In 2020, DT Swiss, Open Cycles and VITRA design ran a contest called Ready to Paint, where designers the world over were invited to submit artwork and stories for potential to be incorporated into a bike design. Today, DT Swiss and Open announced the winner of the competition, and shared the artwork and stories of the top-10 finalists.
Some 79 artists took part, with the five-member jury voting anonymously using a 5-star rating system to make a short list. From there, the jury met to determine the final top-10. The jury members were Christian Harbeke of Nose Design, Tim Florian Reusch of VITRA, Marco Capteina of DT Swiss, and Andy Kessler and Gerard Vroomen of Open Cycle.
Check out the work of the artists below, and read their thoughts behind their designs.
Artists from various professions and numerous countries submitted their designs, both mocked up on frames and wheels, and also delivered in example detail like this. This piece is by graphic designer Alexander Plesovskich in Bremen, Germany.
“I work exclusively digitally,” Plesovskich said. “My thematic focus is often the contrast between the digital and nature. Contrasts are my main stylistic device.”
“We go out, we mount up, we start pedaling. We’re in flow,” Plesovskich said. “And after each turn of the crank, our environment and the bicycle merge more and more into one through our inner drive. The result is a unity in which each of the three elements depends on the other: Nature meets material meets passion.”
Jens Hoeft titled his work the Fibonacci-Sequence.
“The Fibonacci sequence is of fundamental importance for proportions perceived as harmonious. The spiral also stands for the hidden reason found in nature, as a bridge between art, technology and nature. The development expressed in the spiral is evolutionary, characterized by continuity. On the wheels and frame the colors follow the Fibonacci sequence in their dimensions. They are thus ciphers for further development, movement and dynamics. They are signs of rationality, but also archetypal forms of nature.”
Madeleine Maros’ theme was ‘What will u be remembered for?’
“The theme is to dismantle the bicycle into individual parts and then reassemble it. The individual parts come to life and ask themselves the question of the meaning of life. How do I want to be remembered? Did my existence have a meaning? Did I accompany people, touch them and do good to them? Or was I intolerant and only tolerated?”
Sascha Schuhmacher’s design was titled ‘Mr. Paopao / One With Nature.’
“Kon-Tiki! One of the most impressive events for me so far. Thor Heyerdahl sailed across the Pacific Ocean from Lima in 1947. With this he wanted to prove that the settlement of Polynesia from South America was possible with the technical possibilities of pre-Columbian Peru before the time of the Incas. My bicycle. My reality. My Kon-Tiki!”
French architect Emilien Bouëxel won the design competition. He is an architect in Paris.
“I have always been attracted by the possibility of customization, style differentiation between riders and unique creations,” Bouëxel said. “This vision pushed me to understand customers’ desires and to adapt my work process. Aside from being an architect, I also began 8 years ago, aged 17, to design helmets, bikes and logos for friends and local or national riders.”
“I grew up in Brittany, mainly riding mountain bikes for fun with my brother and parents. I then used to work with Christian Levavasseur, a former professional cyclist in the 1980’s, who shared with me his memories on the Classics alongside his friend, Bernard Hinault. One striking anecdote was during the Tour de France in 1980, as he was leading the stage to Morzine. A few turns before the end of the descent of a pass, at high speed, he hit a hole in the road. Falling was inevitable, yet he still managed to finish second. He then claimed the prize of fighting spirit of the Tour. Later, I moved to Paris to study where I now commute to work every day on my 1982 MBK bike. The circle has been closed.”
“This motif was inspired by my recent climb of the renowned Mont Ventoux in France, my biggest challenge as a cyclist so far, and by the resulting thrill in both my body and mind. The broken lines represent the continuous effort up to the summit. The sinuous lines are similar to the strata of landscapes, similar to the ascent but also to the speed reached in descent. The two-colored squares evoke the atmosphere in the morning of such an event, the first pedal strokes at sunrise, the heat, the wind. The superimposed colors are a snippet of the entire surrounding crowd and the famous landmarks of that mountain.”
“The abstraction of the artwork shares the humility, sharing and equality of thousands of cyclists facing the same obstacle, the same objective or simply the pleasure of riding.”
“As a means of transport, bicycles are facing a bright future. As an architect, the actual increase of the number of cyclists should be reflected in the way we design cities. In addition, the technical evolution of the bicycle components has allowed a wider audience to share this passion and to adapt it to their needs.”
DT Swiss and Open Cycle built the bike and applied Bouëxel’s design.
Bouëxel’s art is brought to life.
And is now ready to ride in the world.