2023 Automotive Design Award – Brüder

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Good Design Australia’s Automotive Design Award is a Special Accolade within the Automotive and Transport Category that recognises excellence in automotive design and styling.

Vehicles entered into the Automotive and Transport Category in the annual Good Design Awards are considered for the Best Exterior Design Award and Best Interior Design Award as part of the jury process.

The BruderX EXP-4 – 2023 Good Design Automotive Exterior Design Award winner – in action. Image: Brüder

A German word, “Brüder” translates to brother, and it’s aptly the namesake of Dan and Toby Bosschieter’s Brisbane-based venture that’s committed to forging “the best off-road adventure trailers in the world”. Born out of a passion for exploration and leaning on collected knowledge from global travels well off the beaten track, the company’s approach to design is fuelled by sustainable, comfortable and unbridled adventure.

The Bosschieter brothers were designing, developing and manufacturing military-spec off-road equipment for over a decade before founding Brüder. In that time, they emboldened a mission to innovate and build without limitation, fashioning off-grid companions that go where others cannot. 

Patented designs and systems, thousands of hours of testing in the most demanding of conditions and sustainable manufacturing processes were therefore brought to life as Brüder came to be and pushed this ambitious vision forward. 

Brüder’s appetite for adventure was fully on display when they took home multiple Australian Good Design Awards for their EXP-4 and EXP-8 adventure trailers in the 2023 Award season. On the heels of the 2023 Ceremony, Good Design Australia sat down with Dan and the team to dive deep into the Australian-born innovations.


Good Design Australia: First of all, congratulations on two Brüder innovations earning accolades in this year’s Australian Good Design Awards! How did it feel to be recognised on a global stage? 

Dan Bosschieter: Shocking to say the least! I got up there when we got the first award and I thought, “Yep, this is awesome”, and then they kept rolling out and I quickly realised that I didn’t really prepare for any of this. Besides that, it was fantastic.

I would have to assume that anyone that’s received any of the Awards could tell you about all the tears, trials and everything all behind it, but it was very, very humbling at the end of the day. To be a growing company and be compared to some of the other big groups that are out there was incredible.

GDA: Brüder began as a venture between two brothers pining for adventure. How does a childhood of exploration embody itself in the company vision?

DB: I guess the forefront of it is to try and design things that will go wherever we want to go. It’s mentioned in one of our catchphrases: to unleash adventure around the globe. So, it’s been all about trying to design a capsule that enables people to do that. 

Moreover, when you consider the old story: “When you have the time, you don’t have the funds, and when you’ve got the funds, you don’t have the time”, the truth is, some people do have both. Brüder can allow them to go into a position or scenario they’ve never been able to experience before, like, go properly off road and properly off grid at a level of comfort that’s never been possible.

All smiles from the Brüder crew. Image: Kit Photography

GDA: To quote: “Brüder was born after a decision to create the best off-road trailers in the world”. What exactly are the elements that make an off-road trailer a world-best? 

DB: We are obviously going to be a little biassed, but it’s honestly the whole thing from the ground up. People often ask about what makes us unique? Or, what makes it able to do what it does? The fact of the matter is, the design process sees us thinking very carefully about the design of each individual component and how it can contribute to a better product overall. 

For example, yes, we’ve got our own patented suspension system, but it’s why we chose that vault to go there and why we don’t have rubbers in our suspension bushes that brings an entirely new dynamic to life. Even with the chassis, we built a very unique system around the way in which the body reacts with the chassis so that it works in harmony with the suspension. It’s not a specific part, it’s a thought-through process that creates something in the end that didn’t exist before. 

GDA: To mark something as a world-best, you’d assume a lot of testing would be involved. What did the testing process of these trailers entail?

DB: Like all designers, we do get things wrong, so it’s through genuine testing that we made sure that everything was right before they went to market. Luckily, being where we are [south-east Queensland], we have pretty good access to some pretty harsh environments. There are plenty of beaches nearby, Fraser Island for example, and we’ll drive 14 hours out into the Simpson Desert in January or February when the conditions are most challenging. So, most of our testing trips are usually when people aren’t around, because we want to try and get the “wrong” weather conditions first. 

Some testing is even more outside the box. The EXP-8 actually started out as a mobile geological laboratory, spending three years in the Middle East in 50+ degree heat before that design went to the public market. We’ve gone to continents all around the world for testing and trialling, as far as North America, South America, Africa. Right from the word go, we’re ensuring that each core component is going to handle what it needs to do.

In a few situations, we’ve been blessed with being able to work with different groups that come to us with a problem and give us the freedom to design from the ground-up. To make a long story short, we’ve taken these opportunities and wondered, “what else can we use that shell for? How can we reimagine that?”

2023 Good Design Automotive Interior Design Award winnerBruderX EXP-8 – pushing boundaries. Image: Brüder

GDA: Brüder manufactures in two sites based in Brisbane, Australia. Can you speak to the ins and outs of Australian design and manufacturing, especially in a time where the majority of automobile manufacturing has moved overseas?

DB: I’ll openly say that manufacturing in Australia is challenging. There’s lots of opportunities from other countries and other areas, but the big thing behind us working in Australia is probably because we were born and bred here – obviously everyone’s a little bit patriotic. 

So, while this means we can’t compete on price, we can compete on quality. To do this, we’re ensuring that every facet of what we’re doing is better. It makes us think about everything from our composites to our resins to our cabinetries to our colours, innovating to make sure that we’re at the forefront of the industry and not following anyone.

GDA: You say you want to make sure there is a world to explore for the next generation and beyond, so what comes into play in your design process to pave this way forward?

DB: Sustainability plays a huge part in what we do and making sure we’re at the pointy end of waste mitigation comes into play there. In the manufacturing phase, for example, 97% of the offcuts produced in the construction of one trailer are reused in another, while bio-resins are used at all points we can. 

When on the road, “treading lightly” is a concept talked about a lot – not digging up cracks, creating big ruts and things like that. So, the whole design of the trailer and how the suspension works actually enables the car to travel easier. This means that not only is fuel consumption lowered, it will actually roll over rough terrain a lot easier and hence the car doesn’t start spinning wheels and shooting dirt up in front. Also, the track width of the trailers are actually designed to follow the car, meaning the trailer isn’t pushing more sand or soil down or knocking over trees in its wake.

So, when we’re talking about sustainability, we’re looking at it with a much bigger, holistic point of view. It’s not just in the manufacturing and the materials that we use, it’s all about the designs in action too.

Rugged terrain ≠ rugged design – BruderX EXP-4. Image: Brüder

GDA: Coming away with the Best Interior and Exterior Automotive Design Awards for the EXP-8 and EXP-4 respectively, the projects are obviously ticking the “good design” box of Good Design Australia. As a team though, how would Brüder describe the concept of “good design”?

DB: I’ll actually go with the three F’s. Most people talk about form and function, but I’d say there needs to be form, function and fun. I’d also say that for something to be a good design, simple is better. But, if you’re going to keep something simple, it needs to work and be doing something in a way that’s new and unique. It’s why, from a company perspective, we purposely don’t go and check out caravan or RV shows because we’re just going to get ideas that are already out there. So we look to other industries, like trucking or boating, a lot actually. The people there have got some pretty cool concepts and different ways of looking at things that inspire us to stay ahead of the curve and stay innovating.

Good design here at Brüder also means not sitting still – coming up with new ideas. It’s why we love bringing young heads onboard, some that haven’t even been in the industry. It brings fresh ideas and fresh concepts, and they probably get sick of me saying nope, try that, nope, try that, but every now and then it’s like, “that’s a cracking idea, let’s give it go, test it out, see what happens”. If it’s a good concept, we will make it work. 


VIEW ALL 2023 GOOD DESIGN AWARD WINNERS HERE.

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