2017 was an interesting year for us at STANCE. Many of our students are out there in the wide world, making their way in further design studies and we have even reached the point where some are graduating at a Masters level. In January our lecturer caught up with our student at the RCA in London, and we were very pleased to see two more of our graduates succeed him on the course.
Thanks to some issues with a passport- our travelling to see friends in Russia was somewhat limited. Despite this- our lecturer Lee Walton managed to gain an award. Our students participated in a short design competition, for the PUSHKA Design Forum in Moscow. Their brief was to design an automated delivery vehicle for the TRAFT brand.
3rd year student Iiro Laine placed 2nd overall in the PUSHKA Design Forum design competition, and was awarded a certificate and prize by the Traft company. Iiro’s innovative but simple concept, proposed re-using existing transportation trailers with modern self-driving tractor units.
Highlights of 2017 (our annual graduation show STANCE18 will be happening 25th of May in Lahti, watch this space!)
Kalle Keituri, our alumni of 2015 graduated from RCA London, then began his professional career as a designer at Rolls-Royce Motor cars in the UK.
Henri Hokkanen our alumni of 2016, began his professional career as a Designer at Valtra Inc, Jyväskylä.
Antti Vahtola, our alumni of 2017 began his Masters studies at Umea Institute and this year placed 2nd in the BRP Student Design competition, titled Urban Arctic Mobility.
Hilja-Maria Kaitila, and Olli Seppällä both began their Masters at the RCA.
Mikael Serjala and Mika Karjalainen began Masters studies at SPD in Milan.
Instead of the usual STANCE blog post- this post has been written by a guest team of graduate designers. They call themselves Team Groovy, after the project they created together. I will let them explain:
The “eGroovy project” started July 17th. There had been some negotiations and planning about developing the bigger Groovy caravan further (presented at Caravan 2016 fair a year before), but due to time constraints we decided to ditch that plan. The bigger Groovy was already presented as a design concept, so the next logical step would have required some help from engineers. And currently our team was formed by three design graduates and former class mates, including me, Mikael Kosonen and Waltter Holm. All we needed was a space to work in and some tools and materials. Nothing really fancy, but as a starting designer, you have to make do with what’s given to you.
The Caravan 2017 fair was less than two months away. The initial plan was to go there and present our concept to the big audience. However, as our project began there wasn’t any specific brief. Our client Tom Sågbom told us he’d been thinking about “ultra light caravan available for everyone to buy”. Together with him we made some quick research about existing products to match that description, and the idea of a bike camper was born. E-bikes are growing in numbers as the technology becomes cheaper, so during the first week our brief was formed. The goal was to design a bike camper, or to be more precise, a “sleeping pod” to be towed with e-bike. The Finnish law defined most of the features: it had to weigh less than 45 kg’s and width shouldn’t be more than 120 cm’s. At that point we decided it was going to be for one person only.
Before sketching we started to think about ergonomics. We took out a measuring tape, made Waltter lay down on the floor and took notes what dimensions were required for a person taller than average. That way the space inside the camper would be adequate for anyone. Then the sketching began – we gave ourselves five days to nail down the overall shape. It was really challenging to try to think about a product that hadn’t been done before. No existing products to take references from, aside from actual caravans. But that was not an option, as we wanted to avoid making it look like a shrunken caravan. Dethleffs had made a bike camper concept in 2010, but it was never taken into production. No wonder, as it was huge and clumsy, weighing 180 kg’s. Imagine towing that with your muscles only…
Then an idea came into my mind: a solid object that was surrounded by an outer “shell”. The key sketch was born. We agreed that the idea was worthy of further development, and we sketched some more, this time in 1:10 scale with the actual dimensions. To keep the camper compact and easily towable, the idea of expanding space for the legs came into Mikael’s mind. Waltter made the first mock-ups from cardboard and styrofoam. Time flew, and 24th of July we started to prepare to build the model. Our original plan was to make eGroovy a working 1:1 prototype, but it was too much of a challenge. Making an actual product in less than two months would’ve been incredible achievement, but the risk of a failure was too big. Tom was our client, so we had to make sure to produce everything he asked. Refined scale model is better than rushed and unfinished prototype. So we messed around for a week, and made the decision to build 1:2 scale model instead.
August was mainly about building the model while defining the design. Details were formed as the model was built. The interior was on purpose left pretty blank, because time was running out. We focused on the exterior and used our background as automotive design graduates to our aid. Tom liked what he was seeing and gave us pretty much free hands regarding the design. Only one restriction: it shouldn’t look and feel like a coffin! September was drawing close and so was our deadline. Come to think of it, had we decided to build a prototype in real scale, we would’ve probably failed (and say goodbye to our career). After all, the reservations for the stand at the fair was already made, so failure was not an option. On the 6th of September, I started to work with digital material. My area of responsibility was to make renderings to showcase the design and make the layout for the posters, while Mikael and Waltter built the model. The absolute deadline for digital work and poster design was 11th of September, because we had to take into account the time required for printing.
Thursday 14th of September, a day before the Caravan 2017 fair, and we still didn’t have the posters. I called Grano, and to our fortune, everything was ready. No idea why they didn’t inform me… but off we went, to build our stand for the show. The weekend was pretty hectic, and we were astounded how much interest our concept drew. Some of the visitors said that they had come to see specifically our concept. Tom was pleased as well, so the goal was reached: our client was happy and felt he got what he asked for!
We think that the highlight of the fair was Saturday: we took to the stage and presented eGroovy to a big audience. Roope Salminen was interviewing us, and we got to answer questions regarding the design and our education. The interview and the following presentation was a total surprise for us, but even so it went really well. We also got some media coverage, which is extremely important for our future career. We think that the eGroovy project is a manifestation of determination that is required in this business: after the Caravan 2016, we had underwent negotiations with Tom for nearly a year about some additional project, this time with some money involved. eGroovy was our first job as professional vehicle designers, and we couldn’t be happier of the end result. There has already been some talk about finding the possible manufacturer, but nothing more can’t be said at this point. Maybe eGroovy will remain only as a design concept, or maybe you will see them roaming the streets in the future. Either way, I’m sure eGroovy will help us to move forward in our careers.
2017 marks our third ever graduation year, and our graduates displayed wide-ranging vehicle proposals based on their own independent research and collaboration with industry clients. We still like to use our unofficial name and brand STANCE here at Finland’s first and only full-time Vehicle Design study programme. This year we wanted to emphasise that we are from Lahti (not Helsinki!) and that we are based in the small but world famous Lahti Institute of Design. Lahti is something of a motor-city in Finland, with a strong automotive culture. There’s also a bus factory based here. That particular place was part of a project to design and build Saunabussi (yes, a bus with a sauna inside) which two of our students were involved with. We were very grateful to have Saunabussi visiting our STANCE17 event! Interestingly, the first franchise of London’s Ace Corner Cafe is right here in Lahti Finland. We teamed up with Ace Corner Finland to host our degree show. Ace Corner is also the location for Finland’s largest motorcycle museum. Our event gave VIP visitors access to the motorcycle museum for free- and we thank the owners of Ace Cafe for that privilege. On the evening of 24th we presented our STANCE award, sponsored by our good friends at Rightware (one of Finland’s top vehicle industry partners). The award for best project this year, was given to Ilja Oikarinen for his innovative plastic concept vehicle. The Pod-Vehicle concept is an autonomous vehicle that owners can sleep inside- and can be owned, or even rented like a Japanese pod-hotel – for mega-city workers to sleep near their place of work. Other commendable projects included Waltter Holm’s Patria armoured vehicle concept. A very comprehensive and detailed design project, with the most accurate and detailed model we have ever seen at our institute. Two students, Antti Vahtola and Antti Alasalmi, returned just in time from Turin Italy, where they had been working at the Changan Automotive Europe design studio. They completed the Chagan Serenity visual identity concept thesis work at that studio. This type of collaboration with industry is a vital part of our learning process and we are incredibly grateful to Changan Automotive for all their help. We would like to thank Patria, Covestro, Lada Moscow, Changan Automotive, Rightware and of course Ace Corner for all their help contributing to this years successful projects and exhibition.
Police Multi Terrain Vehicle
The subject of this graduation project is to create a concept for a new kind of police vehicle for finding missing people in off-road environments. This thesis examines missing person search operations and associated problems and tries to find answers to these questions. At this moment a searching process is usually too complicated and public authorities don`t have any vehicles made for this use. Also the resources are limited, because effective search operations need so many people to join them.
This graduation project is about designing a marine rescue vehicle. I try to find the issues surrounding current rescue vehicles and concentrated on finding solutions to the problems that complicate the operations of the current rescue boats. The final product is purely conceptual vehicle and also my vision of the ideal small marine rescue vehicle. The vehicle is operated by one person, and it’s capable of transporting another person along with the driver.
This thesis and the visual aspect of the project focused on the walking combat vehicles of Titanfall. These vehicles are called Titans.
The goal of this project was to design a new type of Titan for the Frontier Militia unit that is in the science-fiction universe of Titanfall.
The design process of this project includes a wide range of fine detailed digital and traditional drawings.
The end result is a super heavy stealth camouflaged assault and ambush Titan, Phantom
Sampo from Kalevala
My thesis project was to focus on the world of Kalevala and bring the mythical machine named Sampo into today’s world in the form of a motorcycle. For those who don’t know, Sampo is a magical device of indeterminate form. It has been proposed to be knowledge, power, skill as well as material things, such as a magical mill, a counterfeit device, and a machine for minting coins.
My aim was to build a rugged machine, visiting the past and picking up key elements from days gone by. My project features a hardtail frame to make it low and to keep a retro feel to it. For example, Harley-Davidson fat boy wheels are used, because they give an impression of historic style, when wheels were riveted by blacksmiths. In Kalevala, Blacksmith Ilmarinen forged the Sampo.
The aim of the bachelor’s thesis was to design an innovative armoured personnel carrier. This bachelor’s thesis is made in cooperation with Patria Land Systems. An armoured personnel carrier is an armoured vehicle which run on tracks, in which the crew can be transported. My Bachelor’s thesis presents a novel solution to armoured personnel carriers which can easily be adapted to other purposes. Purpose is possible by switching the integrated function module into the another function module. Function module options may include the evacuation, reconnaissance, maintenance and in-service module. Armoured personnel carrier is completely unarmed.
Algorithms as designers
The topic of this graduation project is to create a design process that benefits from computing science by using algorithms and artificial intelligence as part of the process. The focus is on how designers can exploit existing programs that have a large volume of users (big data) and how research results can be applied to Lada’s renewed brand image.
Antti Vahtola and Antti Alasalmi
This graduation project was created for Chinese car manufacturer Changan. The brief was to create a visual identity for the brand and to form the key elements of their design. Our mission was to build a vision which presents Changan’s identity, giving the guidelines for the global design language. Our concept is built around safety and clarity. Changan means “lasting safety” as a name, so the story for the vehicle reflects the brand. The main theme of the concept was the interaction with water, having strong inspiration from a boating world combined with a Scandinavian touch. The vehicle is designed for the autonomous era. The user experience will be highlighted when there’s no need to drive.
My graduation project was created with the collaboration of Covestro, a company that produces plastics. This project is aimed at finding a way to merchandise Covestro’s materials in a new and exciting way. To do that I have chosen a future scenario which will address the issue of high density of people and unavailability of housing.
To solve these problems, I have created a vehicle interior concept which will provocatively highlight a solution and proposal for the year 2030. In this concept the interior is used like a Swiss army knife. It is multipurpose, where you can sleep, rest, hang out or drive the vehicle, depending on your need. The car can be rented or bought.
STANCE are holding an art exhibition! Here’s the info… (note: the gallery is closed on Monday and Tuesday)
This exhibition aims to showcase the art that happens behind the scenes, simply as part of our design process in Vehicle Design. Often these sketches and models are discarded or ignored as designs progress towards their final stages. The aim of our exhibition is to celebrate the artistry and creativity that happens spontaneously on paper, on canvas, on scraps of paper, on napkins at dinner, in our notebooks on the train etc. A designer must transition from art to commerce (a real product) but the emotion and energies of these early rough beginnings are vital to keep alive in our designs, in order to create successful vehicles.
In Vehicle Design, the designer must celebrate and practice their artistic skills.
These works are selected from current and previous Vehicle Design Bachelors students of Lahti Institute of Design and Fine Arts. Some works are selected from students of Transportation design at Steiglitz Academy of Art and Design in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2015 our students worked with their peers in Russia for a 10 day automotive design workshop.
2015 is the year that our first Vehicle Design students will graduate. Vehicle Design has always been part of our curriculum here, but 4 years ago we began teaching it as a full time Bachelors level degree. After 4 years our students reach a high level of competence, and to showcase their skills they collaborated on a project led by a professional car designer. The project gained recognition in the automotive design world, being featured on Auto&Design Facebook page and kickstarting a lot of local press attention too.
Our student’s brief was to create a new benchmark for a premium electric vehicle segment in the year 2025. It was to be branded Mercedes-Benz.
After three intensive months of design studies and weekly concept development stages, here is the final design.
The story of the design is shown at Behance, or in the following gallery.
Vehicle design is probably the dream job for many little and slightly bigger boys. Why did you become interested in the field?
-I’ve been drawing cars since preschool, and started fixingcars already before I was old enough to get a driving license. Gradually, I became interested in the overall design of cars. I can’t really even think of another field I’d like to work in and which I’d be so enthusiastic about. Vehicle Design is a new major degree programme at the Institute of Design.
Have you enjoyed it?
-Designers who have graduated from Industrial Design have been employed by the vehicle industry already before, so I had high expectations about the programme. And I can say that I haven’t been disappointed. I enjoy the studies, and the teachers are good and up-to-date with changes in the sector. The atmosphere in our class is excellent, and everyone is motivated. The sector is very competitive.
How can one succeed?
-It’s hard to say at this stage. However, I believe that studying at Lahti Institute of Design provides adequate skills for future employment needs. The rest is up to yourself.
Your dream employer?
2018 update: Kalle graduated in 2015, and continued his studies at the RCA London, Vehicle Design Masters course, and in 2017 he began his automotive design career at Rolls Royce Motor Cars, UK design studio, which incidentally is owned by BMW! Dream achieved.