The last days of combustion

We’re finally at the concluding chapter of (to borrow a lovely phase by a friend and colleague Stephen Bayley) the ‘age of combustion’. I say finally, because ever since I stumbled upon the automotive world (quite by chance some decades ago) we’ve been promised a new beginning, a more progressive landscape of non-polluting transport that isn’t showy, isn’t congesting cities and isn’t harming the planet. And it has taken a mighty... Read More

Genesis chief creative officer Luc Donckerwolke on building a new car brand

Luc Donckerwolke, Genesis chief creative officer To make all this happen, Genesis has brought on-board Luc Donckerwolke who, as chief creative officer, will lead design now and into the future. This is a highly calculated move since in a career spanning some 30 years, the Belgian designer has been instrumental in re-shaping car brands such as Lamborghini, Audi, Bentley and more. He has a way of rethinking even the most conservative carmakers to... Read More

See fashion designer Paul Smith’s imaginative and sustainable MINI Strip

The body is left raw and unpainted revealing scratches from the manufacturing process. The panoramic roof is made of recycled and recyclable light Perspex. The cabin is entirely leather and chrome-free with seats covered in reusable knitted fabric, dashboard made of salvaged cork and seatbelts from repurposed climbing rope — all of which are fully recyclable. This is the MINI Strip, a custom-built unique electric car exploring ideas around... Read More

Beauty, love, lust, sex, death, ‘The Age of Combustion’ is an ode and a farewell to the motor car

James Dean in his Porsche 550, Vine Street, 1955 © Bettmann via Getty Images In 1920 F Scott Fitzgerald took what turned out to be a rather rocky road trip from Connecticut to Alabama in a used Marmon so Zelda could rekindle with her childhood in the south. His upbeat account of the eight day adventure were later published in book form as The Cruise of the Rolling Junk. Zelda was less generous with the journey writing simply: ‘the joys... 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 dreams before the pandemic made all things impossible possible.... Read More

V&A takes on the car as a design object in new exhibition

Robert Bosh electronic control unit and wiper blade, 1926 (c) Bosch The motor car has shaped our modern world and is about to define its future. In its 130 years, this object of desire and destruction has been critical in enforming our lives – from the design of our cities and our relation to the countryside, to how we work, live and communicate with one another. In its golden age, the motor car conjured up such strong visceral feelings,... Read More

Should true sustainability be about breathing new life into existing objects?

In the age of mass-production, fast fashion, hyper-consumption, and the growing awareness of the environmental damage caused by all this careless consumption, we should rethink our approach to how we shop and of ownership. And in the auto context, it is one thing to subscribe to electrification, but surely true sustainability is about maintaining the value of objects already in existence … to reuse, upcycle, reimagine – breathe new life... Read More

On the road: sustainable car brand Polestar’s first car

The ecological car revolution has been more of a slow evolution. Talk of hydrogen fuel cell, hybrid electrics, pure EVs has been going on for a long time and it has taken some strict legislation to finally push carmakers to react and commit. So it is exciting to finally see and drive more progressive products like this Polestar 1. This modest car isn’t quite fully sustainable, but the company that’s making it will be producing a family... Read More

Tokyo to Paris: a car as an expression of David Bowie

This is a brilliantly curious project. ‘A portrait of db’ is a sort of art car, created as an expression of David Bowie and his life and music. It is also a tribute to the singer-songwriter following his death in 2016. Yet the story happens to begin some 21 years ago in Tokyo with a young Takumi Yamamoto, the former Citroën designer responsible for GranTurismo‘s GT by Citroën. ‘A portrait of db’ will come alive as... Read More

Japan House London presents ‘Prototyping in Tokyo’ to illustrate design-led innovation

‘I’m told there is something Japanese in my prototyping,’ says professor Yamanaka Shunji, ‘that it has this “Japanese style”’, he smiles as he guides us around ‘Prototyping in Tokyo: Illustrating Design-led Innovation’ (until 17 March, 2019). The design engineer and University of Tokyo professor continues: ‘I don’t go about trying to be so, but perhaps there is something in the attitude that is Japanese.’ We are at the latest... Read More

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