Designer Stelu Harsan's Striking Concepts, Inspiration, and Story: Interview
When it comes to crafting and molding concept cars, some designers stick to one shape and tend to repeat it over and over – a process that has given the world some iconic shapes, albeit recognizable ones. Boring. However, some designers dig a little bit deeper and push the conventions of automotive design in directions less concerned with what can be done for today, but what should be done for tomorrow. Romanian designer Stelu Harsan is one of those forward thinkers, responsible for penning some truly striking designs, so we wanted to pick his brain and see what went into the whole design process.
BoldRide: Talk a little bit about yourself.
Ever since I was a small boy, I had a passion for cars. That passion has accompanied me until today. I completed school in 2002 at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest in the Aerospace Engineering branch. At that time, school was mainly theory-based with less practice unfortunately.
When you start a design project, how long does it take until you're satisfied with the result?
It depends, but for the NRJ (above) I remember I worked 9 months. There were a lot of details, but Corvinus Two I finished it in one week because of a contest.
So far what has been your favorite car to design?
I love Kydon very much. Later I wanted to make some upgrades, but time is short and priorities also changed.
If you could, which concept would you drive daily?
I would like very much to drive a street version of Corvinus (below).
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Where do you find inspiration for your concepts?
The inspiration is everywhere; we only need to be patient and observant.
What was your first car?
You are not Italian if you don't own at least one Fiat, German a VW, French a Renault, and – in my case – Romanian a Dacia.
What cars today do you like, or get you thinking about new designs?
I think all are beautiful; today’s designs have become so artful. The French, German and Korean automakers have some leading designs, not talking about the Italian flagship though. But my favorite at the moment is the Kia pro_cee’d.
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Let's talk about the NRJ. Talk us through what's going on with the aerodynamics and the shape.
The inspiration for my NRJ (Energy) was the prototype from the movie I, Robot. The shape is almost a continuous curve, but the aggressive shapes on the muzzle won't help too much for its aerodynamics. I added some tunnels on the bottom to improve the down force. Do they work? I hope so!
We’re guessing it isn’t powered by a massive V8 then?
No, the engine is electrical. Hybrid or not, it must be environment friendly.
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We'd love to drive the Stefeli SFG very, very badly. Talk us through the specs and design.
Me too! Although I wanted to do some modifications, especially to the rear, it was my first almost complete 3D design and it is one of my favorites. I have the hand sketches ready for the 3D update, but it must wait. SFG was conceived for a very big front engine and all wheel drive, something between the renowned Subaru Impreza and Aston Martin.
Any upcoming projects?
Unfortunately my future projects are not into automotive design. I’m trying to focus on other smaller product designs, on my job, family and other hobbies.
Where are you working now?
I have worked for Roechling Automotive since 2007. We produce plastic components for all automotive brands, worldwide. Since April 2014, I am the team leader in the newest development center in Pitesti, Romania. Before I worked as a design engineer in our engineering center in Bolzano, Italy.
To see more of Stelu’s designs, check out his profile here.