Dezeen and MINI World Tour: Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde spoke to us at Design Indaba in Cape Town about his designs for glow-in-the-dark roads and clothing that will literally expose dishonest bankers.
Roosegaarde, who runs Studio Roosegaarde, explains that his Smart Highways project is an attempt to move the focus of road safety away from car design and onto the roads themselves. "Why is design always focussed on cars, on how they look and how they behave, and not on the roads, which determine our landscape much, much more?" he asks.
The studio has developed concepts including a priority lane for electric cars (above), which incorporates induction coils under the tarmac to recharge them as they drive, as well as road markings that glow in the dark or react to temperature change (below).
"We've been working with paints that can change colour based on temperature and literally adding this to the road," Roosegaarde explains. "So the moment the road starts to freeze these huge snowflakes start to appear and when the sun comes up they disappear again."
Roosegaarde was one of three speakers to receive a standing ovation at the Design Indaba conference, which took place in Cape Town at the start of this month.
He believes it is important that designers look at how new technology can be applied to existing infrastructure in this way. "I think that's the role of the designer, to create missing links between this old failing world and the new world," he says.
Roosegaarde also explains the concept behind his Intimacy project, a series of dresses that become transparent when the wearer's heart rate increases. "Technology is our second skin, our second language, in the way we communicate our experience, our information. But why are we looking at these bloody iPhone screens the whole day? Why can't it be more tactile, more intuitive?"
Finally, he reveals that his studio is currently taking the project in an interesting new direction. "Right now we're also working on a suit for men, especially for the banking world, which becomes transparent when they lie," he says. "Let's see what reality looks like then."
This movie features a MINI Cooper S Countryman.