Fiat’s top designers have launched a two-month competition, involving 60 postgraduate vehicle design students at the Royal College of Art, aimed at producing “innovative, out of the box” concepts for 2020 versions of their two best-selling cars, the 500 and the Panda.
Working in teams of four, with seven teams deployed on each car, the students will create exterior and interior concepts for both models, using and developing the two models’ brand values and product identities, while also anticipating relevant trends and customer expectations in seven years’ time.
Fiat chiefs say they want to see “fresh and unexpected” designs from the “Two of a Kind” project entrants, but will also expect concepts to be practical and workable.
The creators of the winning interior and exterior concepts for each model will be taken to Fiat’s Centro Stile in Turin for four days, to help realise their designs as scale models, to be displayed next June as part of the course’s degree show. The winners - up to 10 people - will each subsequently be offered internships of around six months at Centro Stile.
The competition, which begins now and will be judged early in December, will bring Fiat’s best-known designers, including Roberto Giolito and Lorenzo Ramaciotti, to the UK for fortnightly lectures on key subjects such as “Fiat’s design approach”, and “the roots of Italian design”. Entries will initially consist of sketches and storyboards, 2D proposals, 3D CAD surface models, virtual animations and digital portrayals of component details.
“This is an extremely important competition for us,” says Professor Dale Harrow, leader of the RCA course. “Fiat is deadly serious about drawing influence for its most important models from our students’ ideas.
Fiat design bosses, who admit they have big challenges ahead in designing a third generation “new 500” and a fourth-generation Panda, believe the influence of cosmopolitan London and the fresh thinking of the RCA’s international student body could produce important new ideas. “We like the RCA’s conceptual approach to car design,” says Roberto Giolito, Fiat Group vice president of design.
“For these students, design is about much more than styling. They understand the problem more deeply.”