2020 in review: A year in design and rethinking the future

‘No One is an Island‘ by Random International, Superblue, Studio Wayne McGregor © BMW AG We will enter a decade premiered with a very dark storm. Yet much of what we are witnessing since the pandemic was already in progress: a planet in deep ecological crisis, systemic race and gender inequalities, unsustainable economic disparities, rise of populism and the... Read More

How ideas from RCA students for a megacity taxi in 2040 can impact on our future

Discussions on smart cities tend to miss the cultural side – the various social landscapes, which is why these designs by Royal College of Art Intelligent Mobility students – asked to imagine a taxi in a speculative megacity of 2040 – are worth looking into. A couple offer some sophisticated critical design thinking too with ideas that may have seemed... Read More

See Balenciaga’s first virtual show, a video game set in 2031 with avatars driving Polestars

Balenciaga has been rethinking the unsustainable pace of fashion. The luxury house has been looking at how it can progressively evolve the way in which it presents its collections to the post-pandemic world. Balenciaga isn’t of course alone in challenging a system steeped in tradition which relies on a fixed and ecologically wasteful number of collections, and shows... Read More

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