Bugatti paints the near impossible
Arguably the best super-car manufacture in modern times, Bugatti has been known to always push the envelope every chance they get.
This time they were presented with a different challenge, not one to do with breaking speed records or designing the unthinkable or perfecting aerodynamics.
On the car manufacturer’s website they stated that shortly after the world premiere of the Divo in August 2018, the idea for a geometric-dynamic algorithmic fading pattern on the bodywork emerged in collaboration with a customer.
What the collector from the USA had in mind was a strict geometric pattern consisting of diamond shapes in a unique color contrast. In collaboration with the collector, the Bugatti design and development team then set about developing the special colors ‘Customer Special Red’ and ‘Graphite’ – both metallic tones – to achieve the contrasting effect. The diamond pattern was designed to run precisely from the front over the sides to the rear – matching the silhouette of the Divo.
In the story of a complex development process, Bugatti did not shy away from telling us how difficult it was to pull off this masterpiece. Stating that “The ‘Lady Bug’ was an exceptional challenge and at the same time an unforgettable experience. Due to the nature of the project, where a 2D graphic was applied to a 3D sculpture, and after numerous failed ideas and attempts to apply the diamonds, we were close to giving up and saying: ‘We cannot meet the customer’s request’,” explains Jörg Grumer, Head of Color & Trim at Bugatti Design.
“However, it is our profound conviction that we should never give up and that our foremost motivation should always be to make the impossible possible for the customer.
Designers set off carefully modifying each and every one of the 1,600 diamond shapes planned for the Divo Lady Bug. And Bugatti was quick to point out that messing up a single diamond in the digital process meant ruining the entire design. Just a millimeter off “ruined the visual effect,” the French marque said. Finally, after tweaking things on computers, workers applied 20-foot films over a test vehicle to see if the contrasting diamond pattern was even feasible.
“It wasn’t simple, but it worked. Essentially, Bugatti transferred each diamond to a transfer film to apply to the Divo’s body. Workers individually placed all 1,600 diamonds to create the contrasting effect you see in the final product. Bugatti said the process took countless hours just on the test car to make sure they nailed the process. There was no going back when it came time to actually work on the customer’s Divo”.
“With the pattern applied with only minor complications (workers needed to trim some diamonds as needed), Bugatti still needed to paint the car. Unlike factories where cars roll through a paint shop filled with robots spraying a body, the Divo Lady Bug took two weeks to paint by hand. First, a Customer Special Red went down before a Graphite and a clear coat to create the mesmerizingly complex contrast that covers nearly the entire car. And with each step, the painters sanded, smoothed, triple-checked and retouched things as needed. And then resanded things again”.
It took the paintwork artist over two weeks until his work was completed to perfection. “We were conscious right from the start of the sensibilities relating to the customer car and of the particular challenge of implementing both a technically very sophisticated and artistic project. ”
We are proud of the expertise we applied in creating this Divo: a high quality and complex product based on pure craftsmanship and outstanding teamwork between design and development said Jörg Grumer,