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Next crop of local car designers revealed

From left: Aman Bhatti, Daniel DeBono, Anthony Farnell, Minister Hodgett, Hamzah Brown, Todd Linnett, Kouhei Kawakami and Eddie Gaudernack.

VACC names Australia car designers of the future at awards night

General News logo25 Jun 2013

THE Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) held its annual student design awards in Melbourne last week, highlighting the next crop of automotive designers against a backdrop of uncertainty towards the future local car manufacturing.

The event saw state minister for manufacturing David Hodgett present awards to Victorian secondary and tertiary students across three categories based on future car model design including model making, design and essay writing.

Winners were judged by senior design executives from Australia’s local manufacturers Holden, Toyota and Ford.

Mr Hodgett took to opportunity to acknowledge the “complex” challenges being faced by the car industry, but said he hoped the young winners would play a part in making the future brighter.

According to state government estimates, around 103,000 people are currently employed in Victoria’s automotive sector, accounting for 30 per cent of total industry employment.

The VACC awards night was capped this year by the award of an overseas scholarship to a student from Monash University, Kouhei Kawakami.

In addition, two secondary students won the right to participate in a two-week work experience placement with Ford Australia’s design and development centre in Broadmeadows, which will continue to work on projects throughout the Asia-Pacific region after the company closes down its Australian manufacturing operations in 2016.

80 center imageLeft: VACC design awards entrants.

Mr Kawakami has chosen to travel to Japan in a bid to secure a position in an automotive design studio. He is hoping to land a position with Daihatsu, where a friend of his works.

He was chosen from nine applicants, who each wrote a 100-word outline of their proposed travel and work plans, and were then interviewed by a panel, which made the final decision.

The top design award of the night, the Tertiary Student Design Award, went to Daniel Debono, a student in industrial design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of technology.

His major project, Automotion, was conceived as an autonomous electric vehicle. He was looking to combine function and aesthetics into a vehicle that conjured up feelings of speed, luxury and prestige.

Mr Debono also won the Tertiary Student Essay category with his description of how the Automotion concept would fit into the world of the future.

He envisaged, among other things, an electrified road network so that the Automotion could remain fully charged.

“The days of cars driving us around is coming along soon,” he said.

The top Tertiary Student Model prize went to Anthony Farnell, a recent graduate from the Monash Industrial Design School.

His entry was a bright yellow sports coupe, the L1-FE concept, with detachable panels.

Apart from the travel scholarship for a tertiary student, the 2013 awards also saw the inauguration of a work experience prize for two students. The prize was offered by Ford Australia.

The two winners were Aman Bhatti of Lavalla Catholic College and Hamzah Brown of Trinity College, Kew.

VACC executive director David Purchase said the 2013 awards attracted the highest-ever number of entries. He also acknowledged the parlous state of the car industry.

“Governments must work with all stakeholders to ensure we always have a world-class industry in Australia,” he said.

“We are good at design in Australia and you should always do what you are good at.”

The Automotive Design Awards are an annual event and winning students in the model making and design categories – and their training organisations – each receive $3000, while the winners of the essay category and their training organisations receive $500.

The VACC is the peak automotive industry body in Victoria and a group training organisation, employing more than 400 automotive apprentices and trainees across Victoria and Tasmania.

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