The automative and aviation designers racing into the future
Brian Black’s ‘The Overview Effect’ is designed to increase public understanding by allowing users to remotely operate unmanned rovers on other worlds using VR. He believes design can engage at every level. ‘In the future, the overall product experience will be the target,’ he says.
It’s an inspirational time to be studying transport design. Everything is up for grabs. While the automakers struggle with the aesthetics of autonomy and the shape of zero emissions, students have a blank space to imagine the world of future mobility. Conventional automotive aesthetics are being jettisoned – you’d also have to hunt the global graduate shows to find anything powered by an old-fashioned internal combustion engine – but the appeal of sports, racing and performance still lingers.
Writer: Jonathan Bell
Another off-world vision, Dominik Krug’s Land Rover for Mars was also driven by the high-profile tech of Elon Musk and SpaceX. ‘The project is envisioned as a piece in the puzzle to make the dream of a Mars colony a reality,’ he explains, ‘intended to land on the surface of Mars in 2048 to celebrate 100 years of Land Rover.’ Obviously a fan of the off-road brand, he also puts Porsche at the top of his list. ‘Interiors will demand a lot of creativity from the industry in the future,’ he suggests.
The Volvo Voyage imagines a Level 5 autonomous vehicle for a family of four, for a future where design is the differentiator when no-one needs to drive. ‘The interior needs to be flexible,’ the designer explains, pointing out the play area for kids and ability to set up family movie time. ‘Volvo is definitely the brand I love,’ says Ding Zeng, ‘they’re simple but not boring, elegant yet modern.’
Po Yuan Huang’s Autopack concept brings design to the autonomous car, inspired by the Gogoro electric scooter and the ‘stance and the visual tension an attractive automobile should have’. Designed to carry backpack-style cargo modules in drone delivery mode, Autopack also functions as a passenger car, specifically for crowded urban areas where ‘owning vehicles is a luxury’. ‘I admire the EV startup Lucid,’ he says, ‘as well as classic designers like Harley Earl, Flaminio Bertoni and J Mays.’
Inspired by the form of diamonds, Chi Oh’s ‘House Dock’ is a transportation module that looks ‘like a luxury piece of jewellery in its case – it extends your space, part of a new culture of automobiles that will eventually eliminate the traditional definitions’.
‘I find inspiration in crafted objects like vintage watches and leather goods,’ says Mayya Markova. Along with her admiration for Mazda and Aston Martin design, she believes that ‘people who buy cars are also looking for a piece of themselves’. Her concept is an autonomous luxury boat that transforms into a Maglev-powered capsule for whizzing around systems of urban tunnels. ‘It turned out to be a quite massive piece of equipment.’
Another far future speculator, Carwyn Hong-Eveleigh envisages a pod-filled tomorrow, with a dose of Zaha Hadid and MAD Architects on the side. ‘I’m inspired by the green architecture movement and parametric design software,’ he says. Referencing both the outlandish supercar design of Horazio Pagani and the Mars-colonising visions of Elon Musk, the designer sees a future of bio-powered pods docking with towering living systems.
Unashamedly sci-fi inspired, Xintao Chen’s Sky Yacht is a utopian vision of dirigible mobility – ‘giant ships swimming in between skyscrapers, yet my concept is based on a scaled-up four-person drone’. Inspired by a world beyond performance, Lexus’ high-tech luxury and the original Zeppelin, this ‘mobility designed to be slow – private space and time could be the most important luxury goods’. Marc Newson and BMW get the nod for inspiration.