Auto® Design Conference 2012


2012 marked the fourth edition of the biggest automotive design conference in Europe: Auto®.  As well as awarding the prize for the Best Designed Car Award for 2011, this year’s extremely high-profile speakers also discussed the philosophy of the modern supercar, how it applies to cars today and, more importantly, where the supercar ethos fits in with the ever-increasing demand for electric vehicles.

Kicked off by McLaren F1 designer, Peter Stevens, the case for electric supercars was argued by Chris Longmore and Adriano Mudri, the men responsible for designing the Lightning GT and Rimac Concept_One respectively.

Designers, of course, require inspiration, and the Istituto Europeo di Design’s Alessio Minchella was on hand to give an insight into a car designer’s appreciation of their environment, whilst Elena Ristancevska spoke on colour and trim trends.  Volvo were also heavily involved in this year’s conference, hosting a design workshop for V40 exterior stickers that should “underline Volvo brand values”. 

Chris Longmore

The annual conference also means competition time, and a panel that included former Renault Design Chief, Patrick Le Quément, as well as the man behind Alfa Romeo’s breathtaking 2uettottanta concept, Lowie Vermeersch, awarded the Porsche 911 the Best Design Car Award, describing Michael Mauer's design as “the hardest job in car design fulfilled”, looking “very twenty-tens as well as very 911 and very desirable.”  Finally coping with “its own, massive heritage”, Citroën’s DS5 ran the 911 a close second.  Rounding up the top three was Volkswagen’s charismatic up!, which you’ll surely have seen on the road by now.

Creations awarded honours in the Concept category were Peugeot’s HX1, the Renault Captur, and Audi’s Urban concept.

The other competition was the Design Challenge.  This year’s contest was to design an urban micro EV, and, out of 119 entrants, the winner in the ‘Young Designer’ category was Bulgarian Stocho Dobrev, for his “CtVelo” project, more details on which can be found here.  The ‘Professionals’ category was won by British designer Mathew Rogers, for what appears to be his answer to Renault’s Twizy, the “XXS”.

Carlo Gaino

Alessio Minchella, Instituto Europeo di Design

Adriano Mudri, Magna-Steyr

Elena Ristančevska

"XXS" by Mathew Rogers

"CtVelo" by Stocho Dobrev

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