Citroen B2 Caddy
A dainty design that shows the merit in looking at car design in the same way we tend to look at architecture and furniture design
There are many ways ‘in’ to a car design — many ways to consume it and consider a critical viewpoint. One that is less common is to approach it more as furniture design and architecture tend to: from a structural approach; how the artefact is composed physically and the interrelationships of its core elements.
There are some great details on this rare ‘torpedo’ bodied Citroen B2 Caddy - the petal-like split-screen, and the protruding rear side step used to climb into the single central rear seat, being just two. But it’s the way that the car’s structure and core volumes are presented that is the most significant aspect of its design.
See how the dark underbody (and disc wheels) sit as a foundation to the rest of the design, a consequence of its pronounced ride height and the flare of its fenders that open up this normally hidden lower surface — a little like a speed-boat’s hull. The continuous surface of the fenders as they wrap around the front of the car and connect at the sides as a running-board make this foundation area wholly separate to the upper body, and also pushes up the car to make it visually ‘float’ a little — the antithesis of the ‘tied-down’ stance of today’s sports-cars.
On-top-of, and sunk into, this dark lower section is a simple light-coloured upper-body volume that tapers progressively both in plan to the rear, and downwards into the the captive dark fenders and chassis beneath — just as a flower head sits on-top of its larger, darker leaves below.
This dainty design is from another time, its structure, its composition of volumes, and its floating high stance are the antithesis of the approach of car design today. But perhaps they might have some relevance for future passenger drone designs that need a distinct semantic relative to aircraft and cars? And maybe the consideration of car design from a more structural perspective, similar to that of architecture and furniture design, might also be useful as car design transforms with new structures.