Royal College of Art Graduation Show 2010

A private transportation service called The Grid has scooped the award for Best Design Interpretation at the prestigious Pilkington Automotive Awards at the Royal College of Art Vehicle Design graduate show. The driverless taxi, powered by solar panels, has been designed by Swedish student, Marten Wallgren, and includes the ability to connect to other similar models on the road to create a ‘community’ charging grid – a ‘plug and go’ taxi rank of the future.

The Grid, Marten Wallgren

How I work as a designer is a product of my past. Our experiences makes us into better designers. That’s why I’m a strong believer in group work with room for the individual. My design methodology is under constant development and adapts to each project. This makes me confident in what I do as I seek to take on the biggest challenge so far: the future of transportation. I have a future vision of a transportation system, and I’m very excited to share it with you as my final project here at the Royal College of Art.

The award for Best Use of Glazing was presented to David Seesing from Germany for Symbiosis, a complex vehicle design made from an inner and outer layer of glass designed to channel air flow through the vehicle to aid fuel efficiency and temperature control. 

Symbiosis, David Seesing

Today we have created a society in which everything is a product. In this society, design is the empire of human activity, shaping almost everything in the world.  In a world that is short of resources and faces environmental issues, the challenge is to do more with less, to design products that reduce the impact on the planet and create an atmosphere that is less about rampant acquisition and more about sustainability and quality.  The new design professional must judge products in their larger context, as an orchestrator of systems that make combinatory thinking and interdisciplinary work the norm.

The two final-year students of the RCA’s world-renowned Vehicle Design MA course competed against eight shortlisted entries from six countries.  The awards, which have been running for 23 years, challenge the international student design community to use their creativity skills and knowledge of advanced vehicle design technologies to produce ground-breaking concepts for the future.  

Vehicle designer, David Wilkie, presented the award for Best Design Interpretation.  He said:  “Marten’s design is a comprehensive, well thought-out concept which not only demonstrates good styling and form, but also takes car design into the future.  He is making the best use of technologies by moving them forward to their natural and logical conclusion.  For instance, the rational next step from today’s hi-tech intelligent driving and braking systems is the ability to remove the need for a driver. 

“The Grid meets social and environmental need by developing a solution for improved car sharing systems and energy efficiency whilst also meeting the tastes and preferences of consumers, as users have the option of driving or allowing the vehicle to take over so that the time can be spent working or relaxing.”

The Best Use of Glazing Award was presented to David Seesing by Earl Beckles, lead exterior designer at Jaguar Land Rover, who said:   “The Symbiosis concept explores the strategies of architects of buildings and how they have responded to the need for sustainable approaches to design.

“David’s design uses a double layer of glazing to allow the flow of air through the vehicle which helps to generate energy by causing crystals which are attached to the vertical members to vibrate.  It is also skillfully intended to interface with buildings and homes by using a ‘chimney effect’ charging system, using the building to create internal airstreams which constantly pull air through the vehicle parked outside.  Any surplus energy generated can also feed into the national grid, as a more rounded concept of living.”

Chris Bolton, global product manager at Pilkington Automotive, said:  “It is incredible that after 23 years, the students still amaze us with thought-provoking conceptual design.  This year’s students have surpassed our expectations by creating visionary solutions to environmentally-friendly car design that not only demonstrate good styling, but also explore the capabilities of materials and advanced technologies in terms of their safety, durability, sustainability and strength.” 

Professor Dale Harrow, head of vehicle design at the Royal College of Art, adds:  “The awards represent a mark of quality for potential employers, which is why the students work so hard to produce the most innovative designs.  Many winners of these awards have gone on to achieve success with the world’s leading automotive manufacturers, and I am confident that this year’s award-winning students will also have a bright future ahead of them.” 

Commendations for Best Design Interpretation and Best Use of Glazing were respectively awarded to Dalibor Pantucek, from the Czech Republic, and Miika Heikkinen, from Finland. 

Skoda Rapid, Dalibor Pantucek

Today the car is becoming the most despised object on the earth, and is the subject of many known global issues, such as climate and resources. It is not enough to come up with the Prius for decreasing CO2 – we can do more to create change. Our message is to make a better world, not only to design nonsense cars and create beautiful aesthetics. It is big challenge to invent things, to make our lives better and easier. It is time to think about the challenge, time for a revolution, for the new ideology of the car.

Helsinki Winter Olympics 2030 Promotional Vehicle, Miika Heikkinen

There is a lot that can, will and should be done within the vehicle industry. New low-emission technologies combined with creative manufacturing methods open up possibilities towards a new era for cars and car users. Finally, we can design cars based on ergonomics and actual usability instead of just pure aesthetics. One could say the transportation industry is going through a big change, and I cannot wait to be a part of it.

Opel Ewol (energy open way of life), Augustin Barbot

The Energy Revolution - Many facts such as world population growth, the expected end of fossil fuels and the increase in living standards show us that energy problems will appear in the next decades. This project aims to demonstrate the impact that an energy revolution may have on our lifestyle. Through the study of two contexts (short-term and long-term vision), I would like to highlight the different opportunities we have to use energy in a better way.

ThinQ, Anand Krishnan Sriram

As an architecture graduate, my respect for human experience has remained constant. For me, cars reach the epitome of experience, whether I see them drive by, am driven or drive. Altering perceptions to mobility is what interests me most, and I want to see vehicle design develop as a sub-set of a larger system that ensures the bringing of joy to all.

Heimweh_001, Stephanie Waser

Heimweh – The German Luxury Home Interior.  The concept ‘Heimweh’ is based on simple keywords: Identity, Home, Germany, Eco and Mercedes. Globalisation is identity theft. We buy, eat, read, use and like the same products all around the globe. The world becomes a smaller place with better and cheaper transportation. We travel everywhere. We have lost ‘home’, and mankind needs a place to feel home and safe again. I want to celebrate my origin, feel secure and be unique again. The concept ‘Heimweh’ creates a new car-interior typology. Authentic, smart and traditional materials from Germany bring harmony.

Weightmileage SUIT, Philipp Siebourg

To reduce the carbon footprint on the road, theSUIT is a vehicle that is tailored to the driver’s needs. Motorists will be responsible for their daily driving habits including the loaded weight of the car, and will be financially rewarded for positive behaviour. A web-based user-profile helps them to optimise their consumption.

‘…95% usage of your vehicle has one person in it, because we love the convenience of individual personal transportation. So we will absolutely need to make much smaller, lighter and fuel efficient cars…’  Sir Nick Scheele

Jekyll and Hyde, Bora Kim

The time that I spent at the RCA is full of experiments. As a female car designer, I tried to put some feminine and humanistic value in to a machine. Design affects and communicates with people; if the designer loves people, the user of the product can actually feel the warm emotion. This last project was focused on combining art, philosophy and ecology with the Bentley brand. Since ecology is one of the main themes of the car industry, I wanted to relate it both art to and philosophy, which I define as humanity.