I don’t know if you know this, but I love cars – very luxury designed cars. Not luxury like we see on the market today where you brand every inch of an item with a logo, but the discreet nuances that make you ask, “Who?” And I know that Lincoln Motor Company hasn’t been looked at as the most luxurious for some years now. I get it. Being from Texas where it was a constant battle between the Navigator, Escalade, and Tahoe, I know when a brand rediscovers themselves and delves into a more classic, detail-oriented look.
This interview exclusive we talk with Jenny Kubinec, the Color and Material Designer forLincoln. Coming from a family of seamstresses, along with 15 years of graphic, product and automotive development experience, Kubinec has merged her understanding of fashion with auto design allowing the interior styling to be representative of the sleek exterior structure.
Tell us your history with design.
Honestly, ever since I could hold a pencil, I was inspired to capture, uncover or express what I see. I always knew I wanted to be a designer, even at a very young age, but what I didn’t know was what kind. I explored and studied many forms of visual art mediums, such as watercolor, acrylics, stained glass, mixed-media, along with traditional crafts from my grandmother, such as sewing and fibers, and my fashion sensibility from my mother, who helped nurture my own personal style. In experimenting with many mediums, colors, textures and numerous hair cut/colors, I discovered how to compose visual balance, intriguing form, and expressive impressions
How did you get involved with Lincoln?
My professional career took off before I graduated from Commercial Art, where I focused on Graphic Design, brand building and campaigns. Learning from my clients’ philosophies, I was challenged to put into graphic form, imagery and a message that would evoke and sustain with or without a product. After eight years of working my way up to an Art Director, I was offered an opportunity to build an in-house art department for a leading product company in Canada. As Creative Director, I was responsible for recreating an entire brand and develop new to market products. After four years of developing housewares, lifestyle and entertainment furnishings, I was eager to take three-dimensional design further in my career by returning to school at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.
Despite the risk of leaving a successful career, as some may have thought, I was determined in applying what I had already learned throughout my life, to achieve my goal as an Industrial Designer. I chose to pursue Transportation as my major, fact being that I was a product of parents which both have worked in the automotive interiors themselves and it too, was something that I learned from my upbringing. During my studies and the 2009 recession, I was fortunate enough to intern at the California eco-luxe company, Fisker Automotive, where I was exposed to the complexity and development of natural materials for the Karma. On my return to CCS, I was offered a position at Ford Motor Company to continue my work in Color and Material Design. For the 4 past years, I have been exclusively designing for the all-new Lincoln lineup, starting with the MKZ and MKC. I have continued to establish new developments in materials, color technologies and first to launch series, Black Label. MKZ and MKC concept models showcase my future developments and evolution for the Lincoln brand.
What details did you incorporate to make Lincoln’s look unique, or better yet, standout with style?
My best inspiration comes through experience from travelling, art, architecture, photography, and fashion/style. As I become more aware, something will just catch my eye, even speak to me. It could be as simple as a single color in nature, unique color combination found in a painting, hand detailing in leather bag, the sensation of new texture found in natural source, or a created pattern from new technology.
What part do you think fashion’s boom plays in other industries like Lincoln?
As a designer, deconstructing elements and revisualizing them into a new concept or application is the exciting part of the design process. But most importantly, the unspoken philosophy and purpose is what drives luxury into Lincoln. You see, everything that is selected and created for the Lincoln brand is very well thought of and intently suited. From the open pore wood appliques, which whispers to the eyes and hands about honesty and purity of the veneer, to the soft buttery feel of the leather that wraps and soothes its occupants, there is a defining correlation that is uniquely Lincoln.
Tell us about your personal style.
For my personal style, I am often inspired by the 50s and 60s, found in British, French and Italian fashion and design. I am attracted to clean lines and form, simple patterns, fine detailing and structure that stands forth. I can appreciate the pure, timeless vigor that emulates youth and energy from this era. It’s uplifting, yet elegant, and this is what I bring to Lincoln interiors.
Did your personal style play a role in the design inspiration with Lincoln?
One of my inspirations for the MKC, is the Gucci New Bamboo Handbag. Bridging the gap of 64 years since its introduction, the new bag has been modernized with all the trademarks and brio that still makes this piece a desirable icon. The leather is smooth with soft variations of color, which adds warmth and richness that can be felt with the eyes. In the MKC, you can find this same modeling effect on the full-leather seating where we used Bridge of Weir Fine Scottish Leather. Attention to detail is also what gave rise to Lincoln’s own trademark “LL” perforated patterns that link the past with the future. For the wood appliques offered in MKC, the preservation and beauty of the bamboo handle on the handbag, a signature material to the Gucci brand, is captured with the first offering of open pore finishes for Lincoln. One’s eye and hand can easily perceive the honesty and value of the veneers, where the nuances of the natural, hand-selected material signifies Lincoln’s commitment to cultivating craftsmanship and distinction. As a fine leather handbag should, the detailing of the stitching never goes unnoticed, as tight tolerances and finishing are important to the quality of the individual components and overall harmony of a product. Coupling with the stitching, of course, is the all-new leather developments for Lincoln, which sets forth a new standard of luxury and comfort. Where every luxurious sensation that is felt, becomes something to be savored and shared.