Press Releases

Wissmann: Design embodies emotions and character

Frankfurt/Berlin, 11 September 2013

The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and the German Design Council are presenting the VDA Design Awards for the sixth time. The laureates are from Sweden, India, Australia and Germany. VDA President Matthias Wissmann said at the ceremony, held at the 65th IAA Cars in Frankfurt, “This competition emphasises design as a special property of a vehicle. Design is one of the most important criteria for customers purchasing a new car: design embodies emotions and defines the character of a brand. It contributes decisively to making a brand unmistakable. The winning submissions by the young, upcoming designers demonstrate impressive concepts confirming that successful series products can be developed from visions.”

The competition, entitled “The Future of Transportation Design,” was open to students of all design disciplines. They were invited to submit their degree projects. Any project could be entered from the fields of passenger transport and commercial vehicles. In all there were around 100 participants. The panel of expert judges selected three winners from the large number of excellent applications, and awarded one additional special prize.

First prize went to Eric Leong from Umeå University in Sweden. He designed a single-person vehicle that the driver controlled using movements of his hands, arms, feet, legs and his whole body. The vehicle learns to adapt to the increasing abilities of the driver, who thus gradually obtains greater access to the control options and speed management. The unusual concept ties the driver even more closely into the use of the car. The judges praised the way the technical aspects were realised.

The spatial problems of traffic in a metropolis where millions live inspired Rajan Nagre from the National Institute of Design Mumbai in India. His design for an economical vehicle with a small footprint won second prize. The vehicle is made higher to accommodate several people: an upper level has seats for up to four people. The design demonstrates initial solutions to the increasing challenges of traffic in the megacities.

Kirk Dyer from Monash University in Australia took third prize with his “Open Source Vehicle for Africa.” Dyer designed a flexible commercial vehicle that uses local manufacturing options so that it can be adapted to the most varied requirements. The basic concept can be used to build vehicles for safaris or for freight transport. The design is oriented on the rhinoceros, which is widespread in Africa.

A special prize went to Markus Kurkowski from the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences for his caravan concept entitled “Beyond.” The external appearance of this vehicle is very different from that of a conventional caravan. The aerodynamic exterior is reminiscent of a tent. The interior is designed to be used principally by older people and those with restricted mobility. Alongside the precise interior design, it is noticeable how well the interior and the exterior fit together. The pavilion-like architecture, the pleasing lines, the light, airy “bungalow atmosphere” and, of course, disabled access, combine to create an exceptionally harmonious overall design.

The support from the participating companies – Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen – meant that the prizes were worth a total of EUR 10,000. The VDA Design Award exhibition can be seen at the IAA until 22 September in the foyers of Halls 5.1 and 6.1.

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