Michelin Challenge Design held its annual Jury Meeting and review of entries on 13 and 14 July at The Auto Collections in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Michelin Challenge Design jurors spent two days considering the best work of the 875 entrants from designers in 68 countries in this 15th year of the Michelin Challenge Design programme. This year’s theme “Mobility for All – Designing for the Next Frontier”, focused on designing transportation that provides simple, functional and affordable mobility to an underserved area of the world.


Stewart Reed, Thomas Sycha, Freeman Thomas and Rich Plavetich during Michelin Challenge Design judging

Led by Jury Chairman Stewart Reed of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, jurors included:

  • Nick Malachowski, design manager, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
  • Dave Marek, Acura global creative director, Honda R&D Americas, Inc.
  • Richard Plavetich, general manager, design business, Nissan Design America
  • Frank Saucedo, director, General Motors Advanced Design Studio
  • Thomas Sycha, design manager, BMW Group Design, Europe
  • Freeman Thomas, director, strategic design, Ford Motor Company

The 14 finalists will be announced during the week of 24 August, with their entries featured in the Michelin Challenge Design stand at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit next January.


Nick Malachowski of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Stewart Reed of Art Center College of Design during Michelin Challenge Design judging

A representative designer from each of the three winning teams will be invited to attend NAIAS as guests of Michelin and will be recognised during Michelin’s annual private Designer’s Reception. In addition, all members of each winning team are invited to join an exclusive online community restricted to Michelin Challenge Design winners and jurors.

Speaking at the meeting in Las Vegas, here's what some of the jurors had to see of the students' work:

“My first impression of this year’s entries is I see a much more simplified approach, which I really like. In determining the winners, I’m looking for a simple, clever, smart approach. Something that is a little bit of an ‘a-ha’ moment.” Freeman Thomas, Ford Motor Company.


Freeman Thomas of Ford, Rich Plavetich of Nissan and Frank Saucedo of General Motors during Michelin Challenge Design judging

“I really like a lot of the entries that focused on solving a problem in their local area, not trying to take the world on. And they were doing it in ways that were really clever with locally built materials.” Frank Saucedo, General Motors.

“As a veteran jury member, it’s really great to see the expansion and interest of Michelin Challenge Design. It’s really such a multi-national competition now, much more so than just a few years ago.” Rich Plavetich, Nissan Design America.

“This was good. This is my second challenge and I was pleased to see it again because there is a high variety of entries. It’s always very interesting and very refreshing.” Thomas Sycha, BMW Group Design.

“Inspiration for mobility comes from everything. It comes from what’s been done in the past that’s ‘tried and true’ and also from meeting peoples' needs. With this year’s entries, there are some that are broad or they are expected.  But then there’s some where they really researched it and thought about it and they’re innovative and interesting.” Dave Marek, Honda R&D Americas, Inc.

“I’m really impressed by seeing people from completely different parts of the world and hearing their story and then seeing how they come up with a solution. Things I may never think about, but you hear it, see it, read their story and sometimes, it’s profound and inspirational as a designer to see that kind of work.” Nick Malachowski (first-time juror), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.


Rich Plavetich comments on entry with the MCD team and jurors looking on

“The entries in this year’s Michelin Challenge Design competition are very interesting and very diverse. The 14 finalists did an excellent job of meeting the judging criteria of innovation, simplicity, flexibility and ingenuity in their designs.”  Stewart Reed, Art Center College of Design.

Joining the jurors were Michelin Challenge Design team leaders Thom Roach (Vice President OE Marketing), Ben Ebel (Industrial Designer/Incubator Program), Scott Pajtas (Innovation Deployment Director), Lisa Wolfe (Manager TCO Marketing Communications) and Michelin Groupe guests Marc Gonnet (Original Equipment Innovation Director) and Anne-Laure Fraenkel (European Industrial Design Team Manager).


Nick Malachowski, Dave Marek, Frank Saucedo and Rich Plavetich during Michelin Challenge Design judging

The 2017 Michelin Challenge Design theme will be announced in September. For additional information, please visit www.michelinchallengedesign.com