It seems car design is no longer the fashionable place to be with so many companies' top car designers leaving the industry to “pursue other interests.” Mazda’s Laurens van den Acker is the latest designer to depart from an automaker.
Van den Ackers is one of the men responsible for introducing Mazda’s “Nagare” design language. Nagare translates literally to flow, and the design ethic represents a more natural and organic car design.
The Mazda Nagare, Ryuga, and Hakaze concepts designed by van den Acker were explorations in future Mazda design. The most recent, the Furai, debuted at the 2008 North American International Auto Show.
Van den Ackers is leaving the automotive design world after a rather short, but memorable, stint to “pursue other interests.” Replacing him is Ikuo Maeda, who led the RX-8 design team. Maeda will become the new general manager of Mazda’s design division and will work from the company’s world headquarters in Hiroshima, Japan.
Maeda joined the company in 1982 and has bounced around Ford’s global design department. He was in charge of advanced design at Mazda’s Yokohama design studio in the 1980s, and then transferred to Mazda North America’s design studio. In 1999, Maeda went to Ford’s Detroit design studio where he worked for two years. Maeda rejoined Mazda in 2000, where he led the design development of both the RX-8 and the Mazda 2.