Hyundai Motor Group, RISD unveil ‘Sustainable Futures’ collaboration project


In 2020, the Hyundai Motor Group and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) started a multi-year partnership exploring the relationship between nature, art, and design. Recently, the automotive conglomerate and the private art and design school revealed the latest phase of their collaborative initiative.


  • When did Hyundai and RSID begin their collaborative partnership?

    Hyundai Motor Group and RSID began their collaborative partnership in 2020.
  • What are the four distinct areas studied by the RSID faculty?

    The four distinct areas studied by the RSID faculty are optics and glass, digital ceramics, robotics, and technological landscapes.
  • Hyundai Motor Group and RSID’s research project aims to examine the relationship between nature, art, and design, and explore how we can create societies that are socially and environmentally just under the theme “Sustainable Futures.”

    “This year’s collaboration provided an opportunity for us to envision a sustainable future where humans learn from nature's wisdom and coexist with the environment. This year, New Horizons Studio, a unit focused on the development of Ultimate Mobility Vehicles, also took part in our joint research and provided fresh perspectives. We plan to continue expanding the reach within HMG and establish a more innovative culture by identifying ideas for future business,” said Hyundai Motor Group President and Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Youngcho Chi.

    Faculty members and students from the world-renowned design school leveraged their expertise to help Hyundai Motor Group delve into important sustainability issues with the support of three dozen student researchers.

    What we are aspiring to do does not exist. Through collaboration, experimentation, and abstraction, our research imagines future realities and seeks to produce new insights toward the creation of socially and environmentally just societies. We are thrilled to have in Hyundai a partner who shares our belief in the power of discovery, and deep appreciation and respect for diverse types of research. We look forward to this next phase of our collaboration,” said RISD President Crystal Williams.

    In its third year of partnership, both the firm and the school tasked four creative teams to focus on distinct areas: optics and glass, digital ceramics, robotics, and technological landscapes. These teams have investigated ways to build more sustainable futures, leveraging different perspectives and technologies.

    At a glance, the Digital Ceramics team worked on using both traditional and new potential materials, such as salt, sand, sawdust, and coffee grounds, to make various items.


    Meanwhile, the Robotics team has studied state-of-the-art robotic and AI technologies, cultural work of sci-fi cinema and literature, as well as pluriversal praxes and methodologies.

    The Optics and Glass team, on the other hand, explored physics, projection, magnification, perception, imaging, and their role in media.


    Lastly, the Technological Landscapes team researched new modes of creative inquiry related to place-based practice, including fieldwork and site visits, interdisciplinary collaboration, and public art.

    “The study of nature and many of its optimized mechanisms, enables us to move forward to a sustainable future. Through this collaboration, we were able to broaden our insights to go beyond the typical approach and delve deeper into the wisdom that nature provides,” said Hyundai Global Design Center Head and Executive Vice President SangYup Lee.

    The products of these researches will most likely be used by the Hyundai Motor Group to further its goal of sustainable mobility which will trickle down as iterations of eco-friendly materials, new in-car technologies, and improved automotive features that are to become a part of the firm’s future offerings from brands like Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis.

    Photos from Hyundai

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