Designing car seats with plastic


The competition “sit down. move.” is a joint project of BASF’s global seat competence team together with the designfabrik, which assists designers in selecting materials, colours and surfaces as well as in constructing innovative products. Renowned industrial and automotive designers Konstantin Grcic, Ken Kiyoyuki Okuyama and Dave Lyon, together with the three BASF members of the jury, evaluated more than 170 entries from 33 countries in order to select the best studies. The three best design concepts for car seats from the competition were presented by BASF at the Geneva International Motor Show.

The winners of the global car seats design competition: Song Wei Teo of the University of Coventry in the UK, Pantila Debhakam of the design agency shakes bkk of Bangkok, Thailand, and Joonyoung Kim of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, USA. (photos: BASF)

The jury had to choose the winners out of 170 entries from 33 countries.

The global winner chosen by the jury was Song Wei Teo of the University of Coventry in Great Britain. The two further winners were Joonyoung Kim of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, United States, and Pantila Debhakam of the design agency shakes bkk of Bangkok, Thailand.

The winning concept: the one-piece design “leaf chair” by Song Wei Teo, student at University of Coventry, UK

Three winning entries – plus three special mentions

Three novel concepts relating to the clever utilisation of BASF materials greatly impressed the panel of experts. “Song Wei Teo’s extraordinary design of a car seat made in just a single piece using lightweight materials won us over,” stated the jury in explaining its choice of the winning entry. Aside from receiving the trophy created by staff of the designfabrik, the global winner was awarded  prize money of €6,000. The two further winners received €3,000 each. In view of the large number of creative and professional entries, the jury decided to additionally give three special mentions in the categories “Material utilisation”, “Colour and trim” and “Visualisation”. “The three concepts highlight these specific design elements in a particularly original manner”, said the jury in praise of the winners Christian Delise (Japan), Hyejin Park and Minuk You (USA) as well as David Panzeri (Italy), each of whom received €1,000.

The shoulder and waist part of the seat designed by Joonyoung Kim (College for Creative Studies, Detroit, USA) are connected by artificial muscles to show lightweight and ergonomic gestures.

Designing car seats with plastic

The assortment of available materials includes not only thermoplastics such as the polyamide Ultramid, thermoplastic polyurethanes such as Elastollan, foams based on expanded polypropylene (Neopolen) and aromatic polyurethane (Elastoflex W) but also the transfer coating technology Steron, binders for natural fibres (Acrodur) and Catamold, BASF’s powder injection technology.

Regional winner concept by Pantila Debhakam (design agency shakes bkk , Bangkok, Thailand)


Prospect of prototypes

When this international contest was announced in September  2012, designers from all over the world were called upon to develop car seats with an eye towards such aspects as comfort, ergonomics, safety and weight. “We will manufacture prototypes of the three main winning concepts and present them to our customers as well as to other interested parties at various events,” explains Eva Höfli, BASF designer and contest coordinator. BASF will show the prototypes  at events and trade fairs and to potential customers.

Car seats are complex systems but trigger a lot of astonishing and unique design ideas (video: BASF)



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