From the beginning, Tom Matano was instrumental in designing the Mazda Miata sports car. Recently, Matano—executive director of Academy of Art University School of Industrial Design—judged a competition to envision how the Miata’s successor model, the MX-5, will look in 25 years.
“The Mazda MX-5 has always been an iconic figure in automotive history,” says Steven Tan, president and CEO of Mazda Philippines, which sponsored the competition in partnership with Top Gear Philippines. “We have always believed in the innate talent and skill of Filipinos, and this competition highlights just that. We wanted to see how local designers were able to capture the essence of the Miata and interpret this into a design that will stand the test of time.”
After judging the entries from students aspiring to be a industrial designer, Tom Matano commented, “It was an impressive group of young designers who clearly have strong skills and talent, and a tremendous future to look forward to. These types of competitions are very effective in helping students realize their professional goals.”
As announced August 8, 2015, the winning team was comprised of three students: Dune Joseph R. Borrero, College of Fine Arts and Design, University of Santo Tomas (UST), Industrial Design; Lance Brian R. Folloso, College of Architecture, UST; Carlos Andro Vito R. Molina, College of Architecture, UST. The team’s mentor was Alfred Asanza, College of Architecture, UST. First place prize includes an invitation to visit the Mazda headquarters and museum in Hiroshima, Japan.
Tom Matano has 30 years of experience in automotive design and education. He held design positions at General Motors in Detroit, and GM Holden in Melbourne, Australia, and BMW in Munich. In 1983, he joined Mazda’s North American studio as a chief designer.
From 1999 to 2002, Mr. Matano moved to Mazda headquarters in Japan, as an executive designer in the Global Advance Studio, overseeing Japan, Europe and North American Advance studios, and the general manager of Mazda Design in charge of Chief Designers. His accomplishments at Mazda include the 1993 RX-7, Miata and many other projects. Since 2002, Matano has been executive director of the School of Industrial Design, now ranked fourth in the Red Dot World Ranking of industrial design schools.