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Hyundai’s creative design manager Casey Hyun, on the gurus in his profession, and his latest — the new i20

Ask Casey Hyun to sum up what car design is all about, and he shares that it’s about creating motion. “I’ve seen cars from different generations and from around the world. Car designers visualise the movement (of the car),” says the creative design manager of Hyundai Motor Company, who was recently in the city to launch the company’s updated version of their popular hatchback, the Elite i20. A part of the Korean company for close to a decade, Hyun has created cars like the Sonata YF and i30 (aka Elantra Tourin), and when asked to describe his work, he points to Hyundai’s new design philosophy, Fluidic Sculpture — a concept introduced in India since 2010, that believes in “simplicity, ease of use, comfort, reliability, enhanced safety, high quality and style.”

Hyundai-Elite-i20-motion-acThe company’s latest release, the Elite i20, is the first car to feature the next phase of their design — Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, that is more refined and sophisticated. “Sort of like a muscular person wearing a suit,” he says, adding that design plays a vital role in the Indian market. “An Indian customer seeks a high level of value-for-money along with their aspirational requirements,” reasons Hyun, who lists Car Design News (UK, web) Wheels Magazine (Australia, print), Car (UK, print & web), Paultan (Malaysia, web) and Autoblog (US, web) as his favourite reads. “We’re going into finer details now,” he smiles, stating the Elite i20’s higher contrast surfacing (more convex and concave surfaces) and refined lines as examples.

Hyun believes that bigger brands are going in for a greater level of expression. “When people know what your brand is, you can go for a more mature design. There is no need to be loud,” he says adding that ‘diversification’ is his prediction for the future. “You will see more diverse designs by different brands,” he says, concluding with an example, “More brands are having their own unique colour — like our blue and silver.”

Casey’s icons
?  Peter Schreyer: He is a great person and a great designer. Changed the whole paradigm of automotive design from the mid 90s.
?  Steve Mattin: He’s not one to enjoy the spotlight, but is among the true automotive design talents in the world. I grew up idolising his Mercedes-Benz S Class (W220).
?  Carl Nielson: Here’s a description about the man behind my life adventure of becoming an industrial designer — ‘As a key figure in Australian post-war Industrial Design and design education, he is probably not as well-known as he ought to be’.

— Ryan Peppin