CCS, Art Center, Coventry, Pforzheim. To those in the car industry, and specifically the design part of it, these names will be well known. They represent the handful of educational establishments with dedicated automotive, or transportation design courses that exist around the world. It's likely that the person heading the team of designers who designed the car you're currently driving, attended one of these schools.
Perhaps most renowned of all the educational establishments teaching vehicle design though, is the Royal College of Art in London - whose graduates include Peter Stevens (McLaren F1), Peter Horbury (a multitude of Volvos), Peter Schreyer (TT), Marek Reichman (Aston Martin) and Martin Smith (recent European Fords). Which is why half of the auto design industry appears at Kensington Gore, every year, on one (typically hot and sweaty) night in late June, as the current year's crop of MA students graduate, showing off their final projects.
This year, their challenge of securing a job in one of the world's handful of automotive design studios is made all the more challenging by the economic meltdown - which has seen car makers go bankrupt, selling 30% fewer cars than a year ago, and shutting down design outposts. This year, two of the most interesting projects on show come from Magdalena Schmid and Hong Yeo - and we captured their projects, and the conceptual thinking behind them on video. They're well worth checking out... (yes I know we would say that) but these models are the result of many months of hard labour, and are quite beautiful objects in their own right. More than that though, what these designers have to say, and their respective attitudes towards the industry, gives hope that the flagging auto industry could still have a bright future. Oh, and if you know of a job going in a design studio near you, then they'd love to hear from you! (their email addresses are at the end of their respective videos).
Magdalena Schmid's BMW "Pixie" concept:
Hong Yeo's VW "Build your own car" concept:
Hopefully, we'll have some more coverage of other projects at the show before too long, so watch this space...
Posted by Joseph Simpson on 30th June 2009
Disclosure: Joseph Simpson is a visiting lecturer on the Vehicle Design course at the RCA, and graduated from the college with an MPhil in Vehicle Design in 2009.