Kia Car Design Award winners announced in BeijingWed, 30 May 2012
The first Kia Car Design Award was successfully concluded on 20 May in Beijing, with Chinese student Li Bai being presented the prize for first place by Seon-Ho Youn, Vice President of Kia Design Center.
Bai, from Tsinghua Academy of Fine Arts, became the first ever winner of the award for his Kia Rhyme Concept, described by Seon-Ho Youn as "a perfect combination of design and Chinese culture."
Bai's luxury sports car concept was inspired by Chinese philosophy, which can be seen in the headlamp design that reflects the traditional Chinese Ba gua, or ‘Eight Diagrams'. These are eight diagrams used in Taoist cosmology that represent the fundamental principles of reality through three lines, each line either 'broken' or 'unbroken', representing either yin or yang.
Unusually, he competition awarded two entrants a second-placed prize, with three collecting third. One of the awards for second place went to Lifeng Xian from Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts' for his Dynamic-X concept design. The vehicle was inspired by the features of a tiger, which Xian attempted to recreate by giving it a strong and aggressive appearance.
Qiu Zhenyu was the other second prize winner with his design for the Kia Soul 2020, which is targeted towards the 1990s generation. In an effort to make the 2009 Soul more dynamic, Zhenyu brought the windshield forward.
Three of the finalists were awarded prizes for third place: Wang Yu for his 'Lotus 2020', Yang Limeng for 'Manta' and Xie Yongcheng for 'Wave'.
The Kia Motors Design Competition was launched for college students across China in November, calling for concept designs that displayed elements inspired by Chinese culture and classic Kia design features. More than 30 colleges and universities took part in the competition, from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and by 21 March the organizing committee had whittled 407 entrants to just 30 finalists.
From these finalists the judges had the tough job of further cutting down the list, and before long the final shortlist was announced with just six names remaining. The chosen six were: Li Bai (Academy of Art and Design Tsinghua University) – Kia Rhyme, Lifeng Xian (Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts) – Dynamic-X, Qiu Zhenyu (Academy of Automobiles, Tongji University) – Soul 2020, Wang Yu (Tsinghua Academy of Fine Arts) – Lotus 2020, Yang Liming (Shanghai Institute of Visual Art, Fudan University) – Manta and Xie Yongcheng (Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts) – Wave.
Kia hopes that setting up the competition will help to enhance its brand image within China while giving it the opportunity to talent-spot the next generation of Chinese designers who will produce vehicles suitable to the Chinese market.
Seon-Ho Youn said: "We are willing to provide Chinese students a learning and communication platform and, through undergoing this activity, strengthen our relationship with Chinese universities and students while learning more about the developments of Chinese automotive design industry. In the future we will be working on some joint projects to further understand Chinese consumers' demands."
In July the winning students will be heading to Korea with the automaker, with the trip including a visit to Nanyang Technology R&D Center, the Yeosu World Expo 2012 and Hongik University.
The Kia Car Design Awards competition is the manufacturer's first within China, and following its overwhelming success it has taken the decision to hold another next year.
Youn said: "We are confident that for the Chinese students, especially with their ability to learn and understand, the competition could be of great benefit for them in enhancing their professional competence and having a positive impact for their personal design career."
Kia has recently decided to establish a design studio in Shanghai in an attempt to further integrate Chinese designers into the Kia global design project.
By Xie Guoqing and Bai Jianan