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What will the car of the future look like? And what does the car of the present look like under the hood?
At the end of 2021, the architect Norman Foster asked Strelka Institute and its alumni to produce their vision of the car of the future, to be featured in the exhibition “Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture” at the Guggenheim Bilbao.
Foster’s work embraces a systems-level perspective that sees buildings not as independent objects but as material Frankensteins, coagulated by forces that often lie beyond the designer’s control. We wanted to know if the same could be said about the car — and if so, what might those forces be?
We are not car designers. Some of us can’t even drive. Inspired by the automobile, what we offer here is an approach to design unmoored from any particular medium to help demystify how complex technical objects such as cars or buildings will materialize in the 21st century.
As part of our research, we digested thousands of industry reports, newsletters, op-eds, and academic studies, and familiarized ourselves with the intricacies of car insurance, disaster appraisal, thermoplastic composites, CarPlay, machine vision, EV swapping, and toll road regulation. Returning to Foster’s brief, what emerged was not the blueprint for a new type of vehicle, but a speculation on (car) design itself.
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