Design and engineering students scoot to partnership

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) has expanded its partnership with Italian scooter manufacturer Piaggio, which owns the Vespa scooter brand.

Previously, the collaboration involved UNSW Art & Design students. This year, the cooperation will include students from UNSW’s School of Mechanical Engineering.

This expansion means that not only will students design concepts but will be able to continue the production process through to prototyping.

Working between fields such as art, design, and engineering, students will produce concepts and prototypes.

The collaboration formed in 2016, when Piaggio tasked students to produce a campaign that demonstrated how Vespa was part of the contemporary Australian lifestyle. Subsequent campaigns have included locating Vespa within Australian culture, Vespa’s role within the future of urban mobility, and updating the Vespa helmet along with the concept of visibility.

Student Emily Kong, who worked on the project earlier this year, imagined that a partnership with Mechanical Engineering students could be a great benefit to the program.

“There is a lot of potential for creating feasible, innovate solutions for the Vespa project. Collaboration between Design and Engineering could lead to some incredible outcomes and concepts that go beyond sketches and prototypes. I would encourage future students to take the Vespa project seriously as both a learning experience and opportunity to gain recognition as designers, working with a famous brand,” said Kong.

Academic staff who were supervising the project believed that working in both the design and manufacture of the projects will be the next step.

“We reached the point where graphic design students could visualise or create great concepts and ideas but couldn’t really take it further without other input. The idea came about in discussion with Engineering lecturer David Kellerman that we would create a collaborative elective with Mechanical Engineering,” said associate professor (design), Ian McArthur.

The project will run on a similar timeline to a regular class, and will use makerspaces located at UNSW’s Kensington and Paddington campuses.