An immersive exhibit for a workshop dedicated to Transportation Design at the IED: 50 YEARS event.


An AR-VR installation of the Manta X6 concept car for HTC VIVE and Samsung Gear VR.

Thanks to the collaboration with the authors of the Manta X6 prototype, IED and Wacom, the “50 years of IED” event practically demonstrated how a conscious use of 3D in virtual and augmented reality can support all the creation phases of the vehicle, using tools that fulfil the designers’ needs effectively and in real-time.

“The moon is a light bulb, stuck to the ceiling, and the stars look like lemons thrown into the water.”

Words by Dario Fo, music by Enzo Jannacci. It was the fabulous 1960s when Francesco Morelli founded the Istituto Europeo di Design, a creative powerhouse with an international calling, able to train thousands of talents in the fields of fashion, design, communication and the visual arts. Designers who are able to revolutionize the world with their ideas and especially with their creations, capable of improving the lives of millions of people.

Conveying to the public what it’s like to see the world through the eyes of the designer was the focus of the initiative which took place at the La Triennale di Milano to celebrate 50 years of the IED. The designer is a figure suspended in the dynamic balance between vision and practicality. To understand the reasons for a design it is essential to discover the creative method that forms the basis of its creation.

The recognized value of the design process is one of the reasons why the IED, rather than display its fifty years of experience with a celebratory exhibition, decided to narrate its story through a series of happenings dedicated to uncovering the future of creative professions. The schedule of the Milan-based event included three weeks of activities, with forty-four workshops and eight lectures involving hundreds of students, faculty and corporate partners.

The variety of content of IED: 50 years followed the line of thought that was summed up perfectly by Francesco Morelli during the inauguration of the event at the Triennial: “The profession of designer is very articulated. It requires extensive and universal knowledge on many levels, as well as vertical and in-depth expertise in areas like technology, economics, the humanities and history. I wanted IED to also be articulated, able to evolve in society and continuously updated as far as training methods are concerned”. Morelli, who passed away a few days after the conclusion of the event, reiterated this vision in what can, to all intents and purposes, be regarded as a testament to his extraordinary mission: “I want to give to the future an IED that thinks and always puts students at the center of its reflection, the real engine of our work. Young people to be guided in a galaxy of opportunities, not just those of their environs but of the whole world”.

IED 50 anni 3D triennale

An event dedicated to the 50 years of the IED was held at La Triennale di Milano with a calendar of events divided into three intense weeks of activities. (Credits IED)


The experience in Augmented Virtuality*

Among the events scheduled in the calendar of IED: 50 YEARS there had to be a workshop dedicated to Transportation Design, the flagship of the training offered by the Turin-based institute. Protocube Reply was asked, along with Wacom, to provide the necessary support for an installation capable of expressing the can-do culture at the basis of the creation of a vehicle: from the idea to the prototype, from the early creative sketches to the scale physical model through all the design stages, offered to the visitors through an experience in virtual and augmented reality.

The case study implemented in the workshop is the Manta X6 concept car created by Nicholas Cho, Jiabin Dong, Prashanth Vantimita and Nishank Grover.

Manta X6 3d VR AR team

The scale model of the Manta X6 presented by its design team. (Credits IED)

Wearing a VR visor each visitor could immerse themselves in the creative environment of the transportation designer, to re-live the different design solutions directly on the virtual prototype of the car. The experience was made for both HTC Vive and for Samsung Gear VR with the aim of communicating the broad range of possibilities that reality technologies are now able to provide to support the different design phases.

Through the immersive experience, users could view the concept car in three different liveries as well as open and explore its cockpit in real time.

car design 3d configuration VR AR

The three livery hypotheses of the Manta X6 prototype configurable in VR. (Credits Protocube Reply)

Valerio Fissolo 3D VR IED

The Creative Director of Protocube Reply, Valerio Fissolo, illustrates the interactive operations thanks to the experience realized for HTC Vive. (Credits IED)

Transportation Design and Reality Technologies: Love at first sight

The IED workshop dedicated to Transportation Design attempted to emphasize the designer’s vision in order to convey the perception of a method that springs from the creative vision of the designer rather than the final result.

The IED: 50 Years event, thanks to the collaboration between the creators of the Manta X6 prototype and the faculty of the Transportation Design course at the IED headquarters in Turin, has allowed Protocube Reply to demonstrate in practical ways how the conscious use of 3D in virtual and augmented reality can support all stages of creation of the vehicle with tools that effectively fulfill all the needs of the designers. In these respects, compared to a traditional workflow, there is the added value provided by the communication between the various figures that make up a multidisciplinary development team.

  • Concept – enhance the visionary capacity thanks to immediate feedback (model and photorealistic rendering).
  • Prototyping – preview and interaction with the functional parts of the prototype without necessarily having to resort to a physical model (rendering, 360° animation and virtual reality).
  • Customization – manage variations concerning vehicle liveries and finishes (rendering, virtual and augmented reality).

General notes

  • We wish to thank: Wacom, IED and La Triennale di Milano.
  • The opening video is owned exclusively by IED. All rights reserved.

*Glossary note – Augmented Virtuality

Together with the most common definition of Augmented Reality, where digital content is added to a real basis, sometimes we find the definition of Augmented Virtuality, a particular case when digital content (the different liveries) are added to a virtual core content (the 3D model of the Manta X6 prototype).

Due to the simultaneous presence of theoretical and application components, the forms expressed by Reality Technologies are often subject to a considerable etymological variety referring to three fundamental positions: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality, which in general terms can be understood as the digital co-presence of real, virtual and augmented content.

The boundaries between the real and the virtual, at least in the digital experience, are often very blurred and are related more to the technology that supports them than to the effective presence of the two dimensions. For this reason it is very common to find an experience “labeled” with different definitions, but this is not necessarily an error. It is also the reason why, at a very general definition level, we use Virtual Reality to label the entire real-virtual continuum.

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