Buick, BASF, and College for Creative Studies

Buick is building on its more than 110 years of innovation and design by encouraging young and aspiring designers to challenge conventional automotive design boundaries.

Buick partnered with BASF to sponsor a competition for students at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, who were given a blank canvas to shape their vision of what Buicks will look like in 2030.

More than a dozen next-generation transportation designers answered the call to compete and consult with industry professionals. Exploring their outside-the-box ideas and new concepts in personal transportation, students brought their visions to life in 3D with scale model Buicks.

“The solutions these concepts offer are as unique as the future car designers at CCS who created them,” said Andrew Smith, executive director of Buick global design. “For Buick, this project is an invitation for new insights and interpretation of our brand and the future portfolio of products we will offer.”

The competition guidelines addressed future transportation needs – the dramatic rise in urban populations, developing countries, nanotechnology, and the role advanced materials play in vehicle efficiency.

A professional jury of Buick designers from the exterior, interior, and color and trim studios, along with BASF coatings and performance materials experts, selected four concepts for special recognition and $7,000 in awards:
Namsuk Lee, 28, from Seoul, Korea with two awards – $3,000 for the best overall concept and $1,500 for best interior
Sam Kenny, 22 of Greensboro, N.C. – $1,500 for best exterior design
Justin Salmon, 19 of Boca Raton, Fla. – $1,000 for most innovative use of materials

The panel commended Lee for his lightweight exterior form language, exceptional interpretation and integration of the Buick design cues, and inviting interior execution. Kenny’s concept impressed the Buick designers, who praised its “dynamic elegance” and creative use of structural design elements to create innovative and efficient proportions and body surfacing. Salmon won over the BASF jurors by integrating materials and technology, including the use of algae in the vehicle structure, to generate energy.

Other notable designs included the proportions and form language of the urban coupe by JinYoung Yoon and the dynamic concept from Soohan Cho. The latter was cited for its expressive use of materials and colors to appeal to a young generation of Buick customers.

The Buick-BASF program is unique in that it allows young designers the same access to future trend research and data used by industry professionals. Students showcase their overall design talent through sketching and modeling, along with critical thinking and presentation skills.

Mentors from both companies provided information and access to advanced materials, along with a visit to develop exterior paint at BASF’s automotive refinish facility in Whitehouse, Ohio.

“Professional car design is a very competitive business, and your work is always measured against your peers, and by the market success it generates,” Smith said. “Buick design that conveys youthful energy and fresh thinking is essential to the future of this modern, international luxury brand.”