Bunte grafische Illustration ein Konzeptfahrzeuges
Career Magazine

Shaping the future: Co:Design Space project

January 26, 2022

Volkswagen Design set the participants an ambitious goal: to develop a new concept for the mobility of the future in mega cities. Three students took up the challenge as part of the first Volkswagen Co:Design Space.

4 min read

After four exciting and work-intensive months, during which the participants received in-depth support from their mentors from Volkswagen Design, they presented their vision of the future to the entire Design department. The result: a bold, playful form of mobility with the focus on children. A vision created through an unique collaboration and across thousands of miles! The Co:Design Space project was launched in 2021 to continue to foster a direct exchange between Volkswagen designers and global students in an era characterized by limited face-to-face contact and mobile working. Participation therefore needed to be possible across countries.

Portrait des südkoreanischen Teilnehmers Sean Oh
A wonderful and magical experience for the first time as a student on the Transportation Design course.
Sean Oh
Participant from South Korea

Unveiling the task

Finally, at the start of 2021, Achal (from India), Sean and Junghyun (both from South Korea) were then selected for the project from numerous applications from Germany and abroad, having previously impressed the jury with their particularly creative skills and innovative ideas. Junghyun Kim covered the interior and UX, while Sean Oh focused on the exterior and Achal Desai on the environment and animation. Then, at the beginning of June, during the joint kick-off presentation, this year’s project topic was unveiled: “Future of autonomous mobility- part of future megalopolises”. Achal found it to be a very exciting topic, which offered the opportunity to thoroughly explore the future lifestyle and culture and develop solutions for the societies of the future.

That helped us to decide what the real problems of society are and what is needed to create a meaningful lifestyle.
Achal Desai
Participant from India
Portrait des indischen Teilnehmers Achal Desai
The task gave me enough freedom to express the dream I had as a child. (..) It’s an extremely important topic that needs to be addressed before the fourth industrial revolution
Sean Oh

Close exchange – despite travel restrictions

During the project phase, the three students were each supervised individually and personally by a Volkswagen designer and supported, for example, by weekly meetings in which the concept, design and visualisation were discussed. The close exchange was reinforced by group meetings with the entire project team.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated travel restrictions, but also in the spirit of a digital, connected world, all meetings and exchanges took place entirely online. This did not, however, detract from the close and professional cooperation. Overall, Einar Castillo Aranda, mentor from the Exterior division, draws a positive conclusion, not least because the new way of working together provided him with a great deal of inspiration.

The three students were also in close contact with each other, so that they could work together on a vision of the future. In the process, various sources of inspiration ensured that they could achieve a joint result thanks to their various talents. For example, Sean describes how various experiences from his childhood and the current experiences of his friends served as inspiration for the design. Junghyun also describes the collaboration as both informative and profitable from the participants’ point of view:

it’s very enjoyable sharing ideas with colleagues and mentors who have experienced other cultures and stories.
Junghyun Kim
Participant from South Korea
Portrait des südkoreanischen Teilnehmers Junghyun Kim

Presentation in front of a large audience

After the three-month processing period, the big day finally arrived and they were able to present the mobility concept in front of the entire Volkswagen Design department. The final result convinced not only Volkswagen Chief Designer Jozef Kaban, who also attended the hybrid presentation event, but also mentor Vagarsh Saakyan. For the interior team leader, the outcome of the Co:Design Space had clearly shown how talents and tutors had grown outside their own “box”. By learning from each other, mentor and student worked together to create a vision. At the same time, Vagarsh Saakyan sees this project as an exemplary illustration for the future way of working, saying that the designers of the future will be “multi-instrumentalists”.

Mobility as a safe environment for children

The resulting vision of the future envisions mobility, among other things, as a safe environment for children that impresses with a mix of playground and lounge and a safe environment.At the same time, children can connect with their parents, friends and teachers through interactive systems. Another highlight of the elaboration is the connection of the “pods”, allowing friends to experience the new form of mobility together, while using the time to learn, paint or sing together.

Offer for an internship

In addition to the unique opportunity to be intensively coached by Volkswagen designers and present their results to the Volkswagen Chief Designer, the participants were also offered the chance to come to Wolfsburg for an internship and continue working on the mobility of the future together with Volkswagen.

It’s a great platform to present our dreams and ideas to the world, with experienced mentors guiding us through the project.
Achal Desai

“For the future participants, this project is a great opportunity to test their limits and also be a part of the future they would like to see come to fruition.Volkswagen and its team offer a great platform to contribute ideas and skills. Not only that, but the designers have helped create a project we look forward to seeing on the road in the future.” (Achal Desai)

Do you want to participate, too?

Then be sure to apply by 13 February 2022

If you want to participate in Volkswagen Design’s Co:Design Space project, then find out more and apply here: