The answer isn’t always climbing higher up the tech tree. Sometimes it’s easier than that, as transportation designers Mo Moradi and Paul Poetzelberger recently learned. Adding to what was already there made the duo a winner at the prestigious 2019 German Mobility Awards. The year before they won second prize at the Toyota Logistic Design Competition named ‘Last Mile Delivery’ – with the same concept! And as if that wasn’t enough, Moradi also got third prize for his Ultratow vehicle in the 2014 TLDC.
Chance encounters design your life. In one way or another we could all bear witness to that. Like Mo Moradi. Born in Iran, he wanted to escape an oppressive regime, and was dying to do car design at Detroit’s College For Creative Studies, in the States. “I just love cars,” said Moradi when I spoke to him. But as fate would have it he ended up at the famed Berlin Weissensee School of Art instead. (And he hasn’t got to grips with cars yet.)
There he met Paul Poetzelberger, who’d recently done a carpentry apprenticeship. “Why I wanted to become a designer… difficult question,” said Poetzelberger when we spoke over the internet. But he must have wanted to, because he also applied to Weissensee, and was accepted. “And,” says Poetzelberger, “this is where Mo and I met, and we became really good friends”.
What’s this piggybacking all about?
It’s about using existing infrastructure and – hitching a ride. Looking at streets and roads getting increasingly clogged up and unnavigable, the last thing you’d want is to introduce another distribution network, reasoned Moradi and Poetzelberger.
And so they thought, why not use public transport buses for parcel delivery? Because those buses are already in place, with routes that cover large urban areas where the majority of people live. So Mo and Paul dreamt up a kind of pod, which could be attached to the back of a bus, and then detached at a particular bus terminal. The recipient would then go to that terminal and pick up their shipment. Easy as pie!
CIPS caused quite a stir in Berlin
Mo and Paul’s creation – Combined Infrastructure Parcel Service (CIPS) – got more attention at the Mobilitätspreis ceremony on 27 November than winners Mo and Paul could have anticipated. Bigwig Andreas Scheuer, minister for transport and digital infrastructure in Germany showered Moradi and Poetzelberger with praise. It could be argued that the concept, the actual idea of Mo and Paul’s, outmanoeuvred the design. Brainchild winning over execution. (But then, of course, the concept hasn’t been put into practice yet.)
Where to next?
In view of the thirty-somethings Mo Moradi and Paul Poetzelberger’s accomplishments, it’s not unlikely they’ll have the pick of the crop, when it comes to what their next move will be. “Ultimately, I’d want to do my own thing,” said Mo Moradi, who’s recently launched his own startup, MonkeyBots.io. “I applied for a grant and – got it,” said Mo, and added “I need proper resources to develop my idea, though”. Crowdfunding was something he’d been considering.
“Ultimately, I’d want to do my own thing.”
Paul talked about the common misconception that design is about the appearance of whatever you’re designing. “Lots more goes into the process,” he said. “Imagine you’re asked to design a hammer.” (And we all know what they look like.) “But if you think about the function of pushing a nail into a piece of wood… Hm, your solution may look like no hammer you’ve ever seen before.”