Former Volkswagen group chief designer Erwin Himmel is setting up a new design studio in Barcelona, Spain.
Called Fuore Design International, the studio will open on April 1, and focus on product, transportation and corporate design.
Fuore will start with a design team of 12 people. The studio is planning to take on full model design work in the future.
'Barcelona is on the verge of becoming the California of Europe', Himmel said. 'There is so much creativity - you really can feel the vibes. Barcelona historically was an artistic city, with Picasso and Gaudi coming from this area.
'The city is turning into the European design capital of the 21st century.'
Renault and Volkswagen are among the car manufacturers that have set up design studios in the Barcelona region. In particular, the coastal resort of Sitges - around 30km south of Barcelona - has become a popular town for designers and artists.
Sitges is one of the most popular gay resorts in Europe, and is situated close to Barcelona's main airport.
Barcelona has also great reputation for industrial and furniture design, and for a historic connection with the auto industry through Seat.
'We are positioning ourselves between Philippe Starck and Italdesign, and we reckon that Porsche Design (Austria) will be our main competitor,' Himmel said. 'We already have some very interesting projects, which will keep us busy for a while.
'We would love to do the corporate identity design for an airline, and we are very much into furniture design. Boats and trains would be a challenge too.'