The Lahti Institute of Design (aka STANCE) showcased the work of its graduating students at an exhibition earlier this month. As Finland’s first and only automotive design course, students on the Vehicle Design focus on personal mobility, public transport, machinery and freight vehicle design.
Over the course of the program, students achieve an understanding of ideation, design, product research and development, usability, ergonomics and user-centered and user-interface design. They also learn about project management, branding and a variety of visualization and modeling techniques.
This year — the second for the growing program — saw eight students graduate from the course, each showing wide-ranging design proposals created to answer an individually set brief. The designs varied massively in scale, from a small urban shape-changing motorcycle, to a 22ft powerboat and a 2.5k-long interstellar spacecraft.
Two awards were handed out to this group — one to Marjo Koivisto (the first of two female graduates), for her mining vehicle project, which was created as a large scale model for the show, and another to Topi Haapanen for his ATLAS interstellar spacecraft design, which combines astro-physics, mechanical design and design thinking.
ATLAS NX-2057 Spaceframe by Topi Haapanen
Having researched the technology, challenges and drivers of space travel, Topi Haapanen created a conceptual multipurpose spacecraft for the year 2060. His thesis visualizes a future flexible support craft for long-term space operation such as mining, research or interplanetary transport. The ship can transport human crew and a mission objective payload over short interstellar distances.
“The project has forced me not only to be scientifically analytic, but also to perform populist redresses in order to make a readable conceptual presentation,” says Haapanen. “The project is a challenge to study the dualistic nature of designer’s role between art and science.”
Transforming Bike Concept by Mika Karjalainen
Mika Karjalainen’s transforming motorbike concept utilizes artificial muscles to address typical ergonomic issues with street bikes and improve performance.
The bike’s driving position can be adjusted between upright and crouched, so it is agile in urban environments and aerodynamic at highway speeds. The distance between instruments can also be adjusted to accommodate riders between 5ft. 3-inches and 6ft. 3-inches tall.
Over the course of his research, Karjalainen says he made a “groundbreaking discovery”: nylon muscle. He says the inherent cost advantages over other artificial muscle alternatives influenced his decision to employ the material in his project. The artificial muscles also enabled him to use elastic materials to create a visual interest at the center of the bike.
Brizo Yachts BY22 Pauli Hyvönen
Pauli Hyvönen’s graduation project is a small boat he designed for leisure and professional use. Using an already available hull, Hyvönen concentrated on the design of the structures above the water line. “For the background I familiarized myself with the needs of different boaters and with the Finnish boat industry,” says Hyvönen. “The main target of my graduation project was a multipurpose boat where the main features of conventional and luxury boats are combined.”
Toroidion Roam by Mikael Serjala
The Toroidion Roam is a multifunctional off-road vehicle intended for the planet Mars. Designer Mikael Serjala focused on answering several key questions to devise a vehicle that was not only suited to operate on the planet while catering to users’ needs, but also how the vehicle would be transported and maintained while there.
“Extreme weather conditions play a large role in defining the different design criteria for the vehicle,” says Serjala. “Things such as the shape, size and materials, which we take for granted in cars here, are not so simple on Mars. These conditions mean that there [were] many new problems need to be tackled and considered in the design.”
Normet Multimec 2040 by Marjo Koivisto
Marjo Koivisto’s graduation project is a proposal for a future underground logistics vehicle for the mining industry. Sponsored by Normet Group, manufacturers of the present day Multimec, the semi-autonomous vehicle is controlled above ground via remote control and a virtual reality headset, which projects the view from the cabin.
“The concept I have designed is very different to the current lineup of mining vehicles in use today,” Koivisto admits, “I strived to make this project as believable as possible in today’s world but still keep it futuristic and interesting. I researched the past, the present and the future of the mining industry and examined how future technologies and upcoming materials will affect the mining industry.”
Markus Niininen’s project is a cargo and people carrier designed to cater to low infrastructure areas in Central Africa. Niininen researched the current road and electric network challenges to devise a solution for users from different communities, businesses and farmers. He determined the most important features of the vehicle to be simplicity and reliability, which enable it to fulfill the users’ requirements.
Valtra Lighting Concept by Alisa Viinikainen
Alisa Viinikainen assignment was to design a lighting plan for the interior of Valtra OY Ab’s N and T series tractors following a brief set by Finnish manufacturer. “My goal was to find the fundamental functions and meanings of a lighting design and actualize it,” she says.
Taking into account the working environment, seasons and different light conditions, all of which have an impact on the safety, comfort and endurance of users, Viinikainen conducted research on the effect of lighting on work efficiency and ergonomics.
Valtra is now looking to produce and manufacture the design and will showcase the model for new clients at exhibitions.
Toyota EV8 WRC Concept by Henri Hokkanen
Henri Hokkanen’s graduation project is a vehicle for the 2030 World Rally Championship. Considering the ecological, efficiency, materials, safety and entertainment value of future rally cars, the concept would be built for Toyota Motor racing (a company which will have had 26 years of pro rally car experience in 2030). Hokkanen envisions the car would be built in Tommi Mäkinen Racing OY in Finland, due to its proximity to raw materials.
Former graduates of the STANCE program have found work within Skoda, Toyota, Ford and Telsa’s automotive design studios or gone on to study at London’s Royal College of Art and Umea Institute of Design’s MA-level course. For more information on the course visit the Lahti Institute of Design international application guides.
Founded in 2012, Form Trends tirelessly covers the automotive design industry in all corners of the globe to bring you exclusive content about cars, design, and the people behind the products.