From writing a book to creating a physical model, the European winner has designed an eye-catching SUV with some brilliantly functional innovations

Adrian Schmidt of Pforzheim University of Design has been selected as the European winner for the Magna Global Bold Perspective Award. His Volkswagen Ventum concept is a cross between an off-road-capable SUV and a stretched coupe, and has been designed to cope with extremely harsh conditions.

Unlike any other project the judges have seen before, Schmidt started his by writing a short fictional book in which the main character, named Finn, must take a dangerous journey to save a planet in crisis. The atmosphere of the planet is deadly, with no “magnetic field” for protection from raining “cosmic particles” that fall and kill vegetation. Finn travels across the planet in search of “DNA archives”, enabling him to “regreen the planet and so create a future that sustains life.”

The Ventum concept vehicle includes a roof shield and special membrane to protect from the “cosmic waves”, a solar panel to charge the battery pack, and a water collection system on the roof. Not content on just working in a digital environment, Schmidt sought the help of Volkswagen’s modellers to mill and print the Ventum, creating a small physical model of the car which was presented at the Pforzheim student degree show.

Judges comments:

“Striking proportions with a functional purpose and an aero dynamic bonus. Creative water collecting on the roof surfaces. Advanced materials for a changing environment. Exterior details to reinforce branding while communicating vehicle activities. Even with the exaggerated proportions there is purpose and beauty in this design that will serve to inspire other design projects.” – Larry Erickson, Global Director of Exteriors Design Group, Magna International

“I’m not sure if the vehicle would be the best choice to save the world but it is the most handsome entry in the lot. I’m hoping we all continue to find value in the emotional connection between beautiful object & human in the future.” – Brad Richards, Vice President of Styling & Design, Harley-Davidson Motor Company

“The Venum answers the need for a multi-purpose high-ground-clearance vehicle design that still captures the emotion proportions, aerodynamic essence, and energy of an automotive aesthetic vs. a static architectural appearance. This can be justified by the problem statement where this vehicle’s mission is to move quickly over rugged terrain to help re-seed the planet. The design forms are dramatic and bold, yet clean and devoid of unnecessary sculptural surface transitions. At the same time it successfully projects elements of the VW brand into details that carry the brand identity into the future.” – Elizabeth Wetzel, Co-Director, Transportation Design College of Architecture and Design, Lawrence Technological University

“I like this concept for the simple offering of a re-proportioned SUV cross-over. Taking the DLO out of a truck body and re-assigning that mass to a low-profile, long wheel-based monster.” – Jay Shuster, Production Designer, Pixar Animation Studios