Tag Archives: Geoff Wardle

Autonomous for the people: cars of the future will need to balance new features with safety


Still from Media Design Practices students Elaine Cheung’s Connected Mobility “video sketch.”

Still from Media Design Practices students Elaine Cheung’s and Shan Shen’s Connected Mobility.

Last week, Chevrolet announced that more than a dozen of its 2016 cars and trucks would be compatible with Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, the tech giants’ competing in-dash interfaces for vehicles that connect to the driver’s smartphone.

Considering both CarPlay and Android Auto were only publicly announced last year, the speed of Chevrolet’s adoption of these interfaces could signal a sea change in how quickly automakers respond to consumers’ demands.

Geoff Wardle, executive director of Art Center’s graduate Transportation Systems and Design program, says Silicon Valley’s forays into the transportation arena have lit the proverbial fire under Detroit.

“Traditionally the car industry has designed vehicles over a three- to four-year time period,” says Wardle. “But people want the same features in their cars that they have on their smartphones, which change every few months.”

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Art Center in Asia: Create Change Design Forums at Beijing Design Week

Art Center's Mark Breitenberg welcomes participants to the 2014 Create Change Forums in Beijing.

Art Center’s Mark Breitenberg welcomes participants to the 2014 Create Change Forums in Beijing.

In the latest issue of Dot magazine, we take a look at Art Center College of Design’s long history—nearly 60 years—of connections to Asia. Take a trip with us through time and across the Pacific as we look back in history and forward to the future. Today’s focus: the College’s growing relationship with China.

Whether it’s the impending arrival of China-made cars to the U.S. market or Film alumnus Michael Bay’s (BFA 88) Transformers: Age of Extinction breaking the $300 million barrier at the Chinese box office, these days all eyes are on the Middle Kingdom. And Art Center is no exception.

Just ask Mark Breitenberg, special assistant to the College’s president, who led the Create Change Design Forums, a three-day series of presentations and workshops which took place in China this September during Beijing Design Week.

At the packed forums, co-organized by Graduate Industrial Design (Grad ID) alumnus Lan Yu and sponsored by her company, Art Center leaders and alumni met with employees from 70 Chinese companies to introduce them to Art Center’s methodologies and creative processes.

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Sweet bread, technology and democracy: behind the scenes at #techLA

Amy Shimshon-Santo (far left) moderates the #techLA panel at City Hall

Amy Shimshon-Santo (far left) moderates the #techLA panel at City Hall

“Mmm, pan dulce,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. Around the Green Room table behind the Los Angeles City Council Chambers, diverse leaders gathered around cafecito and conchas de vainilla o chocolate. It was 8:30 a.m. on a cool Saturday morning. Our disciplines ranged from transportation and interactive design to Smart Grid technologies, and from electric vehicle infrastructure and urban planning to community economic development.

We came together at the invitation of Mayor Eric Garcetti and Peter Marx (Chief Innovation and Technology Officer) to galvanize the technology track of #techLA– the city’s inaugural Technology and Innovation Conference held in City Hall.

Tasked by Marx with facilitating a panel on the future of mobility, I seized the opportunity to spark an interdisciplinary conversation on the topic. Representing Art Center with me were two respected innovators: Geoff Wardle (Executive Director of the Graduate Transportation Design program) and Maggie Hendrie (Chair of the Interaction Design undergraduate program). Later that day, Art Center Graduate Transportation student, Retro Poblano, also presented his research on automated shuttles to the public.

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Taking the fast lane to the future of transportation

Sin Palace: Horizontal Section Cut by Michael Webb, published in The Car in 2035.

Sin Palace: Horizontal Section Cut by Michael Webb, published in The Car in 2035.

Spearheaded by Graduate Art alumna and former faculty member Kati Rubinyi, The Car in 2035: Mobility Planning for the Near Future seeks to engage a broad readership in the aesthetically and intellectually complex relationship between cars and the physical environment. More than a handful of Art Center folks have contributed to the book, which features essays by Graduate Transportation Design Executive Director Geoff Wardle and Graduate Art Chair Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, among others, and illustrations by alumna Jiha Hwang GMDP 11. Published in March, the book and the issues it addresses became the driving force behind the creation of the nonprofit Civic Projects Foundation, founded and led by Rubinyi. Its mission—initiating projects for the public benefit that break down silos among professional disciplines—was inspired, in part, by Art Center. “My education and later experience at the College did nothing less than pry open my mind to new values and to other communities of practice, which was a much-needed antidote to my professional experience at that time,” says Rubinyi, whose background is in urban planning, architecture and art. Civic Projects welcomes collaboration and support from anyone who recognizes the need for more creativity in positively shaping the future of urban and suburban Southern California.

This story originally appeared in Art Center’s Dot magazine. Check out Dot online for more news of alumni and faculty exhibitions, products, books, films and social impact. For a closer look at Art Center’s role in shaping the future of car design, check out this recent Westways magazine profile of Geoff Wardle.

Art Center full throttle at 83rd International Geneva Motor Show

Automobile enthusiasts from around the globe are gathering in Switzerland for the 83rd International Geneva Motor Show March 7–17, 2013 and Art Center faculty, alumni and staff are circulating among them.

An Art Center alumni event
is set for Wednesday, March 6, 17:00-20:00 
at the C Bar and Lounge, Starling Geneva Airport Hotel.

Alumni and friends are invited to meet up at an informal reception in conjunction with the show. Geoff Wardle, executive director of Graduate Transportation Design, and Cathy Karry, director of the College’s Career and Professional Development office, will be among the faculty and staff in town to connect with alumni who live in, or near Geneva as well as those visiting for the auto show. For more info, please contact Alumni Relations at alumni@artcenter.edu.

Wardle will be meeting with industry and media representatives to discuss Art Center’s new Grad Trans program that offers two tracks for students to pursue:

Geoff Wardle

Geoff Wardle, executive director of Graduate Transportation Design

  1. The Vehicles Track is for those who are intent on entering or returning to the vehicle manufacturing industry who have strong strategic thinking skills and the ability to focus on the bigger issues facing the field relating to its customers and its future business models.
  2. The Systems Track is geared to individuals who have a more varied background plus are interested in a more holistic, systems-thinking approach to innovative transportation solutions from personal mobility in the urban environment through to more sustainable freight transportation, for example.

Wardle will also discuss the development of automated road vehicles, future business models for the industry and generally what the outlook is for the future of the automobile—which, in his opinion, is positive!

– Teri Bond

For more information on the graduate program, visit



In Case You Missed It

As we return from break we thought it would be a good time to check in on what is going on with Art Center alumni, students and faculty.

The Williamson Gallery’s current exhibition, Worlds was featured in The Los Angeles Times. Haven’t seen it yet? You’re in luck. The exhibition has been extended through January 29, 2012.

Art Center was well represented in the December issue of THE Pasadena Foothills Magazine. The magazine’s cover story, 50 Creative People 2011, featured President Lorne Buchman and recognized faculty and staff members Mariana Amatullo, Dan Gottlieb, Penny Herscovitch, Karen Hofmann, Stephen Nowlin and Geoff Wardle; student Holly Wren Hofgaarden; and alumni Edgar Arceneaux, Dan Goods and Steve Roden. The issue can be read here.

Student Maria Meehan received a 2011 Bill Bernbach Scholarship, earning herself $5,000 to put towards tuition. The scholarships are made possible through the Bill Bernbach Diversity Scholarship Fund, established in 1998 by DDB Worldwide to provide financial assistance to creatively talented, culturally diverse students seeking an education in copywriting, art direction and design.

Jayne Vidheecharoen demonstrating her Portals project

Media Design student Jayne Vidheecharoen, whom we’ve covered previously,  is still creating an Internet buzz around her Portals alternate reality project, funded by Kickstarter. We found her project covered here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Transportation Design Chair Stewart Reed participated as a jury member for The Michelin Challenge Design. The jury made final selections based on the theme, “City 2046: Art, Life and Ingenuity.” More than 200 projects, submitted by more than 1,700 registrants representing 88 countries, were reviewed. The jury selected the work of 27 participants for display at the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

Alumnus Christopher Chapman, formerly with BMW, was hired as chief designer of the Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, California.

Alumnus Eric Tu, co-founder and creative talent curator at F360, a studio with offices in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, was interviewed by Studio Daily.

Alumnus Matt Cunningham’s role as designer of the interior train car shots for the thriller “Source Code” was explored in the Aiken Standard.

Wheels in Motion: A Look at Art Center’s Transportation Design Department

Guest post by College Archivist Robert Dirig and Transportation Design Director Jay Sanders

Strother MacMinn teaches class on lawn, 1960 (Photo courtesy Art Center Archives)

Art Center’s Car Classic has become one of the most highly anticipated transportation events in Southern California, if not the entire country. Over the past nine years, the event has showcased amazing automobiles and brought together industry leaders–many of whom are Art Center alumni. As we approach Sunday’s Car Classic 2010: Freedom of Motion, join us in looking back at how Art Center became a leader in the world of transportation design.

Jergenson is shown in this circa 1950 photograph with student A.K. Ragheb PROD '51. (Photo courtesy Art Center Archives)

It is estimated that more than half of the world’s car designers are Art Center graduates. Transportation Design alumni currently hold top positions at the studios of Pininfarina, Ferrari-Maserati, Ford, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Volvo, Nissan, Aston Martin, Mazda, Toyota/Lexus and Volkswagen North America.

The field has a long and storied history at the College. Years before Transportation Design became a major at Art Center, our graduates were taking positions with General Motors’ Buick Division in Detroit in the 1930s.

In 1948, Transportation Design became an official course of study at the College, with such influential faculty members as George Jergenson, Strother MacMinn and John Coleman establishing the school’s connection with transportation design—a field that would lift Art Center into international prominence.

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Making the Bus Sexy

The words “bus” and “sexy” are rarely used together, but according to Art Center’s Director of Advanced Mobility Research Geoff Wardle, the bus actually can be … well, sexy.

People need to feel “that they have the same level of control over their journey by using the bus as they would if they … took their car right to the outside of their workplace,” says Wardle. “That is where designers need to focus their attention … (They should) consider the whole experience, not just the bus.”

Wardle was recently interviewed as part of Big Think, a global forum connecting people and ideas. Check out his thoughts on the bus and other transportation and sustainability issues  here.

In Case You Missed It…

As you know, there’s always something going on when it comes to Art Center alumni, students and faculty.  Some of the latest:

  • Film Department Chair Ross LaManna talks to CNN about the rise of the graphic novel in Hollywood. CNN
  • Director for Advanced Mobility Research Geoff Wardle chats with The New York Times about the Tata Nano, which will be on display next week at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The New York Times
  • Alumnus Tommy Lee Edwards explains his conceptual work for the film The Book of Eli. Livingston Daily
  • Indy Racing League discusses the development of its next-generation racing car, developed with the help of Art Center students. Edmunds Inside Line
  • Painter and Illustration alumnus Paul Rickert’s latest exchibit, Industrial Visions, is currently on display at Rider University in Lawrence, NJ. CentralJersey.com
  • Filmmaker and alumnus Tarsem Singh Dhandwar’s fantasy-action-drama epic about ancient Greece, Dawn of War, might be filmed in 3D. Little About

(Pictured: Out of Furnaces, Paul Rickert)