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“Sustainability is a challenge that we’re very happy to take on.”

Head of Colour & Trim Series Projects Tiziana Mauri and her work illustrate perfectly what the brand’s “Let’s make sense” means.

09/17/2021 Text: Nadia Riaz-Ahmed - Photo: Dirk Bruniecki - Video: Nadia Hallgren Reading Time: 4 min

Ms. Mauri, in the “Let’s make sense” video, you discussed the apparent contradiction between sustainable materials and premium quality standards with fashion designer Stella McCartney. What did you take away from the conversation?

Stella and I understand sustainability and premium quality in the same way — as two pillars underpinning our work that are in no way contradictory. Instead, I see protecting the planet as part of a continuum with our distinctive approach to quality. It adds value to design and is integral to the Audi aesthetics and code of ethics. 

 

So how do you incorporate sustainability into design? Can you give us some insight into your creative process?

Initially, when defining our colour and material concept, we research overarching trends as well as collect ideas and insights on mood boards. The fashion industry is a major source of inspiration. Next, we translate our concept into a precise Audi colour and material palette that is fine-tuned over the course of a four-year development process until we go to market. In terms of time frames, fashion is definitely more agile and flexible than the automotive industry.

 

So you literally need to be progressive?

The challenge for us is not only to investigate and understand what our customers want but also anticipate their desires. Sustainability is something that they have directly requested. The fact that we share this philosophy with them is something I really appreciate.

The challenge for us is to not only understand but also anticipate our customers’ desires.”

Tiziana Mauri

Does sustainability entail compromising on quality or aesthetics? What are the constraints? 
No, if we follow the process, push ourselves and refuse to compromise, the final product will be better for it. Sustainability is a major challenge that we’re very happy to take on. We want to offer our customers something that is both authentic and of premium quality. Our materials’ sustainable story is worth telling because it creates a strong connection with our customers. Most people might not even notice the premium we placed on ensuring that customers feel comfortable seated in a leather-free interior. 

 

Which sustainable materials were used for the Audi e-tron GT quattro and the Audi RS e-tron GT?

At Audi Colour & Trim, neither exterior paint and pigments nor interior leather and textiles alone take center stage. We strive to pair them in such a way as to create a cohesive whole. Audi e-tron GT buyers have a choice between two leather-free interior packages. We developed a completely new textile that combines a high percentage of polyester from up-cycled PET bottles and some industrial production waste. What’s more, in order to retain the fibers’ natural colour, we decided to avoid chemical dyeing. Our work on the Audi e-tron GT quattro and the Audi RS e-tron GT shows our vision when it comes to contributing to sustainability. This is what we want for the future.

Audi e-tron GT quattro: Power consumption, combined*: 19.6–18.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.8–19.9 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Audi e-tron GT quattro: Power consumption, combined*: 19.6–18.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.8–19.9 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

A selection of different materials spread out on a table.
Work at Audi Colour & Trim focuses neither on exterior paint and pigments nor on leather or textiles alone — it’s about creating a cohesive whole.

Tiziana Mauri

Tiziana Mauri is a passionate designer with almost two decades of experience in the automotive industry. After earning a degree in industrial design, her first job was at an Italian car manufacturer’s design studio. In 2010, Mauri moved to Germany to join Audi Konzept Design Munich. Working on the concept and show cars of various brands, she gained an intimate understanding of the VW Group. In 2012, Tiziana Mauri started coordinating the AUDI AG series projects and stepped up as Head of Colour & Trim Series Projects in 2019. 

Let’s go back to how you started your journey with Audi.

While studying design at the Polytechnic University of Milan, I was at first mostly interested in products. But in 2004, at the age of just 21 when I started working in the automotive industry as a designer at an Italian car manufacturer, I was especially drawn to colours and materials. It was a great opportunity for me to offer customers in the industry something different. Since it was emotionally so satisfying, I decided to stay in the field. I joined Audi in 2010 and, today, it feels as if I’ve been in the Colour & Trim department most of my life.

 

Working with materials and colours really is your longstanding passion.

Yes, colours and materials are my way of giving expression to the Audi DNA. Of course, that’s

not to say it’s something static — our Audi colour and material palette is continually

evolving.

Even if we cannot change the world, we can at least point it in the right direction.”

Tiziana Mauri

In the fashion industry, it’s apparent that people sometimes don’t respond to certain colours and they fall flat. What about the automotive industry? Are there colours that you never use?

Since our focus is on conveying the Four Rings’ premium and luxury character, we mostly stick to subtle colours — nothing too bold, or too loud. 

 

Do you feel that both the automobile and fashion industries can be part of the solution in creating a more sustainable future?

Yes, I do. Even if we cannot change the world, we can at least point it in the right direction. As major global brands, we can take the lead and focus on driving real change.

Let’s make sense

Audi RS e-tron GT

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Experience how the Audi RS e-tron GT combines beauty with performance.

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Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.