Last week, The California Department of Water Resources opened the gates of the Oroville Reservoir. Water flowed dramatically down the chute (the width of a twelve-lane highway with a center divider) for the first time since the spillway failed a couple of years and forced the evacuation of over 100,000 residents down stream. This has been an amazing feat of engineering and a project of inspirational scale that the bivouac has kept a constant interest in. It is nice to see we are capable of completing projects like this in a timely and safe fashion. Great to see the spillway working as designed as well. A thing of beauty. Thanks to all who worked so hard on the project to help ensure California’s crucial life-giving water supply. And thanks to DWR for doing such an amazing job of capturing the progress on the project which can be viewed here.
With a long-standing interest in future visualizations at the bivouac, the style and substance of Simon Stålenhag’s illustrations has left quite the impression. Stålenhag’s masterful illustrative technique is remarkable in and of itself, but his unique ability to seamlessly blend the world we know today with new and unfamiliar future technologies makes his work truly distinct.
Stalenhag’s command of visualizations is so powerful that he has created mini-stories that are self-narrative. His Illustrations portrait powerful story arcs on their own without the need of the written word.
Stålenhag is particularly skilled at capturing an expansive sense of scale. He does this through placing large, fascinating, futuristic objects into what would otherwise be commonplace landscapes. This juxtaposition, often accompanied with a remarkable command of lighting and a clarity of focus applied to certain areas of the composition, further enhances a dramatic sense of expansiveness.
Another device Stålenhag uses in some story lines is placing human beings in what appears to be vulnerable contexts when juxtaposed with new forms of technology. Children or parents with children can often be seen navigating a landscape strewn with disused “old future” technologies or avoiding those that seem to be searching for them.
The placement of today’s emergent technology in such matter-of-fact settings and often applying an aged patina to technologies we have yet to come to know is powerful. Work like this can help encourage us to ask important questions about the technology we are bringing into the world at an increasing pace and why we might want to think more carefully about doing so.
To view more of Stalenhag’s work visit: https://www.simonstalenhag.se/
Nice seeing this OZY article entitled “Your Grocery Store and Office May Soon Come to You” featuring IDEO’s Future of Automobility work amongst other future mobile space concepts. Written by Tafline Laylin, the piece explores how future autonomous moving spaces may help cities evolve in a positive ways by providing more equitable access to everything from medical facilities to grocery stores to more easy to access office spaces.
With so many in need these days, one has to be conscious of whether praising yacht design is something that really needs to be done. That said, companies like Cruisers Yachts deserves recognition as they are pushing for more innovation in smaller and more modest sizes these days. And they are doing so while still offering strikingly beautiful vessels. Witness the 2019 Cruiser Yachts 338 South Beach Edition.
It is a stunning yet pragmatic approach to designing a smaller yacht that can meet the needs of those setting out for a long weekend. The innovating rear seating, generous forward gunnel side storage and an asymmetric pass way through to the front bow area all distinguish the 338’s design. The rear platform even works well with the newest version of the 338 that incorporates outboard propulsion.
The generous berth below the foredeck has a modern and minimalist ambience. Thoughtful integration sinks, refrigerators and microwaves and an accessible rear swim platform all show great attention to detail and overall sensitivity to balancing pragmatism with style. A powered extending bimini top helps provide shade for a large portion of the aft deck if desired.
In a world in need of downsizing and in the age of mega yachts, it is great to see companies offering solutions that are more appropriate in the context of the world economy today that still push design forward.
Volvo’s Polestar helped shape perceptions of the brand’s performance capabilities. Now, Volvo has announced the Polestar 2 which will usher the brand into new, fully electric vehicle territory. The future looks bright if Volvo can indeed follow this guiding start. Check out more on Volvo’s site.
It was great to be able to attend the first micromobility conference recently held in the Bay Area. One talk that stood out was Horace Dediu’s which pointed to the clear opportunities that exist as we move forward with subsequent innovation in the micromobility space. A piece related to his talk can be found here.
Artsy’s “The Pioneering Women Who Designed Car Interiors in the 1950s” article highlights the notable contributions and innovations that a group of women designers at GM were responsible for in the mid 1950’s.
More recently, examples such as BMW’s E89 Z4, arguably one of BMW’s best looking vehicles designed to date, was also designed by women. Juliane Blasi and Nadya Arnaout designed the E89’s exterior and interior design respectively. Together they brought far more character and elegance to the series than prior versions. Learn more about their perspectives via the BMW blog interview and in this article in the New York Times. These are just two examples that serve as powerful evidence that the automobile industry only stands to benefit from more diversity. As we move towards the promise of a new Age of Automobility, this increased diversity will be even more essential as an increasing number of perspectives will be needed to address the challenges and opportunities ahead.
While companies continue to do interesting and beautiful vehicle interior concept work, a wide range of new configurations for accommodating vehicle occupants remains to be explored. As we move towards an new era of Automobility driven by autonomous technology, how might we work or socialize in this new era when we no longer have to be as attentive to the demands of driving that we face today. Take a closer look at a few explorations via IDEO’s Future of Automobility point of view series.
Many BMW boxer hours have been logged here at the bivouac but the 2019 BMW R1250 Adventure looks to represent a serious step forward in development and refinement. Even coming from the world of the superlative K1600GT, the new telematics and interface options for 2019 seem leaps and bounds ahead. With a crisp and bold Thin-Film-Transistor (or TFT) display, BMW has upped both the functionality and legibility of their displays and they are making them standard across many more models this year. With robust integration of phone features including playing audio and providing turn-by-turn navigation prompting plus a slew of adjustability and informational displays about any given bike setting, this seems like a must have feature that quite a bit of design effort and development has gone into.
Although it has been around for a while, The Fallen of World War II does a fine job of visualizing the sheer number of lives lost during the conflict. It is always sobering to see the scope of the war visualized and pieces like this help us to remain ever mindful of those that sacrificed or lost their lives in a civilian context so that what so that the relative pease we have today is not taken for granted.
The folks at Mustard have a way of telling stories rich in detail, background facts and visuals. Great seeing their work, much of which documents key moments in mobility. Great to see educational material this spicy! Pass the mustard please!
The modeling techniques reflected in this video are quite impressive. From knowing when to release parts from their moldings to painting and weathering surfaces, several great ways to increase the realism of a model are shown. The lighting and other details in Bandai’s perfect grade Millennium Falcon kit are out of this world as are ModelChili’s work is perfect grade skills.
Having had the good fortune to have had several modern vehicles in the bivouac’s collection over the years, one thing is clear. Clear coat technology has certainly improved since it introduction the 1980’s. That said, as manufacturers have moved to more water based paints, orange peeling is still prevalent on even the most premium offerings as evidenced in this Topaz Maybach detailing video. There’s something to be said for the masters that have the patience, technique and scientific outlook needed to rectify some of the failings of from factory paint work. He’s to the details and detailers out there!
The audacity of the design inspires in part because of the close linkage to “form follows function” in the context of muscle car constraints. The open grill, designed to provide massive air flow, forms a strong visual and functional character for the vehicle. Side sculpting shows that those at GM still know how to sculpt for a dramatic interplay with natural lighting.
Boston Dynamics continues to make impressive strides forward with its Atlas robot seen here untethered and on the go. Interesting to see how Atlas mimics human performance in clearing obstacles regardless of whether counterbalancing as we do is actually needed or not.