Behind the scenes with Dominic Wilcox making his "stained-glass driverless car"

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: in the first of a series of preview movies running up to the Dezeen and MINI Frontiers exhibition next week, designer Dominic Wilcox shows us the car he is making out of stained glass for the show.

Stained-glass car by Dominic Wilcox

Wilcox's piece for the exhibition is based on the idea that, in a future of fully automated, computer-controlled vehicles, traffic collisions will be a thing of the past.

This, he suggests, will give car designers total freedom of form and material.

Stained-glass car by Dominic Wilcox

As an example of the kind of vehicles we might be travelling in one day, Wilcox is building a stained-glass car with a bed inside, which people can relax in as they are transported to wherever they need to go.

Stained-glass car by Dominic Wilcox

The shell of Wilcox's car is being made by soldering pieces of cut glass onto a wooden frame.

"We're using the 'copper foil' technique, which is the same way they make Tiffany lamps," he explains. "It's a really meticulous process and there's a lot of improvisation going on."

Stained-glass car by Dominic Wilcox

Wilcox enlisted the help of Middlesex University's product design department to make the wooden frame that supports the glass.



"It's made on a CNC machine, which cuts out various arches that then slot together to form the structure," says Wilcox. "It is very much like the way they used to make aeroplanes."

Stained-glass car by Dominic Wilcox

Once the shell is finished, Wilcox will take it back to Middlesex University to attach it to the chassis and wheels, which are ten inches in diameter, like those on the original MINI.

Stained-glass car by Dominic Wilcox

The painstaking process of making the car hasn't gone completely to plan, Wilcox says, and he has had to improvise and adapt throughout.

"I drew the shape of the car and I put it onto a computer but until you actually get your hands dirty, cutting this glass and soldering, all sorts of things happen," he says. "So it's an adventure."

Dominic Wilcox portrait
Dominic Wilcox

The Dezeen and MINI Frontiers exhibition will take place at designjunction during London Design Festival from 17 to 20 September 2014.

The music featured in the movie is a track called Contemphasic by Bankcee. You can listen to more original music on Dezeen Music Project.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers is a year-long collaboration with MINI exploring how design and technology are coming together to shape the future.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers