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

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

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

How the luxury landscape will change post-pandemic

Rolls-Royce Phantom V by Lunaz Rolls-Royce is calling it post-opulence. Bannenberg & Rowell say it is post-hedonism. Is luxury about to enter a new age? The reality is with almost any product or experience casually labelled ‘luxury’, the concept no longer holds any special value. Today, luxury is more than often brash, vulgar, and a mirror of the less... Read More

Classic adventure in the Adirondack Guideboat

Adirondack Guideboat’s Vermont Fishing Dory craft Adirondack Guideboat is a heritage company based in Vermont, New England in the US, where brothers Justin and Ian Martin craft rowing boats from sustainable cedar wood and lightweight fibreglass using artisan skills that honour the classic design passed down some 150 years. As this global pandemic’s devastating... Read More

Mercedes design chief Gorden Wagener on how he plans to take the brand into the sustainable era

Daimler chief design officer Gorden Wagener with Vision AVTR at CES 2020 As chief design officer for Daimler AG, Gorden Wagener has the complex task of directing the design for Mercedes, Smart, AMG, Maybach cars, among other brands within the group. Lately, he has been consumed with the new EQ electric sub-brand and with such experimental cars as the Vision AVTR. Here he... Read More

Can computational design, using VR, AI, and gaming, advance design?

How can the design community work with computational design – utilising virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and video gaming – to help advance the design process, create complex geometries, and the kind of advanced sculptural forms that would otherwise not be possible through conventional design methods? I asked Arturo Tedeschi, architect and computational designer... Read More