Vehicle design students are typically car enthusiasts who yearn to sculpt dynamic contours on the surface of some precious automobile. Envisaging the car of the future, though, requires lateral thinking and a broader understanding of design – something that perhaps hasn't been so urgent in the past.
The car has come to be so much more than a vehicle for transport. This compact moving object is increasingly required to be a mobile home and office, to seamlessly connect our worlds and to do it all in an ecologically intelligent way. Thus, the pressure is high for students of vehicle design to create concepts that arouse discussion, offer novel solutions and raise the bar.
With this in mind, the 2015 Royal College of Art Vehicle Design graduation show was a mixed affair. This could partly be down to the sheer number of students on the course; 24 to be precise, as opposed to the handful who enrolled when the postgraduate course first began. (Though it soon grew its global reputation for nurturing some of the world's most creative car designers.)
Having said that, this year saw some inspired projects that abstracted the conventional form of the car – in one case to the sound of a violin – and some students looked at how new manufacturing materials, methodologies and sustainable power solutions could help re-shape the vehicle of the future.
One created a flat-pack IKEA-style relief vehicle; a former eye-surgeon-turned-vehicle-designer focussed on the process of creation, the design directly reflecting the element of motion therein; and our final journey on Earth was the theme for an unusual project that sought to make the burial ritual more of a community experience.
What follows are some of the designs that particularly inspired us this year…