(Image from Japan Car: Designs for a Crowded Globe at Flickr)
London's Science Museum, Design Platform Japan and a host of others are presenting a rather different take on the cultural aspects of state-of-the-art automobiles, including kei cars, in a clever exhibition that started on November 29, 2008.
Japan Car - Designs for the Crowded Globe is an exploration of the car as a "mobile cell" - conceived by two world class designers: Kenya Hara, the man responsible for much of the success of Muji, the Nagano Olympics opening ceremony, and Shigeru Ban, the architect currently designing a new satellite gallery for Paris' Pompidou Centre, who did the recycled cardboard paper tubes used to quickly and efficiently house disaster victims, having helped earthquake victims in Kobe in 1995...
Meanwhile, Volvo and Saab are begging the Swedish government for help. People are even suggesting the Swedish automakers should be nationalized. Getting government assistance to make more SUVs? I don't think so. This is a debate that does sound rather alien here in Japan:
The exhibition shows how Japanese car design reflects the 'soil and the spirit of Japan', shown through concept cars and special home market models. Japan Car explores three themes while examining the future of mobility in cities. Japan, being both highly innovative and densely populated, can be seen as the driving force behind transport solutions for twenty-first century cities.
"We all ought to take a moment to think about what would happen in Sweden if both Volvo Cars and Saab Automobile ceased to exist," writes Rolf Wolff, dean of the school of business at Gothenburg University, in Monday's issue of business daily Dagens Industri.
"If Volvo Cars disappears as a base for industrial knowledge and skills, then Sweden will never again be a part of the auto industry. All the knowledge and skills would be lost, and with it all future associated development potential would be gone. Forever."
What went wrong? At the Science Museum in London, you can explore:
* Size - small yet sophisticated vehicles and special kei cars, which are both compact and technologically advanced
* Environment — climate-conscious hybrids intended to reduce carbon and other emissions
* Moving urban cells — the future of transport as integrated systems rather than individual vehicles
Alongside Japanese bonsai, art and design, Japan Car is displaying 14 unusual cars from the past decade and conceptual models, including the Nissan PIVO2 and Toyota i-REAL.
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Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp