Zephyr is the thesis project of Stavros Mavrakis that was developed for the completion of his MA in Vehicle Design at the Royal College of Art in London. Zephyr is a a sustainable, shared-use vehicle that aims to enhance the physical experience and to bridge the gap between the vastness of digital world and the lack of physical experience.
text by the author – Zephyr in ancient Greek mythology, was the god of the west wind and messenger of spring bringing summer breezes. In Odyssey, Zephyr was the only wind Aeolos left out of his bag to blow favourably to west enabling Odysseus to travel towards Ithaca.
Zephyr is now blowing favourable leading the modern explorer to new adventures in Mediterranean regions, such as the Cyclades. It is a tool to intensify the experience and absorb the world. Having this vehicle, the traveller can make the most of the place he is located and have a unique and original local experience.
It is a sustainable, shared-use vehicle that with the help of emerging technologies, such as autonomous driving, it enables the user to have an authentic experience deliberated from unnecessary functions like the driving. Thus, the way we visit and experience a place completely changes.
I wanted to develop a project that challenges the traditional automotive design. I wanted to offer a fresh, innovative and meaningful approach facing real problems by taking advantage of my backgrounds (architecture & car design). I believe that nowadays autonomous technology is a great opportunity for mobility.
Zephyr is a piece of moving architecture and not just a means of transport, as it provides a flexible ephemeral space of living making it the key part of the experiential adventure.
The use of local traditional materials combined with the use of new composite materials (made by recycling the sea waste) and renewable energy (the vehicle takes advantage of the islands’ wind turbine parks and its deployable wind turbine) completes the proposal for a vehicle born from that place, destined for that place.
Nowadays the digital world with the excessive data floods us with over-information that people tend to misunderstand it with the notion of experience. Nevertheless, the digital load is not a real experience! This project tries to renegotiate and turn the discussion back into the physical hypostasis of human, enhancing the physical experience for everybody and bridging the gap between the vastness of digital world and the lack of physical experience.
The Zephyr project turns the user, which could be anyone of us, into the modern explorer since anyone can have access and make use of that share-use vehicle. In this way the project attempts to restore the attribute of explorer to the human being, a characteristic that tends to be eliminated because of the digital and virtual environment we are getting into.
Just as Zephyr was part of the eight winds kept in Aeolos’ ox-hide bag, Zephyr is part of a set of vehicles-tools corresponding to different groups of sites that share common characteristics.