NAPIER: Art Deco buses

12 December 2011  •  Source: MBD Design

The town of Napier in New Zealand contacted MBD Design to create some touristic buses with a stylish Art Deco flavor.

Art Deco busesNapier is a popular tourist city, with a unique concentration of 1930s Art Deco architecture, consequence of the town being rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake. During the summer, it welcomes more than 50 cruise ships in its harbor.

The Agency considered the town architecture and its numerous stylistics details to give a unique identity to the vehicle, both exterior and interior.

The touristic function had to be privileged. MBD Design proposed some large picture windows as well as the creation of a rear opened deck in order to maximize the possible contact with the town (following the example of the former Parisian buses).

All the exterior image was developed around the Art Deco visual theme identified and transcribed into the design: tight lines, regular curbs, use of polished natural metal in strips expressing delicacy and dynamism.

Inside, the space is optimized with large tinted windows allowing an unrestricted outlook. The bench seats are modern and comfortable while keeping a lightness impression. Here again, the Art Deco themes are declined in the shapes and shades.

The light color ceiling is sprinkled with spots in order to create an atmosphere encouraging relaxation, without causing any reflection interference impacting the city’s night vision.

People with reduced mobility were not forgotten as a dedicated space has been allocated to them. A totally integrated elevator system help them to get on board.

The technical challenge remains in the fact that these buses are being built using the chassis and framework of existing American “Thomas” school buses by a specialist restoration company in San Diego, California. They are available at a very low cost, making the whole transformation economically competitive.

The first buses are set to roll-out in Napier next March.

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