MINI Vision Urbanaut is a shape-shifting EV that rethinks personal transport’s form and function

In 1959, the Suez Crisis led to oil shortages and the rise of fuel prices across the western world. British Motor Corporation responded by creating an economy car which was affordable and used little petrol. The Sir Alec Issigonis design for the original Mini was genius. The tiny motor car he invented for BMC could pack in more passengers than any other in its comparable... Read More

From wabi-sabi to crafting sustainable surfboards, why we should all take up making

Wabi-sabi is the belief in the beauty in imperfection. The ancient Japanese philosophy seeks charm in the incomplete object, in the worn and weathered – products with a storied past. A growing movement is championing wabi-sabi, and it is being largely led by generations fatigued with the fetishization of busyness and the cult of perfection. Echoing the Arts and Crafts... Read More

Interview: Adrian van Hooydonk on the radical BMW iX and lessons from the pandemic

BMW has revealed the iX, an electric production car for 2021 which previews the marque in the new age of transport. I caught up with Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president BMW Group design, who explains the progressive design and pioneering technology behind this flagship car. He discusses the possibilities of reinventing the marque in the post-Covid era. Read my exclusive... Read More

Race, identity, technology are themes leading Rolls-Royce’s latest arts commission

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, from “That which identifies them, like the eye of the cyclops” 2016 Rolls-Royce has chosen four shortlisted artists for the inaugural ‘Dream Commission’ for moving-image art. Chosen by an independent jury of leading international figures in the art world, the work this dynamic group produce is highly relevant, reflecting our current... Read More

See how tech firm Komma is rethinking future cities

The Urban Mobility Vehicle hovers somewhere between a motorbike and a conventional car. It is agile like a two-wheeler, but with the comfort and safety of four wheels. the UMV runs on electricity has a much smaller footprint than a standard city car and is around 34% more energy efficient than your average electric vehicle. Plus, it is designed as a premium product by former... Read More

Book review: Takenobu Igarashi A-Z explores 3D graphics of cult designer

Takenobu Igarashi’s bold and brilliant three-dimensional letters introduced new ways of expressing symbols. The cult Japanese graphic artist created new forms of visual communication – design that has conceptually altered how we view the medium. A new book celebrates the work of this visionary creative. Takenobu Igarashi: A-Z is an exhaustive guide to his life’s... Read More

See why Arksen’s eco marine adventures challenge the landscape of luxury travel

Entrepreneur, investor, environmentalist Jasper Smith is redefining luxury travel with his company Arksen’s curated eco marine adventurers. I catch up with him to see how his venture is developing in light of the coronavirus pandemic and growing concern over the environment. Here, Smith speaks candidly about his deep concerns over the climate crisis and tells me why he... Read More

Interview: Virgil Abloh and Gorden Wagener imagine a new kind of luxury design

Project Geländewagen is a fictionalised G-Wagen/G-Class racecar, stripped of all clichés of opulence. This experimental project is the collaborative work of the Mercedes-Benz creative chief Gorden Wagener and Louis Vuitton’s menswear artistic director and founder of fashion label Off-White Virgil Abloh. The product they have imagined together is the antithesis... Read More

From ‘Me Too’ to ‘Black Lives Matter’, How the car industry could do better

As Ford design manager and one of the only women in a senior position, in the 1970s and 80s Mimi Vandermolen helped pioneer the current ergonomic approach to interior design © Ford I entered journalism through the automotive corridor. Fresh from university, with a background in the arts, a Design History degree and virtually no real-life working skills, I took the first... Read More

Rolls-Royce Ghost is a peek into the new face of luxury

2020 Rolls-Royce Ghost © Leigh Banks The new Rolls Royce Ghost is reflective of a visual language for a (hopefully) more subtle and discreet post-pandemic luxury landscape. Seen – and to be driven later this month – this is an accomplished product that wears its wealth lightly. And I’m sincerely hoping the design team will entice their wealthy and influential... Read More