Back on home soil to launch the Audi A8, industrial designer, Mark Shipard, is an Australian in his element, living and designing in Munich, where Audi’s design headquarters is based.
Shipard, who’s lived in Europe for around 10 years, is quick to clarify that he’s not designing cars for Audi, rather, he works in their concept studio, designing Audi’s exclusive and highly-covetable range of accessories.
“I first went to Europe to do the classic backpack tour, after working in Melbourne for a couple of years. I got to know the industry and scene in Germany and Austria”, and some fortuitous connections then led to projects with Audi (circa 2007).
As Shipard says, his work is primarily non-automotive. From concert pianos and luxury watches, to golf accessories and luggage, and even a “cool” soccer table, Shipard has been one of the main brains behind Audi’s classic ‘extras’ collections.
He describes his role as Senior Designer with Audi as highly rewarding for both parties. “I have a broad experience in industrial design, working on a number of different projects, from household, to industrial equipment, tractors, sporting goods and more,” – something which Audi’s concept design studio uniquely benefits from.
“But what I really benefit from in Audi is very different [compared] to my past experience, as it’s very concentrated work on one single brand.”
Of Audi’s approach to design? “In comparison to other companies, Audi’s is a level of perfection. Other companies in the product and resource sectors don’t necessarily have the drive within the company to go that far.”
Carrying on this culture of perfection, Audi are now developing new innovations in ski sports – raising the bar in an industry they are heavily involved in.
“We’ve been working with people from our engineering department, and the German Ski Association. We’re doing something that’s quite revolutionary, and takes a lot of time and development.”
Shipard is currently in Australia to launch the Audi A8.