Pforzheim University Winter Show 2011Mon, 21 Feb 2011
Pforzheim University's bi-annual graduation exhibitions are firmly established as highlights of the auto design calender. And if the number of design professional wielding business cards was any indication, we weren't the only ones keen to grab a word with the students.
Course leader, Prof. James Kelly, places great emphasis on ensuring graduates have the skills necessary for employment in the industry without stifling their creativity.
We headed to the Congresshal in downtown Pforzheim to view the assembled Bachelor and Masters exhibits from all stages of the courses, paying particular attention to the Thesis projects featured here.
Adding dynamism and brand identity to the wave of personal mobility solutions traditional car makers are increasingly investigating is the crux of Tomorad's project.Taking on the very technical yet lightweight Audi aesthetic and applying it to a single-occupancy vehicle appears to be a natural fit. Its front wheels feature independently moving turbines which can lift the light rear of the vehicle via ground-effect aerodynamics, even when stationary. It can also 'stand up' and act much the same way as a Segway when required. Its form language speaks very much of the airflow through the vehicle, adding to the sense of speed.
Jan Schmid's VW-branded project is an exploration into the extent that platform sharing – something the VW Group is noted for – can bleed over into design. While companies go to extreme lengths to hide shared components, Schmid's project celebrates the practice by expressing it visually. By designing two distinctly different vehicles – a four-seat coupe and a compact SUV – he proved the validity of his theory. Lower body surfaces, while not shared, are strongly similar, with strong, muscular wheel arches that are rounded on the coupe and more square in the SUV application. But the entire bodywork above the waistline, up to the roof is identical – a real balancing act in order to ensure it fits both physically and stylistically on both.
No Stored Energy
Gansemer has drawn on his experience of land yachts and cycling to create a vehicle that mixes elements from each with those of an EV. Based on a carbon-fiber hull/chassis, the vehicle uses a series of Fresnel lenses rather than a sail to concentrate the sun's power to drive a Stirling engine. Its driver can vary the angle of this 'sail' in order to maximize efficiency. Intakes in the skeletal frame cool motor and driver alike, while the three-spoke carbon rims and florescent brake lines are inspired by hipster 'fixie' bike culture.
Into the Wild
Designed to compete in the most extreme rally race on earth, Rohm's project is based around the concept of driving across the Arctic against the clock for up to two weeks. Inspired by its environment, the vehicle's lower body is surfaced to appear shaped by water erosion, while above the waistline formed by wind in much the same way as an iceberg. The car's amphibious ability adds legitimacy to this decision. In order to cope with various extreme conditions, heated elements under the body aide rescue from deep snow, while its tires can be used on land, ice and in water. Its interior is reconfigurable in order to allow its two-man crew to sleep.
Hacking the Car
Krome's model was hard to miss, thanks mainly to its crowd-pulling smoke machine – highly appropriate for vehicle designed to draw attention. "The whole CO² emissions issue is huge," explains Raphael. "But nobody knows how to deal with it." Sensors in the front of the vehicle 'smell' the emissions of the vehicles around it, which expels a representative amount of dry ice from its perforated flanks, allowing onlookers to contextualize CO2 figures. Its silhouette is a simple cube – a semantic expression of simplicity – with its inner forms shaped by the wind.
By Owen Ready