The LA Design Challenge is one of the unquestioned highlights of the LA Auto Show with different automakers showing off their newly-designed concepts that are made based on a “theme” set by the organizers.
This year, the theme was “addressing society’s shift toward minimizing consumption of the earth’s resources by envisioning an efficient, light-weight, four passenger vehicle with a weight limit of 1,000 lbs that is both comfortable and safe, while delivering satisfactory driving performance without sacrificing the styling consumers demand."
Turns out, when it came time to decide on a winner, the judges had such a hard time picking between the Cadillac Aera Concept and the Smart 454 WWT Concept that they just decided to award the top prize to the two cars.
According to the judges, picking a winner was about as hard as it has been in recent years considering the quality of work that was entered. "Deciding this year’s Design Challenge winner was a tremendously difficult decision as the quality of entries has increased throughout the years," the Design Los Angeles judges said. "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."
Two winners, huh? Can’t say we saw that coming. While we did think that the Aera was a front-runner, we didn’t expect the smart 454 WWT to actually go home with equal-billing in the top step of the podium.
Press Release after the jump
Today, a tie was announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show’s 2010 Design Challenge. After much deliberation, the judges selected the Cadillac Aera and smart 454 WWT as the two well-deserved winners. The designs were selected for their comfort, safety and driving performance – without sacrificing the styling consumers demand. 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."
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.
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 Design Challenge has become a highly anticipated competition where auto manufacturers’ Southern California design studios battle against each other to flex their creativity. Designers enjoy participating in the challenge because it is a strong venue to showcase their talents and further explore new ideas in automotive design.
Participating design studios included:
General Motors Advanced Design California
Honda Advanced Design Studio, Pasadena, CA
Mercedes-Benz Research and Development Japan: Advanced Design Center Japan
MAZDA Design Americas
Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc.: Advanced Design Center California
Nissan Design America
Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Germany
Calty Design Research, Inc.
Volvo Car Corporation: Monitoring and Concept Center VMCC