César Muntada, Head of Light Design at Audi, wants to touch people emotionally with the functions of light in vehicles.

Bernd Zerelles

AUDI AG, Dirk Bruniecki and Tim Northey

5 June, 2023

“Light is where our past, present and future lives are connected,” says César Muntada, Head of Light Design at Audi.

“It is also an element that is able to carry information and feelings, whether we can see it or not. Light is actually something physically tangible and intangible at the same time. We learn, create and dream our world with the help of light.”

It’s no surprise then that while Audi has long led the way with its lighting technology – Matrix LED, OLED lighting, laser light – its designers likewise have a long history of incorporating the very latest lighting technology as an external and interior design element.

The role of lighting on the inside of an Audi vehicle is important in helping the occupants feel at home and comfortable – and is as important as the high-quality materials employed inside an Audi.
“Audi lighting designers use light to appeal to the senses of our customers and to arouse feelings,” says Muntada.

“Feelings are like chapters in a book – they are not the whole thing, but without them the story makes no sense. We lighting designers carefully place and tune the lighting elements – the optional ambient lighting, for instance, describes the character of the architecture while creating volume and space, numerous colours and intensities extend the spectrum. 

“But ultimately it is the users who decide which set-up combination will best meet their personal preferences.”
The secret is that Audi lighting designers move and change the light according to the mood of the respective user – sometimes it will seem warmer or cooler, sometimes softer or harsher, sometimes more subtle or more obvious, and sometimes near or far. The carefully selected materials and surfaces of the interior play a crucial role in gathering or reflecting the light, creating the perfect stage for our emotions. It may seem like a simple process: lights on, lights off, but the Audi lighting designers turn it into an immersive experience.

Muntada is firmly of the belief that the ambient lighting has a very real and positive impact on the actual driving experience.

“Audi lighting designers use light to appeal to the senses of our customers and to arouse feelings,” says Audi Head of Lighting Design, César Muntada.

“If you’re driving down a winding mountain road, you can set the ambient lighting to a deep shade of green for example. It reminds you of the forest, which gives you a fresh feeling.”

“Now, drive down the same road and set the ambient lighting to a dark red, you will feel much more energetic. And when you dim lights in the front of the car to a cool white on the very same road, and keep a bright light on in the backseat, you will feel focused and relaxed – it’ll almost feel like floating. You will feel like you’re moving in an empty space, between the light of the headlights in front of you and the illuminated backseat behind you.”

Not only does the internal lighting affect the mood, but it also has a real impact the well-being of the occupants as well according to Muntada.

“It’s actually similar to what natural sunlight does to us,” he says. 

“Audi lighting can help our users change how they feel from inside the car, they can feel energised or relaxed or focused. This has a direct impact on their driving experience and their wellbeing when they get to their destination.”