GE Plastics

GE and Royal College of Art name winning “auto design of the future” students

BERGEN OP ZOOM THE NETHERLANDS — April 11, 2006 — Vehicle designs for the emerging Chinese market and new ideas for the unique properties of plastics scooped the top awards on April 6 at the GE sponsored Royal College of Art PLASTicon competition.

RCA students mingled with leading international figures from the automotive design industry, and GE representatives at the lively awards ceremony at the RCA HQ in Kensington, London.

Judging was so tight two winning teams which consists of a total of 8 different nationalities, were announced, rather than a single award, with each successful team being rewarded with a trip to New York and a meeting with the GE Design Council.

The first winners to be announced from the podium were the Material Icons team. This group of students, Ana Zadnik, Flavien Dachet, Daniel Sjöholm, and Yuko Kanemura, concentrated on the unique properties of plastic and explored different ways to manipulate it to create new textures, patterns and lighting effects.

Their ideas included a car featuring copper sheets laminated in thermochromatic plastic, which changes color as the vehicle heats up, and a “celebrity car” for Icelandic star Bjork, using the colors of Iceland for inspiration.

The second winning RCA team was the Mobility Icons - China team, who were challenged to create a suitable mode of transport for this emerging market.

After a trip to China, the team of Filip Krnja, Ehsan Maghaddampour and Jamie Tomkins developed vehicles for residents of an imaginary tower block - the Beijing Boom Tower. These ranged from a luxury concept car for the penthouse residents, a taxi design for the middle level residents with concertina doors for the crowded Chinese streets, and a new hybrid bike with interchangable parts for the working class at the entry level.

Individual prizes were also presented to Julien Cueff, Chanwie Park and Matthew Croft. Each individual award winner received an Apple i-pod.

GE vice president and general manager of GE Plastics Automotive division Greg Adams who presented the prizes said that GE was pleased to be involved with the automotive designers of the future. He foresaw that design would be of increasing importance to the automotive industry and plastics would play a vital part in this development. Adams commented on how plastic materials currently accounted for up to 10% of all vehicles, but this percentage would increase greatly in the future.

Seventeen graduate students from the RCA's Vehicle Design Department and three from RCA’s Textiles Department took part in the three month assignment to imagine the future of automotive design in plastics.

The PLASTicon program divided students into teams of three and four for research into specific scenarios including emerging generations, emerging markets, auto segment redefinition, formal freedom and function integration. Once the groups had completed an analysis and reached conclusions, each team member designed and modeled a personal interpretation of the scenario. GE advisors worked closely with RCA staff and students to provide guidance and resources.

RCA Rector and Vice-Provost Professor Sir Christopher Frayling was also at the awards event, and praised the quality of designs.

The RCA is the world's only wholly postgraduate university of art and design. The RCA's Vehicle Design curriculum trains students to pioneer new approaches for private and public transportation, including addressing such concerns as traffic congestion, safety and environmental issues.

GE’s Plastics business is an industry leader in automotive technologies representing body panels and glazing, exterior components, trims and accessories, lighting, structures and interiors, underhood applications and new markets. Innovative GE materials expand design freedom and creativity vs. traditional metal and glass while helping to give manufacturers many performance and aesthetic benefits, including weight reduction for improved fuel economy, noise reduction, parts integration for lighter weight and cost savings, and unique colors and special effects.

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Notes for editors

About GE Plastics

GE Plastics ( is a global supplier of plastic resins widely used in automotive, healthcare, consumer electronics, transportation, performance packaging, building & construction, telecommunications, and optical media applications. The company manufactures and compounds polycarbonate, ABS, SAN, ASA, PPE, PC/ABS, PBT and PEI resins, as well as the LNP* line of high-performance specialty compounds. GE Plastics, Specialty Film & Sheet manufactures high-performance Lexan* sheet and film products used in thousands of demanding applications worldwide. In addition, GE Plastics’ dedicated Automotive organization is an experienced, world-wide competitor, offering leading plastics solutions for five key automotive segments: body panels and glazing; under the hood applications; component; structures and interiors; and lighting. As a Worldwide Partner of the Olympic Games, GE is the exclusive provider of a wide range of innovative products and services that are integral to a successful Games.

* LNP and Lexan are trademarks of General Electric Company.

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