• b953d0df-8c57-4b5b-b245-86353096484a2015 Lincoln MKC, the brand’s first small premium utility, provides compelling starting point for informative, entertaining dialogue at Chicago Symphony Orchestra about sound and the harmony of design
  • Soo Kang, interior design chief, Lincoln Motor Company, and James Smelser, veteran horn player for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, explored the two disciplines as a string quartet provided an elegant background
  • Using balance, harmony, rhythm and tempo to create an emotional connection is common to luxury automotive design and great music

Luxury automotive design creates a symphony of the senses. The look. The feel. The emotional connection that forms when art and science are executed at a high, crafted level.

On Wednesday at the Symphony Center, the final stop on the “Lincoln MKC: Engage Your Senses” tour explored how luxury automotive design and classical music use balance, harmony, tempo and emotion to create stunning pieces.

Soo Kang, interior design chief for The Lincoln Motor Company, and James Smelser, horn player with nearly 30 years’ of service with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, led an informative, entertaining dialogue moderated by Vanessa Moss, vice president for orchestra and building operations.

Kang has a particular appreciation of both disciplines – she is a classically trained harpist who once considered a career in music. Balance and harmony are key in both luxury automotive design and music.

The Lincoln MKC is the brand’s first small premium utility. Reflecting its target customer, who is younger, independent and social, the interior is warm, open and inviting.

“In the Lincoln MKC interior, the big and small shapes play off each other, just as with the big and small notes in a music piece,” Kang said.

Kang, whose passion for interior design is rooted in the opportunity to engage all senses to create an emotional connection, favors clean, sleek and uncluttered design.

Quiet design, so to speak, free from visual noise.

Music is a key ingredient in Kang’s design and inspiration process. Yo-Yo Ma — specifically the cellist’s Bach interpretations — are especially important as she translates the inspiration into functional three-dimensional forms.

The instrument panel in the Lincoln MKC, for example, is created as one piece, which eliminates cutlines (visual noise) for a cleaner, crafted appearance.

As interior design chief, Kang orchestrates several different disciplines in addition to design, including engineering and color and materials.

“The whole team has to be in rhythm; if someone misses a note, the customer, or audience, if you will, notices. This can create frustration or confusion,” Kang said.

An example of the harmony between engineering and design found in the Lincoln MKC is the execution of the gear shift. Instead of a traditional shifter, buttons are used. This opens up the center area, adding visual appeal and more storage options while delivering the expected functionality.

Complementing the design is a selection of rich materials. Genuine open-pore wood trim, real metal and authentic leather are available in the Lincoln MKC.

Developed specially for the Lincoln MKC, for example, is the Deepsoft leather from Bridge of Weir. Deepsoft is naturally milled leather, which enhances its natural grain. Combined with a light finish, the result is a soft, buttery product associated with only the most luxurious of leathers.

In addition to the many parallels between the two creative processes, Smelser also sees the focus on the customer or audience as key.

“As a musician, you have to know your audience and who you’re playing for. The process starts with a concept, which begins in individual practice, and then is carried into group practice before the final performance,” he said.

Previously, the “Engage Your Senses” tour stopped in Miami for a visit with celebrity chef Minerva Vazquez and then in Atlanta as personal service was explored with key members from the staff of the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta Hotel, including Janice Dempsey, chief concierge, and Jennifer Wayland-Smith, spa director.

The third stop, Washington, D.C., highlighted design with Rob Brown and Todd Davis of Brown Davis Interiors LLC at Long View Gallery.

Next was a visit to Boston near the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge, which explored designing grace under pressure with Miguel Rosales, president and principal designer of Rosales & Partners. Audrey O’Hagan, past president of the Boston Society of Architects, moderated the discussion at the Boston Museum of Science.

The all-new 2015 Lincoln MKC is scheduled to be on sale in Lincoln showrooms this summer.

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