Sunday, November 07, 2004

kelvin. 40.



Take an uber designer who loves science fiction and airplanes, give him a commission from the Fondation Cartier Pour l'Art Contemporain, then sit back and gape in awe at the Kelvin 40. The "40" as I'll call it for short is a concept plane from Marc Newson, and although the mock-up doesn't actually fly, with a few tweaks and an engine, it could.

pure. fun.
But getting off the ground was never the goal for the 40, which "has no commercial reason for being; it is pure fun" according to Newson. It was his way of injecting emotion back into the world of personal aircraft, which in his view has become banal. "The world of civil aviation appears to us as pragmatic and rational and boring, which is absurd when you think how exciting the experience of flying is."

what's. in. a. name.
The name Kelvin is a dual homage, to real-life thermodynamicist Lord Kelvin and also to the fictional character Dr. Kelvin from the Andrei Tarkovski film Solaris. The 40 was Marc's age at the time he built the plane.

7 Comments:

Blogger Didou said...

Looks like the type of plane you'd see in old spy movies. :-)

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on no emotion in airplane design, he obviously has not been following the great space race for the Ansari XPrize and Spaceship 1. At least it can actually fly.

http://www.pbase.com/anepoch/image/34698139

7:36 AM  
Blogger Funfurde said...

As lovely as Spaceship One is, I don't think it's the type of personal aircraft Newson was talking about.

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelvin 40 is on display in the London Design Museum at the moment as part of the Marc Newson exhibition. It's in a black room, nicely lit and looks fantastic.

As does pretty much everything in the exhibition!
His manatee watch is probably my favourite watch design ever.

5:06 AM  
Blogger Feng Qin said...

Interesting name.

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An airplane has a single functional requirement: to fly. Many hours of experimental and theoretical work are required to find a shape with low drag, suitable lift, and dynamic stability. When some "industrial designer" designs a plane whose only purpose is to look pretty, it's nothing but mechanical masturbation. Stick to watches and flower pots Mark, and let the engineers design the planes.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As it sits now, it would probably fly better backwards.

One line in the article needs modification... "The "40" as I'll call it for short is a concept plane from Marc Newson, and although the mock-up doesn't actually fly, with a few tweaks, an engine, and a pilot with a death wish, it could."

9:09 AM  

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