Cadillac and Smart win the 2010 LA Design Challenge

Cadillac and Smart win the 2010 LA Design Challenge

The Cadillac Aera Concept and the Smart 454 WWT Concept have won the 2010 Design Challenge Award at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. The winning projects were selected for their comfort, safety and driving performance.


A tie was announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show’s 2010 Design Challenge. The judges selected the Cadillac Aera and smart 454 WWT as the two winners.

Smart 454 WWT Design Panel Cadillac Aera Concept Design Panel

The designs “were selected for their comfort, safety and driving performance – without sacrificing the styling consumers demand.”

Smart 454 WWT Design Sketch This year’s theme challenged automotive design studios to envision a four-passenger, 1,000 lb. Car.

“Deciding this year’s Design Challenge winner was a tremendously difficult decision as the quality of entries has increased throughout the years,” agreed the Design Los Angeles judges.

“This year’s winners – the Cadillac Aera and the smart 454 WWT – offer two very different visions of the 1,000 lb. Car, yet are equally as amazing. They are both very expressive of their brand; GM is art and science and smart is playful and fun.”

Cadillac Aera Concept Entries were judged by multi-discipline design professionals who selected the winner based upon not only meeting the weight constraint (1,500 lbs. maximum with occupants), but also for the artistic beauty, comfort, uniqueness of design, roadworthiness, sustainability, performance and user-friendliness of the vehicle. All of the entries for the 1,000 lb. Car delivered imaginative and detailed design stories.

The Cadillac Aera 2+2 touring coupe utilizes a polyhedral, 3D lattice, mono-formed frame with a flexible pressurized polymer skin to optimize weight, aerodynamics and safety.

The smart 454 features a chassis “knit” by high-tech robots out of carbon fibre, optimizing flexibility and strength.

Below we report additional information selected from the official releases.

Cadillac Aera Concept

This was the third victory for GM Advanced Design since 2005.

“The Cadillac Aera concept was designed to continue the forward-thinking imagination of Cadillac’s ‘art and science’ philosophy,” explains Jussi Timonen, lead designer for the project.

“It’s designed as a small city urban vehicle, but we approached this 2+2 touring coupe very much from the brand’s luxury perspective. Every detail of the Aera was conceived to minimize the vehicle’s environmental impact without sacrificing the style, comfort and attention to detail that are hallmarks of the Cadillac brand.”

The concept was conceived in GM’s North Hollywood Advanced Design Studio by Frank Saucedo, director; Phil Tanioka, vehicle designer; Brent Wickham, concept strategist; Shawn Moghadam, layout designer and Timonen, the project manager.

“This year’s design challenge was extremely difficult to judge because of the quality of all of the entries, but I believe that the executions that won exemplified everything that we were trying to achieve with this competition,” said Stewart Reed, chair, Transportation Design, Art Center College of Design.

“The concepts that won were really spot on for their brands, which was one of many reasons for the victory.”

Smart 454 WWT Concept

The smart 454 was created at the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Sindelfingen.

The envisioned car is produced by “Smart Granny Robots” (SGR) using weight watch technologies (WWT).

These high-tech robots are equipped with huge knitting needles. “Like our grandmothers used to knit, they knit the smart’s tridion cell from carbon fibres. This knitting creates complex shapes and structures which enable the vehicle geometry to be optimised in terms of weight and strength.” When empty, the visionary small car weighs in at just 454 kilogrammes.

Steffen Köhl, Head of Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design says: “As the prototype of the lightweight and environmentally friendly city car smart is predestined for this challenge. It met all the basic requirements. We just had to further optimise the lightweight construction coupled with a distinctive and individual design.”

Every single component of the smart 454 is made of different materials to give it characteristic features and a specific look.

The windows, fenders, and bumpers are made of recyclable, coloured plastic. The roof is made of thin yet highly durable recycled textile fabric in various printed and woven patterns.

The WWT carbon fibre tires with integrated suspension have an extremely lightweight design and rule out the risk of a flat tyre. The unique SGR technology is the best lightweight design technology for rims and enables truly unique rims to be produced.
The smart 454 is driven by two 15 kW electric motors which are powered by a replaceable lithium-ion battery. The motors are housed between the rear wheels. In the interior the city runabout does not need an instrument panel at all. All functions are controlled and managed via an iPad, for example speedometer and battery charge indicator, navigation system, or air conditioning.

The modular “clip-on” design principle familiar from smart enables a sheer endless spectrum of customer wishes to be easily realised. Doors, roof, engine, and transmission are simple to exchange – for an individual look and driving fun and the best possible vehicle configuration for every occasion.

(Source: LA Auto Show, Cadillac, Smart)

Image Gallery

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