The creation bears the name "L'Or Blanc." It represents an automobile that redefines the art of design. If you look at it through the eyes of a designer, you will recognize that it is the reflection of the studio lights on the body that attracts their interest. Positioned beneath a special light, the car is set in an ideal environment that provides an excellent image of the reflections. The studio light is reflected on the invisible edges between the body shapes of the Grand Sport. In numerous stages each reflection line is translated by Bugatti's designers onto the car body that has been pre-painted in a vibrant white tone. They use a precision tape made of Japanese soft tissue that can be easily torn off by hand. It adheres perfectly to sulfur-containing plasticine. By stretching them to a certain degree, these tapes are "lined" in pieces up to five meters long across the whole exterior of the car.
If the line does not fully meet the intention of the designers, they place a correction tape above the original line. This process is repeated until the final line has the right tension and character. Between the styling steps, the team looks at the car from a distance to evaluate the relation of the stripes to the white spaces. This is also the best way to ensure that lines flow from one side of the body across the roof and the rear to the opposite side. Even the smallest imperfections are being revised meticulously, as the final target is to achieve unrivalled perfection. Finally, the lines stretch across the perfectly shaped Bugatti like a grid of light reflections. Over the course of several weeks, the team of designers develop the final composition of dynamic bends and delicate lines that run over the automotive piece of art like the serpentines of the Italian Stelvio Pass.
"The 'L'Or Blanc' is evidence of the capabilities of the craftsmen at both brands. The distinctive structure of lines does not only mirror the elaborate hand painting on porcelain but also the process of modeling in automotive design," says Achim Anscheidt.
In the next step, Bugatti's paint specialists dedicate themselves to the further completion of the masterpiece. Over the course of three weeks, each millimeter of the marked lines are being filled by hand with the characteristic blue color. In addition, the whole body receives five layers of clear lacquer. A varying and powerful gradient of the two colors is generated because the team had used a combination of tapes with different widths. While the blue lines dominate over the white spaces in the lower section of the convertible, the relation of colors inverts on the way to the roof so that the intense white appears even stronger. Twelve elements, made of finest porcelain at the Berlin based manufactory, complete the aesthetic approach of this special Grand Sport.
Let us change the location and visit the workshops of the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur in the heart of Berlin. Following a tradition of around 250 years, at this location more than 170 craftsmen and specialists produce precious items, as today's expression of porcelain art. Hand-made plaster moulds are needed to craft the unique porcelain elements that appear in the exterior and interior of the "L'Or Blanc", and with a tremendous attention to detail, each mould is created and optimized in a several-week-long process at the research and development department. The team has to run a number of dedicated tests with the raw material to check the impact of the natural shrinkage of around 16 per-cent during firing and drying. Finally, the porcelain elements fit seamlessly to the Bugatti components.
"Porcelain is one of the strongest materials but the grade of quality depends significantly on the excellence of the manufacturing process. We had to assure that the inlays perfectly fit to the filler caps, it has been a challenge for us to exactly calculate the shrinkage of porcelain," explains Thomas Wenzel, Head of Design at KPM.