- ABOUT US _ Drive is an Automotive Design Consultancy building long term relationships with design-driven companies worldwide, designing products that enhance their brand's DNA and position in the market place.
This year’s Royal College of Art degree show is the first showing the work of the young designers graduating from the Intelligent Mobility course.
It is not only the name that has changed but the timing of the event with the warm summer evenings replaced by mid-February moonlit nights.
So with all that change did the work reflect the shift of emphasis for the better? Well, yes and no. It was still quite clearly at the level you expect from the RCA MA graduates, and the major project seems to have the same amount of background research and thought process, even though the course is now only 15 months long.
The variety of projects certainly shows the breadth of exploration that the students are encouraged to follow with a research focus on innovation and disruptive design solutions. Zi Lin brings a new meaning to ‘car tuning’ with his sports car inspired by / incorporating a grand piano for composers.
To truly appreciate the projects it is important to spend time with the young designers who were all very capable of conveying their ideas and discussing their projects. Rhys Llewellyn had two projects, a new wheel design and Range Rover submersible, whilst the Bellwether industry team presented the hover car, and as with all the students there was indepth research and development backing their designs.
The presentation techniques are the same, with the requisite CG visuals of the digital models and well finished scale models, but perhaps what was not so obviously on show was the initial inspiration for all good design – the biro sketch. Maybe this is where the previously longer course with potentially more quick fire projects encouraged the sketch books’ revealing thought processes.
That is why when discussing the show with the likes of Simon Cox and Mark Oldham that it was the doodle sketch pad of Yuxuan Yang that got special mention.
Pei Chan also has to be mentioned as he was in contact with Drive well before the show, sending information and advice on the various schedules, and an invite as well.
Make the time to visit, you won’t be disappointed by the quality of the work.
Darwin Building RCA Kensington Gore London SW7 2EU
Drive have supported naval architects and yacht manufacturers with their digital modelling and marketing imagery and animations.
We have always shared the expertise and methodologies gained in automotive design with other product and transportation studios. Our aim is to provide a quality service, building our reputation of bringing real value to new clients. All knowledge gained from other industries is then incorporated into our work flows and brings benefit to all our clients across all sectors.
Within the field of visualisation alone effects and techniques that were once considered ‘specialist’, time consuming and expensive are now more accessible that we can now use them on a day to day basis. Adapting to new hardware, software and workflows is always worthwhile and for this yacht animation we’ve used fluid and cloth simulation, photogrammetry re-creating real coastline and HDRI lighting to fully capture the mood of the sunset.
This integration of techniques is a viable route to location shoots without the need to take the real product to a remote location.
Working with yacht manufacturers’ marketing teams as well as supporting brokers, naval architects and yacht design consultancies, is an enjoyable experience allowing our creative team to work on projects without 4 wheels.
Drive recently demonstrated VR at our studio to a number of our clients.
Attendees were able to experience virtual reality environments created for design review, new yacht interiors and as well as walk around and sit in virtual vehicles.
Drive have been creating both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) applications for automotive and transportation clients, drawing on our experience of design, digital modelling and high quality CG imaging techniques.
Recent Projects have included a VR train interior for a b2b exhibition, an AR App for the MG SUV launch, car configurator and a b2b sales and promotional App for Mirus Aircraft Seating.
Our creative team embrace these immersive technologies because Virtual Reality as a storyteller, has the power to connect, communicate and engage audiences by enabling them to experience a story in a way no other media can.
Virtual reality is something that is allowing design teams to develop concepts quicker and resolve issues earlier and here at the Drive Studio we now have a fantastic Virtual Reality design set up to which we are all becoming accustomed to using in our day to day work.
So how have we facilitated the use of the VR set up within the studio? We are always finding new ways to use it, but within the realms of being a beneficial tool rather than being a slave to it. A good example is this Bugatti concept , that enables us to show off the benefits of using VR to our automotive clients.
Projects like this are an important to everyone at Drive, with our passion for automotive design and especially for anything that goes fast is in our DNA. With the initial concept penned everyone was unable to resist getting involved with something as extreme as this. We worked together to design, resolve and refine the concept simultaneously combining our work flows through Photoshop, Alias and VR.
The use of VR is a great tool to check the design through the modelling development process and helps both modeller and designer. An instant tool at our finger tips that allowed us to critique and rapidly develop the concept, producing a better result in a quicker time frame. As a tool VR makes you aware of the digital model issues you normally only realise when you are standing in front of a full scale clay. I am a firm believer in the development of a physical model, and VR is a benefit to allow any studio to start physical modelling stage from a more advanced point, speeding up the process and saving time.
We use various systems from Autodesk VRED, Unreal Engine and Unity to create the Virual Reality experiences. We will be very pleased to discuss your requirements and support your adoption of the technology into your work flow.
SAIC have just launched a new advanced design studio. The open plan arrangement with designers’ zones, review areas, chill out space and groovy chairs providing a creative environment on prime Maryleborne real estate in the middle of London. A confident statement of intent, attracting design talent along with high expectations to define the future SAIC products.
When I started Drive and was shown impressive facilities of OEMs like Volvo or engineering firms like Magna, it made me wonder how a design consultancy like Drive can compete with the major automotive manufacturers and their studios.
The answer of course is we don’t.
Major car companies carry out most of their design work themselves, with dedicated design departments capable of handling every aspect of the design process.
But few car companies do not use the services of external car design consultancies for some smaller projects or as a validation of their internal designs, whilst many smaller niche car companies use such consultancies to supplement their more limited in-house design facilities on larger design projects.
In most cases the reason we get shown around a company’s design facilities is because Drive is working with them or about to. They see that Drive has something to offer them and they want us to work with their teams to stimulate creativity and maximise the design output. Whether it be for market insights, a fresh design perspective or simply additional digital resource we are able to provide focussed and professional expertise.
As with the studio space, I question ‘how can we compete’ when recruiting creative talent, when automotive OEMs can offer so much in terms of employment, facilities and certainty of projects well into the future.
Again we don’t compete, what we have to offer is different.
We are an efficient studio that has a welcoming, creative and professional atmosphere. We work with numerous brands so it is unlikely that we will designing a similar face of a car or grill for long. The type of work is varied, and is more likely to be concept ideation than production detailing. The projects will cover a large spectrum with mobility solutions, aircraft interiors or maybe another supercar inspired Track-tor (see here) being as likely as the next production SUV.
A consultancy environment like Drive’s isn’t for everyone, but the constant change benefits our creative team keeping them fresh, interested and gaining a breadth of experiences that differentiates them from other designers. The very skill set that many design chiefs look for in their next hire, indeed two former Drive employees will be able relax at the new SAIC coffee bar.
It is the diverse experiences that attracts our clients and benefits their projects as they get new perspectives, fresh ideas and insight from our broad knowledge gained across different industries and clients.
So if you are looking for some creative input for your next project or if a consultancy environment is somewhere you would like to work, come round for a chat. We don’t have a coffee bar but we do have a fantastic café around the corner.
(SAIC Design Advanced London top image – photos source SAIC)