College Exhibition: Coventry Degree Show 2006
07 Jul 2006
BMW M-taxi by Niki Yau. Click for larger images
2016 Mercedes SLR by Jong Soo Kim
Volvo xr150 by Christophe Degand
Ben Adams project
Ryan Ennion Marcos XP
Photos: Brett Patterson

Niki Yau's BMW M-taxi was an interesting counterpart to the recent concept car by Israeli architect Zaha Hadid. It takes a BMW M5 platform and rebodies it as a replacement the current M5 Ring-Taxi which is used on the Nurburgring to entertain clients. The style and graphics are inspired by Hadid, who designed the recent Leipzig factory for BMW. "Zaha Hadid uses dynamic, geometric forms with hard edges and sharp intersections. In essence, this is the opposite of current BMW design direction" explains Yau. The big gullwing doors have a lower glass panel that allows a dramatic view of the track for the four passengers. The idea would be to produce a limited series of corporate event cars to reinforce the 'Freude am Fahren' brand values of BMW.

Ian Midgley Honda Revo motorcycle
Oliver Dobson
Sam Curson's Species project
Chris Viney's Honda Type-R coupe

The original 1955 'Uhlenhaut Coupe' Mercedes SLR was the inspiration for Jong Soo Kim's 2016 Mercedes SLR concept. He explains that "this car adapts to speed via moving body panels as, for most natural objects, there's an alteration in shape according to the status of the speed. Here, the front fenders move out 200mm for enhanced cornering and braking control and provide a visual clue as to the car's approaching speed". The 2-seat front midship layout uses soft flowing forms and enclosed wheels to give it an initial retro-look, but offsets this by using black graphics in the lower half of the big gullwing door to visually extend the body down around the wheels to give a more advanced, mysterious look to the car. It's an interesting counterpart to the recent BMW Mille Miglia concept shown in May that harks back to an iconic sports car from the past and reinterprets it for tomorrow.

French-born Christophe Degand's xr150 project was a new type of 3-seater utility vehicle that's a cross between Volvo articulated haulers and a pick-up truck. It merges Volvo car design cues such as the prominent shoulders surfaces and a bluff nose with construction equipment toughness, while the interior makes use of bio materials such as hemp and recycled materials.

Ben Adams research centered on emotional attachments to cars. The bodyforms and soft graphics were inspired by seashells, fossil patterns and bone structures. With cab rearwards proportions not unlike an early Marcos or Datsun 240Z, the concept uses a GM-type skateboard chassis powered by fuel-cells. The interior features reclining seats and a vast cinema-type HUD display on the windscreen.

Another Marcos-inspired project was that of Ryan Ennion. His Marcos XP is a proposal for a larger midship sportscar following an internship with the company last year. Although the result is conventional in form, the model was very professionally finished and the design was aerodynamically-led, with a flat underbody, smoothed airflow into ducts and a rear airbrake. The big extended front fenders feature an outlet airfeed to the rear intakes, smoothing air past the inset center tub of the car.

Other projects included:

  • a fuel cell powered motorbike by Ian Midgley
  • Stuart Ellis, Nissan Uindo vehicle
  • Chris Viney's proposal for a Honda Type-R   
  • a supercar for Danish tuner Kleemann by Jesper Hermann
  • Xavier Vairai's interior model for a future Renault Alpine
  • a flagship Alfa Romeo Villa D'Este by Ross McSherry that won 1st prize in the 2006 Stile Italiano Giovani competition

Industry visitors to the opening night included senior design staff from BMW, Renault, Bentley, Ford, GM Detroit, Jaguar, Land Rover, Rolls-Royce, Nissan, Visteon, Nike, Puma and Porsche.

The school has a great deal of support from the car industry through sponsored projects and regular visiting lectures, particularly from alumni designers now working within the various fields of Transportation Design, such as the local design studios of Jaguar, Land Rover and the GM advanced studio. In addition, the existence of many specialist sports car companies such as Aston Martin, Marcos, Noble, Ascari, GTM, Prodrive, and automotive prototype companies within the Coventry area means there is a wide range of possible internships and project collaborations available for students.

Further projects can be seen at the degree show website:

Coventry School of Art and Design website:

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Coventry University Degree Show 2005