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Thursday, March 6, 2014

A High-Tech Rickshaw For The 21st-Century Commuter

INTRODUCING ECLIPSE: A PRETTY REDESIGN OF THE CENTURIES-OLD STREET VEHICLE.

Rickshaws, perhaps better known now as pedicabs, have come into vogue in recent years as a greener and easier alternative for getting around in crowded American cities. Next week in particular, thousands of visitors will swarm Austin, Texas, for the annual South by Southwest festival, and will likely rely on some 500 or more pedicabbies for transportation between events.
That said, none of those carriages are likely to be as stunning as Eclipse, a new rickshaw concept that its designer Kenneth Cobonpue calls “a more civilized version of the humble three-wheeler.”











In both the United States and in South America and Asia (where Cobonpue’s studio is headquartered) modern rickshaw designs haven’t evolved much past their original 1800s counterparts--and in some ways, that’s okay. Passenger carts are low-tech by definition: they operate off the grid and are used exclusively for short distance travel. At the same time, if rickshaws came with a few more amenities, perhaps their adoption rate would imprive in urban areas.
Cobonpue’s proposal includes things that passengers might find on an Amtrak or in a new car: cupholders, an iPhone charging dock, speakers, a fan, and panels that can close. The feel of luxury is meant to extend to the peddler, too: the handlebars and seats are covered in soft, but waterproof, hand-stitched faux leather. The entire vehicle is built from aluminum and a woven polyethylene, so it’s both sturdy and lightweight. The piece is in line with Cobonpue's other work, which features woven, hardy, outdoor furniture.
Read on and more photos at FastCompany

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