Sunday, May 25, 2008

Extravagant Designs by Luigi Colani


Luigi Colani is a legend among industrial designers (see both his sites 1 and 2). We've featured radical-looking Colani trucks, and his streamlined piano, but now - thanks to the photo material provided by Roger Todd, exclusively for DRB - we can have a glimpse of his other designs, namely -

Aerodynamic Planes, Trains and (more) Automobiles

...all from a never-never land of the most far-reaching imagination of the modern designers. To describe these concepts simply as streamlined is a huge understatement. They are wild, exciting, totally unexpected forms - a tribute to a Golden Age of futurism (see our futurism category).

This era is largely gone... we don't see designers becoming superstar celebrities anymore, who would capture and shape world's imagination. Industrial design has become an 'apropos' feature of our life, but perhaps it lost some of its glamour and inspirational influence that defined the image of 1960s and 70s.

Let's start with trains. A steam train for Soviet Russia, no less! -

(image credit:

This is the Coal-Dust-Powered Steam Locomotive for Siberia, 1979, more precisely for the BAM (Baikal Amur Mainline). I have no trouble imagining these beasts devouring infinite taiga-covered miles, no trouble at all. Too bad it did not materialize (BAM itself was not properly finished) -

Mono-track ideas? Sure. Here is an experimental shape for the Hamburg-Munich line "HM-1" -

More ideas for the aerodynamic high-speed trains:
(I wonder if Japan is going to use any of them for their Shinkansen "bullet" trains)

Outrageous Transportation

Giant Flying Boat (Ekranoplan) "The Lida", 1983

Considering the Soviet love for ekranoplans ("wing-in-ground" vehicles), it is really surprising that they did not actually made this beauty:

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Even larger one:

This is what I call truly radical aircraft concepts

Some of them beg the question "Why not?" (like this sketch done for the Japan Air Lines) -

...and others will leave you scratching your head, but also - perhaps considering the thought that the modern aviation is long overdue for a design overhaul:

Cars & bikes that will re-define luxury (again)

More recent design for the streamlined mobile home:

Horch Luxury Automobile design (so over-the-top that no apologies are necessary) -

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Check out this hood ornament:

More incredible aerodynamic shapes:

"Frog" - aerodynamic study for a motorcycle, 1973:

(images credit: Rolf Frohle)

Many of his shapes will haunt your sense of beauty - you can either love them, or hate them, there is no middle ground. However, this is the essence of exciting design: to challenge the predetermined (and possibly stale) mainstream sensibilities. Luigi Colani has been doing this like no one else since the 1970s.

Final image: This is how our space program could look, if designers like Luigi Colani had their say -

Images credit: Colani Ausstellung in Karlsruhe 2004, Colani Trading AG, Roger Todd,, Rolf Frohle


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Category: Futurism

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