At the beginning of a project it’s all about exploration and the faster you work, the more you are able to explore. That’s why we always begin with pen and paper. The drawings do not have to be the best in the world but that doesn’t matter - it’s about gathering and sharing ideas with the design team. The collaboration with a team helps you to argue about designs you like and see which ideas are good and which are bad. We also create quick physical prototypes to help with overall geometry. From this, a single direction is selected and then it’s onto a computer to make it a digital reality.
We used Blender because it allows us to get a good looking model really fast. Within a few days, all three machines were modeled and ready to be rendered for presentation purposes. It’s a free program and we highly recommend all industrial designers to try it in their process.
Blender can produce some really excellent looking renders and that’s great if you’re only creating an image but industrial design can’t stop there. We are creating physical products that people will hopefully use one day. That’s why building a full-scale model was so important in our process. Building a full scale model can help identify the ideal geometry and overall aesthetic within an environment. This information is tricky to get from just an image. It’s a magical thing to see your design in real life - from the process of those early sketches to something you can actually see people using.
It was only half-way through the project that we realised how much the design had been influenced by transport design. Typically this type of discovery happens in early stages so that designers are able to ideate around a specific theme. It was the perfect accident.
In the above image you can see how the inspiration from transport design is reflected in the curvature of the product. The hood of the machine is sloped and the lines follow the length of the product like the design of a streamlined train.
Typically these machines are designed like tanks with little or no character. And when they are placed alongside one another - this feeling increases. We wanted a collection of machines to feel like a group of people - almost like a family. Each one has a different height and a different angle because people have different heights and different postures.