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SABIC and Royal College of Art Team Up to Launch ‘VISIcON’ Automotive Design Competition

SABIC has announced the launch of a three-month research program and competition called VISIcON with London’s prestigious Royal College of Art (RCA) Vehicle Design programme. Under VISIcON, more than 30 post-graduate students from the department are researching and exploring how SABIC’s high-performance thermoplastic lighting materials and LEXAN™ polycarbonate (PC) glazing technologies can be applied in practical and creative ways to enhance the lighting and illumination of today’s and tomorrow’s vehicles. SABIC and the RCA previously collaborated in a 2005/2006 program called PLASTicon in which students developed car design visions based on innovative uses of plastics. SABIC’s sponsorship of VISIcON with the RCA speaks to the company’s commitment to continually innovate and help spark the creation of concepts with future global vehicle designers.

“The Royal College of Art brings together some of the world’s most talented future automotive designers,” said Greg Adams, vice president, Automotive and Polycarbonate Strategy with SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business. “We are happy to work with the RCA once again to stretch the technology and design boundaries that currently exist in automotive lighting, the front and face of the vehicle and other areas where high-performing lightweight materials can add value. We are looking forward to seeing the future of the vehicle through the creative eyes of the RCA’s students.”

“SABIC has a broad palette of high performance materials that act as a source of inspiration to what’s next in automotive design,” said Professor Dale Harrow, head of the RCA’s Vehicle Design programme. “Through a collaborative program like VISIcON, we can help connect our young designers to the empowering material solutions available from SABIC that can bring their design possibilities to life.”

The VISIcON program has tasked students from the RCA’s three automotive studios to research and explore current and future application of materials on lighting: the Automark studio’s emphasis lies in developing and enhancing brand identity through lighting; the Urban Flow studio is focused on discovering innovative exterior lighting; and the Inside Out studio is working on improving and extending the use of light in the vehicle interior through lighting components and PC glazing. The students will then work in cross-studio teams of three towards holistic vehicle design visions. SABIC advisors are working closely with RCA staff and the students to provide guidance and resources.

Once the teams have completed their research and developed concepts, each team member will develop their own individual design proposal. A jury of SABIC, RCA and external experts will then choose three of those designs for development into larger scale models. The competition will culminate with a second round of judging to determine the overall winner. Each of the top three students will receive a bursary award from SABIC. Presentation of the championship models and an announcement of the overall winner will take place in May at an awards ceremony at the RCA’s headquarters in Kensington, London.

The more than 30 Vehicle Design students participating in VISIcON come from 12 countries, including the UK, Korea, China, Italy, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Turkey, India, the United States and Canada. They are joined in the cross-studio teams by ten students from RCA’s Textiles programme, who bring interest and expertise in materials and technology to the project. Two Textiles students will receive awards.

SABIC has a broad materials portfolio to address needs and trends in automotive lighting, an application space which has become an integral part of a vehicle’s overall design and development. SABIC materials – used in a diverse range of lighting components, from standard fog lamps to today’s state-of-the-art light emitting diode (LED) designs for front, rear and interior lighting – deliver a wide range of benefits. These include high heat optical performance with jewel like appearance, reduced mass with enhanced flow resins; differentiated paint-free styling options with VISUALFX™ special effects resins; enhanced aesthetics and surface quality; weight savings with dimensionally stable, lightweight recyclable solutions; enhanced pedestrian safety and cost savings. SABIC’s selection of materials for automotive lighting include various grades from its LEXAN, ULTEM™, VALOX™ and STAMAX™ resin product lines.

For SABIC and the RCA, VISIcON marks the latest chapter in their relationship. The two last collaborated in a 2005/2006 creative design project called PLASTicon, in which student teams imagined and explored how plastic technologies from SABIC could enable future design needs – such as environmental compliance and new aesthetic directions. Under PLASTicon, the students researched, designed and built models of future automotive visions aimed at the needs of different markets – from SUV owners to Gen-Y consumers.

The RCA is the world’s most influential post-graduate university of art and design. The RCA’s Vehicle Design programme has established an enviable record of post-graduate employment, with alumni leading many of the world’s automotive design studios. The curriculum embraces all forms of public and private transport, in-depth research, innovative vehicle typologies with new materials and technology, commercial awareness and social responsibility – a global center of excellence.

For additional information on SABIC’s resins for automotive lighting and glazing applications, please go to For technical product inquiries, please contact

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