A celebration of proportions and design language

The Mazda The Nagare concept serves to point the direction of future design direction for the Japanese automaker, following the path of three very well-received concept cars from 2005 (the Sassou, Senku and Kabura).

According to Laurens van den Acker, then Mazda’s global design director, the Nagare sums up the company’s future design strategy in one word: fluidity.

According to van den Acker, Nagare examines light and shadow and begins to reveal global design elements for the next generation of Mazda vehicles. “Nagare is a celebration of proportions and surface language that will evolve into subsequent designs scheduled to be shown at future international motor shows,” he added.

Nagare, a growing expression of the slogan “Zoom-Zoom”, draws inspiration from the flow of elements in nature. It captures movement, energy and lightness to deliver an intriguing and alluring product.

Nagare’s design team was led by Franz Von Holzhausen, who at the time was Mazda’s design director in Irvine, California. A “wonderful language of sturdy yet effortless lines and shapes”, is how he described the new form.

Let’s take a look at the 2006 Mazda Nagare Concept

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The Mazda Nagare offers a flowing motion experience through the surface texture

Nagare’s side surfaces allow the air to be imagined moving beside and above the vehicle as it moves rapidly through the atmosphere. Even though the car is stationary, the combination of light and shadow creates the illusion of movement.


The hood, wheel arches, and LED headlight and taillight treatments all show similar cues of fluid flow. The Nagare’s interior features a consistent surface language; the dashboard, center console and door panels all seem to be influenced by the flow.

Von Holzhausen noted the car, “Beauty is not a blank page.” Nagare’s dynamic qualities are complemented by its surface texture, which is influenced by movement. Mazda never confines its customers because it prides itself on being sporty.

Mazda’s surface language is car-focused. They developed Nagare to bridge the two disciplines after considering the architectural method, which is often very rigid, and the organic approach, which is very fluid. It’s energetic, graceful and fluid. However, it communicates flow motion to the observer.


The Mazda Nagare is a practically suitable vehicle

It has a modern, aerodynamic shape that one would expect from an urban cruiser of the future. For quick steering response and nimble agility, Mazda places the wheels close to the edges of the envelope. It doesn’t lose a single inch of overhang.

Two double-length doors with butterfly hinges that open forward provide access to the four interior spaces. As in a single-seater sports race, the car positions the driver in the center for better control and a better view. The driver sits below the highest point of the roof, so there’s plenty of headroom and a fully reclined backrest.

As evidenced by the popular RX-8 four-seat sports car and the clever layout of the CX-9 three-row, seven-seat crossover sport utility vehicle, Mazda excels at creating innovative seating combinations.

Three guests can relax in the wraparound lounge located aft of the Nagare. The center front seat and large door opening provide easy access to the surprisingly spacious cabin.

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The future of interior designs through the Mazda Nagare

Mazda’s design efforts have primarily focused on advancing the Nagare exterior form language.

The apparent evolution of the design of the five concept vehicles is proof of this. However, as Laurens van den Acker said, Mazda is paying attention to how to fit Flow inside upcoming Mazda cars.

The interior takes a different direction, filled with a collection of things. By approaching interior construction with the aim of having a global vision of the world, Mazda matures this language.

Three main areas are the focus of the interior development: driver orientation, lightness (which is crucial for Mazda) and fluidity.

The goal is that by combining these three elements, Mazda interiors stand out and vehicles become distinctly Mazda. It can be said that other brands also focus on the driver and could make an effort to be light. But only Nagare, in conjunction with the other elements, can characterize Mazda.

Driver orientation is an important priority because the soul of all Mazdas should be at the heart of a sports car. This is a major hallmark of the Mazda brand. The second is the intellectual interpretation of “lightness” as a future brand value.

So what powers the Design Language Master?

People expected the car’s propulsion systems to be radically different since Mazda reportedly planned to introduce it more than a decade after it was first presented. According to Mazda, the Nagare’s rotary engine runs on hydrogen.

Since no one else was using rotary engines yet, this would be exceptional even if hydrogen grew in popularity.


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