Design and styling are key factors in today's automotive industry. In addition to its outstanding mechanical properties, polycarbonate is also ideally suited to this area, because it offers maximum design freedom in everything from coloring and surface finishing to lighting. Bayer MaterialScience already collaborates closely with auto designers, and recently invited students from the distinguished Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden and the Northern Works design agency in Finland to Leverkusen. The purpose of the project, dubbed "Magic: Revealed," was to go beyond the existing limits between aesthetics and material and to develop new ideas for design and functionality that fulfill the dreams of future drivers.

The focus was on transparent and translucent grades of Makrolon® polycarbonate and their use in novel daytime and nighttime lighting applications, creative surfaces and integrated solutions. "The students' designs offer valuable impulses and a good foundation for talks with auto makers and suppliers," said Jochen Hardt, summarizing the results. The head of the project at Bayer MaterialScience is optimistic about the future: "The best ideas even have what it takes to serve as demos at trade shows."

Material meets design

From among the designs, Bayer MaterialScience selected six very different concepts and invited the students to the Polycarbonate Technical Service Center in Leverkusen. "We first introduced the participants to polycarbonate and its various processing options, but without wanting to restrict their creativity in any way," explained Eckhard Wenz, a member of the project team. "They had a chance to see the different surface and lighting effects, how the material feels and what its limitations are," Eckhard Wenz continued.

Headed by Demian Horst of the Umeå Institute of Design and Miika Heikkiinen of Northern Works, the students invested a lot of time and energy into turning their ideas into convincing automotive solutions. "We are very pleased with the results of our collaboration," said Demian Horst. "The students clearly understood the possibilities that polycarbonate has to offer to future automotive design applications. They did a great job proposing a wide range of ideas covering both functional and aesthetic properties on their concepts. For us one of the most important aspects was that their creative process involved interaction with the engineering and marketing team from Bayer MaterialScience. Industrial Design is a multi-disciplinary effort and this project proved a great platform to teach that to these students."

To visualize their ideas, the students used 3D and 2D renderings, posters and high-resolution photos, as well as mood boards, which are arrangements of visual elements that project the concept and emotional aspects of a design, while underlining the attractiveness of plastics.

In return, the project offered the students a welcome opportunity to gain practical insight into the work of a leading materials company. Two of the students will complete internships at Bayer MaterialScience this summer.


About Bayer MaterialScience

With 2014 sales of EUR 11.7 billion, Bayer MaterialScience is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. At the end of 2014 Bayer MaterialScience had 30 production sites and employed approximately 14,200 people around the globe. Bayer MaterialScience is a Bayer Group company. Find more information at