Why spiritual luxury is the future expression of the concept

Rolls-Royce Boat Tail © Rolls-Royce Recently I joined a group discussion on the future of luxury. This is a theme that keeps coming up in meetings and with the clients I work with outside my role as a journalist. And I can see why. We are pretty much at the crossroads of change, with the pandemic acting a little like a punctuation point in history, allowing some of us... Read More

The shape-shifting MINI Vision Urbanaut rethinks the vehicle to be more than transport

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 size... Read More

Sudō Reiko explores material’s possibilities at Japan House London

‘Some things disappear, some things have to disappear, but some things live on using different materials and technologies,’ says Sudō Reiko. The visionary Japanese textile designer’s work is anchored on exploring the possibilities of textile. Often fusing ancient and modern techniques, and involving unusual materials, her studio Nuno’s fabrics are almost... Read More

Microlino is an electric city bubble car fit for the 21st century

The Microlino by Swiss maker Micro is a tiny electric vehicle imagined entirely for city commutes and short distance travel. Its shape is inspired by the bubble cars of the 1940s and 50s – think of the brilliant L’Oeuf Electrique by French industrial designer Paul Arzens or BMW’s Isetta – with its single front door design which allows you to step right onto the pavement... Read More

Insight: World’s leading car designers on future, sustainable design

Head of Maserati design Klaus Busse and the MC20 I’ve been speaking with a number of senior creatives in the car world lately. My interest is in understanding how various brands are navigating their way to the new electric and autonomous age of the automobile. Like many, I am hugely excited to see a genuine shift in attitude, even among the more conservative makers. And... Read More

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 post-truth... 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 impossible... 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 that... 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 movement... 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