CONCEPT: BANDIT9 L-CONCEPT
DESIGNER: DARYL VILLANUEVA
ODDS OF PRODUCTION: AS SURE AS THE SUNRISE
Influenced by galaxies far, far away, futurist and motorcycle builder Daryl Villanueva tapped into his favorite tales of tomorrow when he and the Vietnam-based team at Bandit9 developed their latest terrestrial transport—the L-Concept. And its design direction goes where no bike has gone before. “The suspended engine is borrowed from Star Trek’s USS Enterprise, the maneuver controls were derived from those on a Star Wars speeder, and the rear lighting is reminiscent of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey,” says the former advertising art director and creative director. “I wanted a sci-fi cycle through and through.”
His vision for the vehicle—which resembles a fusion of phaser and retro-rocket—was slow to materialize, however. “It’s such a complex machine that we had to shelve the idea for a couple of years until we gained more experience with our craftsmanship. All the shapes, including the unibody tank—made from a single sheet of steel—and intricately curved engine cover, needed to fit with purpose, like a jigsaw puzzle.” Each of the nine examples planned (seven have already been produced) will be as operational as they are visually sensational. —VIJU MATHEW
CONCEPT: ROYAL OAK RD#2
DESIGNER: AUDEMARS PIGUET
ODDS OF PRODUCTION: BE PREPARED TO WAIT AT LEAST A YEAR
One of the most coveted timepieces shown at the latest Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie watch show in Geneva was a tantalizingly slim Audemars Piguet Royal Oak perpetual calendar that measures nearly 2 mm thinner than the brand’s basic Royal Oak “Jumbo” model. But while collectors won’t be able to get their hands on the final version of this special RD#2 model until next year at the earliest, the new perpetual provides an interesting glimpse into the rapidly evolving complicated watchmaking techniques at the company.
“The perpetual calendar has been part of our range since the company was founded,” says Claudio Cavaliere, Audemars Piguet’s global brand ambassador and former head of development. “Part of the genius of this approach is that there is no perpetual plate.” Instead of a separate plate for the calendar, the 5133 base movement inside RD#2 features an enlarged mainplate that was designed with recesses to host the various components of the perpetual calendar.
The company also dispensed with its bulky three-level wheel-and-cam construction—to account for the differing lengths of months and leap-year cycles—for a flatter design that is sometimes used in other perpetual-calendar constructions. Having thinned out the system’s levers, Audemars Piguet will use the next few months to ensure they operate reliably over time. —JAMES D. MALCOLMSON
CONCEPT: FOILER FLYING YACHT
DESIGNER: ENATA MARINE
ODDS OF PRODUCTION: HAVE ONE BUILT IN 8 TO 12 MONTHS
Hydrofoils can lift racing sailboats to impressive speeds, as the last America’s Cup demonstrated, but no powerboat builder has been able to combine hydrofoils, tight turns, and stability at high speeds. But at the Dubai boat show in March, the Foiler proved that it could be done, and with panache. The 31-foot sport boat, carrying models in formal dress, lifted itself out of the water at 18 knots, quickly hitting 40 as it hovered above the water. The slender foil handled tight turns with precision.
A hydrofoil uses water pressure, as an airplane does wind, to lift it out of the water as it gains speed. The Foiler can handle waves of up to 5 feet in 30 knots of wind, with a smoother ride than a traditional boat because the hull is not battling waves. Its hybrid diesel-electric propulsion has two BMW engines that power electric generators. It also runs silently at 10 knots on battery power. Beyond its race-boat build quality (a carbon-fiber hull mated to steel and titanium), the Foiler uses an onboard computer that adjusts the foils so the owner can just focus on driving. Even the foil controls are easy—one button says Fly, and the other Float. —MICHAEL VERDON
CONCEPT: THE WALL
ODDS OF PRODUCTION: EVEN BIG DREAMS CAN COME TRUE
At the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, along with touting their newest production models heading to showrooms, the major television manufacturers often attempt to grab headlines by showing off their ambitious visions for the future of visual displays—dazzling concepts that aren’t quite ready for prime time.
This year, Samsung went big—literally—by introducing the Wall, a gargantuan screen measuring more than 12 feet diagonally and composed of an array of micro-LED panels. However, unlike other multiscreen displays, it is almost completely seamless—one has to walk right up to the screen to even notice the faint line between panels. Because they are modular, the micro-LED panels—which use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) smaller than a micrometer to produce a vibrant 4K picture—can theoretically be arranged in any configuration and to any desired size.
Though the Wall was still a prototype at CES, a few weeks before our press date Samsung revealed that the 146-inch modular TV would be released in August. —JOHN LYON ■