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Published: 08 Apr, 2022

Alumni visions of end-of-century mobility inspire at the Guggenheim

NEWS On April 8, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao premieres the exhibition: Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture. Among the exhibition objects are four visionary graduate projects created by alumni from the MFA Programme in Transportation Design at Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå University, Sweden.

Text: Jens Persson

The six-month-long exhibition, curated by renowned British architect Norman Foster, celebrates the artistic dimension of the automobile, linking it to the parallel worlds of painting, sculpture, architecture, photography and film. The exhibition features iconic automobiles hand-picked from private collections and public institutions, as well as architecture and artworks connected to speed and movement.

Demian Horst, Head of Umeå Institute of Design (UID), is in Bilbao to take part in the opening weekend.

“We are thrilled to be invited as a contributor to this rather unique show hosted at the Guggenheim Museum. Being asked to share an important global stage alongside peers from a selected group of international universities in the fields of architecture and design clearly shows that we’re doing something right.”

From advanced cars to airborne and marine mobility solutions

The four UID alumni showcasing their grad projects at the exhibition have been given a rare opportunity to inform and inspire with their visions of future mobility through the lens of sustainable design. The UID exhibition space is entitled “Speculative Mobility” with the four projects ranging from advanced automobiles to airborne and marine transportation solutions. The strategic, speculative, and conceptual nature of these projects aim to trigger public discussion about what kinds of futures (and mobility) our society would wish to have.

Lars Welten, from the Netherlands, graduated last year with a project exploring what it might look like if climate change would compel the vulnerable coastal regions in his home country to transition into life on water.

“Having grown up in The Netherlands, a country with rich history in water management, I was inspired to frame my degree project around the fact that sea level is rising and by the end of this century will result in uninhabitable areas. The main goal of my degree project is to emit a positive answer to climate change; to show that instead of seeing the water as a problem it can also be seen as a solution.”

The exhibition is spread over ten spaces in the museum. UID alumni join the final of the seven galleries, Future, which is devoted to works by a young generation of students who were invited to imagine what mobility may be like at the end of this century. The proposals on display reflect collaborations between students and industry partners, designers, artists, architects, through a variety of models, films, renderings, drawings and manifestos.

UID student projects at the Guggenheim Bilbao

Max Troicher - Exterior Interactions

Max Troicher developed a design concept in collaboration with BMW exploring how cars can enhance human senses in a new and emotional way. The final result is a compact autonomous electric vehicle, using multiple ways of communicating with its surrounding. Light, sound and haptic feedback are combined in countless situations to create unique experiences on the vehicle’s exterior.

Wanyi Du - Geely Sooyun

What might mobility look like in our vertical megacities 40 years from now? For her grad project, Wanyi Du created a design vision for an ecological air taxi system in Shanghai in the year 2060. The service is inspired by the needs of future business tourists in megacities like Shanghai. Geely Sooyun brings passengers a pleasant feeling by providing a reliable, seamless and efficient transportation service across the future vertical city.

Lars Welten - Dutch Water Ways          

What will future transportation look like in vulnerable coastal regions threatened by climate change? For his grad project, Lars Welten looked ahead to the year 2086 in his native Netherlands. The result, an autonomous water taxi with futuristic methods of propulsion.

Lars proposes not only the design of a radically different and extremely safe and self-driving water taxi, but also a clear picture of the advanced floating society and infrastructure that enables its existence.

David Wolter – Terra Nova

How will we reforest the future barren lands in the wake of climate change? For his grad project, David Wolter explored how to combat desertification in the year 2086 by developing mobility strategies for large-scale reforestation efforts with the help of cutting-edge technologies. His final design concept, ’Terra Nova’, is a lighter-than-air propelled solution that allows long-term mobility in barren areas with minimal impact to the operational environment.

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For more information, please contact:

Jens Persson
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