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GM-CDN design contest winners

15 February 2017 | by Maxine Morland

The winners of the first ever CDN-GM Interactive competition for high-school students have been announced: they are Davis Kunselman (sketch above) from the Mount de Sales Academy in Georgia, Jinho So from the Canisius High School in New York and Benjamin Woodman from Canyon Crest Academy in California. They have won a place in the highly prestigious CCS Summer Camp Experience, a new, top-spec iPad (courtesy of Dinamica) and a year’s full subscription to Car Design News.

All of the finalists were mentored during the competition by GM designers, who guided their work and helped them polish their designs. Last week the judges from GM, Robert Boniface, director of design, Buick Exteriors, Martin Davis, design manager, Exterior Lighting and Crystal Windham, director of design, Cadillac Interiors, and Paul Snyder, chairperson, Transportation Design Department at the College for Creative Studies, had a video call with the finalists as they presented their designs. Robert Boniface remarked: “After experiencing the work we have seen today, it’s easy to forget that these contestants are still just high-school students. The quality of each of the presentations was simply remarkable.”

All the winning students benefited from the interactive element of the competition. Davis Kunselman was “surprised by the amount of involvement GM designers had” with him, and Ben Woodman told us that “the suggestions and feedback from peers and mentors have really improved my skills”. Jinho So was just amazed that there was a design competition like this for high-school students.

So why run a car design competition for high-school kids? For GM’s Crystal Windham, this was a very personal project to be involved in: "Early exposure about creative careers is key for students, teachers, and parents, especially for the niche field of automotive design. … The top two factors impacting my ability to find and pursue my dream job at GM Design were early validation and exposure. That is the premise of this design contest on a larger scale. "


High-school knock-outs

Davis Kunselman, aged 17, from Georgia, used his experience to inform his Chevrolet adventure vehicle concept 2030, choosing to create a truck rather than an SUV because “I am from Georgia and I’m more familiar with trucks”. Davis also incorporated classic Chevrolet elements into his design: the dual-element headlamp; large and dominant hexagon-shaped grille; square wheelarches; and a trailing character line. Combined with a power bulge on the hood, Davis’s sketches make a fresh and bold statement of intent.

1 Davis Kunselman Cdn High School Competition Presentation 6


Jinho So, aged 16, opted to design the Chevrolet adventure concept as an on- and off-road sports coupé two-seater, because he decided that “the sports coupé is the best way to illustrate the brand’s design language”. Jinho’s design is a car for driving enthusiasts, combining Chevrolet’s bold character lines with a hybrid powertrain. The way he thought through the company’s existing design language and blended his own into his finished concept impressed the judges. Jinho also addressed the difficulties of imaging what the future will look like, admitting that he found it difficult to think of a design for our future lifestyle. A conundrum he shares with all car designers.

2 Cdn 2030 High School Competition Jinho So 6


Ben Woodman, aged 15, created the sports car of tomorrow. Ben’s work demonstrates that he thought critically about what car enthusiasts would want to drive in 2030. His two-seater city car continues the legacy of Corvette, with an electric powertrain (similar to the Volt or Bolt) and with a manual drive option alongside the autonomous mode – the future driving enthusiasts he imagined would definitely want to actually drive the car. He has incorporated a solar tarp for emergency charging and signalled the Chevrolet heritage in his head- and taillight design.

3 Ben Woodman The 2030 Corvette 10

Car Design News and GM will be running another interactive design competition for high-school students in 2017.