The automotive design community celebrated the industry's top future designers at a glamorous awards ceremony during the Frankfurt motor show. An alpine sports vehicle from Coventry University student Philip Woodman was selected as the best overall in this year's Interior Motives Design Awards.
Woodman's concept vehicle made a huge impression on the expert judging panel. Design chief for auto interiors at GM Europe, John Puskar, described it as a "beautiful use of form vocabulary", while Wally Yachts design director, Adriana Monk, formerly with Jaguar, identified its "elegant, modern, precise interior with an overall harmony".
Hundreds of students from dozens of design schools submitted entries to the Awards competition, now in its seventh year. The finalists for each of the eight specific awards categories assembled in Frankfurt's renowned Cocoon Club, and included students at colleges in Canada, China, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the UK and USA.
Top designers from around the world gathered to see the ideas that will go into the cars we will be driving in the future. Hosting the Awards ceremony, legendary designer Peter Stevens (Maclaren F1 road car and Lotus Elan among others) said: "To my great pleasure the work on show tonight challenges the 'grey hairs' of the industry and fills me with optimistic delight. Charm and wit, combined with responsibility and sensitivity to our world, is a theme that runs throughout the talented class of 2009."
Themed 'sustainable and clever', the competition this year challenged students to design cars against briefs which included China's discerning youth, the world of financial and ecological stress, and the use of personal technologies.
The students were judged by a roster of the world's most influential designers: Alfonso Albaisa, vice president of design for Nissan Europe; Dr Mike Ma, design director at Geely; Adriana Monk, design director for Wally Yachts; John Puskar, director of interior design for GM Europe; Wolfgang Muller- Pietralla, head of future affairs for Volkswagen; Ralph Gilles, senior vice president of design at Chrysler; Flavio Manzoni, director of creative design for Volkswagen; Frank Stephenson, design director at McLaren; and Michael Warsaw, vice president design for major supplier Johnson Controls.
Commenting on the global significance of design in the automotive world, Warsaw noted the creative roots of the latest concept from Johnson Controls: "The overall theme was developed in South Korea, the seats in Germany, and the final build in Michigan with another team in Shanghai," he said.
"Design is now recognised as a key reason to purchase," added Michael Mauer, design director of Porsche, which used the Shanghai 09 motor show for the global launch of the new Panamera.