GALLERY: Our Favorite Design Icons From The 2017 ArtCenter Car Classic
Photography by Alex Sobran
From its perch in the hills of Pasadena, California, ArtCenter College of Design has been churning out top industrial designers, photographers, fine artists, and general aesthetic excellence for decades. And included in the ranks of its alumni is a long string of automotive designers who collectively, continuously, shift the paradigm of what our cars look like.
You’re likely to find ArtCenter graduates heading design teams at the largest and most prominent manufacturers (there are too many to list, but Frank Stephenson and Chris Bangle jump out as examples of this), and though building consumer products on a massive scale may seem antithetical to artistry, this is obviously not true. It is a challenge like architecture is a challenge—working within the many confines of budget, physics, schedules, etc.—and when done well, it has the ability to serve aesthetic and utilitarian needs simultaneously and seamlessly. This is why we love cars in the most general terms, isn’t it? For gorgeous form and ferocious function all wrapped up in an object that we can interact with on so many different levels.
Yesterday, ArtCenter held its annual Car Classic event at its hillside campus in Pasadena, and like last year’s focus on hand-built vehicles, the 2017 edition of the show was also tied to a theme: Red, White, and Blue, representing, respectively, the achievements in automotive design and engineering from Italy, the United States, and France. Beyond the charms of Fiat Jollys and the menace of Chevrolet Corvettes though, the curation of cars arrayed on the lawn this past Sunday was a feat in and of itself. The venue was broken up by region, and as you might expect from an organizer like a top art college, color coordinated. The sun was brutally hot, but it was shining on an assembly of cars so varied in their purposes and pulchritudes that even my mistake of wearing long pants couldn’t take away from the experience.
Besides the impressive display, there were tons of current students, alumni, and other automotive designers in the crowd offering a rare opportunity to take in the beauty of vintage cars while talking with those who know what it takes to build the next generation. Petrolicious was honored to again be a part of this splendid day, and we had a pleasure meeting some of you in person. For those who couldn’t attend, I hope you enjoy the gallery we’ve put together below!