Concept WL by Hyun Joon Park, South Korea

2007: Sharing the Road.

Scale Model on Display at Michelin Challenge Design™


Hyun Joon Park, 22, is a third-year student in the Industrial Design Department of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). At KAIST, the importance of problem solving in a way that is creative and also sustainable is emphasized. Design inspires him for it is both problem solving and relentless pursuit of beauty. Car Design has always been his passion since he saw a Bertone concept car on a magazine at the 1992 Geneva Auto Salon.

After graduating from high school in 2 years (normally 3 years), Hyun Joon entered KAIST in 2001. He took a graphic design summer intensive course at Parsons School of Design in New York in the summer of 2002. In 2003, he went to Universite Technologie de Compiegne in France as an exchange student for one semester to learn French and get a glimpse of European culture to seek out future opportunities as a car designer. During the period, he visited several famous schools and met car designers to get information and lessons as well.

In 2004, he was enrolled in several product design projects in Absolut Reality Paris as an intern for five months. He came back to Korea for his mandatory two-year military service. In the military, he worked as a translator and public affairs personnel in the United States Forces Korea additionally maintaining graphics of its public website for two years. He recently finished his military service and went back to school.

As there are no classes related to car design in his school, he has been teaching himself with the help of the internet. He was looking for opportunities and joined the Michelin Challenge Design while he was still in the military. He wants to become a car designer who can provide a future direction with strong inspiration and beauty.


Why is it harder for the passengers of small cars to survive than those of trucks and SUVs when it comes to an accident? It’s the unbalance of weight of the cars. No matter how different the sizes of the cars, if they weigh the same, there’s no fatal unbalance that leads to a total destruction of a smaller car.

Setting concept WL as a 3+1 sporty family vehicle for the US market, as typical as it should be, I first sought out ways to reduce the weight of the vehicle for pedestrians and passengers in other vehicles. The use of a reinforced metal frame for a unique body structure and synthetic carbon fiber body panels wrapping around the car will minimize the cars weight without losing the safety of the car itself. The unique structure shaping ‘infinity’ symbol has two loops correlated. When one loop is deformed to shrink by outside impact, it transports the tension to the other loop which will be enlarged by the tension. Applying the former to the front area and the latter to the passenger cabin, the passengers will be protected from inward destruction of the car structure.

One step further, concept WL provides preventive safety measures to refrain crashes from happening. It shows a rear display for the drivers behind the car to intuitively react to unexpected situations. It shows real time information like speed, direction change and with the approval of its driver, it shows a private sign like “we have a baby” or “I’m a beginner”. Drivers behind the car will be well informed and their immediate response to the oddities will increase with the help of the exterior display.