Retro-Modernism: Mizzi Studio Reimagines And Electrifies Malta’s Iconic Bus

A vintage orange British Bedford bus on street of Valletta
traditional maltese bus
image by jack malipan travel photography / alamy stock photo (also main image)

in 2011, malta’s traditional, colorful buses were retired. funky, ornately donned with names and scriptures, the locally-owned vehicles captured the hearts of tourists and commuters for half a century. by the early 2000-teens, the shapely buses no longer met EU standards for carbon emissions and they retired the fleet. that is until mizzi studio announced designs for their electric comeback.

The Maltese bus for the 21-century will be a clean-emission electric fleet
Stargate Studios for Mizzi Studio

a few photos down, the original buses will jump out at you. a delightful trio — opel, layland, and an orange friend whose name is just out of shot. the day these buses were scooted aside, it was a win for the environment…but if earth were allowed just one cheat-food in its new diet of sustainable vehicles, she might have chosen these colorful beauties. fortunately, we no longer have to choose between environmentally sustainable experiences and lovely experiences.

Mizzi Studio resurrects the much-loved cultural icon of Malta, the traditional bus
Stargate Studios for Mizzi Studio

award-winning london and malta-based architecture and design practice mizzi studio has revealed innovative designs for a new, electric fleet of the mid-century buses that, in a single swoop, may set the small nation to lead the EU in the charge towards zero-emission public transport. the studio may just ignite a renewed sense of national pride through these contemporary, eco-friendly iterations. the new designs will be showcased in a public exhibition at the parliament building in valletta in july 2019.

The traditional buses were painted according to route, a concept which Mizzi will return

mizzi studio identified the best characteristics of the traditional fleet and imposed them onto a modern chassis. note: the over-sized chrome grill, round hooded headlights, and the visor overhanging the windscreen. the colors, the slogans, electric dreams, forever young, all the nostalgia of the buses get a modern, economic spin.

The studio looked for common characteristics to be interpreted in the new buses
Mizzi Studio

mizzi studio proposes a fully electric, emission-free fleet in line with the EU’s long-term strategy for a climate-neutral future. the new fleet would also have a full vision panel at the front, state of the art air conditioning and cooling systems, middle doors for efficient boarding and disembarking and low floors and ramps for disabled access. regardless of how maltese citizens receive the homage, they’re likely to enjoy them more than the deeply despised bendy-buses that were used in 2011.

Early sketches reveal the design direction
Mizzi Studio
The traditional bespoke Maltese bus will return as an all-electric fleet
Stargate Studios for Mizzi Studio