The Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (or mini Cathedral for short) on carpath
Photo: Sylvain Deleu


Driverless glass car by Dominic Wilox

London Design Festival 2014: the Dezeen and MINI Frontiers exhibition features ideas for the future of travel created by six cutting-edge young designers.

Posted 19 September 2014

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Part of Dezeen's ongoing collaboration with car brand MINI, the Future of Mobility envisions different ideas about the way car design will evolve.
From ubiquitous augmented reality to long-haul space travel, the exhibition features a series of radical concepts for how we might get around in years to come created by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Dominic Wilcox, Keiichi Matsuda,  Matthew Plummer-Fernandez and Lucy McRae

Dominic Wilcox opens the car
Photo: Sylvain Deseu

Driverless glass car by Dominic Wilox
Dominic Wilcox has created his vision of the future of transport for the exhibition ‘Dezeen and Mini Frontiers‘ during the London Design Festival from Saturday 13 September until Sunday 21 September, 2014,

The driverless glass car prototype has only a bed inside, where the passenger can sleep while the car takes them to their destination. The car combines the hand made process of glass work with modern and future technologies to create a proposal of how transport could be in the middle of the 21st century.

Dominic takes a nap ready for the journey ahead
Photo: Sylvain Deseu

“I propose that in the year 2059 it will be statistically proven that it is safer to ride in a computer controlled ‘driverless’ vehicle than to ride in a human driven vehicle. In fact in 2058 there were no collisions on the Digital M1 motorway where only driverless vehicles are allowed.
This means that driverless vehicles will not require the typical safety equipment we see on current cars such as air bags and bumpers. We will simply require a living space on wheels. The technology of the motor and driverless, automated navigation system will be held within a standard, modular chassis, on to which any living space shell can be built. I am presenting one example of the type of vehicles possible and have designed a prototype for a driverless car made from stained glass. This vehicle is a single person ‘sleeper car’, the occupant can sleep on a bed while the car travels to the destination of choice.

Dominic in glass workshop
Photo:  Dominic Wilcox 

The stained glass element also developed out of my interest in taking what I admire from objects of the past and merging it with technology of the future, to create a new vision. For example, I previously designed a pair of traditional brogue shoes with GPS embedded to guide the wearer home. In this case, I had previously visited Durham Cathedral and was struck by the wonderful stained glass windows there. I wanted to bring the visual experience I had in the cathedral into a new, contemporary, three dimensional form. The hand cut glass car uses the copper foil technique made famous by Tiffany lamps. This time intensive handmade shell is supported upon a computer designed and manufactured frame, bringing together bespoke craftsmanship with the technical precision of computer aided design.

The concept of the technology held within a chassis base allowing any shell to be built on top with chosen interior
Photo: Dominic Wilcox 

At Middlesex Univirsity Product design Department who assisted Dominic Wilcox with the car base and glass support structure
Photo: Dominic Wilcox 

Glass on car
Photo: Dominic Wilcox 

I was greatly assisted in the making of the chassis base and wooden support frame for the glass by the team at Middlesex University product design department. I then moved the frame to a stained glass workshop called Lead and Light in Camden, London. Having never made anything in glass before I signed up to a 5 day workshop lead by glass artist Lynette Wrigley. Taking Lynette’s advice and guidance I started cutting each piece by hand then attaching them to the frame by soldering them into place over the course of six weeks. I had great assistance from recent graduate Massimo Capella particularly on this long and difficult challenge.

In terms of other design elements there is a nod to the original mini launched in 1959, using classic mini tyres and the boot handle that is now used as a handle to lift the hydraulic assisted glass shell in order for a person to get inside.

The illuminated shell
Photo: Sylvain Deleu

I also present, a website concept for the year 2059 where instead of people owning a driverless car, they can order a vehicle of their choice to pick them up when required, selecting what size: 2, 4 or 6 person, what interior: jacuzzi, restaurant, office or bed, and what exterior shell design they desire for example, wood cabin, retro 2015 car or stained glass mini cathedral.”
Dominic Wilcox

On exhibition at Dezeen and Mini Frontiers, 18th-21st September 2014, at Design Junction, London.
With Thanks to: and Mini and Middlesex University Product Design Department

Supported by Middlesex University product design department. Watch the behind the scenes movie »


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