Shanghai Sphere 2046 by Oliver May, Germany

2012: City 2046. Art, Life & Ingenuity.


Oliver May studied Industrial Design at Bergische University Wuppertal, Germany and Communication Design at University of Applied Sciences Duesseldorf, Germany.

He graduated in Industrial-Design with emphasis on transportation design developing a design concept for a highspeed catamaran ferry.

Besides his college activities he started working as a freelance Designer in a broad field of activity from Industrial-, Exhibition- to 3D Corporate Design for wellknown companies like Continental, Siemens VDO, Mannesmann and associates.

One of his latest and most successful works was the developing of the new 3D Exhibition Corporate Design for Siemens VDO later transferred to Continental which will be used as a guideline for the upcoming years.

If there is enough time during his occupation as a professional designer he joins design competitions to enlarge his pool of innovative studies, bring in new aspects and advanced ideas to his works.

Presently residing at Duesseldorf, Germany he enjoys working as a freelance Design consultant for numerous firms covering a wide spectrum of design concepts.

Oliver May
Dipl .- Industrial Designer

Design Brief

The ‘Shanghai Sphere 2046’ gives a possible outlook to a transportation scenario for one of todays and tomorrows megacities. Increasing world population, environmental tasks and expanding city structures will change individual transportation tremendously.

In the near future most of the people will resident in conurbations . The aim is to organize traffic regarding combinations of individual travelling solutions and mass transportation systems. Most of those solutions have to be developed and integrated in urban planning structures to fit human needs and architectural surroundings.

The most ideal form for vehicles is a sphere. The ‘Shanghai Sphere 2046’ is based on this geometric solid. A gyro-stabilized electricity driven powertrain is recommended to guarantee a stable ride. It features the use of gyroscopic action through a spinning wheel to overcome the inherent instability of balancing a carcass without wheels. The design of the sphere was inspired by landmarks of Shanghai’s skyline to match and feature the unique corporate design of the city.

Ball bearings placed upon the downside of the exterior hull will support the drive. A lightweight titan structure combined with carbon fibre materials gives room for necessary functional parts. It offers interior space for up to four persons. Traditional features like dashboards and steering wheels are not required. The vehicle’s performance will be coordinated using GPS and augmented guidance from passengers by using handheld units. A transparent doubled shell works as fusion of hull and rim. The outer frame also could be used as a device to generate ‘free energy’ for additional power supply. An experimental field that Nicola Tesla was exploring while studying the miracles of electricity. In 2046 there may be realistic chances to see this technology applicable for practical use.

The single capsule is suitable for short individual distances but the original task is to trigger access points where capsules are collected which share same destinations. Once the direction is programmed the linkage to chain packages will be organized. They morph into a string-like configuration creating a new holistic transportation system. This can vary from two capsules up to multiple combinations depending on amount of passengers and freight. The spheres are linked via couplings and once connected use their own road constructions which consists of a low friction surface mounted onto prefabricated construction components.

The reduction of traffic chaos, accidents and conservation of energy accomplish the positive results of such a system. The effect of vehicle-free zones in expanding city structures will give more room for extended green space, recreation and increased living quality.

How does your design answer the anticipated preferences, lifestyles and transportation needs for the people in your country or region?

The aim is to organize traffic regarding combinations of individual travelling solutions and mass transportation systems under environmetally friendly conditions.

What makes your design unique?

The design of the shanghai sphere 2046 was inspired by landmarks of Shanghai’s skyline to match and feature the unique corporate design of the city.

What technologies, innovations, lifestyle needs and concepts have you incorporated into your design? How?

Using the geometry of a sphere is the most ideal and even challenging form for a transportation solution today. It shows a vehicle for individual use that can be transformed into a mass transportation system in order to optimize environmental tasks and supporting to reduce traffic problems in an expanding megacity structure.