Tristan Auer's tailored passenger seat.
No matter the industry, the cornerstones of good design remain unchanged: detailed craftsmanship, a keen eye, and high quality materials. Designer TRISTAN AUER brings these qualities and more across multiple fields, creating stunning tailored spaces for both his clients and himself.
Originally an interior designer, Tristan found his passion for applying his skills to the auto universe through following his own personal interests and creating a custom car interior just for himself. After nailing the first and earning growing interest in his work, he dove deeper into the auto industry and became the classic car connoisseur he is today.
Watch our interview highlights with the designer on his industry-crossing creative process and scroll to dive into the details below.
You’re a very eclectic creator, when did you initially realize that your work as an interior designer would be better represented in the auto universe?
I'm doing things by instinct, I'm never thinking about planning or forecasting anything. So, I'm creating first for myself, and if it works, then good. I started to refurbish my own car as the first one, and when I saw that there was lots of interest in my work, I created a company called Car Tailoring ― which is now structured, and we have a team of designing interiors, not only for cars, but for trains and jets, airplanes, etc.
So, it's not to prove anything, it's just because there was sort of a missing link. Nobody is doing that today, I'm certainly the only one. As an interior designer, I'm taking care of the interiors of classic cars. I said, "Okay, after the single first one, let's have fun!"
What connects your practice as an interior designer to your work as a car tailor? Is there a design element that defines your signature style?
I don't have any signature style. But, I know that my approach to cars is exactly the same as for interior design ― the comfort is highly important, along with sensuality and glamour. To be able to be well, to be with friends and to welcome people in a very nice way. I pay strict attention to detail and to finishes, and this is what I incorporate in my cars, so it’s very natural. As I'm doing hospitality projects, hotels, and residences, it's obvious that it works as well for car interiors.
For me, the definition of luxury is to measure, it's to do something for you. So, then you definitely consume less, because you have one thing which will last forever. Being able to control and to decide on the interior for your car is very, very important. It's a unique luxury point.
Could you walk us through the production process of your car tailoring and customization, from finding the initial references to creating the final result?
The first step is to interview the owner, find out what he’s expecting, what are his habits, what he likes to do with his car. Then we design to measure for his tailored use. So, the first step is to listen to the client, the second is to think about the story to tell, then you approach the colors. Next is to do some sketches, I like to do hand sketches to communicate that way with the client, it’s very fast. Bring some samples, come to an agreement, and then we develop the car.
Can you tell us about the most memorable leatherwork you’ve done for a car tailoring project?
It was for the Citroën CX from 73, the steering wheel was originally in plastic and I recovered it with leather. I worked with some artisans who were highly knowledgeable of how to do that, and the result was perfect, ― when you look at it, it looks simple, but the amount of hours and work spent on this detail was significant. The steering wheel is durable, it's complicated and if you have one with one skin that you want to cover, not everybody can do it. Every little detail is very important, so we do some testing and samples and then go ahead and test it. I only show the final piece to the client, sometimes it's very complicated to understand the different phases between beginning and end, so I only reveal when I’m sure that I’m happy with the result.
When it comes to your personal experience as a car collector, what inspires you the most about customizing a car for yourself and hitting the road in it?
Cars are made to be driven, to create good memories with, so it’s not like a museum piece, I like to actually drive it. It's about the way you sit in a car, the way you see the landscape as well is very particular and different between each car, so I attempt to develop something which is tailored to the car itself. I have an example where I did a harmony of colors, mainly greens, and I was so in love with this harmony that I bought a car just for the purpose of doing this on the inside. I bought a Lotus Esprit from 1980, the one that appears in some James Bond movies, white exterior and green interior. That may sound silly, but it's a real passion. I haven't sold this car, it's just for myself, I just bought it to do the interior.
Which car tailoring project has challenged you the most?
It was a very popular car, another Citroën, that I did for the 50th anniversary of the model, which is a GS. When it's a sports car or luxury car, I don't want to say that it's easy, but luxury codes are plentiful. But, when you work with something that is more popular and costs less, nobody pays attention to this car. To do something very high-end to this car was very challenging. So, we took the direction of doing something a little bit more pop ― bold colors, incorporating some lines of fluorescence, orange in all the environments of beige and grey.
What are your future plans for taking on the challenge of other types of vehicles, like planes and trains?
We are finishing a plane now, and we will do Porsche very soon, so that will be the next new project. Plus, another car from the 1930s, a pre-War car, which will be interesting as well. There are plenty of exciting new projects on the way, and certainly more to come. It's a passion, it's not a real job, and I don't want to produce just for the sake of producing. What I'm interested in is to meet the right people who are in sync with my project.
Tristan has a crew in sync with him at METCHA, that’s for sure.
For more chats with people who live and breathe their passion, head to our [metcha originals]