London-based Heatherwick Studio has revealed concept for a new electric car in this year’s Shanghai Motor Show. Named Airo, this car will run on electric power, producing no fossil fuel pollutants during the journey. This ambitious design wants to go just beyond being fully electric; it wants to address the problem of severe air pollution which plagues most urban cities today. The car comes fitted with a state-of-the-art HEPA filtering system, which actively cleans the air from the pollution of other cars.
Thomas Heatherwick, founder of Heatherwick Studio said, “Airo isn’t simply another electric car that doesn’t pollute the air. Instead, using the latest HEPA-filter technology, it goes further by also vacuuming up pollutants from other cars as it drives along.”
The car is developed by IM Motors in collaboration with Heatherwick Studio. The designers wanted to address how we can maximise the usage of car in our daily lives. The studio started by looking at how most of the car is ideal for 90% of the time and sitting in a parking lot, and they see this as unutilised real estate, around 1.4 billion sq. m. in area. They wanted to design the car in such a way that adjustability and adaptability become the key features of the design.
The result is a customisable luxurious interior that can be configured into multiple functional spaces that turn this car into a moving room. They refer to this as ‘a space for your life’, wherein, the car interior is conceived to be a lounge, a dining room, a gaming centre or a place to sleep during journeys. The seats can be rotated from a traditional forward-facing driving position to face each other for social activities. The contoured seats can fully recline to form a spacious double bed and come equipped with a fully glazed roof that becomes opaque on command for total privacy.
Heatherwick added, “Designed to simultaneously address the global space shortage, Airo is also a multi-functional room with extra space for dining, working, gaming or even sleeping. As a new room for our lives, with a changing view, Airo is a car intended to transport us to a cleaner and better future.”
The studio has also designed a series of charging stations for IM Motors which will be a part of the urban fabric of the city for decades to come. Built using industrial materials including weathered steel, it will become part of the infrastructure of the city.
The idea of adaptability has always featured prominently in Heatherwick’s work, where his designs adapt dynamically to the environment and situation they are in.
The concept car is expected to go into production in 2023.
Heatherwick Studio is a team of 200 problem solvers dedicated to making the physical world around us better for everyone. Based out of our combined workshop and design studio in central London, we create buildings, spaces, master plans, objects and infrastructure. Working as practical inventors with no signature style, our motivation is to design soulful and interesting places which embrace and celebrate the complexities of the real world. The approach driving everything is to lead from human experience rather than any fixed design dogma.
The studio’s multi-award-winning completed projects include Zeitz MOCAA, the conversion of a disused grain silo into a new museum for contemporary art in South Africa; a 16-storey landmark for Hudson Yards known as the Vessel; the Learning Hub at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University; and the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.
The studio is currently working on approximately 30 live projects in ten countries. Projects under construction include a new park and performance space, Little Island at Pier 55, in the Hudson River, New York and a new major headquarters for Google in both King’s Cross and Silicon Valley (in collaboration with BIG).