Anybody who lives in London knows the difference between mediocre and fine public transport design. The classy post-war route master got replaced 10 years ago by terrible double decker buses made from cheap materials, ugly colours and a few poor ‘design’ elements until the once again beautiful and specially for London designed new route master finally made it in large numbers onto the streets last year or so.
The new route master (designed by Thomas Heatherwick) shows that good design can make all the difference in the experience of traveling on public transport. Besides the important iconic outside design and the fuel efficient engine my point is that beautiful detailing and good quality finishes are also essentiel.
Especially in cities where the private car usage is still an option (like in Luxembourg, where I’m from) and where you want to get people out of their own cars you have to create an alternative that is not only faster, cheaper and more ecological but it also needs to be a beautiful ride. If the public transport experience is mediocre because of poorly designed interiors & exteriors (with maybe some customised colour scheme if you are lucky), then people will still want to use their own cars..
Designed for outdoor spaces like nature reserves, parks & forests, this seating range is composed of large & chunky shapes with very simple profiles. The large – single piece – wood parts are made from locally sourced oak trunks with a simply sawn finish to resist weathering and vandalism. Due to its thickness, the wood can be sanded down if damaged but can also happily live with the added texture.
The wood profiles and tubular powder coated steel tubes are both an integral part of the structure and form objects with a strong visual contrast between natural and man made materials. The simple & sculptural shapes should integrate well in natural environments, yet stand out enough to be noticed for its quality.
The City of Luxembourg commissioned us to develop an furniture and colour guidance manual for the terrasses on one of it’s most prestigious squares in the city centre. After many years of wild west behavior of the restaurants and cafés, using mostly cheap looking plastic furniture, branded umbrellas, primary colours and endless clutter the city wanted to clean up.
The new scheme, involving a selection of muted colours and more attractive furniture typologies has now been implemented, giving the square a more dignified and calm appearance while focusing on the quality of the space, the trees and the architecture.
One of press critics wrote at the time that we want to take colour and life out of the City, thankfully the chap in his all red training outfit plus hat has turned-up on my photo (on the right) to prove that it is not furniture & umbrellas that are creating a colourful city life!
Just finished a signage & wayfinding project for the Olympic Games of the Small Nations of Europe, held in Luxembourg this year. Very refreshing to work on a fast and short term project for a change. In collaboration with Luxembourg based Designbureau. Client: Comité Olympique et Sportif Luxembourgeois
Based on an existing JCD shelter designed by Norman Foster we fine-tuned & adapted the design in collaboration with the city and JCD to better fit todays user needs. Over 250 shelters will be installed / replaced the next couple of years across the city’s bus network.
With a user-centered approach the team developed a new back-lit independent totem that regroups a number of information that is easy to read, even from a distance. The same logic applies to the glass panel on the opposite side where we also re-grouped passenger information usually spread randomly all over the shelter.
Last but not least, in close collaboration with the city’s own topographical service and the graphic design agency Monopolka, we have designed a new map of the city with the entire bus network overlapping in a clear, geographically accurate and user-friendly design. More on this soon!
I can’t speak Catalan but this plate set into the paving in front of the long established Deli/Restaurant ‘Can Ravell’ in Barcelona says something like: ‘In the name of the City of Barcelona – in recognition to Ravell for its many years of service to the city’.
The plate seems to regroup many symbols of trade and craft and I suppose the City of Barcelona sets these plates in front of their most long serving, authentic and traditional businesses that make the city so special. What a great initiative! And the food was even better!!
It is well known that the bistro culture in Paris is a league on its own, sitting tightly packed on street corners, coffee & cigarettes, waiters that don’t care, gazing at the people passing by …
The typical Paris bistro table with a single foot and an oversized thin metal edging embodies this way of life quite well for me. Every bash and knock the metal edging gets adds character & texture to the table, making it age gracefully without aspiring to be perfect.
Creating a street stall for a one day event to sell hand made scarves from Bangladesh is not my usual design brief, especially if the budget had to be kept at an absolute minimum. But there is always a way, even if it means going to the DIY shop..
This water drinking fountain is the first of many to be installed in the City of Luxembourg. The scheme was initiated by the city’s own Service des Eaux and elaborated in close collaboration with the City Management, other administrations of the city and myself as an external design consultant.
After an in-depth research of existing drinking fountains across Europe we have identified this fountain as the most suitable product for Luxembourg. The fountain has initially been developed by the french designer Cécile Planchais for Eau de Paris and will also be rolled-out in Paris next year.
Besides the functional & hygienic qualities its subtle timeless design has convinced us to be the right choice for Luxembourg. The textured surface and distinctive shape blurs the boundaries of time, making it contemporary but also fit nicely in an heritage environment. Also, after two days in use in the city the form and shape has proven that its function and purpose is self-explanatory.
Whoever wrote this is right to say that to many places are boring & dull – although a bit of paint, mixed with road dirt, would make this wall look a lot worse then it is now. But it is worthwile thinking about what else would work better…