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Interior Motives China Conference to explore new design directions

Thu, 15 Apr 2010

Chinese consumers are driving new design directions, and CDN's Interior Motives China Conference in Beijing next week is set to explore how.

Titled ‘New brands and the search for a design identity', the conference features an impressive speaker line-up that blends the international (Chris Bangle and VW's Wolfgang Muller Pietralla) with the regional (GM PATAC's Friedhelm Engler, Ford China's Chelsia Lau and PSA-Peugeot/Citroën China's Robert Walker), with the domestic (Shan Wei of the Beijing Automotive Technical Center (BATC), and Ken Ma of SAIC).

The annual conference is the third in China to be hosted by CDN's magazine Interior Motives, and will be held on Wednesday 21 April, and Thursday 22 April, just in advance of the opening of Auto China 2010 in Beijing on Friday (23 April).

"We have possibly seen a turning point in the world influence between East and West in the recent 18 months," says Simon Loasby, Director of Design for VW China. "Not only has this affected financial markets and our respective economies, but it will also influence design and innovation creativity." Loasby will speak at the conference and propose a future ‘creativity scenario' that he says is far removed from what we are used to today.

China means "not simply importing a car", says Shan Wei, who is Design and Development Director at BATC. "Automotive design must combine with Oriental culture, so that Chinese consumers accept it," he adds. That culture is ‘delicate', he says, which puts high demands on car design, especially since China has not yet reached the level of economic development seen in the West.

But development or not, senior designers have firmly noted the demand for luxury vehicles. "Extreme market growth has opened a new door in the evolution of luxury car design, giving designers a new open canvas to work with," believes Robert Walker, Design Manager of PSA-Peugeot/Citroën in China. It is a theme that will be picked up by a new generation of designers at the conference, including Wulin Gaowa, Senior Designer at BATC. Why more expensive cars are becoming ever more welcome, even though China is still a developing country, is a theme she will explore from a cultural point of view.

The conference will also feature generic expertise, including Chris Bangle on the evolution of the concept of surface. "In particular," Bangle explains, "the idea that, in car design, sculpture as surface could be supplanted by structure as surface, and then information as surface, and finally gesture as surface." 

A special session this year will focus on color and trim, at the request of delegates to last year's conference in Shanghai. The session will be chaired by Ruth Pauli, Chief Designer for Color and Material Design at Ford of Europe, and will include contributions from Andreas Wlasak, Vice President of Design at Faurecia, as well as specialist lighting and materials research from speakers from 3M and RTT.

The conference has simultaneous English/Mandarin translation, and is still open for delegate bookings, with discounts for delegates from China. It is supported by gold sponsors 3M, Alcantara, Eagle Ottawa, Johnson Controls, RTT, SRG Global and Stile Bertone, and by silver sponsors EDAG and Wenzel. The conference is also organized in partnership with Auto China 2010, an affiliate of CCPIT (the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade).

Also, on the evening of 21 April, following the first day of the conference, the winners' announcement and presentation ceremony of CDN's first China Design Awards, will be held at the CH-Auto studio in the Shun Yi region of Beijing City. Meanwhile, the evening of Friday, 23 April will see CDN hosting Car Design Night, the designer night for the professional automotive design community, at a venue close to Auto China 2010.

Find out more at the Interior Motives China Conference 2010 website, where you can register to attend.

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