. It does, too. But it should be the rule and not the exception. We shouldn't take it for granted, which is to say you cannot expect that every car you produce is a beauty and it's going to be a success. But this is what the industry expects, which is beyond reason. The worst things that developed from my point of view were the three bugbears. And Brian will tell me, don't get him started. Shareholder value, which reduces everything to a balance sheets and the results this year and what you can tell the shareholders, it takes away long term view, long term commitments. The second thing is compliance. Compliance is a cop out. Compliance is writing a formula to make sure people, if they're caught, they'll be prosecuted. That isn't why you should not do something, because you might be caught. You shouldn't do it because it's simply not good manners, not good morals, not the thing to do. It's not fair. It's not honest. It's not correct. What you have to do is manage these things. And compliance is not managing. It's a cop out that you can't sue me or you can't say I didn't tell you. But what it does is it dumbs everything down. And the third thing is pressure of time. Time is money, is do everything faster. And technology allows you to create things faster. What it doesn't do is allow you to understand, absorb and take things in any faster. You know, if you watch three films, fast forward in the night, you are not going to be any wiser than watching one film slowly. The proper speed. What you do is try to speed things up without the comprehension so everything becomes superficial. Then you wonder why is design stagnating? Why does everything look the same? It's just a formula for disaster.


Bill Curtis: I'm curious as to how you see the market going forward. Design wise for the automobile with all the noise about Uber and Lyft... both of you: What does the next 20 years look like for the luxury automobile?


Ian Cameron: I like that question. There was someone who said an engineer didn't know what was happening in the next five years, let alone what's happening the next 10 15.


Bill Curtis: But your job is to know what's going to happen.


Ian Cameron: Well, I don't know what's going to happen for sure. The planet's got a problem and there's certain things we need to address, but we need to address them honestly. I have a great issue with the whole electric selling point that this is green. It is not green. This is a lie. The fact is, at the moment, the technology we have, the means and materials that we have, we could not all be driving electric vehicles. We could not supply and make the batteries and we could not supply and make the vehicles, etc. So the materials are simply not there. The charging is not there and the source of electricity is neither there nor clean.


Bill Curtis: Let me push back for just a minute. We have another podcast called Politics. Meet me in the Middle.


Ian Cameron: Oh, yes.


Bill Curtis: And we had one of our local state senators on and he talked about how in California we're down to 14 percent of our power structure is fossil fuels. And the majority of it now is wind, solar and water. And at the same time, what prevents someone who has an electric car from putting solar panels on their roof to charge it?


Ian Cameron: But California is not the world. And if we take a global view,.


Robert Ross: How do you maintain electric vehicle fleet in Berlin?


Ian Cameron: Yes.


Robert Ross: You park n the street, in the snow, sideways. You can't even,  nobody has a garage.


Ian Cameron: You know, just not just as an example. At the moment, Europe is sweltering under unusually California like weather and standard offices, studios, whatever you want to think of in Germany they are not allowed to have air conditioning.


Bill Curtis: Kill me now.


Ian Cameron: It would it would collapse the infrastructure.


Bill Curtis: the infrastructure, the power grid is not there.


Ian Cameron: The power grid is not there  Sure we have to achieve change and this can't come quickly enough, but it needs to be done on an honest basis.


Bill Curtis: So what are some of the things? Hydrogen.


Ian Cameron: That's definitely an alternative, but it's also complicated. It's extremely difficult to store, etc. etc. But this should be driven by technology and not by politics. On this day...


Bill Curtis: Good luck.


Ian Cameron: It is. Yes.


Bill Curtis: But there are a few things that it feels stranger than showing up at a restaurant with a table for 8 going out into the valet at the end of the evening and realizing the carbon footprint that you have exhausted. Having your friends come to dinner is eight cars making essentially the same trip. We've got to get a little better in our planning. The whole idea of Uber and Lyft is, are we moving forward as passengers in transportation or are we drivers?


Ian Cameron: Ownership is still a big part of the equation for me. The pleasure of owning something and the experience of wanting to be involved in it, being connected with it is quite different to being a passive passenger in a taxi or a product which belongs to someone else. These are all huge questions in terms of how we see mobility, ownership usage in the future. And this is true what you're saying about the carbon footprint, no doubt. But the other side of that coin is the aspect of convenience. Convenience is one of the biggest drivers of what we do. It's also really a poisoned chalice because we become more and more passive. For me, the whole Uber experience and just depending on other people to move us around or pods which come and pick us up, we come to do less and less and less. All we do is use our thumbs at the end of the day.


Verena Kloos: It's definitely proven the less how we do with our three dimensional capacities. When you drive, you have to look ahead. You have to look in the distance. You have to look around you and you have to maneuver your car. And if you give up on this, you'll give up a lot of capabilities of yourself from your brain.


Bill Curtis: What you're both saying, though, is that you going forward, hope to continue to design for the front seat more than the back.


Ian Cameron: I would like to, I enjoy driving. I love driving. I love motor cars. But whether motor cars, which have electrical or internal combustion propulsion, I don't know. This is a different question. The other issue, which is sure is as a new mode of transport, electrification or electric vehicle must be different. It must appeal in a different way. That will make me or the customer change from one thing that is used to something that is new. It's just the appeal of that product at the moment. They all mimic a product we're familiar with. If you look at the Tesla, I can tell that that must be electric vehicle.


Robert Ross: To Ian's point and Verena's about the whole notion of driving, this program is called Cars that Matter and cars that matter are cars that you get behind the wheel of and that you actually have a relationship with.


Robert Ross: Absolutely,


Verena Kloos: Exactly.


Robert Ross: And whether it's a JAG E type or a brand new electric Porsche Tikhon. I suspect there's an opportunity to have a relationship with both. But you're right, Ian, until electric cars become interresting,  I'm not interested.


Bill Curtis: Well, there's a kind of a feeling when you're behind the wheel of a well designed car, that's pretty much indescribable. I think we just have a problem in that there's a whole generation of people who haven't even experienced that.


Verena Kloos: Yeah, unfortunately. I mean, it's pretty much clear we all hate to be behind the steering wheel and sitting in a stau or traffic jam and just waiting.


Bill Curtis: What was that first, A stau?


Verena Kloos: It's a German. It's a German.


Bill Curtis: You have traffic in Berlin?


Verena Kloos: We have a lot of traffic in Berlin , Munich. And you sit for hours in a stau and then, of course, you would love to beam yourself away and that somehow this beaming away the idea of autonomous driving. But what else would you do that ,maybe he would read a book? I doubt it.


Robert Ross: You'd probably shop and buy some useless stupid stuff that you don't need.


Bill Curtis: No, I'm sorry. But you  would listen to Cars that Matter or other similar podcast on your well designed stereo


Verena Kloos: Fair enough. But nothing else.


Bill Curtis: So as you go forward, these changes in society. Are you designing for them.


Verena Kloos: Yeah.


Bill Curtis: You have to.


Verena Kloos: So when we say designing. I can speak for myself and I hope that all my fellow colleagues are doing the same. My ambition was always to do something what makes a life and work better for future consumers?  When I say so it doesn't mean not always to produce more products, to produce more variety, make the world better. That means to anticipate what will be better by then five years, 10 years ahead.


Bill Curtis: The cell companies Verizon, and AT&T are all touting about the 5G coming and. how that is going to change all of the products that we use, whether in automobile.


Ian Cameron: Change you in more ways that you think


Verena Kloos: the products and our brainwaves.


Bill Curtis: we will probably be a controlled pretty soon. Tell me, how is that communication style affecting your design? The fact that every product that you make going forward is going to be able to talk to every other product you make going forward.


Ian Cameron: One of the realities of what you're talking about is the complexity. And this is why you suddenly say ,not suddenly has been going on for some time, Certainly in the automotive world, people, manufacturers realize they can't do it themselves. First of all, there's a huge mismatch between the development cycle of a vehicle and the development cycle of electronic products. They end every week would seem to be. Whereas you need to shut things down. This is what we will produce and deliver it in three years time. This doesn't work. But I have a huge problem with the complexity that is being forced on us. For what reason? Again, to make us more passive. We sit down and shop more. What for?


Verena Kloos: Yeah. Therefore, it's the role of designers to sort for the future consumers sort through this mess, this complexity and bundle meaningful experiences out of it. Because if every product talks to every product, even we consume, well, we will not notice it. I have very often these experiences by myself and that then I will use it also for my work where I get stupid messages on my laptop or funny advertisement. I have just used Instagram. Then I open Facebook or I have ordered a certain type of sunglasses. And then I get bombarded emails of the same sunglasses or similar sunglasses. So luckily the system is still stupid enough, not to completely understand what is my mindset? But once again, a designer always must be the mediator, the middleman between all the different interests of the stakeholders to sort this mess. What's going on in all the variety of different interests and to create something what is meaningful for future consumers.


Ian Cameron: The other thing that has to be said is that designers are not on an island in a storm. They are always part of a system. Unless the system backs them up. unless there's understanding from leadership of how and what the product should be and what it's trying to achieve in the long term, not in the short term. You're just wasting time. Design is being used as a facilitator. It's much more than that. It's just, to just realize what this is. And when that is defined and driven by politics, who are here today and gone tomorrow, that's an extremely slippery slope.


Robert Ross: Before Ian and Verena took off, I just wanted to ask them a few final questions that I like to pose to all of our guests. Any pair of keys in the world you would like? any car ever made? What would you like in your garage?


Verena Kloos: I have actually a very nice car. The Mercedes Benz Pagoda. I love a lot. What I would like to have maybe, E-type Jaguar, maybe a Jeep Rubicon.


Ian Cameron: The Jeep, the Rubicon, what it's evolved is one of the most phenomenal pieces design- I've always wanted to do at an exhibition about,I don't want to use the word perfect, attractive design and the Jeep is one of them. It's just absolutely beautiful and it's essential. It's simple. To me it could be a Rolls Royce because of its honesty and its sensuality.


Bill Curtis: It just feels a little different to drive.


Ian Cameron: The world is not perfect Bill, so.


Bill Curtis: Clearly.


Ian Cameron: Just look at it. Just keep looking at it, no its very competent offroad....


Verena Kloos: No its all about the experience with the Jeep.


Bill Curtis: So Ian, you have to answer Robert's question as well. What's the pair of keys that you would like?


Ian Cameron: How long's the piece of string? How many keys? One?


Robert Ross: One for the ignition, one for the trunk. If it's one so it's a car I want to be able to use properly. It's gonna be a Porsche GT3.


Robert Ross: Oh, a Porsche GT3 ahh, ok, ok.


Ian Cameron: They still have their act together.


Bill Curtis: Verena, how do people get in touch with you and Ian if they need some of your design sensibilities going forward?


Verena Kloos: I have a website out there. It's my name. and there you'll find all the contact.


Robert Ross: And Ian?


Ian Cameron: You'll have to keep searching.


Robert Ross: I think we'll find you.


Verena Kloos: You can find him through me.


Robert Ross: You can run, but you can't hide. That's great. Ian and Verena, thanks so much for joining us on Cars that Matter. To talk about your time with Rolls Royce, DesignWorks and to talk about the most significant automotive designs in history. Some of the things that have inspired you and continue to inspire you and everyone who actually cares about automobiles. Thank you.


Robert Ross: Thank you to Ian Cameron and Verena Kloos for joining us on Cars that Matter. We'll see you next time to continue talking about the passions that drive us and the passions we drive.


Robert Ross: This episode of Cars that Matter was hosted by Robert Ross and Bill Curtis, produced by Chris Porter, Sound Engineering by Michael Kennedy. Theme Song by Celeste and Eric Dick recorded at Curtco's Malibu Podcast Studios. Additional Music and Sound by Chris Porter. Today's guests were Ian Cameron and Verena Kloos. Tune into Cars that Matter wherever you rev up your podcasts. I'm Robert Ross. Thanks for listening.


Announcer: Curtco Media. Media for your mind.

bottom of page