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Interior Motives Design Conference 2006

Thu, 22 Jun 2006 00:00:00 -0700A warm and sunny London was the venue for the second Design Conference organised by the UK-based magazine Interior Motives. The conference took place June 7-8 at the Museum in Docklands near Canary Wharf in the heart of the revitalized docklands area to the east of London and was enjoyed by around one hundred delegates from the international automotive design community.The two-day summit was chaired by educators from two design schools, as a way of deliberately promoting neutral yet informed discussions from the panel. Matteo Conti, Programme Leader of Transportation Design at Northumbria University introduced the speakers on the first day, while on day two Dave Muyres and Geoff Wardle from Art Center College of Design jointly chaired the session.

The conference opened with a typically upbeat introduction from David Godber, Director of Nissan Design Europe, on the importance of the UK for automotive design and the vibrancy of London as a base for design studios. Further presentations included:

- Dave Muyres, VP of International Initiatives and Geoff Wardle, Associate Chair of Transportation Art Center College of Design (ACCD) spoke about 'Interior Design as a Mobile Experience'.

- Robin Page, Head of Interior Design, Bentley gave an insight into how the spirit of Bentley and British design have been developed for today's new era of limousines.

- Martin Smith, Executive Design Director, Ford Europe

- Joe Ferry, Head of Design, Virgin Atlantic Airways

- Dale Harrow, Head of Vehicle Design, Royal College of Art

- Laurent Boulay, Exterior Designer R&D, VW

- David Wilkie, Design Director, Stile Bertone

- Andreas Wlasak, Director of Design at Faurecia gave a good insight into how industry needs to start to understand tomorrows young customers better than it does now.

It was interesting to note the different approaches to the conference presentations. While the OEMs tended to focus on their current brand identity and the latest project, the suppliers talked about changes in society and the deeper implications for car design in future. For instance, Han Hendricks, VP for Industrial Design, Johnson Controls gave a presentation on the evolving role of design at an automotive supplier. Particularly interesting was his assertion that the 'New Youth' generation in 2015 - first time buyers who've been raised on Playstations and driven virtual cars since an early age -  will demand to be able to customize and personalise their vehicles far more than today's buyers.

One of the most charming presentations was given by Anthony Lo, Advanced Design Director, GM Europe. He didn't talk about the new Saab Aero X as expected, but rather discussed how cars in future should balance the needs of the environment yet use advanced technology. "The idea of vehicles moving at high speed without making contact may become possible - like flocks of birds, shoals of fish or herds of wild horses" he said.

Other key themes from the conference included the need for more specialized teaching at design schools for automotive interior design; the increasing role for women in car design (not just Colour &Trim); the importance of future scenarios (or designers putting future concepts in context to 'sell' their ideas), and the cosmopolitan nature of the car design world. Indeed this last topic was brilliantly illustrated by the juxtaposition on the panel of Matteo Conti, an Italian lecturer living in northern England and the familiar face of Dave Wilkie, a Scottish designer who's been living in Italy for over sixteen years and is now in charge at Stile Bertone.

On the evening of the first day, delegates enjoyed a gala dinner aboard 'La Nautica', a boat that cruised up the Thames to allow visitors to view all the best sights of London and find time to catch up with friends and business associates. A hosted visit for delegates to the London Design Museum near Tower Bridge concluded the conference on the second day.

After just two years, the Interior Motives Design Conference has proved capable of attracting excellent speakers and providing many networking opportunities for delegates from OEMs, suppliers and design schools to meet together in convivial surroundings.

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