Our designer fought off competition from hundreds of entrants to win the Darkside Design Competition.
Judged by Darkside founder Robert Moon, and seminal automotive design authority Frank Stephenson, the design penned by James Russell Owen, of Cornwall, UK, was felt to perfectly encapsulate the spirit of the Darkside.
Design Competition Winner - James Russell Owen
Design Theme Inspiration & Development
The Competition brief called for a bold and unique aesthetic to match the high performance, high engagement experience that the Darkside offers.
The styling of the Darkside had to ignite the users senses and emotions at first sight, spooling up the excitement for the uniquely immersive experience that awaits.
Just the name, Darkside, was the spark that began the creative process of discovering the vehicles visual identity. Instantly catapulting you into a world of science fiction and exploration, inspiration was not hard to find.
Concept artwork from films and video-games generated a lot of energy to work with. The form of the vehicle in plan view was almost dealt with in one foul swoop when overlaying an image of the space shuttle Atlantis over the chassis.
As inspiration flowed from the man-made space exploration vehicles, their familiar profiles and simple yet purposeful features lead the search for inspiration to another less explored environment: the oceans.
Looking at creatures that exist in this habitat helped to find and inform the presence and character of the design. Looking at numerous types of ray and shark species began to establish the demeanour of the design proposal.
The source of the vehicles visual identity was locked in, but it took a third influence to unite them.
As a reverse trike, the Darkside bridges the gap between car and motorcycle, and it was the poise and balance of a motorcycle that defined how the various elements of the Darkside’s body would become one with the chassis.
The motorcycles visual weight is biased to the front of the vehicle. Panels envelope the frontal area and encapsulate the engine while the tail tapers sharply toward the rear of the vehicle leaving attractive structural and mechanical aspects of the vehicle on display. This same approach was taken with the Darkside, connecting it visually with the spirit of a motorcycle.
Designer Bio: James Russell Owen
After Graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2016 with a Masters degree in Vehicle Design, James worked in the field of Product Design before taking up his current role at a luxury yacht manufacturer in the South West.
Prior to studying at the RCA, he graduated from Swansea Metropolitan University (now Swansea College of Art) with First Class honours in BA Automotive Design.
Having always taken a keen interest in all aspects of the design process, James enjoys seeing a project through from start to finish. This interest has earned him a skillset that spans from initial concept generation, through research, sketch work and renderings to developing proposals in 3D. Creating surface models for milling or rapid prototyping and polygon models for visuals and even animations.