Academy of Art Students Tackle Suburu Challenge

You have 98 days to reimagine a Subaru car for the year 2030. What will you come up with?

This was the challenge posed to Academy of Art University students from the School of Industrial Design for their Corporate Partnership class.

This class has the industrial design school of the Academy collaborating with big brand names in the automotive industry to give the students actual hands-on experience working with clients and collaborating with fellow students. In the past, the School of Industrial Design has partnered with giant car manufacturers such as Volvo and Audi.

Corporate Partnership Class Featuring Subaru

The brief was straightforward enough for the Subaru project — 2030 isn’t too far away after all – and yet, it requires creative, innovative thinking. It also requires collaborative input from others outside of the Academy’s car design program.

For this, the School of Industrial Design students, under the tutelage of Director Antonio Borja, teamed up with students from at least six other departments. The collaborating schools included Interior Architecture & DesignAdvertising, and Graphic Design, to name a few. “The idea and the goal is to get students real-world studio experience working with multi-disciplinary teams to achieve a common goal,” explained Borja.

With dozens of students from different course backgrounds in one class, it’s fairly easy to imagine how it can result into creative “chaos.” This is exactly what happened on Day 1, instructor Scott Kress recalled.

There is method in madness as they say, though, and eventually, these ideas became solid concepts. By the time they entered the production stage of their car design models, the students certainly felt the stress and pressure of presenting not only before their teachers and peers, but also the Subaru executives themselves.

But there was no time to waste. They had a car to envision and model to life. And that’s not all they had to do, too. There were UX and UI to be designed, an entire product experience to be crafted, all in line with the principles of the Subaru brand.

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In the end, all the late nights spent brainstorming, refining, and finishing the car model were well worth it. The groups made their pitches and presented to the public at the 2019 Spring Show. Most importantly, the client, Subaru, was pleased with all that was accomplished.

As to whether or not Subaru actually takes any of their designs into production remains to be seen — perhaps in 2030.

For now, we enjoy the fruits of their labor.

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