If you want to design motorcycles for a living, the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California is the premier place to begin your studies, and attending the school could very well lead to a position as a designer at a two-wheeled or four-wheeled manufacturer. There is no better proof of that than today’s story.
Partnering with the Ducati Scrambler brand, the ArtCenter had students working on designs that explored the future of the Scrambler lineup, and the winner of the competition was rewarded with a training internship at the Ducati Design Center in Bologna, Italy.
In total, 10 projects were submitted for review, and it was Peter Harkins who took home the winning prize. While many students explored electric concepts for the Scrambler brand, Harkins thought of a more classic approach for Ducati’s heritage-based sub-brand.
His design is an interesting one, as it does away with the iconic steel-trellis frame, as well as the bike’s air-cooled twin-cylinder engine. Instead, Harkins’ Scrambler has attributes more inline with a dirt bike – a single-cylinder engine and a cradle-design chassis.
The bike builds on Ducati’s “X” style headlight design, and keeps a similar shape to the seat and fuel tank to the previous models. But, Harkins also sees a high-mount pipe for the exhaust, which is designed to visually integrate into the seat and rear cowling.
If you look closely, you can see that the rear shock is tucked underneath the bodywork, with a strut connecting the suspension to the double-sided swingarm. This could presumably add the option for ride height adjustability to the model, while leaving the shock more protected to rocks and other debris.
Overall, it is an interesting design, and one that the judges (Jeremy Faraud, Ducati Designer; Andrea Ferraresi, Director of the Ducati Design Center; and the Scrambler Ducati Brand Unit) thought most accurately captured the spirit of the Ducati Scrambler brand ethos, while also pushing the design forward.
“The collaboration with the ArtCenter College of Pasadena has given rise to an interesting exchange experience with students from different cultural and academic backgrounds, who have reinterpreted our Scrambler Ducati in a creative way and with very distant points of view,” said Andrea Ferraresi, Ducati Design Center Director.
“Peter Harkins was the best in transforming the brief into a decidedly spot-on project. His work proved to be particularly complete in the study of the proportions and in the development of the details. The reinterpretation that he proposed takes its inspiration from the values of the brand and maintains the typical stylistic canons of the Scrambler Ducati, such as lightness, simplicity of lines and the headlamp characterized by the unmistakable X, now recognized as the signature of the bike.”
The students’ work was judged based on their future vision, the presentation of the project, the quality of the technical drawings, and on their design style.
In total, 10 different projects were presented, though they had some features in common. Ducati says that many students imagined an electric Scrambler Ducati version, with a nod towards to urban mobility, while others submitted what the brand calls “all-round models”. Harkins’ winning project was from the latter category, with Ducati saying the design “respects the true spirit” of the brand.
“I am thankful to Ducati and ArtCenter for working together to provide this opportunity,” said Peter Harkins. “I am extremely excited to be working alongside such a talented group of designers at Ducati and look forward to learning new skills and techniques. Thank you to my classmates who pushed me to do better and to our teacher, Alex Earle, for inspiring us through his Powersports Class. This is a dream come true!”