TheArsenale displays new exhibition on ‘the future of mobility’ at City of Dreams

TheArsenale CEO Patrice Meignan

Since May 1, TheArsenale – a brand dedicated to mobility via air, sea, and land – has held its fifth exhibition in Macau in partnership with City of Dreams. “This kind of event is unheard of in Asia and even in the world,” CEO Patrice Meignan told Macau Daily Times.

Taking its name from the Arsenale di Venezia built in 1104, which was home to the most innovative shipyards and armories of its time and furrowed by many illustrious navigators such as Marco Polo and Vasco de Gama, the company returns to Macau for its 2023-24 exhibition.

TheArsenale’s first exhibition in the city, back in 2018-19, recorded around 700,000 visitors, and “made an impression on Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng who said, ‘This is what Macau needs,’ while attending the show” Meignan recalls.

This year will feature the theme “We have seen the future,” highlighting the desire of TheArsenale to innovate and create new types of mobility in all the sectors, including sea, land and air, with sustainability in mind.

Priority on design

“Since I was 5 or 6, I really developed a frenzy for culture. I took pleasure in cultivating my eye and analyzing the design of all things,” Meignan said. The 47-year-old Frenchman already has a solid career behind him, creating his first riding culture magazine “Blast” in 1997. He then co-founded another magazine called “Intersection,” which was already covering the future of mobility, subsequently working for the Formula 1 team Renault from 2014-2016 as the Creative Director. He has been CEO of TheArsenale since 2015.

“I really have a passion for design. That’s why I place it number 1 at TheArsenale. It involves ongoing graphical experimentation and most of the models are designed by myself,” the CEO said. For its models, the company chose simple colours such as black and white, but also displays neon orange, yellow and green, aiming to represent both safety and the desire to try and innovate.

To this end, TheArsenale tries to work with small and independents designers: “We really want to be a federator of all these designers, because it is important to show that they exist and to highlight their ideas.” In addition, the company has partnerships with Chinese brands such as Ehang, meaning that around 50% of TheArsenale’s line-up is composed of Chinese companies, the CEO explained.

New modes of mobility

“There are numerous new models of vehicles in this exhibition,” said Meignan. The goal of TheArsenale is to produce less, consume less and highlight electrical vehicles. “I am a strong supporter of moving the problem of ground mobilities into the air, meaning that we want to make a great network of flying cars piloted by AI, which will have the ability to generate very accurate routes, across different levels and scales.” 

All the models which are presented are functional and for sale, some with only one exclusive edition while others have had up to a hundred prototypes produced. “We have many different types of models, including cutting-edge custom bikes, concept-
cars and real-life homologated flying car such as the XPENG X2, a two-seater eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) flying car,” the CEO added.

Transmission through a cultural embassy

“Today, my ambition is to transmit passion and the keys to success,” Meignan said. “I want to share a mindset which shows that with a great conviction and without imposing limits on oneself, we can achieve everything.” Meignan also issued a reminder of the importance of meeting many people in different sectors, as this has helped him achieve his goals. “I’m proud to say that I met Elon Musk 11 times, worked for Carlos Ghosn, and become friends with Alain Prost and Lewis Hamilton,” he said.

Established in New York and Miami, the objective of TheArsenale at the moment is to become a kind of “cultural embassy of mobility” in Macau, leading the company to be more and more integrated with the Macanese creative community. “Afterwards, we want to set up like 5, 6 or 10 other places like this in the world,” the CEO explained.

To this end, the company has launched some workshops. At the moment these are only in Miami and New York, and the intention is to invite people to partake in the overarching goal of developing new modes of mobility, with a focus on the design elements. “People love that. We have at least 150 attendees each time we organize this kind of event,” the 47-year-old entrepreneur said.

For example, on the 30th anniversary of the French car “Twingo,” TheArsenale invited its community to create a new design for the car, adding that the best design would be developed and prototyped by the enterprise. “We had more than 16,000 proposals in three months!” Meignan exclaimed. “We have a very involved community, and that’s what we were looking for.”

The 2023 edition of TheArsenale’s exhibition is now open to public in the City of Dreams, seven days a week from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. until May 2024. Raphael Rouault

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