CLOSE-UP ON Takumi Yamamoto, One step ahead

CLOSE-UP ON Takumi Yamamoto, One step ahead

One of the many events which marked the 34th Festival Automobile International and its exhibition of concept cars was the world-first presentation of the DB project by Takumi Yamamoto.


Dramatically staged in a dark setting and shown off by a play of light and projections, visitors to the Invalides could see the project developed by Takumi Yamamoto. It was a model printed in 3D and produced by the Massivit and Marie 3D companies, with the involvement of Cyrille Ancely for the 3D design and Alexandre Larnac for the images and videos.


The man responsible for this initiative was Takumi Yamamoto. He is no stranger to lovers of design or to regular visitors to the exhibition held at the Invalides. In January 2009, the concept car “GT by Citroën” was shown there, after it had made its debut three months earlier at the Paris Motor Show.

That project, far removed from Citroën’s everyday concerns at the time, was developed in conjunction with the company Polyphony for its video game Gran Turismo 5. Conceived under the leadership of the designer Gilles Vidal ­­- who was then responsible for Citroën’s concept cars – the white sports car paid tribute to an extreme approach to aesthetics, relishing the statement it made.

The prototype was produced by Estech, using mechanical components from a Ford GT40 replica. The cockpit, designed by Pascal Grappey, was astonishing, using a ‘stereo-lithographic’ technique which made it possible to produce complex shapes finished with the appearance of nickel or copper. In these threatening times, it was reassuring to see Citroën undertake this kind of exercise.

Two months later, moreover, the “GT by Citroën” was awarded the 2008 Louis Vuitton Design Award at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show. Established by Christian Philippsen, an enlightened connoisseur of exceptional cars, the Design Award sought to pick a car which was extraordinary, spectacular, almost extravagant, a car which might be in the running for a “Best of Show” award in 30 years’ time …

Yamamoto studied at the Tokyo Zohei Art University, then began his career at UST, before joining the PSA group in 2001, where he worked initially in its studio at Carrières-sous-Poissy dedicated to collaborative projects, before moving to Citroën at Vélizy, from 2006 to 2012.


There, he came to attention with his design of the “GT by Citroën”. After this magnificent show of extravagance, Yamamoto seemed to be a man to cultivate extremes. In 2017, he established his own studio devoted to exceptional cars, furniture and even robots, and embarked on his most personal project, bearing the initials “DB”.

Its theme was simple but highly original: his concept car was presented as a tribute to David Bowie, the designer’s idol.

In an unrestrained display of anthropomorphism, he gave his prototype features recalling the personality of the pop star, who died on 16 January 2016. He fashioned a shape which was a reflection of his idol, concealed under his extravagant clothes, represented here by the successive layers of the car and by its disturbing look with its asymmetrical headlamps …