"getting away from man-made technology and the convenience of it all - that's really going into nature."
- suny, range rover customer
So, what does 'nature' mean to you?
Is it the green space in your backyard, the mountain top, a quiet place, a family gathering- maybe it's all or none of these. Many of us have our own understandings of nature in our day-to-day lives. As for me, it's a relative state of being. When I'm walking through the bustling streets of London's Oxford Circus, my nature is the music flowing between my earbuds that calms me every step of the way. But when I'm stuck indoors on a beautiful summer afternoon at work, my nature is usually the fresh breeze and warm sun. Nature can mean very different things to everyone at any given time, but we can all agree that the forces of nature are beyond us; the unknown boundaries of nature is what compels us to seek its natural, real form.
But what happens when this 'real' nature becomes harder to access and more difficult to enjoy? We're already experiencing this through booming cities where populations are spilling over 10 million people, giving rise to congested roads, air pollution and a rat-race culture. By 2030, we'll have over 40 mega cities with populations over 10 million, and this will accelerate the urban and suburban sprawl in and out of city centers. In the midst of this movement of people, how can we help people reconnect with nature? How can we bridge the gap between humans and nature in the midst of all the technological integrations in our lives?
A team of three vehicle designers, three textiles designers and myself as a service designer took on the challenge of 'reconnecting people with nature' as a future scenario in 2030. This mission was envisioned in partnership with Land Rover at the Royal College of Art. As the service design lead, I helped lead ideation workshops, integrate user research, develop brand strategy, manage design development and create the narrative for our proposition.
"NATURE IS FRESH, CLEAN AIR."
- CRISTINA, ASPIRING RANGE ROVER CUSTOMER & FEATURED PERSONA
Cristina was our model persona for the project. As you might have guessed from the above video, she is a frequent traveler, and she enjoys being in the city while being able to access 'real' nature- for her, nature is 'fresh, clean air.' So, we began with 'air' as our starting point for inspiration, which led to exploring the skies and eventually, the activity of ballooning.
INSPIRED BY THE SENSE OF WONDERMENT BEHIND BLIMPS AND BALLOONS, WE TRACED SOME OF THE HISTORY OF BALLOONING AND LAND ROVER.
Virgin and Land Rover Partnership
We found that Virgin and Land Rover have evolved along parallel paths as remarkable brands that have shared the spirit of discovery, adventure and a pioneering passion. This shared passion is already exemplified through the Virgin Galactic and Land Rover partnership established in early 2014. We found these two brands to be part of Cristina's life as a traveler, city-dweller and nature-seeker.
SO, LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT HOW LAND ROVER AND VIRGIN CAN DEVELOP AN ASPIRATIONAL RELATIONSHIP, TOGETHER:
What's the luxury of the future?
Land Rover's next evolution of luxury is about an elevated and uplifting discovery, one where your dreams of flying and curiosities of the world beyond you become a reality in your own vehicle; it is the luxury of personal flight.
RANGE ROVER X IS AN ADVENTURE EXPERIENCE CLUB...
...that provides access and/or ownership of a two-person compact vehicle with off-road, on-road and flight capabilities. The RRX experience offers the luxury of personal flight, taking you on a journey through the skies, from the heart of the city to the outskirts of your everyday life. The RRX product is comprised of two conjoining pieces, the main piece being the off-road/on-road vehicle and the secondary piece being the balloon- the entire experience is fueled by hydrogen.
Let's see how the vehicle and balloon come together to help Cristina reconnect with nature in the below storyboard:
Sketch of RRX Platform - tablet version
how do members access the rrx experience?
RRX is supported by an online platform that allows for vehicle and balloon reservations alongside a network of luxury retreat destinations specially curated by luxury travel bloggers. The video to your right is a snapshot of the online platform for RRX members:
As a luxury membership experience, RRX is available in distinct hotels and resorts outside the city to facilitate the retreat experience. Below is a map highlighting the key stakeholders of the RRX experience.
Key Stakeholders of RRX Experience
What about the dealership?
Through this project, we also considered reimagining the future of the dealership. As most dealerships are one-stop experiences full of negotiations and endless decision-making, it's not the most desirable place to be. You most likely do not want to come back after five hours of purchasing a vehicle. So, how can the future dealership transform into a place that provides more value for its community? Since the balloons would be stored at dealerships, they would provide a mechanism for water collection through water vapor condensation; this would be an opportunity for Land Rover to give back to the community by providing hydrogen fuel cell charging stations. To bring the RRX experience to life, the Virtual Centre is an area within the dealership dedicated to immersing visitors within the in-flight experience of RRX. Visitors can learn about RRX destinations and real, live journeys that have been made among fellow RRX members.
RRX lives under the Range Rover family of vehicles, and offers key value propositions as a service and product for users, the business and the environment.
Why I chose to work on this project
I believe service design cannot live without the specialties of other design disciplines as it is the glue that permeates across differences to bring together a cohesive understanding of the challenge and an appropriate delivery of value. Working with vehicle designers and textiles designers very closely, every step of the way, showed me how important it is to understand each other and communicate as effectively as you would to a client.