A former toy designer has scooped top honours at this year's Pilkington Vehicle Design Awards at the Royal College of Art, for his new concept on the modern family car that uses iPad-style technology.
For the first time in the awards' 24-year history, the prizes for Best Overall Design and Best Use of Glazing were presented to one student designer. Adam Phillips, a postgraduate of the RCA's vehicle design course, impressed the judges with his concept called Family Dynamic. Adam, who previously worked as a toy designer for Lego before studying at the RCA, designed the vehicle as a space which allowed for healthy interaction between its occupants.
"Current interiors of vehicles promote an outdated family dynamic, with one person - the driver - being handed all of the focus and responsibility," said Phillips. "Nowadays however, children have much more influence and freedom. My design mimics life in the home, where the occupants have greater interaction."
The interaction is created with a clever seating arrangement and an interactive wall using digitally enabled glass which spans the length of the passenger space. It connects the occupants and allows them to collaborate through applications such as movies, gaming or communication. The vehicle is also designed as a range of modular components allowing the interior to be configured to suit the size of the family and their needs - from storage to intimacy or group activity.
"I've always wanted to design good things for everyday people," Phillips added. "Just because something isn't expensive, doesn't mean that the design has to be sub-standard."
The judging panel for the awards included Earl Beckles, principle designer at Jaguar Advanced Design, Hong K. Yeo, designer at McLaren - both former winners of the Pilkington award - David Wilkie, design studio director at Mia Electric and Paula Hilditch, global product manager at Pilkington Automotive.
Commendations were also awarded to Robert Hagenstrom, from Sweden, who designed a vehicle made from Bamboo for people living in the third world and Fernando Ocana, from Mexico, for his Monoform design which used reflective glass and architectural shaping to encourage people to view their current environment from a different perspective.
Robert Hagenstrom's Bamboo concept entails a fully sustainable process whereby people can generate their own materials to build a car that, once built, can continue to provide an income and enterprise. Fernando Ocana wanted to explore conceptual design during his time on the RCA's course. He explores urbanism, symbolism, complexity and evolution through his design which uses its mirror-like form to attract the attention of passers-by and encouraging them to look at what is around them from a completely different perspective.