Inside the Porsche Design studio that transforms everyday tech into the ultimate style statement

T3 gets an all-access pass

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The brand new Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 is, without doubt, a thing of beauty. Of course, it’s got the technical beef to back that up thanks to a 6-inch FullView Display, super cool AI features and a formidable Leica dual camera setup. Plus there’s awesome power performance from its 4000mAh battery. But, the first thing that really hits you is the design of this smartphone.

The look and feel of the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 is everything you’d expect from the collaboration between the Chinese phone giant and the small-but-perfectly-formed Studio F. A. Porsche located in the idyllic Austrian town of Zell am See. Ferdinand Porsche, designer of the iconic 911 opened the facility after leaving the operational side of Porsche and moving there from Germany back in 1972. In the years since, the studio has become synonymous with producing nothing but the best.

Today, the Studio F. A. Porsche business consists of two parts; one being the original building that has been there since the beginning while a newer modern wing sits to its left. It’s a brilliant bit of styling that somehow manages to join the two eras seamlessly. And, that is something that carries on through to Porsche Design products. The collaboration with Huawei for the Porsche Design Mate 10 works particularly well and while the handset definitely sits in the premium category, Huawei insists this isn’t just a smartphone but ‘an intelligent machine’.

Taking a tour of the facility is fascinating and also reveals that there is a lot more to this company than stylish smartphones and cool sunglasses. In fact, the Porsche Design brand has been linked to a very diverse selection of products over the years. The building itself is home to some of these, including an old but once cutting-edge pushbike, a motorcycle that is similarly futuristic considering when it was first designed and a wealth of other tech and gadgets. These range from cutting edge trainers through to beautifully machined knives and onwards to the Porsche Design Book One 2-in-1 laptop. There’s even a Porsche Design Shisha 2.0 pipe.

Additional highlights of the Porsche Design portfolio are numerous. There are Kef M500 headphones, for example, Samsung’s NX500 camera, the Alpha Piano, which was a digital keyboard with a striking design and the Adidas Bounce S trainers that boasted enhanced suspension inspired by the automotive industry. More impressively, the Sonja is one of the best performing speaker sets in existence, while the carbon framed Porsche Bike RX is definitely one for fans of two-wheelers.

Studio F. A. Porsche has produced humbler work though, like the unique design for a Veltins beer crate. And, says the studio, it was actually a lot more complicated to design and produce than many of the other products on their roster due to the high volume but precision nature of the bottle carrier. There are other surprises too, such as the spray guns produced for Sata, fitness equipment designed for German-based company Miha, a futuristic cable car gondola and new business class compartments for Cathay Pacific Airways.

During the tour we get to see inside the very office used by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche himself. Tucked away at the back of the original old part of the building, this serene environment is where Mr Porsche designed many of the iconic products we know today. It’s been preserved just as he left it, with his trademark pipe sitting on the desk alongside an array of creative tools. Hanging on walls or sitting on shelves are mementos of the past, including design awards, photos and gifts from Porsche friends and acquaintances around the globe. 

“One of the biggest and finest design jobs that Mr Porsche was known for is, of course, the Porsche 911”, says Roland Heiler, Chief Design Officer during his presentation. However, Porsche Design’s incredibly diverse product portfolio now extends to buildings. The new Porsche Design Tower Miami high-rise apartment block, for example, is amazing. It features a bespoke design that allows apartment owners to whisk themselves and their car up to where they live via a vehicle-sized lift. No more parking on the street nonsense there it seems.

Elsewhere, the studio has also been working on an incredible high-rise building in Asia called the M101 Skywheel, which sports twin towers and the world’s highest big wheel along with a centrepiece that consists of a giant watchface. In addition, the Porsche Design brand extends to the water, with a series of exclusive high-end Royal Falcon Fleet RFF135 craft being produced to further extend the reach of this growing company. And, compared to those, the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 almost seems like a bargain, despite its sizeable price tag of €1,395.

It’ll be available in Porsche Design Stores and online www.porsche-design.com starting in early December. The device will also be available in December at selected Porsche Design Stores worldwide (except the USA), and selected Huawei retail stores in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. There’s also an exclusive UK pre-sale taking place at Harrods starting from early December.