Optimism in Times of Trouble

Graduating students in the MFA Transportation Design have been tirelessly working to finalise and present their original visions of future mobility. Focus is usually on vehicle design but this time the projects have been particularly influenced by the complex world we live in. It is quite easy to realise that the chosen topics are a clear reaction to major trends in society. Aspects that either concern or inspire the young creatives have been dealt with reflection and argumentation towards using design to promote positive change. As a result, a series of optimistic concepts are going to be presented – and defended – in front of an examination panel in about a week. The thesis projects at Umeå Institute of Design are done individually and can be seen as a combination of the student’s learning experience both during the masters education and the time spent in internships around the globe. This short article exposes the main topics being developed by the graduates and the highlights from their work-in-progress in each of the projects. We hope you will enjoy the sneak peek.


Experience Mobility
by Fredrik Ausinsch

What if mobility is immersive with our lives? Fredrik is trying to envision the ultimate connected experience of travel. From the definition of future needs and users to what kind of vehicle platform could best relate to these, the designer’s journey has been somewhat speculative and connected to foresight on parallel developments in behaviour, technologies and infrastructure.


Volvo United – The Democratic Car
by Martin Schopka

What if advanced digital tools enabled users to participate in the car design process? A fictional process proposing a fictional new sub-brand for Volvo. This was the approach Martin took to experiment with the idea of a more participatory automotive design process in the future – and the potential pros and cons of that. With sustainability as top priority, the work exposes the complexity of today’s automotive industry and opens up for rich discussions about opportunities designers and companies have ahead of them in the future.


Far Above Far Beyond
by Dominik Krug in collaboration with JLR

Humanity can be more peaceful and united if working towards a common goal – space exploration. This notion really inspired Dominik, who has been working to tell us a future story of human achievement through design and technology. He partnered with Jaguar Land Rover Group to propose an exploration vehicle equipped to support our needs when living in the red planet. Virtual reality tools have been extensively utilised in his process and the final vehicle concept will be presented and visualised from the point of view of the people lucky enough to travel and live on Mars in the future.


Lynk&Co Rebyell
by Adam Hägg

Inspired by the brand’s fresh business model, Adam is working to propose a practical sportscar for the city. The interesting twist is that should be achieved on a shared platform. The designer has been focusing on keeping the car’s footprint as small as possible. This certainly created challenges, but also opportunities when it comes to the expression and functionality that can be achieved by the vehicle. A quite straightforward design process can be observed in the image gallery.


Land Rover Melrakki
by Lukas Medeisis

What if Land Rover would be the official vehicle of Iceland? Lukas travelled there to better understand the reality of the landscape, its natural resources, the kind of tourism that takes place and the sustainability goals for the country. His design process has been guided by a mix of research and storytelling. After intense ideation a modular and highly customisable vehicle is proposed and the identity of the brand is carefully embedded in the result.


by Xintao Chen

Mobility designed to be slow. That is Xintao’s vision of luxury in the future. Having time to enjoy special occasions. Inspired by wellbeing and simplicity, the designer learned a great deal about airships and has been crafting not only a dream vehicle but also a very exotic experience of travel. Sharing the moment with someone special, slowly navigating through the skyline of a megacity.

by Robert Striedieck

Future sportscars and the balance between autonomy & driving pleasure. Can we imagine a future in which both are combined to achieve an even greater driving experience? Robert’s concept allows the driver to still feel very much in control of the vehicle. Focus has been on the interior design and a new kind of steering controls supported by a minimalistic driver information module, all taking advantage of the smart technology that will be packaged in the fast cars of tomorrow.


The 100kW Sportscar
by Robin Ritter

This project is an exercise in experience-oriented reduction in times of excess. Robin did a careful investigation around what elements need to essentially be kept in a sportscar in order to provide a satisfying and guilt-free experience for the enthusiasts of manual driving in the near future. A passionate technical approach to the work combined with lots of admiration for a traditional automotive brand seem to be leading to an extremely credible  and sensible vehicle concept. Could one ask for more?


Stay tuned in their work. On June 1st the students will publish their final results during the graduation event – UID17 | Design Talks & Degree Show. Check the event page for more information.

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