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What do bus seats, aircraft cabins and air guns have in common?

And yet they appear to be connected by something - or somebody: EDAG's Spanish subsidiary Rücker Lypsa S.L.U. The 52-strong design team under design manager Bernat Costa have impressed not only vehicle manufacturers with their know-how and inventiveness, their reputation has crossed national borders, and giants such as Airbus also work with the team in Barcelona.

From paper to model

So how does the process of "designing" work? How do you find inspiration? Jordi Murta and Marc Mateu from EDAG report on more than 20 years of experience: "First of all, our customers give us a briefing. This is where they provide information on the item, what it is, its use, and also how often it is used.  Then we begin our research. In the past, this would mean searching through magazines and visiting libraries, but online databases have made the job so much easier today. This stage is extremely important, as it is where we develop a feeling for and understanding of the sector and evaluate competitors in a benchmark analysis. We do this to ensure that we present our customer with a design that is both unique and appropriate to the target group."

Once all the information has been assembled, the first sketch is made. This is sometimes done in a very traditional manner - using a pencil and paper. The "modern" method employed by EDAG is to use a graphics tablet. To operate these, either a touch pen is used, or the designer simply touches the screen with a finger. The advantage here is that the sketch can be developed and processed directly. In this way, many hours can be spent giving meticulous attention to detail until the perfect ergonomic/metric handle or the radiator grille for a car results. "For me, the most impressive thing about my work is the fact that, at the end, the results of our design can be seen in the finished product. It is a fantastic feeling to know that it contains a bit of me, a bit of EDAG!"

Why it is worth leaving your comfort zone

Marc Mateu sees the fact that, in addition to the vehicle manufacturers, the design team in Spain has such a varied customer base as a great opportunity: "Of course it isn't easy to get to grips with all sorts of different industries, but more than anything, I see this as a chance for us to tackle new challenges, to grow and broaden our horizons. In this way, we can profit from any new impulses that we gather from other industries and put them to good use for the automotive industry. And this works the other way round, too. This means that, by constantly thinking outside the box, we can create a 'win-win situation' for all of our customers."

One of the Spanish designers' more unusual orders was received many years ago, from the global market leaders for air guns based in the neighbouring town. Bernat Costa and Marc Mateu's team set to work with the aim of creating a realistic and at the same time ergodynamically perfected visualisation of a planned model, and since 2005, all models are styled and developed at the EDAG studio in Barcelona.

Another example of their work is ARIANE, a seat that can now be found in millions of busses. "For this task, we were able to make use of our collective experience and know-how of automotive seat development." Here, too, EDAG's Barcelona studio has been styling bus and train seats for more than 25 years.

The third major project today involves the "giant of the skies", the Airbus A380: designers from Barcelona helped to design the stairway and handrails for the A380, which are now mass-produced here in stainless steel and aluminium for all A380 cabins.