General Motors’ Buick division recently partnered with BASF to sponsor a competition for students at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies (CCS). The students were given a blank canvas to showcase their vision of what Buicks will look like in the year 2030.
More than a dozen next-generation transportation designers answered the call to compete and consult with industry professionals. Exploring their own ideas for personal transportation, students brought their visions to life in 3D with scale model Buicks.
“The solutions these concepts offer are as unique as the future car designers at CCS who created them,” said Andrew Smith, executive director of Buick global design. “For Buick, this project is an invitation for new insights and interpretation of our brand and the future portfolio of products we will offer.”
The competition guidelines addressed future transportation needs – the dramatic rise in urban populations, developing countries, nanotechnology and the role advanced materials will play in vehicle efficiency.
A professional jury of Buick designers from the exterior, interior, and color and trim studios, along with BASF coatings and performance materials experts, selected four concepts for special recognition and $7,000 in awards.
Namsuk Lee from Seoul, Korea, came away with with two awards: for best overall concept and for best interior. The panel commended Lee for his lightweight exterior form language, exceptional interpretation and integration of the Buick design cues and inviting interior execution.
Sam Kenny of Greensboro, NC, garnered the best exterior design award. His proposal impressed the Buick designers, who praised its “dynamic elegance” and clever use of structural design elements to create innovative and efficient proportions and body surfacing.
Justin Salmon of Boca Raton, FL, took home the prize for most innovative use of materials. He won over the BASF jurors with his integration of materials and technology, including exposed use of algae in the vehicle structure to generate energy.
Other notable designs included the proportions and form language of the urban coupe by JinYoung Yoon and the dynamic concept from Soohan Cho. The latter was cited for its expressive use of materials and colors to appeal to a young generation of Buick customers.
The Buick-BASF program is unique in that it allows young designers the same access to future trend research and data used by industry professionals. Students showcase their overall design talent through sketching and modeling, along with critical thinking and presentation skills.
“Professional car design is a very competitive business and your work is always measured against your peers and by the market success it generates,” Smith said. “Buick design that conveys youthful energy and fresh thinking is essential to the future of this modern, international luxury brand.”