Headstrong: The Helmet Designs of Hello Cousteau
Remember the days when tobacco companies sponsored racing, and helmet liveries were classy? So do we—and we pine for them.
Most contemporary helmet graphics are a little over the top for our liking. So we find ourselves gravitating towards solid colours when we’re lid shopping—just to keep things tasteful.
It’s this all or nothing approach that prompted Nuno Henriques—an interior designer by day—to start creating his own liveries as Hello Cousteau. And we’ve had our eyes glued to his Instagram feed ever since.
“Helmets are, of course, our first wall of defence in case of a crash,” says Henriques, “yet they are also our ‘face’ on the streets and circuits.”
“I was looking for a new helmet for quite some time, yet I could not find a single one that I’d fancy—visually speaking. They all look the same and overcomplicated—too many bells and whistles and power graphics and shadows. So I thought it would be nice to share some of my ideas.”
Now based in Porto, Portugal, Henriques has worked across Europe as a product, industrial, and interior designer. “I’ve designed a bit of everything—from toothpicks to mega-yachts,” he quips.
He taps into this experience when generating new designs—along with a sense of nostalgia that we can all relate to.
“I get most ideas from my childhood, and sciences and biology books. My vision of moto and car racing is still the same from the late 80s and early 90s, when I was a kid watching TV in my grandparents’ house with my brother.”
“Some of those classic posters are still around in my parents’ place, so I get a lot of info from there. Color-wise, nature gives me all the color palette I need.”
“If I need to think too much about something the end result will probably be rubbish. Usually, ideas just pop in my head and I sketch them as fast as I can because I lose them very quickly as well. I must say I delete over eighty percent of everything I do.”
Henriques’ designs range from minimal to intricate—but they’re always well-judged and extremely tasteful. He updates his Instagram feed frequently with fresh ideas—and if his style is your style, he’s taking commissions too.
“I’m blown away by the quantity of emails and contacts I’m receiving every day with people asking for information,” he tells us.
“But unfortunately a custom one-off helmet can reach crazy high prices. My intention is to try to grab the attention of one of the big helmet brands. That way, thanks to mass production, prices would decrease dramatically.”
“I really believe people want new helmet designs—because right now most of the helmet designs on the market look the same.”
Arai, Shoei, AGV and company… are you listening?
All images by Hello Cousteau