Smooth by Stefano Marchetto, Italy

2008: Smaller. Safer. Better.

Drawings on Display at Michelin Challenge Design™


Stefano Marchetto, 29, was born and raised in Italy. He graduated from the Faculty of Design and Arts in Venice in 2003 with a degree in Industrial Design.

Besides being selected as a finalist for the 2008 Michelin Challenge Design, in 2007 he was selected for the same competition with the project “Turtle”, and in 2004 he won the first prize in the international design competition “Stile Italiano Giovani” with a micro car project called Smooth. In 2006, he was finalist in the 5th edition of the same contest. He was also selected as finalist for the industrial design competition “the radical radiator of the future” in 2006.

His design philosophy can be summarized in these three words: rational, innovative, sustainable. He is now preparing his thesis on an ecological and innovative vehicle at Politecnico in Milan, his final step to get a master’s degree in Industrial Design.


Smooth2 is the evolution of my thesis project, Smooth, and I’ve begun to develop it in 2004. The vehicle is a micro car designed for the urban environment. Its main features are: ecology, accessibility and safety.

Ecology: the vehicle has a resistant spherical cabin that is placed over a platform that contains a fuel cell system, used to empower the electric motors placed inside the wheels. The cabin is covered by Sphelar, an innovative spherical photovoltaic cells produced by Kyosemi. These cells capture light from all directions, and have an efficiency close to 20%. Sphelar is an environmentally-friendly product also because uses less silicon than other conventional solar cells technologies.

Accessibility: the sphere shaped cabin can rotate 90 degrees to allow passengers to enter and exit from the front/rear of the vehicle. Transparent doors slide inside the cabin, and this assures great safety because there is no risk to hit something or someone. It is also possible to access the car without rotating the cabin. The cabin rotation is possible because Smooth2 adopts Drive By Wire technology: this also enables the possibility to use a movable steering wheel, thus facilitating the access to the driver’s seat. To maximize agility in the parking operations, Smooth2 has four-wheel steering. Smooth2 is designed to be parked transversally instead of longitudinally, to save parking space.

Safety: Smooth2 features a gyroscopic sensor controlled cabin: when a collision occurs, the vehicle speed is received by proximity and impact sensors placed around the vehicle, together with microcars cabin inclination; this data is analyzed by a microprocessor and used to rotate the cabin, to decelerate the inertial movements of the occupants. Data is also used to open the five airbags in the optimal way. Seats are not aligned, and to avoid heads contusions between passengers there is also a central airbag that comes out from the roof.

The interior is ergonomically shaped, there is no instrumentation in front of the driver and all the controls are integrated in the steering wheel. Essential information is shown by a HUD system controlled by software that “understands” which is the most important information at the moment, so the driver is not uselessly distracted.