Leeds art student takes top prize in Hyundai design challenge

Emily Armistead, a student at Leeds Art School, has won a design competition run by Hyundai that challenged entrants to create a futuristic vehicle interior.


Innovators of the Future asked students to imagine what the inside of a sports utility vehicle (SUV) might look like in 50 years’ time, and what sort of materials might be used in its construction. For her entry, Emily envisaged a time when deteriorating climatic conditions will mean a scarcity of daylight and extreme weather conditions are the norm. Her choice of design and materials sought to use iridescence and reflection to create an “ethereal design concept” – as she puts it.

“Think about living in a place where daylight is scarce and extreme weather conditions were part of the norm,” Emily said to The Engineer. “I proposed a radical future vision of an SUV interior based on the increasing concerns surrounding climate change and the adverse impact of living unsustainably. Galvanised by an intrepid curiosity for the future, the design seeks to imagine possible projections through the speculation of how things could be.


“Inspired by the extreme effects of climate change, this ethereal design concept creates diversity in colour, texture and form exploring conspicuous themes of iridescence and reflection through the interaction of light and reflective surfaces. Optical properties including colour, luminosity, photosensitivity and reflectivity are scrutinised through a variety of materials to create intriguing and immersive surfaces for the cabin interior. The materials used in this story have a tranquil quality, appearing melted, frozen, thawed, cracked, cloudy or vaporous.”

As part of her prize for winning the competition, Emily will travel to Seoul, South Korea, where she will meet with representatives of Hyundai and tour the company’s facilities. She will also receive a cash prize of £1,000 and is hopeful her design can influence how interiors of the future are developed for production vehicles.

“If we were to imagine a place where we felt tranquil, the majority of us would envision a natural setting,” she said. “The interior of the Hyundai SUV of the future is designed with the objective to reaffirm our connection to nature and help us to embrace our surroundings. The minimalist design blends ethereal and lustrous materials with revolutionary technology to advocate a feeling of calm and enhance the driving experience.”