Efficiency was also a feature of the designs presented as part of the show’s Design Los Angeles theme.  Studios were invited to create their vision of the “ultimate LA machine”, and rising to the challenge they presented a variety of 2D renderings.

Dodge and Volkswagen design studios took out top honours in a challenge that attracted high quality entries.

The judges named the Dodge Superbee and Volkswagen Mobile Lounge as joint-winners of the first-ever automobile design studio competition.

The Los Angeles area has the highest concentration of automobile manufacturer design studios in the world, according to Truman Pollard, chief designer at Mazda Research and Development.

Despite competing everyday in the marketplace, the design challenge marks the first time that southern California’s manufacturer design studios have competed among themselves in a design competition.

According to Joel Piaskowski, chief designer at Hyundai/Kia Motors design and technical centre, Southern California is where pen meets pavement.

“LA is the epicentre of automotive design,” Piaskowski says. “One of our goals here at the California design studio is to provide concept cars that can provide a hint at the future of the American market, or what we feel is a new market or design trend.

“The LA Design challenge provides another way for the professional studios to showcase what may become the next trend.”

The Dodge Superbee, from DaimlerChrysler’s Pacifica Design Centre, is intended to reflect the California lifestyle, according to the entrants.

“It allows owners to commute efficiently during the week and provides the ultimate tool to explore the Pacific Coast Highway on weekends.”

According to Brian Nielander of the Pacifica Design Centre, “It’s open and lightweight – almost a motor-cycle on four wheels.”

Designer Reto Brun of Volkswagen/Audi Design Centre California said his studio considered two Los Angeles issues when designing the Volkswagen Mobile Lounge – an antidote to traffic and a better option for the area’s ‘limo-centric’ entertainment culture.

Whisper-quiet fuel cell technology, says Brun, whisks occupants towards their destination while electronically controlled tinted glass, an open living space and innumerable in-car amenities provide a supremely comfortable environment.

Judging the competition were Imre Molnar of the College for Creative Studies, Detroit; Nate Young of Art Centre College of Design, Pasadena; and Tom Matano of Art Academy University, San Francisco.

They claim their decision was based on the criteria of spirit, road presence, ‘brag factor’, originality, ‘sex appeal’, function and features, as well as LA character.

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