After a successful run last year, BMW is once again running a “Next Designer” contest for students aged 10-18, drawing on the creative minds of the next generation of car designers.
The contest was originally created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the automobile brand last year, but more importantly to see what innovative automobile designs young people in Hong Kong could come up with.
The competition is split into three age groups, and a champion for each group is chosen – by a panel of four judges, based equally on creativity, design concept, functionality and the incorporation of BMW’s core value – “Joy is BMW”.
One of the judges is Joseph Lau, Managing Director, BMW concessionaires (HK) Limited, who believes local teens have great potential, and should show what they’ve got this year.
“We need new ideas from our younger generation – the future – for our car designing industry,” says Lau.
“We were very impressed to see how Hong Kong teenagers incorporated [our] core value into their designs, which is one major key to standing out in the competition,” he says.
Lau adds that it is important to incorporate fun and futuristic details while keeping it physically possible to produce. “We would love to see what Hong Kong teenagers can think of in terms of interior and exterior designs.” He added: “We loved seeing them grasp aesthetics, how it could [remain] environmentally friendly and energy-saving, as well as ... passenger and driver friendly.”
Last year’s 10-12 age group champion Eric Choi Ho-yin has some practical advice for those thinking of entering this year.“Don’t forget to get feedback from people around you to test the practicality of your product to really know the pros and cons of the design.”
Champion of the 13-15-year-old category, Austin Lau Pak-hei, made a point of making his car serve people’s needs, so he created car seats that are tailor-made to fit passengers’ and drivers’ spines, to keep their bodies supported.
“I would advise you to pay attention to things around you, be observant and look at what people like,” says Austin.
It’s this sort of detail that makes a design stand out, as Lau says: “I appreciate how observant our next generation is, this is the innovative mindset we need for the future.”
After attending a talk about the hardships of disabled people face at school, 16-18 age group champion Kevin Tsoi Ka-Ming Kevin hoped to create functions in his car that would help them travel around Hong Kong more easily.
Lau summed up by saying that last year’s contestants had a lot of imagination and potential, and that they were very considerate of the environment and passengers’ needs.
The winner in each age group will be put on a plane with their parents to Munich, Germany, to visit BMW World and the BMW Plant to see the manufacturing and designing process in real life.
“This year we are introducing one more award for the general public to vote on, so in all, we will have a champion, three runner ups and a community award for the respective age groups,” Lau says.
Although the focus of the automobile industry in Hong Kong is mainly on car sales and maintenance, Lau thinks design is a growing sector in the industry and encourages the younger generation to believe in themselves and see where their imagination will take them.
Find out more about the competition here. Entries close on September 15
Edited by Nicole Moraleda