Imagine a new generation of sustainable transportation for city-dwellers -- packaged in our favorite two-wheel vehicle, the bicycle. The Oregon Manifest design challenge is a marriage of American craft and global design thinking of the highest degree. A call for collective innovation in bicycle design, the Constructor's Design Challenge is bringing together three creative collaborations between custom bike builders and global design houses to rethink bicycle design for a new generation. In addition to these three collaborations, there will be 35 open builder entries and five student teams who will answer the call for innovation. Over the next nine months, we'll be tracking the progress of the three design house collaborations.
True to its mission, Oregon Manifest is itself evolving, this year laying out a secondary development path and bringing in some professional innovators -- you might know them as designers -- to participate. This new track pairs three of our profession's top firms -- IDEO, fuseproject and Ziba -- with custom bike builders, a plan that promises to yield not only some awesome new bikes but probably a fair amount of interesting friction as concept and craft rub up on each other. This is good news for you, and us, as OM has arranged to have these teams chronicle the entire 9 month process here at Core77! Each team of design x builder will be posting diaries to a new section of our site, they'll detail there, in words and picture, the process of creating a new generation of bicycle.
This year's Oregon Manifest is the project's second run, see our previous coverage here, and it has stepped up to an endeavor of international heft and scope. The inaugural edition was won by Tony Periera with a bicycle that met the standards and did so in style, but most interestingly introduced a novel integrated bicycle lock which exemplifies the innovative ideas that such a challenge encourages. The Oregon Manifest takes inspiration from Technical Trials that ran in France through the mid-century -- rather than racing, bicycle makers competed in manufacturing better and better equipment, yielding breakthrough innovations such as alloy rims and cranks. Yesterday, at a kickoff event in Portland, the Oregon Manifest announced the criteria for this year's challenge -- available for download here. The key for the design/build challenge is that these bikes must complete a circuit and be actually functional. Additionally they must pass muster with an all-star line-up of bicycle wizards in the form of a judging panel which includes Rob Forbes (founder of Public Bikes and Design within Reach), Tinker Hatfield (VP of Innovation Design at Nike), Bill Strickland (Editor, Bicycling Magazine) and Joe Breeze (Founder of Breezer Bikes) -- moderated by Ron Sutphin of the United Bicycle Institute.
It is this really incredible mix of elements that makes the OM so exciting for us. A grassroots operation to push innovation. In the field of bicycles. Springing from American craft manufacturing. Paired with design. Championing sustainable living.
It is actually a little much -- a sugar-rush combo of every reason why we do what we do here -- but we'll keep it together, take it in small doses and cheer them on at every turn. Hope you will too.
Photos courtesy of PDXCROSS