Calty’s Wonder Woman - How the FT-1 Concept became a super hero’s fortress

by Dan Nied
Sept/Oct 2014
Calty’s Wonder Woman - How the FT-1 Concept became a super hero’s fortress
Sellene Lee has plenty of other interests besides cars. And that might be her greatest strength as a creative designer in Calty Color and Trim department.
Lee’s passion isn’t for what’s under a vehicle’s hood, but for what’s between its doors. And her work on the interior of the FT-1 Concept is turning heads.

Show Stopper
Sellene Lee and the original FT-1 stole the North American International Automobile Show with its debut in January.

Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea, and came to the United States after graduating college. Outside of work, she’s turns furniture into art to display in Southern California galleries. She’s also a pretty huge movie buff. And all that went into creating a dynamic interior design for both FT-1 Concepts.
We sat down with Sellene to talk about the FT-1 and its super hero roots.
How did the FT-1’s powerful interior come about?
Each team, after the research, comes up with a key story for the whole project. For my team, I researched and came up with my own inspiration for color and trim based on super heroes. Mostly when I get my inspiration, it’s spontaneous. The Superman poster for “Man of Steel” just grabbed my eye. I thought it was interesting to see how super hero costumes evolved over time. That was the seed. After that I researched the oldest super hero costumes and just took them as inspiration.
So Superman’s history was the inspiration for the original concept?
Yes! Before, the super hero costume was color-coded tights. It was interesting to see the “Man of Steel” poster. It’s very monotone, not just blue and red anymore. And you have all these intricate details. It’s a very interesting evolution of the Superman costume. We kept talking about the FT-1 interior being like a superhero suit that optimized the functionality of the driver. So I thought, ‘If I take the inspiration from the new super hero costume, I can apply it to the color theme of the FT-1.’
What was your favorite part of the FT-1 design process?
It was really fun for me because it was the first time all of our team members worked together in the research phase. Designing a car is different from designing furniture or something smaller scale. In order to make one car, you need a lot of different talents working together. So no one can be the product’s sole owner. I don’t have an automotive design background, so I brought a different perspective. I really enjoyed working with and learning from so many car enthusiasts. It was a really fun collaboration.
Do your other interests help you in your job?
My background is product design, so I have always been into smaller-scale design. But the auto industry wants a fresh perspective, and my background helps me infuse fresh ideas. I love design and art and music. Those different perspectives in the design world are helping me do this job now.
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