Ombrae Studios was commissioned by McLaren Automotive's design department to develop an Ombrae surface which would facilitate a tactile seating experience for driver and passengers, where the side bolsters would allow them to slide easily into the seat, and then effectively grip them in place (particularly useful at the record-setting high speeds this vehicle is capable of, as the fastest McLaren ever created). Ombrae Studios created this concept of "Slip&Grip" directional leather whereby embossed Ombrae OpticalTiles™ are optimized for this technical affordance. Additional consideration was given to the diameter of the individual pixels, scaling down in diameter and inclination depth as the texture approaches the edge of the pattern piece. This nested hexagonal pattern perfectly compliments other interior and exterior design language elements in the hypercar's speakers and exhaust grill patterns, while upholding McLaren's relentless pursuit of ultimate performance, down to the smallest detail.
Perhaps the biggest design challenge for our team was not specifically related to the visual design of the Ombrae surface, but rather how it was manufactured. McLaren’s Colour Material Finish (CMF) Designers set out an ambitious goal of using specialty untreated leathers, such as semi-aniline, full aniline, and nubuck leathers, which traditionally cannot be embossed or debossed without fundamentally changing the material characteristics due to the heat of the leather presses.
Ombrae Studios devised a novel way of achieving an embossed surface that did not change the material’s desirable untreated finish qualities, while maintaining the shape and durability of the Ombrae surfaces (this included passing rigorous abrasion testing). This provided a consistency across the entire product run, which ranged considerably in colour and types of leather used, as specified by owner. We believe innovation is often found in the process, as much as in the end product result.
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