The automobile you see above is a concept vehicle by Toyota called the Camette. From what I’ve read the Camette was created to provide “an excellent opportunity for parents and their children to experience the driving joy, car enthusiasm, customization and a fun family experience.” Ok, that sounds like a really stupid reason to make a car, at least in my opinion.
The way I see a car like the Camette is a renaissance for small vehicles. Some of you may remember how I would rant against large cars, especially in a any urban environments. To often do I see assholes cruising around in giant SUVs here in Los Angeles, as if these three person families need a vehicle like that. Seeing something like the Camette is such a joy, like seeing what the future of small vehicles could be.
I think the body details are what really sells me on this car. I love the configuration of the vehicle, that you have a driver in the front and two seats in the back. I can’t help but I think of how perfect a car like this would be for Kyle and I and our two dogs. We could all cruise around the city in this, and I’m sure there’s room in the trunk as well if we need to put a beach bag in the back or run and get groceries. Sure, this wouldn’t work for families of 8, but there still aren’t a lot of good options for sub-compact cars beyond the Yaris, the Fit, the Fiat and the Mini.
Each year a lot of the major car companies put out small concept cars, but few actually follow through with them. Hopefully sooner, rather than later, a company like Toyota will actually start to make a car like this one a reality.
Considering that we are posting about gold all this week on The Fox Is Black, it seems kind of understandable that we’d come across a couple of bizarre things as we scavenged the web for the precious metal. Yet I’m not sure anything could have quite prepared me for this golden bicycle made by the Scandinavian design company AURUMANIA.
Hand built, plated with 24 carat gold and hand-adorned with more then 600 Swarovski crystals; the ‘AURUMANIA Gold Bike Crystal Edition’ costs €80,000 (roughly US $103,700). Understandably it is said to be the most expensive bike in the world, and with only ten in existence it’s a real collectors items. Originally released in 2008, AURUMANIA are still taking orders from their website, so if you have a few spare grand lying around you know what you can do with it.
Volkswagen has gotten quite chummy with the Star Wars brand in the last year, as you may remember the mini-Darth Vader using the Force in their last commercial. This time around they’ve cast the movie with an adorable assembly of dogs, who together bark and howl the Imperial March. It’s a super clever idea, I’ve already watched this several times in a row and it’s better with each sequential viewing. It’s also fun trying to figure out who all the dogs are supposed to be, can you distinguish who is who?
To offset the mega-truck I posted earlier, I have this small and innovative concept car released from Audi. They’re calling it an ‘Urban Concept’, a two seater that’s kind of like a go-cart on steroids. It’s also fully electric, which is interesting because Audi is setting their sites directly on BMW and their i Series, which is also an electric vehicle series.
What I love about this concept is that it is so small. I really wish that vehicles like this would become the norm in cities, rather than the Hummers and mega-trucks I see all the time here in Los Angeles. Cities are meant to be dense, New York and San Francisco are good examples of this, European cities are even better examples. Having small fleets of these electric vehicles lining the streets would be so much more efficient, and more practical. I’m a big supporter of ideas like these, and thankfully Audi is going to be moving forward with making a small run of the Urban Concept, so I’m hopeful that the idea of smaller vehicles is starting to become a reality.
Today I’m going to be focusing on automobiles, a couple in particular that have caught my eye in the past few weeks. The first is a beast of a vehicle, the 1968 Ford Bronco, which was first released as an off-road vehicle meant to compete with Jeep. This classic vehicle has been given a new life through the able hands of ICON, a design company here in Los Angeles. They met with the Ford in Detroit to learn the heritage of the Bronco, getting archival information, CAD files, and even technical assistance. I can’t say I get any of the technical details, but I love how it turned out. The matte grey color looks bad ass, and the detailing in the grill, door handles and side mirrors are a perfect update.
It’s interesting to me that I like this car so much. If Ford had done this themselves and mass produced the car I’d probably hate it (see Rumble Bee). The fact that a small group of designers took the time to do it right makes all the difference. If Ford were smart they’d hire ICON to start consulting and get their trucks looking like these.
To read about all the gritty details of their project, click here.
I’ve been following Andrew Kim’s journal/portfolio minimally minimal on and off for probably about a year. It’s probably a little creepy to admit that as I’m sure he had no idea, and now here I am writing about him. What makes his journal so great is that he posts a lot of his own personal work, much like the Honda N2 he created that you see above, and it absolutely needs to be shared.
From what I gathered in his post, he needed to learn SolidWorks, which is a computer modeling program. He took apart an entire RC car, measure all the parts and rebuilt it digitally, he deserves major props for that effort alone. Learning how to create complex parts, he decided to design a model car, and print it out using a 3D printer.
The finished product is a beauty. He went so far to include details like functioning doors, retractable roof, the hood opens (and has it’s own stick), upholstery on the seats and even a tiny Honda symbol on the steering wheel. As usual, I can’t wait to see what Andrew comes up with next, I’m sure he’ll continue to make astounding projects. Be sure to check out the images below to see more shots and visit his portfolio for even more goodness.
“For Pete’s sake, what are you writing about Lego for?”. If this is your reaction to seeing this post, then move on, keep moving and perhaps think about what you just said. It might mean that we may need to rethink our friendship – I’m sorry but that’s just how it goes!
Seriously though, I find it hard to imagine any reader here who doesn’t take a liking to the wonderful world of Lego. In truth, it’s probably the greatest toy ever made. The other day Lego announced that they’d collaborated with Volkswagen to create a Lego T1 Camper Van and I think they did an incredible job in recreating such an iconic design. While Lego have really captured the essence of the van it’s the enthusiasm of designer John-Henry Harris seen in the video above that made me want to share this with you.
For many, working as a Concept Designer at LEGO seems like a dream-job and it’s enriching to see the enthusiasm that Harris has for his craft. If you’re interested in learning more about the role of play in design then I recommend you check out this excellent TEDxEast talk in which Harris discusses how play is an integral part of any design process. The Camper van itself, will be available October 1, 2011 from the online Lego shop.
The folks over at National Geographic have doen the unimaginable, or at least, possible in real life. For a new show called How Hard Can It Be? they’ve made a real life, flying house, just like the one in the movie Up.
Yesterday morning, March 5 at dawn, National Geographic Channel and a team of scientists, engineers, and two world-class balloon pilots successfully launched a 16′ X 16′ house 18′ tall with 300 8′ colored weather balloons from a private airfield east of Los Angeles, and set a new world record for the largest balloon cluster flight ever attempted. The entire experimental aircraft was more than 10 stories high, reached an altitude of over 10,000 feet, and flew for approximately one hour.
This is so phenomenal, I really can’t believe it. What I want to know is how they safely landed it! Did they shoot the balloons slowly until eventually it landed. I guess the only way to know is to watch the show. You can see a bunch more photos over on My Modern Met.