Years ago, colorful, chromed-out buses used to traverse the streets of Malta. These buses, often hand-painted by their owner and drivers, sported bright hues, slogans, and murals. They were a far cry from the utilitarian mass transit of today. In 2011, Malta’s buses were retired due to old age and dated technology that prevented them from meeting the EU’s carbon emissions standards.
It was a loss for anyone who loved slightly quirky, retro modes of transportation—which is to say, it was a loss to pretty much everyone who’d ever seen them. Now the buses are coming back in the form of a proposal from Maltese design studio Mizzi, who has reimagined the art deco buses as electricity powered vehicles.
Like other transportation reimaginings, Mizzi’s designs pay direct homage to the original buses with colorful paint, a rounded shape, and chrome-plated grills. But that’s where the similarities end.
Mizzi’s buses are designed to run on electricity, making them a sustainable alternative to the country’s other forms of transportation. “This is a state-of-the-art, eco-friendly bus that pays homage to its heritage and aims to fill the large cultural gap that was left behind,” Mizzi founder Jonathan Mizzi told Wallpaper.
For now, the buses are still just a concept. Mizzi’s designs will be part of a public showcase at the Malta parliament building in July, where the designers hope people will be smitten enough with the idea to take up the cause.