Recipient of the 2013 UTS Alumni Award for Excellence, Faculty of Design, Architecture and building, Casey Gee Hoon Hyun joined the Hyundi motor group in 2005, at a time when the world was starting to take serious notice of the company.
There was such a great positive energy, recalls Hyun, who is Creative Design Manager at the Seoul based Hyundai Design Centre, “I was working 10 or 12 hours a day designing sketching, making models. I wouldn’t go home for weeks at a time. However, it wasn’t tough because I wanted to see the success and to say I was part of that success."
Hyundai-Kia is no the worlds fifth largest car manufacturer with international sales of almost seven million cars annually. In addition to being a designer, Hyun is in charge of building the brand’s design strategy and vision “We go through a design process to ensure our cars are competitive now, but will be even more competitive in five or ten years time,” he says.
For Hyun design is much more than giving form to a beautiful aesthetic. Design is about satisfying peoples needs. “It’s fantastic to hear people comment about a car’s design. However when cars become part of their lifestyle, remarks such as, ‘Our family grew up with that car, I have such great memories’, give you additional satisfaction and help maintain your passion.”
As much as he loves his role, it’s not without challenges. “With billions of dollars riding on a vehicle’s success or failure, the biggest challenge is being able to see the future, and being confident what that future holds,” he says. “There’s also the ongoing challenge of competing against the world’s numerous car companies.”
Hyun completed his Masters in Automotive Design at Coventry University in the UK after graduating from UTS in 1996 with a Bachelor of Industrial Design. However, he regards his UTS qualification as the most valuable recognition in terms of academic achievement. “There’s a certain feel about UTS, and I have a great appreciation and a great satisfaction of belonging.”
A story in a US university publication about a couple who donated an amount of money to a university to establish a small scholarship inspired Hyun to set up the Casey Hyun Industrial Design Award at UTS. He hopes this award will inspire others to express appreciation towards the University in a similar way.
“We see philanthropy as the province of the very rich, but that’s not really the case.” Hyun feels honoured about his own award, saying it gives him that extra impetus to work hard and try to distinguish himself in his field of design. “I’m just happy with where I am,” he says.
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