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Winners announced in Car Design News-Opel/Vauxhall interactive design competition

Wed, 02 Mar 2011

We are pleased to announce the winners of the interior and exterior phases of the Car Design News-Opel/Vauxhall interactive design competition.

Chiayuan Lu of the University of Coventry, England, is revealed as the winner of the interior design phase, and Victor Uribe of IED in Turin, Italy, is the winner of the exterior design phase. They were announced at a ceremony held today, 2 March 2011, during the second press day of the Geneva motor show.

The prize for each student is the award of an internship at Opel/Vauxhall's European Design Studio in Rüsselsheim, Germany. They will work alongside the company's talented design team and gain valuable experience as they embark on their careers as car designers.

The competition had been launched with just one internship on offer, as the prize for the interiors phase, but Opel/Vauxhall was so impressed with both winning students' work that it extended the opportunity to the two winners.

This interactive design competition is a collaborative venture between Car Design News and Opel/Vauxhall to explore how online and social media tools could be used to improve the design process and create greater exposure for design students' work. The competition ran in two phases - interior design from October to December 2010, and exterior design through January and February 2011.

Students were challenged to design a ‘Lounge in Motion' for the Opel/Vauxhall brand. The competition attracted over 450 registrations, and was open to students studying full time in any design discipline at a college in Europe.

Mark Adams, VP of design at Opel/Vauxhall praised all of the students' work in a round table discussion with competition finalists, judges and other members of the Opel/Vauxhall design team on the company's stand in Geneva today. "We were all deeply impressed with your work," he said to the students, adding that the students deserved great credit "For embracing a new, exciting and experimental design process." Together with free access to the motor show press day, the students were also given an in-depth tour of the Zafira Tourer Concept by the car's design team.

Judges were impressed with many of the entries but, for the interior, felt that Chiayuan's work really stood out. The Chinese student, studying on the MA course in Vehicle Interior Design at Coventry, created a ‘Lounge to be together with your child'. His work features an interior, which is focused around the needs of a young child, and includes a system that allows a baby's pushchair to seamlessly integrate into the car and become the seat.

Elizabeth Wetzel, Director of Interior Design at Opel/Vauxhall, said: "Chiayuan created not just a design but an experience, by leveraging Opel's ‘flexible and functional'  brand attributes and engaging all the senses via animation, digital modeling and sound. An impressive execution!" Judge Anne Asensio, VP of Design Experience at competition sponsor Dassault Systèmes, said his work was "clearly ahead of the game".

Judge Guy Bird added, "He understood the target audience perfectly because, as a young dad, he was the target audience." This was echoed by CDN Editor Eric Gallina, who said: "It's great because he was fulfilling a personal need with this design. But beyond that, he conducted the work in the spirit of the competition and really interacted with many other students online."

For his efforts, Chiayuan has already won a prize for best contribution to the online community created during the competition. He has received a year's membership to Car Design News, entitling him to see the exclusive member content and giving access to CDN's huge archive of hi-res images.

For the exterior, Victor Uribe, a student in transportation design at Istituto Europeo Di Design in Turin, Italy, drew high praise for both winning this phase and being shortlisted for the interiors phase. "Victor's innovative exploration of the Opel brand design theme was inspiring," said Wetzel of his work.  "The exterior form language for his 'lounge in motion' captured the emotional side of our brand." "Simply the most consistently-excellent thinker and draughtsman of the competition," added Guy Bird.

Victor's exterior design built on his entry to the interior phase, and features re-formable shapes inspired by maglev technology. Eric Gallina summed up the judging panel's view on the work: "Great design all round, and really impressive communication of ideas."

The two winners fought off strong competition from the other finalists, who were: Giacomo Pierin, also from IED Turin, in the interior design phase; and Jadir Minutti studying at the Istituto D'Arte Applicata e Design (IAAD) Italy, and Lina Ginkute studying at Creapole, France, who is the only woman among the finalists, in the exterior phase.

Xabier Albizu, a second student in industrial design at the Mondragon University in Spain, was highlighted by the judges as "one to watch" in the future.

All the finalists' work will be on display in the Zafira Lounge on the Opel/Vauxhall stand at the Geneva motor show until 13th March 2011. Or visit the competition website to see not only these, but all the other entries.

Car Design News would like to thank all the students who either contributed comments or submitted a design online as their entry to the competition. It's been a new experience for all of us involved, and undoubtedly presages one of the new ways of seeking innovation in the design process. Congratulations to all the finalists, and best wishes to Chiayuan and Victor for their spell in Rüsselsheim as the start of what we're sure will be a successful career in automotive design.

Finally, CDN would like to thank Opel/Vauxhall for taking the plunge into the new world of interactive design, and to sponsors Dassault Systèmes and Dinamica by Miko for being innovative in giving their endorsement to it.

Thanks to the success of this competition, Car Design News is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of a new next interactive competition, this time for design students in North America, held in conjunction with GM. The launch date will be later in March, so watch this space.

By CDN Team