2011 LA Auto Show – Design Challenge and Designer Night Party

We can’t get into the trends and fads from the LA Auto Show without first having the party.  And we can’t have the party without first having the Design Challenge awards.  So in the interest of moving things along I took one for the team and went to the party, watched the sketch-off and reviewed the Design Challenge entries.  Unfortunately, there was some drinks involved (thanks Steven for buying a round) so I do not remember who won the sketch-off.

This year’s Design Challenge centered not just around the idea of designing “Hollywood’s Hottest New Movie Car” but also developing the back story.  The theme was chosen by the Design Los Angeles 12 Board of Directors and entries were received from the United States, Germany and Japan.  You can skip to the end to see the winner, or you can review the entries first.

Subaru Horizon

Subaru Design Toyko Studio’s entry Divided featured a world split into a Nightsphere, where humans live away from the harmful electromagnetic rays found in the Daysphere.  The Subaru Horizon was designed to take a team to the pole of the Daysphere to bring back the rare mineral that is used for their power sources.  The dilemma?  No one has ever come back alive.

Mercedes-Benz Silver Lightning

Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design California used the Silver Lightning as the central figure in a tale of two Crash Test Dummies (aptly named Hans05 and Franz02) and the evil Dr. Crash-Barrier.  A requisite car chase and a story about artificial intelligence complete the story – but not before we get to see the terror and mayhem.

Maybach Berline

Mercedes-Benz didn’t just submit one entry – they stacked the deck as their Interior Design Studio in Germany also got in on the game.  A classic retelling of an old favorite as Cindy deals with a frightful stepmother and goes to the ball in a new Maybach prototype.  At least this one doesn’t turn into a pumpkin at the end.

Hyundai Stratus Sprinter

The entries weren’t just from the Japan and Germany as Hyundai Design North America brought their Stratus Spinter to the movie Countess of Siberia.   The Stratus Sprinter is a MPV that has been updated many times since it was handed down to the Countess by her parents.  Many times? How about innumerable times – it helps that she is immortal.

Hyundai Stratus Sprinter

Another entry from the States is Honda Research and Development Americas IH (Intelligent Horse) in their remake of High Noon.  After a gigantic comet has made the world an inhospitable place scientists create a vehicle that is both a companion and a protector.  Their inspiration is not Kitt, but the legend of the horse.

Smart 341 Parkour

And now to the winner.  The entry that Chuck Pelly said “captured the essence of the Design Challenge by combining innovation and functionality with an adventurous plot.”  Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Germany presented the Smart 341 Parkour which provides “favourable sleuthing capabilities” as reporter Annie Angle tries to find out what happened to all the missing smart Granny Robots.

And with the end of the presentation we can finally go to the Designer Night Party.  Many thanks go to RTT, Bunkspeed, Faurecia, Dassault Systems and INDA for their sponsorship of this great chance to bump into old friend and make some new ones.  Personally, when I was growing up, I always looked at the illustrations in car magazines and hoped to one day become a designer.  At this year’s party I got to meet one of the guys I idolized at that time.  And come to find out he is from a city very close to where I lived in Germany.  Small world.

Come back tomorrow as we get a chance to finally review the fashions, trends and fads from the show.  

About Frank Schwartz

Frank Schwartz is the founder of CarFriend.me and Advanced Automotive Consulting Services, partner in The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment and serial entrepeneur. A long time automotive enthusiast, Frank started reading car magazines at the age of 8 and has spent 30+ years working inside the automotive industry. In his spare time Frank races with the Sports Car Club of America, spends time working on his numerous project cars and supports many local charities.
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