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Car Design China Award winner benefits from Umeå placement

Mon, 02 Dec 2013 00:00:00 -0800

One of this year's Car Design China Award winners won the prize of a visit to Sweden's Umeå Institute of Design to mix with and work alongside other young aspiring designers and learn new skills using some of the latest technology available.

Tsinghua University's Yulian Wu, who won the award for Best Luxury Concept along with partner Liu Kefeng at this year's awards, was welcomed to the school when he arrived on 25 September with the traditional welcome party for all new students.

Umeå's program director for Transportation Design Demian Horst's first impression of Wu was a positive one. "Yulian is a very positive individual and a talented student coming from one of the top schools in China. Besides displaying a clear creative potential with his portfolio, He also impressed me in other aspects during our first interview."

Early in the fall term Umeå's new students are set an intense sketch assignment to boost the traditional visualisation skills. This year the activity was run by Miika Heikkinen, a vehicle design consultant and visiting instructor at the Royal College of Art (RCA).

The brief challenged the class to sketch and design a vehicle for 2017 that best matches the proportions and DNA of a randomly selected brand.

Wu rather fittingly picked Swedish brand Volvo for his project, going on to profiling his target customer, choosing its powertrain and mapping out what the market competition is like.

Design boards were then drawn up before the initial loose sketches – with emphasis on quantity, not quality – were made. The final decisions were then presented to the rest of the group before a full day learning sketching techniques and design development ahead of quick post-scanning tricks followed by Photoshop tips and techniques.

Horst said, "He demonstrated a genuine interest in the Scandinavian approach to design, he had really good communication skills and a strong drive to make a difference with his work."

He also praised the "professional and inspirational" way Wu worked during the sketch assignment.

"He grounded his background references with beautifully crafted mood boards and investigated several possible styling directions for the combination of the vehicle typology and brand that were assigned to him."


By Rufus Thompson