MA in Transportation Design

Vehicle Design Theory & Form Workshop (2011)

"Ockelbo Project"

Between 1962 and 1989 snowmobiles were manufactured in the Swedish city Ockelbo, and one of their distinctive features was the orange and black colours. Now the Ockelbo consortium wants to revive the traditional brand and in a project with Umeå Institute of Design, the first-year Transportation design students designed a new inspirational line of vehicles for the brand, all following a very fresh and unique visual identity.

In the "Ockelbo Project" the task was to develop eight small vehicles; two ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), two snowmobiles, two "dirt track" motorcycles and two custom motorcycles. The students were divided into two teams, and each role-playing "design company" had to coordinate a unique visual identity proposition across the model line up. The students generated, visualised and presented their ideas to the tutors and to the sponsor Ockelbo. Four designs were selected and are being milled in real size at UID for a more accurate evaluation of the results.

Here is an overview of the students final design proposals.

The Ockelbo Pacer designed by Richard Stark is a tribute to the first breed of motorycles. It is the essential interpretation of a motorcycle, with modern materials and performance technology. It is a unique, exclusive and extreme product with the intention of promoting Ockelbo without comparison. The new Ockelbo has courage and is up for a challenge! The concept is based on a lightweight carbon fibre frame and a swedish Folan V-twin engine.

Alexandra Ciobanu's concept for the Ockelbo dirttrack bike is inspired by the early 20s board track races. The design aproach blends modern technology and vintage form treatment. It can be used on the streets but the ergonomics of the armrest and the flat front makes it customisable for races too. This vintech bike reflects the lively Swedish summer.

Ockelbo Firn is a lightweight snowmobile designed by Rickard Hansson with a focus on being a real sports sled. Inspired by the elements which it is exposed to, Firn's design language combines the contrasts that exist between pure surfaces and details that are influence by the structure of snow and ice. Integrating elements from the traditional Ockelbo DNA, Firn is for people that do not simply see snowmobiles as a means of transportation, but as a true lifestyle.

Casey Phua designed an all terrain, fully electric vehicle for work and play. The Ockelbo ATV is inspired by the beautiful leaves of autumn. Form factor is extremely light weight, intricate, highly versatile and modular. Users have the ability to fully customise every aspect of the ATV through the use of easy snap-on parts and panels.


Besides the UID faculty, several external experts were involved in the project. These include motorcycle designer Mikael Hallgren, multi-talented vehicle designer Daniel Forsgren and clay modeller Petter Reuterholt. Gunnar Bech was the main contact person from the Ockelbo consortium. He has followed the project at close distance.

Louise McCallum proposed the Ockelbo Oscar as the all-new bobber, "pre-bobbed". Oscar gives riders an option from day one. The novice biker can start riding straight off the shelf, and the enthusiast can get their hands dirty taking it apart. The bike has removable side panels, and give the bike it's distinct look. Once removed, Oscar takes on a whole new personality, satisfying those who want the raw riding experience. Hoping to increase the appeal of biking to women, the Ockelbo Oscar is truly a bobber with everything you need, and nothing you don't. "1 bike, 2 riders, infinite thrills."

The Ockelbo Lucas ATV, created by Erik Evers, is aimed at professional users such as forest owners, ranch owners, farmers and more. The goal was to create a distinct Ockelbo product with unique style that appeals to a the user group. The vehicle features two modes of seating. One classic ATV mode for going in to the forest. One buggy mode where the seating position is lower and the user's got access to seat belts and more safety. The Lucas also has an auxiliary output to allow for powered equipment to be attached.

The Ockelbo Dirt-tracker by Yujin Kim, is designed for not only the dirt track but also the road. Yujin wanted the rider to experience two thrills, drifting on the track and cornering (legally) on the road. The bike features are focused on the harmony between mechanical aesthetics and the surfacing of a monocoque body which is a unique style that contrasts with competitors products. In a configuration totally new to Ockelbo, the dirt-tracker combines the traditional identity of this Swedish brand, with a fresh look which will appeal to both motorcyclists, and Ockelbo purists.

Ockelbo Poro, is an electric snowmobile designed by Anton Garland and aimed at the active snowmobile user, both for trail and freestyle. Anton questioned the current design of the snowmobile today. Why does a snowmobile have to conform to a configuration designed around the motor and not the driver? Why are snowmobiles both so physically and visually heavy? The Poro utilises a traditional alloy frame, combined with composite panels, to only cover what is truly necessary, and allow for complete freedom of driver movement along and across the custom made saddle.