How can we bring the public transport experience to a higher level? The Research Institutes of Sweden asked Rombout Frieling lab to jointly redesign the electric bus experience and apply it in the extreme climate of Umeå. This bus station, which transforms the waiting experience, is a first outcome.
Waiting for a bus is often regarded as wasting time: it may mean standing in a -30°C snowstorm, continuously on the lookout out for the bus, while trying to escape into a mobile phone. Yet, after a busy day of work many of us are longing for a moment to reflect, to return to ourselves, to feel our bodies: We are need for nothing-time, to 'just be'. This new bus station aims to cater to that: It frees travelers from having to be on the lookout: instead, the station does this for them: A subtle and meditative spectacle of light and sounds is triggered by buses that are on approach. Every bus line has a distinct signature: the buses going to an old glass factory trigger glassy sounds. This sensitivity allows travelers to take time for themselves until being 'woken up'. In the mean time, they can find a relaxing leaning position in one of the hanging ‘pods’. These ‘pods’ keep the wind out and provide comfort in averse conditions, not needing any power. They can also be turned around to either create social settings, or to enjoy the surrounding nature. Wouldn't you also want to ‘free the mind’ before embarking on a new ‘journey’?