Retro-Futuristic

I’m a big fan of Retro-Futuristic design.  Maybe that’s why some of the better Steam Punk designs appeal to me.  I don’t mean the stuff that’s just hot-gluing old watch gears onto some leather or carrying a toy ray-gun around in an old-western holster.  I want art that can actually be part of our daily lives.  To paraphrase a better writer than I, Life Should Be Art.  However, it shouldn’t just look cool or pretty, our tools, houses, and transportation can be practical, well-engineered, and well-made.  Things that are crafted by hand from good materials tend to be better thought out, have individual character, and have the quality of an heirloom.

Some mass-produced things are still pretty cool and it’s not always practical or affordable for us, in the modern rat-race, to make or have made, everything in our lives.  In this direction, I have noticed quite a few Makers repurposing or redesigning their possessions.  In other words, “hacking” the designs of others.

While looking for images of old scooters last night, I came across these amazing guys in Japan who took a pretty average-looking Honda scooter that looked like this:

and tore it down to the essentials before rebuilding it into this classy ride:

It is such a cool, yet realistic design, my first impression was that this was a 1930s or 40s scooter rebuilt.

Here’s another shot:

And it’s final color!

Click on the image above to have a look at their tear-down and build.  There’s a lot of pages but it’s a well-documented process.

N55 Walkinghouse

N55 is a group of artists and designers who have some interesting ideas.  I have been interested in the Walkinghouse since I first saw it.  Here is a link to its “manual” and here is a video of it walking in Copenhagen.  I selfishly wish they were doing this somewhere closer to me.  While on this website, its worth checking out some of their other ideas.  They are broken up into “manuals” and they also have a book you can download.

I like much of their design and hope to continue to see more as they progress.

My only real problem with this design is the lack of an easy-entry door.  I couldn’t imagine climbing in while holding anything (like a sack of groceries).  I do find the combination of solar-electric, hydraulic drive, and wood heat to be intriguing.