I was part of a design team responsible for the Vest bus in my role as Senior Industrial Designer and Partner at Hareide Designmill.
One the most exciting part of working with small Norwegian companies is that I got to travel to some pretty special places and meet passionate people succeeding against all odds. Like Vest Buss. A tiny bus manufacturer located right in the end of one of the deep west-coast fjords, where the roads are hardly wide enough for a bus.
We started a project with Vest to revamp their line-up of inter-city busses, the challenge was really to create unique and distinct identity for the busses using very limited resources. When the competitors were big-shots like Scania, Volvo and Mercedes, it seemed like an impossible task. On these busses functionality and ease if use for all people who interface with the bus, from passengers to service people, was also very important.
I was in charge of the project and we pretty quickly decided to go for a unique approach to the treatment of the front identity, or the face of the bus. Where most busses imitate the face and the looks of a car, usually stretched to awkward proportions, we decided to treat this big surface in a graphical way and create a balanced and distinct identity. The vertical stacked headlights and the minimal graphical cutlines make it simple and elegant. The surrounding elements around the headlights are hinged panels on both sides, so mechanics very easily can access vital functions during service. This very simple aesthetic is repeated at the rear, which again has a simplicity and elegance that stands out from the competitors.
The bus turned out be a hit and Vest built a whole range of buses in different segments based on the same basic design expression.