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DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 2, 2021 – The story of the Lincoln Aviator Shinola concept started with a watch, a duffle bag and a bike seat, and it took off from there. Two iconic brands with a shared passion for design, Lincoln and Shinola have teamed up to create an Aviator SUV concept.
After a visit to Shinola’s flagship showroom in Detroit, Lincoln designers set out to explore the brand’s popular lifestyle products on display, then found ways to incorporate some very compelling design elements into a unique theme. The result is an Aviator concept that blends the design principles of Lincoln with the modern aesthetic of Shinola.
“Shinola opened up their showroom to us as a playground – allowing us to explore how their brand’s lifestyle ethos could be woven into a new theme for one of our vehicles,” said Kemal Curic, design director, Lincoln. “Our designers were handed a rare gift, and they made the most of it. The fresh insights our team gained studying popular design motifs make this new Aviator concept a true celebration of craftsmanship.”
The collaboration was an opportunity for Lincoln to test and learn, while exploring the use of different colors and new materials in designing vehicles.
“After our initial meeting with the Lincoln team, it was clear we shared the same passion for well-designed, beautifully crafted products,” said Shannon Washburn, Shinola CEO. “Designers from both brands came together to create an ultra-luxe vehicle that still embodies Shinola’s aesthetic of approachable luxury with thoughtful details. You can see this in the touches of copper inspired by our bike seats and the brand strip incorporated into the leather seats.”
A look and feel of modern luxury
The Lincoln Aviator Shinola concept’s soft white exterior is inspired by Shinola’s iconic mother of pearl stone watch dials, with hints of blue. Copper accents, inspired by the copper-plated structure that attaches to a Shinola Runwell bike seat, give off a rose-gold hue, for an exterior that highlights progressive utility.
The soft touch look and luxurious smell of Shinola whiskey leather appeal to the most refined of senses. The seats feature crème suede that beautifully matches the inserts, brightening up the cabin and giving off a pearl hue that mimics the unique exterior color.
Taking cues from the Shinola brand stripe, a woven textile sewn into the seats in all three rows makes for a unique, textural look. Liam Butler, Lincoln color and material designer, says he took each stitch of the original stripe then scaled to proportion, adding a blue tone that acknowledges Lincoln’s many signature blues.
“The goal is to impress occupants with our very own expression of craftsmanship, showcasing our meticulous attention to detail,” said Butler. “This stripe is unlike anything I’ve ever seen sewn into a vehicle, so we wanted to make sure it was done with care.”
The instrument panel highlights the importance of texture. Woven metal mesh, which also appears on the second-row console, imparts industrial luxury with the same copper accents as the exterior – a direct representation of a Shinola watch band. Every surface is wrapped with soft materials that make the cabin warm and inviting.
“It’s all about warm, human and personally crafted experiences, all true to Lincoln DNA, and knowing and feeling that quality of a leather watch strap on your wrist,” said Butler. “That’s what we wanted to re-create here, in everything from the stitching to the copper accents to the various textures – all tying back to the idea of Quiet Flight.”
Lincoln will display the Aviator concept at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance later this month.
Born in Detroit, Shinola is a design brand with an unwavering commitment to crafting lasting products, from watches to leather goods and even a hotel. We celebrate timeless design and thoughtful craftsmanship with products and stories that inspire people to live well and be confident in a style that is uniquely their own.