ArtCenter’s Transportation Design program has a type and, at first glance, Vicente Magaña seems to fit it perfectly.
Lifelong obsession with cars? Check.
A childhood spent sketching every type of vehicle his imagination could conjure? Check.
An insatiable desire to land a job designing supercars and road testing them at top speed?
I always try to find the problem and who’s going to benefit from it. Who am I going to help?Vincente MagañaBS 16 Transportation Design
Well…that’s where Vicente, a Summer 2019 graduate, separates himself from the pack. Vicente is the rare car guy whose driving passion is not to design the ultimate driving machine. Instead, Magaña dreams of designing a public transportation system that turns cars into more of a luxury for weekend joy rides than a necessity for getting from Point A to B. I was particularly intrigued to learn more about the motivating factors guiding Vicente’s unique spin on a quintessential ArtCenter career-path, which Is why we selected him for this season’s recent interview.
As the son of Mexican immigrants (and the first person in his family to attend college), Vicente’s upbringing instilled a desire to use his education to improve the quality of life for those who need it most. While attending ArtCenter, Vicente seized every opportunity he could to apply his seasoned problem-solving skills toward the greater good. Nothing illustrates this more than his thesis project, Incog-NEATO, a modular system designed to convert most sedans into a discrete space for living and working out of a vehicle.
Vicente hit upon this idea when he discovered he was priced out of traditional housing while interning for an alternative mobility company in Silicon Valley. When he discovered he was far from the only person sleeping in his car to avoid the area’s astronomical rents, he saw an opportunity to research and ideate a project that might improve conditions for the growing numbers who find themselves in that situation.
Intrigued and impressed by Vicente’s unique combination of courage, empathy and humility, Lorne dedicated this episode of Change Lab to tracking the journey that brought him to ArtCenter and where he hopes to go from here.