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Students provide fascinating glimpse into the future of car design in Magna competition

Imagination soared as students from around the world competed for the first-ever Magna Global Bold Perspective Award, presented at the Car Design News LA Forum during the LA Auto Show.

Zehao “West” Zhang, from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, won the top prize for his autonomous vehicle for urban nomads.

An accomplished panel of design industry leaders judged the 2019 competition, including Chip Foose of Foose Design, Brad Richards of Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Jay Shuster of Pixar Animation Studios, Freeman Thomas of Freeman Thomas Design and Larry Erickson from Magna.

Erickson, global director of Magna’s exteriors design group, says: “Zhang’s thoughtful concept met the challenge of designing what vehicles might look like in 20 to 30 years by addressing the growing needs of overcrowded cities, while also creating a very personalized and human concept.”

Grahame Burrow, Magna exteriors president, says: “As we develop new products that reflect what’s ahead in terms of vehicle design, materials and function, these concepts offer thoughtful and imaginative solutions for us to consider.

“Swifter” from China finalists Bolin Sun and Gong Jinyun of Dalian University of Technology in Liaoning, China.

“This is why we are committed to supporting future designers through initiatives such as the Magna Global Bold Perspective Award.”

Zhang, now a designer for Geely Design in South Pasadena, California, says: “Contests like the one sponsored by Magna are so important for young designers because they are a good way to improve our design skills and show the industry what we can do.”

Zhang’s minivan-sized concept vehicle revolves around creativity and travel. He imagines users will book the vehicle for nine hours a day and at night plug in to a “living port” that provides access to laundry, shower and restroom facilities, along with battery charging.

“Project Andarta” from European finalist Jake Lockyer of Coventry University in London.

European winner Jake Lockyer from Coventry University in London impressed the judges with “Project Andarta”, an autonomous vehicle that plans stops and experiences to develop passengers’ appreciation for cultural, spiritual and intellectual pursuits.

Bolin Sun and Gong Jinyun from Dalian University of Technology in Liaoning, China, took inspiration for their futuristic “Swifter” design from traditional kite making.

Each of the finalists won a trip to Los Angeles for the award presentation along with a cash prize, and the global winner received an additional cash prize.

Main picture: Zehao Zhang from ArtCenter College of Design took home the top award for his urban nomad concept.

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