Future forward

Take a first look at Layer and Nio’s planet-loving prototype before it hits Wallpaper* Handmade in Milan

For this year’s 10th anniversary Handmade exhibition, Benjamin Hubert and his Layer studio have joined forces with the Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer Nio to develop a near-future prototype of a planet-loving, congestion-busting urban get-about. PAL is the smartest of electric scooters and incorporates AI and machine learning as well as a range of detachable luggage accessories. PAL can be charged at home or in the boot of a Nio electric car and connects to NOMI, Nio’s AI-powered digital assistant who can suggest convenient, traffic-light routes and, once familiar with your routine, take over navigation and steering duties entirely. ‘We believe that the future is autonomous and sustainable and it is important to create products that offer more convenience without inconveniencing the planet,’ says Hubert.

Founded in 2014, Nio is leading the charge of Chinese electric car makers. Headquartered in Shanghai, it also has facilities and offices in London, Munich and San Jose. The company currently offers two premium electric SUVs, the ES6 and ES8 and holds the world speed record for an autonomous vehicle.

PAL is a vision of the future in other ways. Next year Wallpaper* Handmade will set out on its own smartly navigated new journey. Be ready for further announcements…

Writer: Nick Compton. PAL will be on view 9-13 April at the Wallpaper* Handmade X space, Salone dei Tessuti, via San Gregorio 29

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.