A SUNDERLAND-born artist has designed the first ever car made of stained glass after taking his inspiration from the ancient windows of Durham Cathedral.
Dominic Wilcox’s vision of a driverless Mini in the year 2059 sees the vehicle clad in glass panels reminiscent of the imposing landmark.
And rather than seats and a steering wheel it has a bed inside.
The 39-year-old’s work is part of the exhibition Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: The Future of Mobility, at designjunction, London, which explores how design, technology and science are coming together to shape the future of travel.
Dominic, who grew up at Tunstall Hill, is one of six artists and designers to have their work featured in the exhibition, part of London Design Festival, which runs until Sunday.
Speaking to the Echo about his four-month project, former St Aiden’s pupil Dominic said: “I was visiting family and we went to Durham Cathedral as we do every now and then. I really like the stained glass windows, but we don’t tend to see stained glass in contemporary designs. And I thought about the possibility to make it into 3D, rather than a flat sheet. I had that in my mind for a while.
“Then this project came in. It was to create my vision for the future of mobility. I thought about driverless cars and I picked the year 2059 – a hundred years after the original mini came out in 1959. I imagined that in 2059, driverless cars would be commonplace.
“The technology will have developed so much that it will be safer to ride in a driverless vehicle than one driven by a human.
“There are no collisions on the digital M1 and this frees up car designers to not be so concerned about airbags and bumpers and safety features and simply make a living space on wheels.
“My car has no steering wheel, but it has a bed. You will simply tell the car where you want to go and you can go to sleep and the car will take you there.”
A team from Middlesex University built the chassis. While each piece of glass was created in stained glass workshop in Camden, with Dominic doing a lot of the work himself.
He as also created a concept website for the future where you can order your own driverless taxi and choice of shape at www.taxirobot.co.uk.