Light and Supercars


The image of this supercar below shows what we refer to as ‘the art of reflection’, detailed by an almost mirror gloss surface, creating spectacular reflections from the curved surfaces. Under striking lighting, the still image of this car looks stunning, when in motion it truly comes alive.

The level of detail and consideration that goes into designing a supercar is exceptional. Any owner of cars such as these wants to appreciate every detail, all of the time. Light enables us to see beauty in design. Light brings the stunning nature of design to life.

Looking at another supercar, the McLaren P1 for example, it’s important to consider the design philosophy. McLaren Automotive give some real insight into this, including its design and innovation, saying:

The best-looking cars are the ones with real substance as well as style. The McLaren P1TM is a stunning piece of automotive design, but you won’t find any needless ornaments or frivolous styling features on it. Every surface has been designed to work, every part given the same aerodynamic consideration as if it was part of an aircraft or a Formula 1TM car.

The bodywork is ‘shrink-wrapped’ as tightly as possible over the mechanical hard points of the car and the cockpit sits right at the centre. This approach helps to reduce frontal surface area, but also makes it easier to manage airflow over the surface of the bodywork and into the engine’s roof snorkel intake and to the active aero components. It looks awesome, and it works very efficiently.

McLaren Design Director, Frank Stephenson gives a deep insight into the inspiration of design for the McLaren P1 saying:

“My inspiration for this type of design comes mainly from biology, what we call biomimicry, hundreds of thousands of years of what has evolved into being a perfect shape for what it’s destined to do.

Instead of adding surfaces, we are more about taking surfaces out, something we deem here now at McLaren ‘shirnk-wrap’ design.

It makes no sense to design something for no reason at all, for no functional purpose, you don’t see that in nature, you don’t see that in anything that is good design, that in itself is excitement which is very beautiful. We’re always going to be sketching wherever we go and trying to get inspiration from everywhere we spend our lives.”

So much thought and design energy goes into supercar creations such as these. There’s a reason for the sheer volume of lights used when these cars are on display, the image above showing the McLaren P1 at the Geneva Motor Show in 2013. You can see on the ceiling just how many lights have been installed to reveal the detail of those cars.

These lights accentuate all the curves, wheels, panels, picking out all of the details on any part of the car that can be highlighted. Use of a focal spotlight with tight beam angles will make anything that is shiny reflect like a precious jewel.

Once the car is positioned, the adjustable dedicated spotlights focus on it. These lights are usually cool lights in colour, with an especially high CRI to render the colours as best possible.

At Xavio, we are currently designing a lighting scheme for a supercar garage in London. A concept we are looking at is similar to the picture of the three cars above, bold striking linear strips in the ceiling, but that also continue and recess down the verticals of the walls. These provide perfect lighting conditions set within what will be a dramatic lightscape.

Driving down into the garage will also be a pleasure with a driveway featuring functional and visually impactful lighting.

We love the emotion that lighting can give to each setting and designing a lighting scheme for a residential garage of supercars is another project we are very much looking forward to completing.