URBAN MOLE
FOLKWANG HOCHSCHULE ESSEN
PHILIPP HERMES

The Urban Mole is an inner-city courier and delivery system which uses the sewers as a "new-old" infrastructure. The mole itself is a transportation unit which can be filled with goods and find its way unaided to its destination.

In 2020 the megacities will have to handle a huge amount of traffic every day. At the same time the demand for speed and individuality will rise. New infrastructures will have to be developed. Like the Urban Mole, which is independent of daily traffic, the time of day etc. A future scenario might look like this: you run out of the exotic spices that you need to complete your dinner and the next spice shop is on the other side of the town? It takes only 1 minute to order them and another 8 minutes until they arrive at the next Molestation around the corner. The pipe system is structured like a road network – the more traffic, the bigger the pipe. That’s why the mole depends on pipes, which mostly run under busy streets. It reaches post offices, packing stations and houses and connects them with one another.

Dirty? The positioning of the Mole at the top of the pipe protects it from contamination. Furthermore the customer will never come into contact with the outer shell. When it’s ready to be filled at a packing station, one can touch the mole’s interior through a special port. The Mole is a hermetically sealed box with a round shape and a lotus-effect surface. This makes cleaning easier. The maximum packet size is a little bigger than an average shoe box. It can carry typical Amazon products like books, DVDs and, of course, shoes. Each Mole unit has its own electric motor. Electricity is supplied by the rails.

THE JURY‘S VERDICT "The runner-up – the impressively designed Urban Mole concept by Philipp Hermes – utilizes the existing infrastructure of sewerage networks and relocates the transportation of goods underground, thus easing the flow of traffic above ground."

AWARD RECIPIENT PHILIPP HERMES "As an Industrial Design student, I am used to developing ideas within the realms of what is possible. But the initial introduction with the lectures and workshops of the participating companies has already motivated me to push the boundaries further. The exchange of ideas with international participants, the opportunity to think freely and the uncomplicated structure all combined to make working on the VisionWorks Award a great project for me."

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