This blog is dedicated to David Bowie on his birthday, today, January 8.
Can you point to a singular, defining moment in your life? One event that shaped your future? Car designer, Takumi Yamamoto, can. He was six when it happened, and the moment charted the course of his professional career — a career that includes a famous race car and a soon-to-be-revealed tribute car to David Bowie, created with the help of a large 3D printer.
Takumi Yamamoto’s Rise to Fame
Gran Turismo is PlayStation’s digital car racing game. The virtual cars resemble and respond just like high-performance vehicles. In 2008, Yamamoto designed a car that injected adrenaline into the already high-energy race. He designed the super-sleek GT by Citroen. So eye-catching was this car in the game, Citroen decided to manufacture it!
It was the first time a digital car hit the asphalt for real.
Yamamoto’s name began reverberating throughout the automotive design world. And this designer was just getting started.
David Bowie and Takumi Yamamoto
All through his schooling and professional career, including seven years designing for PSA Peugeot in their state-of-the-art Advanced Design Studio, Takumi kept David Bowie with him. The British singer’s baritone voice calmed him when the pressure was on and inspired him when he sat down at the drawing board.
Yamamoto loved many things about the eclectic singer. One day, a flash of inspiration fused two disparate talents together into one game-changing project: The db Project: A collaboration between artists.
“I wanted to mix my talent and his image.” -Takumi Yamamoto
Takumi teamed up with Cyrille Ancely, an expert industrial designer and 3D modeler. Before they could talk to David about the project, Bowie died. It was January 10, 2016, just two days after his 69th birthday and two days after the release of his 25th album, Blackstar.
The duo decided to turn the collaboration into a tribute and they brought onboard Alexandre Larnac, the CGI expert who created the realist renderings that captured the spirit of David Bowie’s videos.
Large Format 3D Printing Delivers
Yamamoto and Ancely contacted Philippe Marie, an expert in automotive and aeronautics prototyping. The owner of Marie Freres and Marie 3D understood that Yamamoto’s vision could only be brought to life with a large 3D printer due to the limits of traditional fabrication, like CNC machining. The Massivit 1800 was the perfect choice.
“This design would not be possible to fabricate with the standard solutions, but with this 3D printer, you can create pretty much whatever you want.” -Takumi Yamamoto
The design will be revealed at the International Automobile Festival in Paris.
The First 3D-Printed Car At The International Automobile Festival
The President of the prestigious event, Rémi Depoix, heard about the innovative project and invited Yamamoto and his team to exhibit their work at this year’s festival.
“It is the first time in our 34-year history that we are exhibiting a scale one car that has been entirely produced with 3D printing,” Depoix said. “It paves the way for new opportunities in creativity and design for the automotive industry.”
For 33 years, enthusiasts have traveled to France for the International Automobile Festival to enjoy the beauty and elegance of automotive design. The concept car exhibition includes only exceptional models from brands like Lamborghini, Porsche, and Mercedes to name only a few.
It is here where the world will get their first complete look at Yamamoto’s project.
“We wanted to present this work like a piece of art. ” -Rémi Depoix, President, International Automobile Festival
Takumi Yamamoto calls it a sculpture, and the sculpture’s name is A Portrait of db.
And now we wait.
The jaw-dropping Concept Car exhibit runs from January 31 – February 3, and this year, the attendees will be treated to this unique addition: A Portrait of db, the first-ever 1:1 scale concept car manufactured on a large 3D printer.