- Porsche 911
- Win Porsche
- Porsche Design
We couldn’t know that Ferdinand Porsche, the Porsche 911’s designer, would pass away even as we were getting entries in our call for designs inspired by Porsche 911. But perhaps it was a fitting tribute that we got over 400 entries, picking out details of the Porsche 911 that you’d have to be a true fan to notice. His designs inspired a fervor that few designers ever have. As the AP reported when the 2012 Porsche 911 was introduced: “The new version was mobbed and groped when it was unveiled in September at the Frankfurt auto show. Showgoers left the doors and roof smeared with fingerprints as they scrambled for a chance to sit behind the wheel.” All that, while remaining true to the lines and spirit that Porsche originally laid out. Ferdinand Porsche created a true design classic.
So I’ll admit that I was a bit terrified by the entire prospect of our Porsche Design Challenge. Initially, the plan was to have an invitational design competition: We’d invite only a few top designers whose work we trusted, and have them riff on products inspired by the Porsche 911. But that didn’t seem right. We figured: Who’d want to see a bunch of design hot shots get even more attention? It seemed a far better idea to engage you, our readers, and invite you to do the designing.
The only problem was that we had no idea what we’d get. Would the entries be embarrassing? Would there be anything good? It was a bit of a gamble. And one that I’m happy to say paid off, because the entries you guys submitted were superb. These ranged from a razor that looks like a Porsche’s gas pedal to a ski helmet inspired by the orange Porsche 911 pictured in our first post about the contest.
So here they are: The first 12 of the Top 25. We’ll announce the rest next week, and as I type this, our panel of judges–Dror Benshetrit, Jens Martin Skibsted, and Grant Larson, Porsche’s current chief exterior designer–is combing over those entries, to determine a Top 7, which we will announce soon. (The slides you see above are presented in no particular order.) After that, entrants will get a chance to refine their designs and then we’ll announce a winner. (The Top 7 will each receive $1,500. The winner will win Porsche 911 one-year lease or $20,000.)
When we laid out the guidelines for our Porsche Design Challenge, we asked that entrants incorporate three elements from Porsche 911s, past and future, in their designs. Among the 428 entries, we received 428 interpretations. Some people took the literal shape and line of the Porsche 911 as their inspiration. Others took engineering principles and user experience into account. It was that openness of interpretation that made the contest interesting. We accepted them all, and gave each entry careful consideration, before compiling the short list you see here and here. That was the only way that was fair to everyone involved.
What we were looking for was nuanced and involved many qualities: We looked at beauty, functionality, originality, and “Porsche-ness” to judge each entry. Some entries in the short list you see above contained a lot of one quality, but were weaker in other areas. Others hit each category equally. The point is, there were many different ways that these Top 25 distinguished themselves from the rest of the entries.
We noticed a few trends. For one, perhaps the most quoted detail of all was the rear window of the Porsche 911, which has remained a part of its design since its very first iteration in 1963. The second most quoted detail was the headlamps. Many people wrote in to describe the first time they ever saw a Porsche, and many times it was those lamps that made a lasting impression. So perhaps it was no accident that we got a slew of flashlights and lamps. Boogie boards were also weirdly popular, as were couches, none of which quite worked out.
The Top 25 you see here aren’t winners, by any means. Their merely a short list, from which we’ll draw the Top 7 entries. And as we judge those Top 7, we’ll be giving careful thought to which entries best embodied the spirit of what we were trying to create with this competition.
One final note: We’d like to give our sincerest thanks to everyone that entered. If you’re disappointed that you were not selected for the Top 25, we feel for you. We appreciate your effort. It made the competition what it was. And we attempted to honor that hard work by giving each and every entry careful consideration. Thank for you stopping by, thank you for entering. And for everyone: We hope you enjoy all the entries. On to the next round!