When design schools collaborate with companies


Phospho by Julie Meyer. tvsvizzera.it

The smallest non-folding bike, custom fenders and pedals with recyclable material, strobing reflective rim covers, innovative bags and luggage carriers. It is the result of when art and design schools meet with companies to promote a joint project.

This content was published on June 09, 2022 – 09:00

The ideas, concepts, prototypes, born from the collaboration between the University of Art and Design of Lausanne (Ecal) and the Swiss bicycle brand BMC, are presented at Milan Design Week in the rooms of the ‘House of Switzerland’External link‘i via Garibaldi, in the heart of Fuorisalone External linkMilanese. What better place to actually exhibit the results of a semester’s work? On the first floor of the showroom, EcalExternal link and BMCExternal link present a collection of practical and colorful accessories for modern daily bike rides.

A collection created by bachelor students in industrial design in the second year under the guidance of Stéphane Halmaï-Voisard, host, and Christian Spiess, Swiss designer and – especially not indifferent – passionate about bicycles.

(The video shows the projects of students Mattia Cook, Sacha Dufour, Paul Gauthier, Marie Kurstjens, Sam Lombardo, Robin Luginbüh, Julie Meyer, Marco Renna).

“For us – says Stéphane Halmaï-Voisard – collaboration with companies is fundamental. Help our students to immerse themselves in the reality of what awaits them after their studies, with its needs and limitations. But also with all the possibilities that a partnership of this type can offer. “It is Lausanne University’s policy that has always promoted this kind of collaboration with industry.” During their academic career – adds Stéphane Halmaï-Voisard – students are constantly confronted with brands, companies, local or international institutions “.

“Getting to know the new generation’s view of our industry has been a great experience”

Christof Bigler, BMC Industrial Design Team Leader

End of insertion

Over the past semester, students have thus faced BMC, which is best known for its racing bikes and mountaineers. The challenge that BMC launched, however, was different: The Swiss House commissioned students to work on a new series of bikes that were not performance-oriented, but rather focused on comfort and functionality. In short, a bike for everyday use that suits everyone.

Many ideas, many projects born from this premise, all focused on accessories and on a city bike that provides an insight into the mobility of the future on two wheels. “In the cycling world – remembers Stéphane Halmaï-Voisard – BMC is synonymous with groundbreaking and high-performance products. With urban mobility, the brand’s goals radically change to comfortable, pleasant and practical products ”. (Until recently, BMC had a professional road team with, among others, the Belgian champion Greg Van Avermaet, while today it supplies bicycles to more professional teams).

Ilo by Marie Kurstjens ECAL / Santiago Martinez & Jasmine Deporta

A different, young look, what Ecal students have been trying to offer this semester. Christof Bigler, BMC Industrial Design Team Leader confirms this: “Design is something in constant development. Getting to know the views of the new generation in our sector has been an amazing experience”.

The projects

The resulting collection of concepts has stroboscopic reflective rim covers to improve visibility. Or even screens, chain guards and pedals in recycled plastic that allow you to customize your bike. Not to mention a practical shopping cart that easily attaches to the bike frame and a sturdy handlebar that includes a basket.

Finally, the students also thought of a compact bicycle model that is practical for urban use (see photo). “This bike – explains Christian Spiess, who accompanied the students during the semester – is distinguished by being perhaps the smallest non-foldable bike. A bicycle that allows us to easily store it in an elevator when you get home or to get on public transport quickly ”.


Pluto by Robin Luginbühl. ECAL / Santiago Martinez & Jasmine Deporta

Will we see any ideas presented in Milan become a reality in the near future? “It would be our dream – concludes Stéphane Halmaï-Voisard – although of course for an art and design school it is the pedagogical aspect that interests the most”.

Leave a Comment