Done as his final project at Art Center, industrial designer Dennis Tsai's Project Isle is an ambitious redesign of bus seating. Specifically, not public transport—which has to contend with vandalism, at least in America—but the sorts of company-provided buses that Google and the like use to shuttle workers to and from the office.
Tsai set several goals: Lightweight the seats; provide more privacy between passengers; and improve the overall UX.
"The seat is a made out of a single frame structure covered with mesh fabric. The breathable materials are beneficial for longtime sitting and the lightweight structure helps reduced the overall weight of the bus to achieve higher fuel or electricity efficiency."
"By using breathable and recyclable materials, the bus seat itself becomes more sustainable. Current bus seat designs use a lot of foam and vinyl leather to achieve comfort and the fancy look. [My design] is made of 100% recycled polyester mesh fabric, recycled plastic and aluminum."
"The built-in bag hooks allow passengers to hang their backpacks or purses without putting them on the ground or putting them on the over head storage. With the bags right in front of them, passengers are able to access their bags without any obstacle."
"With wireless charging built into the fold-down table, passengers can charge their phone without bringing a cable. The expandable work-surface also allows passengers to use their laptop or tablet while commuting."
"By offsetting the adjacent seats, passengers can have a better sense of privacy and individuality as they are not sitting parallel next to each other."
"The one sided headrest helps blocks other people's view, giving passengers a sense of privacy while letting the daylight comes through from the other side. It also acts an as acoustic panel to absorb sound when one speaks on the phone."
Tsai completed the project in 12 weeks, and you can see the amount of work he put into it:
It's worth noting that the project dates to 2019, prior to COVID.
Today Tsai is a minted industrial designer who's already racked up experience with Belkin, Microsoft and HP. Nice work, Tsai!
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