I am dating an automotive engineer and if there is any talk about getting a house it revolves around the garage because a multiple car garage is more important than multiple rooms. While I can’t fully comprehend it I was almost convinced when I saw the Renault Symbioz House33 – now that is a garage/house I wouldn’t mind living in!
In 2016, Renault held a competition for fresh automotive-focused architecture and design. Among several entries, it was France’s Marchi Architectes that took the cake. They designed the Renault Symbioz House33 which was a portable, fully-integrated escape modeled around Renault’s conceptual car, the Symbioz. Nestled in the French countryside, the 21-meter long structure has been designed to be used in multiple ecosystems and environmental settings. The massive single-unit home also incorporates Renault’s sleek aesthetic. “The house has a metallic structure, wooden cladding, large glass surfaces, and an open-plan layout. Traditional living spaces take room inside – living room and kitchen on the ground-floor; bedroom and bathroom on the first floor,” says the team.
While the design’s focus is still on the car, it also prioritizes connectivity, social awareness, and adaptive living. One of the most interesting features is that the structure isn’t just a beautiful, functioning garage, you can actually access most of the house with the Symbioz which then becomes a “mobile room” that can be parked inside, outside, or on the roof using an elevator. The Marchi team wanted to expand the use of the car beyond outdoor transportation and hopes to open the door to increased interconnectivity with our automotive counterparts.
Designer: Marchi Architectes
If it were up to King T’Challa, the MIMIC e-bike would be fitted with vibranium tech, but we’re going to stick to an electric power-train for now. This crouching-jungle-cat of a bike is a concept designed by Roman Dolzhenko. Outfitted with what looks less like a body and more like armor, the MIMIC e-bike comes with a rounded, Tron Light Cycle-inspired form with rounded elements and just an overall absence of straight lines or sharp edges. The e-bike has a dual-lamp headlight fitted on the front, looking almost like a menacing pair of eyes, and a dashboard that lays flush against the e-bike’s curved panther-esque body. Wakanda Forever!
Other noteworthy details include a cantilever seat, inverted handlebars with the brake levers facing the rider, and a three-hexagon logo on both the front and back wheel, a detail that pays tribute to Daniel Simon, designer of the Tron Light Cycle, who uses a similar hexagon insignia to mark his designs.
Designer: Roman Dolzhenko
Always trust a concept automobile to push the boundaries of design.
Remember the Mercedes Benz GINA? A concept car that was literally made with cloth bodywork?? Well, the Polestar Aegis concept builds on that idea by employing a flexible plastic paneling that gives the bike a bizarrely beautiful aesthetic. The Aegis is literally translucent, as the plastic panels that cover the top and bottom of the bike allow you to literally see the chassis through them. Designed as an entry for the Polestar design challenge on Instagram, the Aegis concept follows the competition brief of showcasing ‘purity and performance’.
The Aegis comes with a relatively robust chassis design that doesn’t just act as a framework for the bike’s structure, it literally defines the bike’s aesthetic as two flat translucent plastic panels fold over and fix to the chassis, becoming the bike’s body. The translucent nature of the plastic allows you to see the Aegis’ muscular frame through it, while the entire bodywork sort of acts as a massive mudguard for the entire motorcycle. Rather than washing your bike every week or two, just take the plastic sheets off and hose them down!
There’s something really exquisite about the way the translucent shell defines the Aegis. It’s a textbook interpretation of purity, but at the same time, the fact that it showcases the motorcycle’s inner mechanisms almost reinforces the fact. The folded 2D paneling also imparts a low-poly aesthetic to the bike, giving it the purity of form too. In fact, there’s another hidden detail that I really can’t seem to ignore. The Aegis’ outline changes the minute you sit on the bike. The upper translucent panel comes with a single continuous curve on the top, but the minute a rider sits on it, the panel flexes to adjust to the biker’s curvature, buckling to form a 3D curved surface.
Clearly, the Aegis is just a concept (the same way the Mercedes Benz GINA was a concept too), but it really explores an angle that’s achievable and could actually make sense. What if you just had stripped-down motorcycles that came with flexible paneling that you yourself could attach and replace like a phone’s outer case? It would be easy to clean, wouldn’t dent or scratch the way metal would (you could just easily replace it too), and for my anti-plastic posse, I’m sure we could find a polymer (I’m leaning towards Polycarbonate) that’s easy to use/recycle and can also withstand any heat coming from the engine nearby.
Designer: Lukas Lambrichts
What do you imagine when I say the word motorcycle? A two-wheeler, has a handlebar, a sinuously sleek form that brings to mind street racing and the overall feeling of being a badass. That is the standard definition we have all grown up with but what is important is our interpretation of the motorcycle. This interpretation is where imagination meets real life and designer Joey Ruiter’s creation has brought us NOMOTO – a design that focuses on the urban environment rather than the automotive element to create this surprising e-bike!
The urban environment, when not looked at from drones is usually a wash of grey with walls filled with graffiti that doesn’t always equal the Banksy level we imagine. Joey Ruiter took inspiration from this modern-day world, making the motorcycle pure transportation – an element that transports you and otherwise just blends into the neighborhood. Ruiter and his J.RUITER studio’s philosophy is about “trying to push design to the point of not being there.” This philosophy is the framework around which the bike actually acts as a canvas for the graffiti, with its seats providing some street-side rest. While the geometric, bulky design is almost reminiscent to the Tesla Cybertruck in its minimal appeal, the purpose here is not to attract but to distract to the extent we don’t even recognize it (although this is one time where we truly will need a locating app to find this hiding bike!) The motorcycle is a fully functioning piece, with a unique button that makes the motorcycle rise, flip its seat out and basically converts from a stranded piece of furniture to urban transportation. Being an electric bike, it is actually quite functional with dedicated space to store your belongings in the front and back ‘baskets’ created when the bike transforms. This design is actually an e-bike completely stripped down to the essentials – a rectangular shape with air vents and screws popping out, but there is an intrigue in this design and it will be displayed at the Moto MMXX show coming up on August 21, 2020.
“I wanted to create a piece that is museum-worthy that’s completely unnoticeable and so familiar, you’re just going to walk past it,” says the Michigan-based designer. As someone who looks at product design on an everyday basis, I can safely say Joey has achieved his aim. One thing’s for sure, this design will make me do a double-take anytime I see an abandoned graffiti-covered grey bench on the street!
Designer: Joey Ruiter of J.RUITER Studio
Boredom and dissatisfaction are two of the biggest drivers for innovation and creativity. Maybe you don’t like something, maybe you have free time on your hands, so you sit and fix stuff and make them better in your own vision. That’s sort of why we’re looking at this absolutely vicious Pagani-on-steroids Batmobile that Encho Enchev designed because he felt the current Batmobile wasn’t intense enough.
Designed with edgy body-work, piercing looks, and the classic black design with yellow accents, the Batmobile GT 2020 feels like it could strike fear into the hearts of the toughest criminals (or at least get them to consider an honest living even for a split second). If the edgy, Batarang-on-wheels bodywork doesn’t do it, the pop-out machine guns near the rear wheels should spook even armed bandits… and when justice is restored, the Dark Knight can flee the scene at breakneck speeds, thanks to those three pretty illegal looking afterburners on the rear.
I hope it isn’t too late for Robert Pattinson to reconsider his ride.
Designer: Encho Enchev
The Batmobile GT 2020 is a conceptual creation and is in no way associated with the Batman franchise. The use of the Batman logo is purely representative.
If you take a trip down memory lane and just look at the Unibus Scooter from the 1920s, you’ll immediately notice that it quite comfortably falls within the family tree of the Vespas of today. Scooters, ever since their advent in the late 19th century, haven’t really changed as a template. For the most part, they’re still the same two-wheelers with the fuel-tank and storage compartment located directly under the rider’s seat, resulting in the open channel on the front to rest your both your legs (sort of like sitting on a chair). Barring some stylistic upgrades and electrification, the scooter you see today looks very much like a spiritual successor of the Unibus, which premiered literally a century ago… but with Ezekiel Ring’s Commooter, the scooter category gets the disruption it so desperately needs.
The Commooter Scooter shuffles up the scooter template, keeping certain essentials but reinventing the rest. For starters, its battery is still located right under the seat (a feature that distinctly makes scooters stand out from motorcycles, which have their fuel source located on the front), but it uses the space around the battery to carefully and cleverly expand the scooter’s storage, helping you carry as much as 3 times more stuff in the same vehicle. Obviously this meant sacrificing the leg-space on the front, but given that scooters are usually used by people with a definite purpose (traveling to work, tourism, cargo/food delivery), that storage space proves to be exceptionally handy. The cargo space is accessible from the side (rather than having to lift up the seat to store items), while the seat itself comes with a split-body design. The passenger seat opens up to reveal the detachable battery packs, while the seat right under the rider lets you connect (and charge) your smartphone to the two-wheeler. When you do, your smartphone interface mirrors on the Commooter’s large circular dashboard, allowing you to navigate through maps while also seeing what speed you’re at or how much range you’ve got before your batteries run dry. I imagine the touchscreen interface would also probably be the first-ever instance of Android Auto for two-wheelers (or Apple “Bikeplay?”)
Overall, the Commooter Scooter gives the two-wheeler some pretty sensible upgrades. Imagine being able to store your bags, purses, or even packages within the scooter as you ride completely unencumbered. That space is even big enough to store two full-size helmets, which can only be a good thing… and besides, you can either recharge the Commooter using a power-outlet, or take the batteries out to juice them at home. That sort of sensibility is surely something the scooter category could use, right? After all, it has been a hundred long years.
Designer: Ezekiel Ring
I am a Vespa fan, I love the minimal design and smooth lines because it makes you feel like you can ride it easily. It isn’t bulky or too masculine, it actually is a gender-neutral scooter in my opinion and therefore loved by everyone. Fun fact: Vespa’s original design was inspired by the Cushman scooters used by the American military during WWII, but its name “Vespa” which means “wasp” in Italian was given to it by iconic aircraft manufacturer Enrico Piaggio because the scooter really looked like a wasp! In an attempt to blend a piece of history with modern design, Mightyseed has created Vespa 98 – a conceptual electric scooter that fits with the needs of today’s world.
Vespa is known to have kept it’s retro aesthetic while still being modern. “We believe looking back to history will give more insight into the future. The Vespa 98 electric concept version is a reincarnation of the original design. The concept is much more like a modern incarnation with sleek styling cues with streamlining features,” says the design team. This electric scooter showcases a bolder look compared to the original one with modern design details like the handles. The mudguard is still placed like it was in the original scooter but now it holds the LED headlight instead. One major difference is this single-seat scooter uses lidar sensors placed at the rear end to notify the rider instead of having rearview mirrors.
The Vespa 98 is powered by a 30 Ah lithium-ion battery pack located in the belly of the scooter which also includes a spacious storage compartment. The hub motor wheel features a sporty look while the sloping tail lamp strip at the rear indicator unit adds a futuristic touch to the concept. The design respects the history while still tailoring it to the preferences that the current audience will have. Vespas just make you happy, and electric ones make the planet happy too!
Designer: Mightyseed Co
Imagine being able to admire your city’s beautiful landscape while traveling (something that isn’t really possible in underground subways, or in tightly packed buses). BOSCH is rethinking urban mobility in a way that allows public transit systems to be as convenient as private cars, with the added advantage of being able to admire your city from up above. Partnering with Art Lebedev Studio to envision what this new form of transport would look like, you’ve got yourself a full fleet of robust, autonomous cable cars, running on a well-planned network that covers all important parts of a city.
This cable-car system is incredibly effective for a multitude of reasons. It’s financially and physically easy to expand cable networks without disrupting existing architecture (building subway lines and stations can cost enormous sums of money). The cable cars even have an edge over buses because they can actually travel in straight lines, independent of existing roadways, or of traffic. These uniquely designed cable cars don’t even require special stations or stops, thanks to a feature built into each car that allows it to descend down onto the road every time someone needs to hop on or aboard. Working essentially like an autonomous flying car (even though it’s just suspended above the ground), these cable cars can efficiently pick you up and drop you off wherever you need. Each car seats as many as 5 people, offers a stellar elevated panoramic view of the city, is weather-proof, and runs on clean renewable electrical energy. The cars also come with WiFi on board too, obviously!
BOSCH and Art Lebedev’s conceptual cable car system currently exists as just a visual representation, but Art Lebedev’s website mentions Moscow may be the first city to ever see this revolutionary travel system!
Designer: Art Lebedev Studio for BOSCH
Just to be fully prepared for all possibilities 2020 can bring, Zeltini has designed Z-Triton – an electric houseboat that does it all! The concept of having a vehicle that is a house, boat, and trike combined that travels over land and water is something straight out of a Spy Kids movie but Zeltini really came through with a real one!
The Z-Triton Electric Houseboat was created as a vehicle that could serve as an alternative to the traditional camper. It is comfortable enough to house two adults for a weekend getaway and the choice of land or water is up to the travelers. The amphibious nature of the modern camper fits into the flexible lifestyle we lead today, especially since air travel is not on the cards anytime soon it is opening up a lot of avenues for local trips in less popular/offbeat locations. The durable houseboat measures 3.6 meters in length, 1.2 meters in width, and 1.55 meters in height.
The team is testing the prototype by driving it around in different weather conditions to see if this tiny electric camper can be an all-terrain travel vehicle. It uses electric assistance that lets the users control power, lighting, temperature, and more. Simply fold up the seat and it unveils the floor space for two people to lay down. This quirky blue and orange vehicle has a tricycle mounted on one side that conveniently folds up or down to transition from land to water. Z-Triton will encourage more sustainable tourism and will allow people to travel spontaneously. It is scheduled to hit the market in 2021 and I am already making a list of places I want to take it to!