When you think of BMW, subways aren't the first thing to come to mind. But BMW DesignworksUSA has its fingers in a lotta pies, having consulted for everyone from Nokia to Microsoft to Coca Cola. So it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that when Siemens – a longtime partner of the design haus – was looking for a new Metro concept, it tapped the BMW Group's subsidiary.
Siemens wants to create a customizable, comfortable and sustainable means of shuttling the car-less masses, and the result is the Metro Inspiro, a new take on a classic means of transportation.
The outside isn't too revolutionary, but like momma always said, it's what's on the inside the counts. To that end, BMW DesignworksUSA has outfitted the inside of the Metro concept with organic textures, a Cork Blend floor and multi-colored lighting that adapts as the natural light evolves throughout the day. There's a good chance that a few of these elements could find there way into the next generation of people-movers, and if you're ready for the heady details and design-speak, check out the press blast below.
A new face for the Metro of the future.
Design is becoming increasingly important within the urban environment. A metropolis' identity is notably determined by the quality and visual impression of its local public transport system. In the summer of 2010, the Siemens company commissioned BMW Group subsidiary DesignworksUSA, to develop the design of the new Metro Inspiro - a further chapter in the long-standing cooperation of the two partners. With the Metro Inspiro, Siemens is aiming to set new benchmarks. The design team focused on combining the demands of the Siemens company, potential operators, passengers and the environment alike. An intelligent interplay between state-of-the-art technology and emotional design is focused on defining a new and sustainable quality of experiencing urban mobility. With the new design, Siemens will be participating internationally in open competitive bidding for inner-city passenger train fleets. The global growth potential for this mobility sector is estimated to be around four percent.
Designing urban competitiveness.
Siemens is convinced that sustainable, networked and well channelled mobility is a key issue of the 21st century and that safe and fast public transport decides over the quality of life and competitiveness of towns, cities and regions all over the world. As a globally operating design studio with a large number of clients from the automobile, yacht and aircraft industries, DesignworksUSA has a deep understanding of sustainable mobility design spanning a great variety of business sectors. The Metro Inspiro assignment tasked the design team to live up to the increased demands on travel comfort and spatial perception, optimise transport capacities and provide regional public transportation services with additional possibilities for individualisation. Striking design features were conceived in order to give Siemens an unmistakable presence on the rails. Laurenz Schaffer, President of DesignworksUSA summarises: "When competing with each other, towns and cities will secure advantages through the quality of their transportation systems. The possibilities for megacities to combine mobility with the interests of the public is the most crucial task when designing mobility."
Design platform and intelligent detail solutions.
In order to provide room for the individualisation of the Metro Inspiro, it was designed as a "platform". In addition to aesthetics and functionality, sustainability and economic efficiency requirements were right at the top of the design studio's list of priorities. This is visible, inter alia, in the innovative door-light graphics, based on the hourglass principle, which provide passengers with vital information on the remaining boarding time. This concept improves the flow of passengers boarding and exiting the train, thereby facilitating an increase in frequency. It equally gives the new Siemens Metro an instantly recognisable, unmistakable "face" - modelled by designers as a "trust-building" feature.
Natural references in the interior.
Core feature of the interior is the innovative handrail concept "Light-Tree", which is reminiscent of branches on a tree and provides passengers with numerous advantages. A large number of smaller rails protrude from a tree-like structure, creating ample space for passengers to hold on. The "Light-Trees" are designed so as to help providing sufficient individual space for each passenger. Moreover, novel surface textures made possible by state-of-the-art materials ensure firm and secure grip. In addition to their structure, the handrails owe their name to the implemented light concept. Thanks to discreet lighting from above, they themselves become atmospheric pools of light within the interior of the train. Special light control, which emits light in changing colours, let the interior of the metro adapt to daytime light conditions. Hence there is a higher amount of cold light in the morning and a higher amount of red light in the evening, the natural course of the day is also being reflected underground. Like the exterior door-light graphics, the strategically installed "Light-Trees" provide an enhanced passenger flow management. The Metro Inspiro also lends local public transport a sustainable character and a new quality thanks to wide entry and exit areas, wide doors, improved acoustics through the use of Cork Blend floor insulation and a sophisticated lightweight seat concept. Operators may choose between contrasting moulded wood and fresh colour concepts, which each reflect either a warm and emotional or a technically-oriented interior ambience.
Growth market Eastern Europe.
Since the end of the eighties, Eastern Europe became a region where the question of urban identity has increasingly become a key issue and a competitive advantage. Warsaw is representative of many towns and cities in this region where an above-average development of the metro market has been forecast: An increasing number of people are moving into urban areas and existing fleets need to be modernised or extended. Train design will play a decisive role in the process of making the cities competitive.