Anthony Lo is Director of Advanced Design at GM Europe
Jaguar XJ
How did you come to be a car designer?
I knew I wanted to be a car designer from the age of 11. I was brought up in Hong Kong where you see one of the world’s highest concentration of Porsches, Ferraris and Rolls Royces. I always liked drawing and so I studied industrial design and tried to give every project wheels! One of my professors, an ex-RCA student, suggested I apply to the college.
Did the college change your perception of what car design is?
I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy ride, but I always loved a good challenge. At the school you learn the basics of design but in the real world it is 100% more complex. Car design is essentially about solving complex problems.
Jaguar XJ
What journey did you take after leaving the RCA?
In my final year Peter Stevens - who had been my tutor - joined Lotus as the chief designer and was looking for a designer to join his team. Lotus acted as a consultant to many carmakers and we worked on various projects ranging from race cars to commercial vehicles. Peter taught me a lot; that car design is more than just about styling, not to fight with the engineers but work with them, and the importance of aerodynamics.
I joined Audi in Germany in 1990. Three years later I found myself at Mercedes as it had opened a studio in Yokohama outside Tokyo and wanted an Asian designer with a European background – and I fitted the bill perfectly. I worked in Japan for seven years.
There I met Michael Mauer (current chief designer at Porsche) who then joined Saab and I went with him to Sweden where I worked for a further seven years. Everyone thought I would follow Michael to Porsche but I decided to stay as the job at General Motors Advanced Design for Europe had come up and I needed a new challenge.
What is your advice for young designers?
There is more to the job than just styling. If you are able to have a broader overview of the industry and be able to see how the portfolio of the brand works, and be able to get the bigger picture, then you are in demand. I have one designer who is a trained architect and she is great at building a story and selling a concept to management. This is so important to our job.