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Innovation through representation
Innovation through representation

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4.4 Representing material things of the future

The HS2 scheme looks forward to a modern, connected future, and symbolic of that future are the trains which will run on the new line. PriestmanGoode, a global travel and transport design consultancy, argue that HS2 is important, not only for the direct benefits it will bring in providing jobs and ultimately providing valuable transport links, but also because it provides an opportunity to champion British design and engineering. They have designed Mercury, a low-carbon, sustainable transport of the future, with the intention that it will stand as a design icon, following in the footsteps of the Routemaster bus and Concorde.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 3 Mercury
Video 3 Mercury
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The video conveys feelings of speed and comfort with a futuristic edge, and as a representation of the HS2 vision, Mercury is immediately accessible. It is a tangible product that reflects a progressive, exciting future. This is also conveyed in the rendering of the train in Figure 19a. But, the same imagery has also been used by the ‘against’ campaign to criticise the impact of HS2. The image in Figure 19b was published by Stop HS2, and takes the technologically suggestive image of the Mercury and places it in a rural context, with the train cutting through trees and countryside to emphasise the environmental impact of the new technology.

Described image
Figure 19 Representing the future of rail transport (a) for HS2 (b) against HS2