The coveted Red Dot Design Concept award for 2009 has been awarded to Mexican born designer Alberto Villareal. It was presented by Germany’s Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, which has been giving prestigious awards to product design trendsetters since 1955.
Delighted Villareal has received a great deal of exposure since winning the Red Dot prize. One of his major design achievements is the MX-LIBRIS taxi vehicle. Designed specifically for Latin American cities, this unique looking taxi is a zero pollution invention, using fuel cells for its energy source. As it does not utilise traditional, polluting combustion engine technologies, there is considerably more space within the body – ideal for those travelling with baggage or in groups of up to four.
The seating has been laid out so that three seats face a fourth seat, thus promoting interaction between passengers, and the open top feature has been formulated with the toasty Latin American climate in mind. Not only has Villareal drawn up this futuristic transportation unit to be ecologically friendly, but also with the ambition of becoming an icon of South American cities. The overcrowded cities of this vibrant continent could well do with a vehicle which assists a reduction in pollution.
If you’re in the market for one of Villareal’s show-stopping industrial design creations, but can’t afford an entire metropolitan taxi-cab, you might be more interested in the CASCUZ. This striking invention addresses the old bicycle helmet design, with a unique helmet structure made up of hexagonal shapes. This rigid design (as used so well by bees and wasps in sturdy nest construction) also contains a light system – superseding the ‘helmet-with-cumbersome-light-attached’ design. This distinctly useful piece of product design is made more so by being powered entirely by the user’s movement. The way the light combines with the helmet means as well as lighting the cyclist’s way, they are also easy to spot by others.
Villareal’s various memorable industrial design creations are likely to provide inspiration for those looking to enter the product design field – as well as remind inventors and ideas people everywhere of how far the boundaries of product design can be pushed. With such a focus on ecological issues, Villareal seems to have his figure on the pulse of what current and future consumers and governments need; namely products that protect the environment and improve our lifestyles.