Remember those “driveable” toy cars everyone had when they were kids? Some of them were the Flintstones-style kind that required you to sit with your feet through the open floor in order to push yourself along, which is the kind I remember the most. My cousins had one, and whenever I was dropped off at their house I would immediately run to the basement so I could try to jump into the driver’s seat before my cousin, who insisted for the longest time that only boys were allowed to drive cars, ever. But the really cool kids, the rich kids, had the kind with actual pedals. You could drive, steer, and curse at other drivers just like a grown-up. Oh, how I wanted one of those. It would have been the highlight of my plastic-filled 1990s American childhood.
An Italian startup has come up with a much more modern and eco-friendly version. Automobile 36, a pedal car designed for children in the 3- to 6-year-old age range, is being unveiled by MQB Srl as an entirely sustainable model.
The frame and body are made from corrugated fiberboard and cardboard, and the parts are 3D printed using PLA, a biodegradable, corn-starch-based polymer. It is sold in ready-to-assemble kit form, and packaged in cardboard that will become part of the body of the car, so that absolutely nothing is wasted.
Automobile 36 will be the centerpiece of a three-week event that MQB is presenting in New York City. From September 27th to October 18th, the Parma-based company will be stationed in a temporary office on East 67th street in Manhattan. Their goal is to network with an international audience, showcase their design ideas, and to discuss the Italian approach to technology, in particular 3D printing.
That approach includes sustainability, as discussed above, and the fostering of creative collaboration. MQB, which was founded in 2014 by designers Eugene Morini and Michela Montanini, describes itself as a “modern workshop” that aims to promote the use of domestic 3D printers for product development. The company’s concept is simple: their team conceives of an idea for a product that will cover latent needs for a small niche market, creates the files for it, and then sells those files, with options for customization, to the client, who then prints the product at home or at one of Italy’s growing number of Fab Labs.
Automobile 36 is the first product to be completely conceptualized, designed, and built by MQB, with the option to purchase it in the kit form or in file-only form. With customization options including colors and personalized licensed plates, the car is the company’s way of introducing 3D printing to the youngest market and hopefully spurring interest for a new generation of future makers.
As part of their three-week residence in New York, MQB will be presenting a 3D video mapping event on October 13th at 3pm. During the event, the team will explain the company’s concepts and the philosophy behind its products. It will be held at the Italian Trade Commission New York City Office, 33 East 67th Street, New York, NY 10065-5949. For more information or to register, email [email protected].
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