Crystallinium: a brightly coloured jewel in lights

Crystallinium: a brightly coloured jewel in lights

The new Škoda Superb and Kodiaq models have Crystallinium in their LED Matrix headlights. This design element emphasises the headlight modules’ contours and gives them an innovative and unmistakable look.

16. 1. 2024 Škoda World

It’s a supreme example of the crystalline design that is typical for Škoda cars. The tiny blue Crystallinium light element is a surprising detail that develops the idea of working with glass into a new form. 

“We were looking for a way to bring even more added value to the appearance of the lights on the new models. And my colleague Martin Paclt came up with the idea of using colour. Colour is also used in glassmaking, which inspired our crystalline design,” says Petr Nevřela, Škoda Design’s headlight design specialist.

Crystallinium in the headlights of the latest-generation Škoda Superb. Its technical solution is patented by Škoda Auto.

The colour is intended to bring a new effect to the headlights and create a moment of surprise when the lights are switched on. But it wasn’t at all easy to develop and put into practice. “The homologation rules don’t allow any colour other than the one specified to shine forward,” points out Petr Nevřela. That’s why no other colours are used in car lights. This also means that if the designers wanted to use the colour element in the headlights, they not only had to find a way to meet the homologation conditions, as well as completely develop the entire element from scratch.

We have a great team of experts in optical simulation and other disciplines in the technical development department, so we worked with them to fine-tune the element so it would pass homologation,” Nevřela says with a smile. One designer worked on the design for each model, while in technical development a whole team of people with different specialisations took on the task of finding a suitable solution.

The way to meet the homologation requirements was to find the right shape for these elements, which we placed on the sides of both LED modules. “At the same time, for a number of reasons we were looking for a way to illuminate this element with the light already present in the headlamp. Having a separate source would not only increase the cost – it could also cause problems in terms of fitting it into the headlamp,” explains Nevřela.

drc4700-copy-copy_31e0a2ed Petr Nevřela
headlight design specialist

Headlamp design always comes down to a few millimetres in every direction: the designers try to achieve a low and elongated headlamp appearance, and they want to position the light elements as close to the sides of the car as possible. The lights then visually widen the car, giving it the right proportions. Any extra detail that is needed from a design point of view can disrupt the desired balance. 

Crystallinium in the headlights of the recently launched new generation of the Škoda Kodiaq

In the end, the engineers and designers managed to find a way to get some rays of light for the Crystallinium out of the module’s inner chamber, which is otherwise carefully enclosed on all sides so that the light goes only where it should. “In fact, we deliberately made a precise gap in there for controlled light distribution,” Nevřela says. The shaping of the element then ensured that the entire headlight met the homologation requirements and didn’t shine forward in a colour that isn’t permitted. “The tilt angle of the front facets protects the required measurement area,” Nevřela explains. The illuminated Crystallinium element is made of polycarbonate, which allows the required transparent colouring to be achieved with great precision and edge sharpness. “It’s crystalline design at its best,” Nevřela adds with a smile.

Sketch of the headlights of the latest-generation Škoda Superb

Then it was just a matter of choosing the right colour. “The Škoda brand has long been associated with shades of green, but we didn’t want to be constrained by that. Although green didn’t look bad, we were looking for the colour that would best match the widest possible range of car body colours. That’s one reason why we ended up going for a cool blue,” Nevřela points out. The fact that the cool blue light evokes advanced technology also played a role. And the headlights in the Kodiaq and Superb certainly represent cutting-edge tech. As a result, the designs of these models with LED Matrix headlights are now clearly recognisable and bring something new and unexpected. The new solution will certainly find its way into other future Škoda models as well, though.

Related Stories Based on tags: 2024, design, Innovations, Kodiaq, Matrix Lights, Superb