Helmet design with Hello Cousteau

Helmets are more than just a means for protecting your head, they are also an extension of our style when we’re riding. Hello Cousteau, the brainchild of designer Nuno Henriques, understands this and has been gracing Instragram feeds with his creative helmet designs.

The motorcycle helmet is a great canvas for some interesting designs, but the graphics pumped out by major manufacturers have been far too cluttered in recent years and polluted by the logos of energy drinks companies. That’s why the work of Nuno has been refreshing.

Taking inspiration from the rich paint schemes from 70s and 80s race liveries, he has applied his unique style that demonstrates that clean lines can be more vibrant and have a greater impact for individuality.

Hopefully the likes of Arai, AGV and Shoei have already taken notice. We spoke with Nuno to understand what drives him to produce these works of helmet art.

Your background is in interior design, what motivated you to start putting out helmet designs?

Actually I graduated in industrial design. I started working in a design office in Stuttgart, Germany, in pure industrial design. Then I moved to Copenhagen, Denmark, where I’ve started working on product design, where I got in touch more with the aesthetic value of the objects and not so much with technicalities. After that I moved to Paris, France, where I’ve worked in an extremely exclusive interior design office. I started doing this because some time ago I went to a lot of helmet stores trying to find a new helmet and I could not find a single one that I’d fancy. I mean, there are amazing helmet brands with outstanding shapes, but their graphic part is seriously lacking. They all look the same and too complicated. There is no individuality these days…

A lot of the helmet designs you have displayed evoke the glory days of motorsport liveries and helmet design, what inspires your design and how to do you approach a blank helmet?

Since I am doing this on my own, I’m not following any briefings from helmet brands, that always end up on doing the same thing over and over again. I get inspired in everything around me. Nature is without a doubt my main inspiration, because it provided everything to you: shapes, colors, patterns, moods. If you see, my helmets are always quite organic and flow regarding my own mood. They have imperfections, so I always try to get away from the “mathematical” designs from these days, where everything looks like it was designed by a computer. So, my inspiration is something on the spur of the moment. I’m not pushing my mind to design something cool or beautiful or whatever. If something comes up nicely, I try it. If it works, perfect. If not, trash with the idea. If I have nothing else “new” to say, I’ll just stop doing this. A good design must come from passion.

Do you have any favourite designs from racing in particular, be it racer’s helmets or cars and bike liveries? Or even from outside of motorsports?

There are a lot of helmet designs and racing liveries that are absolutely outstanding. My favourite helmets are the ones from Graham Hill, François Cevert, Nelson Piquet, Elio de Angelis, Ayrton Senna or even James Hunt. Extremely simple helmets but so easy to identify. These provide a clear character. Today all the helmets look the same… Regarding racing liveries it’s almost the same thing. Sometimes you need to write the team’s name in there so you can recognized them. Regarding liveries my favourites are F1 Lotus from the 60s-80s, 1980s Renaults, 80s McLarens (Marlboro), 1954-55 Mercedes F1, Williams F1 1985 to 1996, 1972 Tyrrell and Laffite’s Matra with the big Gitanes logo. You could identify any of these cars miles away.

There is a lot of individuality and creativity in your designs, how do you rate the mass produced designs and replicas on the market?

Boring as hell. I mean, there are hundreds of helmet designs around and they all look the same. If you take a look at the MotoGP lineup and check their helmets, if you remove the names and the numbers you have no idea who’s who. It’s the same over-complicated designs with details that are quite appalling, like the cartoonish characters on the back of the helmets. It’s terrible and not exciting at all.

Instagram has been a perfect platform for you to promote your work. Have you done any commissions for anyone and do you have any collaborations with any helmet manufacturers in the pipeline?

Oh yes! I’ve got crazy, crazy stuff coming out in the next few months and not only helmet-wise! Stay tuned!

You’ve shown off so many different varieties of helmet designs, what have been some of your favourites?

I gotta dig the first one I’ve designed: the yellow, white and black with the ELF logo.

Helmets make a great canvas for your designs, have you applied your design work and philosophy to anything else motorsport related?

Yes I did! But I cannot disclose this for now, but will soon!

Do you ride motorcycles? What do you ride and what attracted you to motorcycling?

Yeah, I currently ride a Ducati Monster 821. I’ve started with a Triumph, then moved to Moto Guzzi and now the Ducati. I dig the freedom of riding. Plus, I like to ride real fast. My car does not go as fast… I’m thinking about switching to adventure bikes though. Ever since I saw that huge KTM 1290S/R my mind started to shift. Unfortunately I cannot have a sportbike because I commute everyday, so my back would not thank me in the end of the day.

With so many great designs to choose from, have you had one of your designs painted on to your own helmet?

That is a problem. I’ve been wanting to, yet when I’ve got my mind set on putting one of these designs to my actual helmet, I end up choosing a different new design. It’s been like this for the last few months. Decisions, decisions… Way too many designs to choose from!

All images © hellocousteau.com
For inquiries please contact hellocousteau@gmail.com


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