How do you differentiate yourself in the UAE when all your friends are driving a Bentley, a Ferrari or a Lamborghini? Simple, you customise and build your own car. A concept car to be more precise, and the man for the job is no one else than Mohamed Al Hashmi, an aspiring car designer whose concepts are, for the lack of a better word, sick!
1. What drove you to car design? Why are you passionate about it?
Well the story of how I ended up in car design is pretty unique. It all started with me being a curious, naughty and hyperactive boy who was dismantling any toy he came across. I was breaking things apart, trying to find out how they work and later on trying to assemble them back together. The only issue was, whenever I’d put the toy parts together, they end up not working at all so you can understand the frustration of my father. One day, my mom came up with a solution: she started drawing cars for me on paper, trying to channel that destructive curiosity into something, well, more manageable. I was hooked from the first sight. Drawing cars was fascinating, especially the geometry of it. It helped me satiate my curiosity for complex things, multiple parts, complex figures and modular design. It started from the simple bloc and two circles and kept on getting more detailed and more sleek over the years.
I started reading about cars later on, and dived more into advanced design. I was self taught, crunching books and spending hours on design forums and video tutorials. Today, I’ve come a long way from that first rectangle and two tires scribbled on a paper.
2. Was your family and surrounding supportive?
I can’t say that my family didn’t support me, but still in their opinion I was wasting my time running behind something impossible, I mean, who on earth decides to pursue concept car design in the Arab world and still gets his family’s blessing? My parents wanted me to focus on my studies and kept on pushing me towards forgetting altogether about design, but a passion is a passion and I kept on fighting hard to streamline my ideas on paper and explore ways to bring them to life.
3. What do you need to bring your project to life?
The design is almost finished as a 3D model, I’m now about to work with some calligraphy designers to design some parts of the interior. I am also in contact with different car design studios who specialise in designing and engineering fully functional concept cars and later on market them to major car manufacturers like Ferrari, Mercedes Benz, Toyota, etc. We did a preliminary study of the cost of building a full size scale model and the cost of building a full functional hyper car. Of course the prices vary from one manufacturer to another depending on the quality of the design and the way of building it, but I’m hopeful that we can bring the designs to life at the lowest cost possible so that we can provide a proof of concept and use it as a springboard for additional creations.
4. Is the UAE the right market for your concept car? Why?
The United Arab Emirates is one of the most advanced and fastest growing markets in the world when it comes to supercar purchases. Abu Dhabi and Dubai alone account for some of the biggest supercar collections and galleries globally, mainly fuelled by a stream of wealth and a deep appreciation for luxury. The fact that Ferraris and Lamborghinis are so prevalent in the UAE gives me a unique advantage given that affluent individuals start looking at differentiation through the acquisition of concept cars and limited editions.
5. What is so unique about your designs?
The car design is motivated by the desert environment in the UAE: The sand dunes gave me the inspiration for the outlines of the car and the factor of the aerodynamics, because the sand dunes take their shape from the air flow passing around. The design also combines a modern touch and a classic aspect given that the interior will be decorated by a unique Arabic and Islamic ‘arabesque’ to reflect our Emirati art and culture.
Check some of Mohamed’s designs