Unique design meets innovative lighthouse project

In 2019, Master´s students of industrial design at Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design (Simeon Ortmüller, Tobias Gehrke, Vincent Steinhart-Besser, Yigang Shen and Jingyue Chen) developed design concepts for a new form of water-based mobility and gave the CAPTN project its first visible identity. Since then, they have won various design awards for visualization such as the German Innovation Award 2022 and ABC Award 2021.

The students had set out to find answers to the question: What is the future of public transport on the Kiel Fjord? Kiel grows and urban mobility needs attractive concepts to make a choice towards alternative transport solutions easy and to achieve ambitious climate targets.In line with the CAPTN vision, this led to the idea of designing an iconic ferry that would reflect the uniqueness of the CAPTN idea – namely, connecting the western and eastern shores of the Kiel Fjord, including connections to bus services.

The two different concepts of the VAIARO project with the names “Floating Platform” and “Passage” are characterized by pragmatism and radicalism in equal measure. Thus, a leitmotifs for intelligent mobility and a new landmark in Kiel had been set in place. The statement of the design drafts is simple: When visiting Kiel, one definitely wants to sail on the new ferry! At the same time, teh design also expresses the self-image of the CAPTN initiative. We don’t only want to develop autonomous systems, but a unique ferry, a holistic concept for mobility on the water in concert with other autonomous and innovative modes of transport.

The project is ongoing; an evaluation of the feasibility of the ferry takes place regularly.

  • Concept 'Passage': Bus connection at the ferry terminal (© Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design)


The project was financed by Kiel University.


  • Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design
  • Kiel University
  • Kiel University of Applied Sciences