There is a growing trend across the automotive world to champion the global car – the world car. This is generally a small urban vehicle that is pretty non-descript with little indication as to its origin – where is was designed or indeed made. One emerging designer has set about to question this by offering a contextual mobility solution.
‘I can never understand how a Swiss designer living in California can design a car for Thailand without knowing the culture,’ says Ido Baruchin. ‘There is too much flattening and we run the danger of becoming a mono culture,’ says the young Israeli designer who has just graduated in vehicle design from the Royal College of Art in London.
His concept Otto’s task is to challenge the monolithic notion of the world car – the system aims to bring social and ecological sustainability to vehicle manufacturing and design. The concept not only responds to the needs of various societies but crucially also involves both global and regional manufacturing where local materials, labour and craft are utilised.
Each market will have its own Otto. ‘The idea is to have one main structure, but then the rest of the car is locally sourced. Plus design wise it will be relevant to the market,’ he notes.
For this project Baruchin used London and Tel Aviv as his main case studies. London’s sheer size requires more comfortable seating. Otto for London will, therefore, offer comfortable soft leather and oak seats – the material locally sourced in the UK.
In Tel Aviv, on the other hand, manoeuvrability is a key issue as traffic can be intense. The seating position is therefore higher and the steering is more like a scooter. Journeys are shorter there so the harder seats can be made of locally sourced plastics. ‘This is about sustainability that isn’t just ecological,’ says Baruch.
Sadly the designer is planning to move careers into product design. ‘Automotive design is very challenging but the industry and all the politics are the problem,’ he explains his decision. ‘They are talking of becoming green but transporting one person in one car is not very sustainable.’
Read our report on Show RCA Vehicle Design published in Wallpaper*.
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