As China returns to work after the three-day Ching Ming holiday, all eyes in the automotive industry turn to Shanghai and what promises to be the most significant auto show of this year's global calendar.
CDN will be actively contributing to the insights into the direction being taken by car design in the country by hosting two events; the annual Interior Motives China conference and, on the middle evening of the conference, the awards ceremony of the second Car Design Awards China, for which the shortlist has just been announced.
Themed ‘The challenge of being different', this year's Interior Motives China conference will see around 300 delegates wrestle with how to capture what is ‘Chinese' in car design.
Speakers will be from both domestic studios and the design centres of global OEMs. The latter include Chris Bangle, former BMW Group design chief; Holt Ware, director of GM PATC; Simon Loasby, design director of VW China; Olivier Boulay, vice president of Daimler's North East Asia design center; and former Toyota design chief Hideichi Misono.
From Chinese OEMs come Zheng Su Lin, design director of Dongfeng Motor, Li Chuan Qun, head of design for Chery, Mike Ma, who has the same role at Geely, and Wulin Gaowa, director of advanced design at the Beijing Auto Works technology center (BATC).
The fourth Interior Motives China will have a strong focus on interiors, in keeping with the editorial content of this CDN magazine. So prominent conference contributors will also include Oliver Sieghart, head of interior design at Mini, Amko Leenarts, his equivalent at Peugeot, and Klaus Busse, who leads interiors at Chrysler.
The two-day event is being held at the Millennium Hongqiao Hotel (on Yan An Xi Road, close to Shuicheng Road Station on Metro line 10) on Sunday and Monday, 17-18 April, immediately before the first of the press days of the auto show. There will be simultaneous translation between English and Mandarin.
"It's great; I hope you keep pushing the advancement of (China's) automotive design," said Colin Xu, strategic designer for SAIC, after last year's conference. "Much valuable content on the consumer market and on luxury," added Shizuki Kajiyama, design director of Yanfeng Visteon, who also attended.
Awards shortlist announced
Some 37 shortlisted entries have today been announced for CDN's Car Design China Awards. From them will come three finalists for each of the eight individual awards categories, whose work will be on display at the Awards ceremony when the winners will be announced. An additional, ninth, award will be chosen by the audience on the night.
The Awards ceremony is being held on the middle evening of the conference, Sunday 17 April, in the Auto Museum at Anting, in the Jiading District of Shanghai (within easy reach of the auto show venue).
The competition this year attracted almost 500 student registrations from no fewer than 197 design schools across China. The winners of each of the nine Awards categories will secure all expenses-paid placements at either the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in the USA, Strate College in France, or the UK's University of Northumbria.
Reflecting on his exposure to international teaching after his win in last year's competition, student Yanchao Wang from Shandong University of Art and Design said of his time at Northumbria: "We now understand that a rigorous process is a must for good design. We used to jump to the interesting bits too soon."
Along with Simon Loasby and Klaus Busse, the OEM representatives on the judging panel include Pierre Castinel, design director for PSA Peugeot Citroen China, Steffen Köhl, global director of advanced design for Mercedes-Benz, Lou Tik, design director of JAC's Italy Design Center, Ning Xiao, director of the styling center of Guangzhou Automobile, Tony Williams, design director for SAIC, and and Zhang Tao, design director of engineering and styling studio Sicar.
The Awards ceremony will be in English and Mandarin, and will be dual-presented by Chris Bangle and Li-Chih Fu, professor at Tongji University and former design director of Nanjing Automotive.
Supporters and registration
The Interior Motives China conference 2011 is supported by sponsors 3M, Alcantara, Eagle Ottawa, Icona Design, Johnson Controls, Rhodia, RTT and SRG Global, all of whom will have displays at the event. At the conclusion of the conference there will be practical workshops on: perceived quality, by Icona Solutions; the use of leather, by Eagle Ottowa; and on recruiting and retaining designers, by PAE Design Talent.
Delegate places are available by booking at Interior Motives registration page
Briefs for the Car design China Awards were this year set by Chrysler, Daimler, GM, Guangzhou Automobile, JAC, Peugeot Citroen, SAIC and VW.
The competition has received wide-ranging industry support, with sponsors which are: the Shanghai International Automobile City, which will award the top accolade of Chinese Student Designer of the Year; and nine individual Awards category sponsors, which are: Alcantara (Best Lifestyle Design), Aunde (Best Use of Materials), CH-Auto (Best Luxury Concept), Eagle Ottawa (Best Design in Harmony with China's Heritage), Faurecia (Best Innovation), Johnson Controls (Best Interior Design), RTT (the ‘People's Vote'), Sicar (Best Eco Solution) and SRG Global (Best Exterior Design).
Details of the Awards ceremony can be found at the Car Design Events page