The Royal College of Art / FIAT Two of Kind Project came to its conclusion last week with 10 prize winners announced following a series of special presentations at the college in London on Wednesday, December 11 2013.
58 RCA students – mainly from the RCA’s MA vehicle design programme – were invited to take part in the unique training experience which, between October and December 2013, saw them compete in imagining the possible developments of the 500 and Panda models by 2020.
Both 500 and Panda are expressions of the essence of Fiat design – from two very different points of view. Panda is an expression of the concept of ‘functionality’, while the 500 is built around ’emotion’.
The project asked students to develop new solutions for the 500 and Panda’s interiors and exteriors which integrate innovative, immediate ideas in various areas, such as interactivity, digital interface, sustainability and global appeal
Each project had to take the various markets into account while also respecting the core stylistic features of the Fiat brand.
Following 14 presentations, the jury selected 10 winning students, who will visit the FIAT Centro Stile (Styling Centre) in Turin to turn their designs into clay models and will also be offered paid internships at FIAT’s Centro Stile between July 2014 and February 2015.
The clay models will be exhibited at the Royal College of Art during its graduate exhibition in June 2014.
The winning projects
The coffee-inspired interior of the Fiat “500 Spresso” earned Alexander Ibbett (Interior Design), Henri Peugeot and Liza Ricciardi (Materials) an award each while the futuristic exterior treatment of the Fiat 500 “Cheerfully Irresponsible” proposal by Pierre Andlauer and Kym Moorhouse also caught the eye of the judges.
The innovative modularity of the Fiat “Panda Hug” interior design proposal won Francesco Binaggia a place, while the exterior of the “Panda Roomy”, conceived as an extension of one’s personal living space ensured that Ji Won Yun was Turin-bound as well.
In terms of Vehicle Interaction, Adam Peacock (“500 Experience”) and Xinglin Sun (“Panda Vivo”) were both selected as winners. Adam’s virtual dashboard concept struck the right balance of futurism and realism, as did Xinglin’s touch-screen controls and social connectivity.
For her work on the “Panda Flex” proposal, Gemma Waggett picked up award for her innovative use of materials while Amy Lee, who worked on the “Anima Panda” concept, won an award for her vision of the 2020 Panda’s service design.
Assessed on the basis of specific criteria – stylistic value, functionality, innovation, originality, connection, market coherence, product, users, communication and quality of the presentation – all the designs were subjected to detailed analysis yesterday during the final presentation to the panel, comprising Lorenzo Ramaciotti (Head of Global Design Fiat-Chrysler), Andreas Wuppinger (EMEA Design Fiat), Senior Designers as well as teachers and staff of the Royal College of Art.
About the “Two of a Kind” initiative
Lorenzo Ramaciotti recalled the way in which Italian design has built up an international reputation through projects undertaken by Italian designers and engineers for many manufacturers all over the world, while the lecture by Roberto Giolito (Head of Design EMEA) illustrated the common thread running through Fiat’s history and linking different moments and experiences.
The young students were then able to take part in the session with Marco Tencone (Head of Maserati, Lancia and Alfa Romeo Design), who provided an in-depth study of forms typical of Italian design through three characteristic concepts: sportiness-dynamism, elegance-balance and character-personality.
The contributions of Peter Jansen and Andrea Mainini from the User Experience and Design Lab were also of great interest.
They illustrated, through a global analysis and reinterpretation, the content of design in the past, present and future. “User Experience and Interaction Design” represents a new approach to interior design in which creative instinct and technical skills are combined scientifically with feedback from customer use experiences.
Finally, Rossella Guasco (Head of Colours and Materials) delved into the subject of materials, which are no longer decorative, but influence and determine both design and everyday life.
Throughout the duration of the project, students were able to experience almost the entire range of Fiat Group vehicles as part of Fiat’s innovative ‘Fiat Likes U’ initiative. The ‘Fiat Likes U’ project aims to offer a dedicated educational experience built in partnership with universities and introduce the concept of sustainable mobility with free car sharing of the Panda and 500 models, as well as offering paid on-the-job training with scholarships and the chance to work temporarily as a Fiat Ambassador.
The initiative proved so successful with students at the RCA that Fiat Group Automobile UK has decided to continue the scheme in the New Year to give more students the opportunity to enjoy their own unique experience. All available slots in the current ‘Fiat Likes U’ scheme were subscribed to almost immediately, with students later commenting on how beneficial the scheme was to their understanding of what defines the Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda and how their experiences helped shape the direction of their design proposals.