Michelin Challenge Design 2012 'City 2046: Art, Life and Ingenuity' – The FinalistsFri, 03 Feb 2012 00:00:00 -0800
The jury of the 2012 Michelin Challenge Design has selected and released images of its 27 finalists, chosen from a huge number of designs submitted by aspiring automotive designers.
The competition's theme, ‘City 2046: Art, Life and Ingenuity', saw more than 1,700 registrants representing 88 countries which left the jury reviewing over 200 projects.
Michelin set all participants a challenging brief, calling for designs for a "desirable, safe and sustainable personal vehicle" specifically for Los Angeles, Mumbai, Paris, Rio de Janeiro or Shanghai.
This year's jury featured some of the biggest names in automotive design, and all were excited about the issues raised by the challenge.
Christopher Benjamin, Design Director at Volvo's Monitoring and Concept Center, said: "Part of what we do is designing around problems, it's not simply about making it beautiful, though that is the goal at the end of the day, but the problem-solving really makes it interesting."
Chris Chapman, former Director of Automotive and Transportation Design at BMW Designworks USA, believes that receiving entries from all over the world illustrates the importance of design.
"The entrants from regions that you wouldn't necessarily think of as happy or a great place to live, or too optimistic, we found that the entries from those particular individuals or those regions of the world were actually more of a fun, dreamy quality about the future that you wouldn't expect from the typical countries that have been entered into competitions for many years," he commented.
Patrick le Quément, President, Industrial Designer and former Senior Vice President of Quality and Corporate Design at Renault, echoed Chapman's thoughts, saying: "The Michelin Challenge Design brings an answer to the queries that designers have of the future and in this particular instance we are looking forwards 35 years at one of the most challenging questions, which is mobility in cities, which is of course something designers are working on worldwide."
Geza Loczi, GezaLocziDESIGN and Volvo Monitoring & Concept Center, was impressed by the application.
Dave Marek, Director of Automotive Styling Division for Honda R&D-Americas, believes "a lot of people get sidetracked by the stylishness, which is important, don't get me wrong, but I think the whole package is how you view what the company does. It's a designer focus group, almost a design clinic. It's invigorating when you come and judge this."
Stewart Reed, Chair of the Transportation Design Department at the Art Center College of Design, Consultant and the Michelin Challenge Design Jury Chairman noted: "The fact that you deal with a dense urban environment doesn't mean you don't want celebration and a sense of joy around vehicles.
"With this year's challenge to talk about big city centers around the world and then to think about that environment and do something unique to that environment is pretty interesting."
Osamu Shikado, Design Manager at Hyundai's American Technical Center, said: "There's many outside factors for automobiles. Fuel is getting more expensive, environmental reasons, we need more green energy solutions, so there's two factors making automobile design different. One movement is different energy sources, we need to use the hybrid car more, and the other is maybe we're going to have all electric vehicles. These also affect design."
Another jury member who was impressed at the range of entrants from all over the world was Geoff Wardle, Director of Advanced Mobility Research at the Art Center College of Design. He said, "What I've noticed over the years in this competition, which is interesting, is how different parts of the world get drawn into this as well so we're seeing students from different parts of the world than five years ago.
"A lot of the solutions we're seeing today are thinking about this intermodal opportunities are very local journeys and then for longer journeys there's a different vehicle."
Seiji Watanabe, Design Director at Nissan Design America, made a point of emphasizing the value of design in the future by remarking, "As emotional value, a product enriching people's lives means design will always be important."
The finalists' work was displayed last month at the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
By Rufus Thompson