The extra elbow room is critical to taking long views of the vehicles that weren't possible in the old design center's cramped quarters. That will allow for better judgment of proportions and stance. Executives also won't need to clear out of the review room to allow the design team to swap in new cars for viewed ones. Furthermore, the extra space will allow Hyundai and Genesis to compare their vehicles side by side with those of their competitors.
"It is better than any design studio I've had before," said Donckerwolke, a Volkswagen Group veteran tapped in 2015 after working at Audi, Lamborghini and Bentley.
Perhaps most importantly, the studio will enable digitalized designing from start to finish, which makes it easier to share product plans with engineering early in the process. Better coordination with engineering is seen as key to speeding development time.
The studio is responsible for about 65 vehicle projects over the two brands and will be able to work on 25 at the same time, Donckerwolke said.
Hyundai and Genesis designers will sit in walled-off styling sections so the creativity of one brand won't inadvertently influence the other, Lee said.
"We don't want our brand to be called Hyundai-Genesis," Lee said.
The first test of Hyundai's quest for speed was simply finishing the design center. The styling workshop and studio spaces were empty chambers with nary a computer, clay mill or chair just weeks before the target move-in date, which was today, Aug. 14.
But Lee said it was operational a week earlier, on Aug. 7, and most people had already moved in.
"Here everything is so fast," he said, "unbelievably fast."