Staying true to its renewed focus to design, build, and sell the world’s best vehicles, General Motors has announced that the opening of an Advanced Design Studio in Seoul, the capitol city of the Republic of Korea. The studio, located in Seoul’s Gangram region that’s widely considered to be the most exciting, stylish, and trendiest part of the city as well as the heart of the nation’s culture, arts, fashion, and industry, will be one of GM’s 10 global design centers.
The new Seoul studio is actually a relocation of the GM-Daewoo Design Center from Bupyeong, Incheon. It will employ 30 designers who will work on exterior and interior styling of The General’s global mini and small vehicles. The designers will also research trends in color, materials, and advanced electronics, as well as lead the way in digital design and studio engineering.
According to General Motors, the move to Seoul was sparked by a desire to enhance the design center’s function and specialty. Given that Seoul was named the World Design Capital for 2010, the decision to relocate the center makes sense to us. What the heck is the World Design Capital anyway? We knew you’d ask: according to Wikipedia, it’s a city promotion project by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design that recognizes and awards accomplishments made by cities around the world in the field of design. Italy’s Torino was awarded the title in 2008 and Finland’s Helsinki is slated to supersede Seoul in 2012. Glad we could clear that up.And in what may be the most common-sense quote in history, GM Daewoo President and CEO Mike Arcamone said that design will continue to be key to GM’s success. Korean designers have already brought us such worldwide favorites as the Chevy Cruze, Spark, and (upcoming) Aveo (sold domestically as Lacetti Premiere, Matiz, Gentra, respectively). GM says that work in this studio will help set the future design direction for GM Daewoo and General Motors.
The new studio celebrated its grand opening on April 20 and released the (above) sketch of what designers depict as the “future transportation,” which – to us – looks like the modern version of the ubercool batmobile. As part of the opening celebration, GM hosted a trends show, aptly named TrendSpotter at the W Hotel’s Woo Bar. VIP guests included Seoul Vice Mayor Kyeongwon Chung and Canadian Ambassador to Korea Ted Lipman, along with celebrities, fashionistas, design professionals, industry leaders and lifestyle/fashion media. Unfortunately, the GM Authority Team wasn’t invited… not that we’re bitter or anything.