Product Design Archive

  1. Terrazzo-list

    “Terrazzo is a composite material produced from layers of cement interspersed with chips of glass, marble, quartz, granite and other appropriate material. The invention of terrazzo can be traced to the 15th Century when Venetian artisans started to exploit construction residues to make highly resistant, low-cost surfaces principally used in flooring." Interested? Probably not. But the Terrazzo Project wants to change that.

  2. List

    One of the best things about the internet is the proximity it creates between makers and and the people who covet their products. Hundreds of thousands of miles are almost magically reduced to a series of clicks, so that you can easily bypass mass-produced products and go straight to the source, to own the original inspiration behind some big company’s designs.

  3. List

    Joseph Guerra and Sina Sohrab are Visibility, a New York-based design studio specialising in the creation of simple, functional products. None of their designs rely on the use of expensive materials or fitting into a collective design aesthetic. Rather, each answers its own unique problem, exploring the limitations of products that currently exist on the market and improving them through small but important modifications to their function. Among other things they’ve created a beautiful briefcase fashioned from laser-cut polypropylene – which transforms it from luxury item into universal object – and they’ve revolutionised the humble broom, adding a pivoting head to give it increased usability and minimise damage in storage. Seriously clever stuff.

  4. List

    Lesser people might be insulted by the suggestion from a friend that their pottery “looks like fruit and vegetables”, but interior stylist and ceramicist Hsian Jung took the comment in his stride, transforming his burgeoning pottery project into The Fruit Shop, a greengrocer-inspired online store selling beautiful handmade pots.

  5. Main

    The stars have aligned and two design worlds have brought their skills together to create something powerful! Big ol’ fashion house MANGO have had a helping hand in designing the new SEAT Mii and, rather than just releasing it to to the baying public, have asked a bunch of famous fashion bloggers to review it. Cool huh? Also, to mark this collaboration, SEAT and MANGO are inviting “global artists, illustrators, fashion designers and creators to use the template provided to submit accessory designs” as part of their fashion and design challenge.

  6. Main

    The world would be a very, very sad place without beautiful objects. And I’m not referring to enormous oil paintings in the Louvre or really, really expensive and rare furniture in London boutiques – sometimes the more humble the object, the more magic it can contain. This project backs this theory, as it is a jumble of truly beautiful “things” created from discarded materials.

  7. List

    The start of February means only one thing for the people of Stockholm; Design Week. This year is no different from any other and the city’s streets will be littered with the produce of Scandinavian and international craftspeople. As ever the annual Örnsbergsauktionen is in full swing, with some truly bizarre and beautiful objects up for sale from the likes of Nathalie Du Pasquier, Lex Pott and Stina Lofgren. There’s luxury jewellery made from human hair, a table that glows in the dark and an extraordinary machine made from a mutilated SodaStream – which is why we keep on enjoying this auction year in, year out.

  8. List

    Berlin-based artist Maiko Gubler can usually be found creating deceptively three-dimensional imagery utilising a mixture of 3D modelling software. She’s created glossy ceramic-like fruits for magazine covers, metallic fish for German club albums but now she’s actually making objects that exist in the real world. Her collection of Gradient Bangles are created from 3D-printed gypsum and uniquely coloured to create an extraordinary range of jewellery. Lovely stuff.

  9. Main

    Did you know that over 1.3 billion people in the world live without any access to electricity? It’s astonishing facts such as these that have spurred Panasonic to launch a project to start bringing light to dark places by donating solar lanterns to replace dangerous kerosene lamps. Now Panasonic is launching Cut Out The Darkness, a competition that asks the public to donate their own designs for solar lantern shades. Artists involved in the project so far include skilled paper-cutters Anna Howarth, Bovey Lee, Sarah Dennis and Julene Harrison among others.

  10. List

    Siren Elise Wilhelmsen is a Norwegian product designer based between Bergen and Berlin. She produces objects that challenge the concept of traditional functionality and transform natural materials into intricate mechanical objects. Through her practice she seeks to find “a conceptual way to stimulate ideas and discussions around our everyday objects, rituals and culture.”

  11. List

    Back in 2010 Hulger changed the way the world looks at energy efficient lightbulbs with the Plumen 001, a gorgeous product that was a pitch-perfect manifestation of Hulger’s idea that “reducing our energy consumption should feel like a positive, life enhancing choice, not a compromise.” Now some four years later they’ve followed up the multi-award winning original with the Plumen 002, launched amid much fanfare last week and surpassing its Kickstarter goal in just a few days. We caught up with Nicolas Roope to find out more about the newest member of the Plumen family…

  12. List

    Sometimes the best way to challenge injustice and inequality is through humour, an idea that Mother London have again explored in their new project. Horrified by the treatment of the LGBT community in Russia, where homosexuality has been classed as a mental illness since 1999, Mother have worked with The Kaleidoscope Trust charity to create something silly that has a serious point to make. To Russia With Love is a limited edition set of hand-painted Russian dolls but in place of bonneted matrons, the sets feature prominent British LGBT figures, namely Sir Elton John, George Michael, Stephen Fry, Graham Norton and Tom Daley (presumably a late addition). The dolls are being auctioned off on eBay to raise funds for the charity and sets are being delivered to both The Kremlin and the Russian Embassy in London.

  13. List

    I like to think of myself as a manly man, a man that other men look up to respectfully for my skilful ability to hew trees into windproof shelters, wrestle animals to the ground in a humane fashion and grow a thick, luxurious beard from my chiseled face. But in spite of all these enviable skills I still admire the disconcerting ability of a master potter to turn what is essentially a lump of mud into beautiful household goods. Look at Forrest over at Brooklyn-based Workaday Handmade. This guy’s capable of turning his stash of mud into exquisite pots of glorious azure blue and fruit bowls with swiftly-but-skillfuly-rendered geometric patterns. Not only that but each one of his pots is made-to-order in an edition numbering one. Quite frankly it puts my animal wrestling to shame.

  14. List

    Giant food! That you can sit on! But in spite of the title The Importance of the Obvious, that’s not all there is to Matthias Borowski’s MA project in contextual design from the Design Academy Eindhoven. Matthias decided to base his thesis around the transformations of various materials and with the cooking process being one of the most complex and common material transformations to to take place, he figured food might be a good place to start. Drawn in by the material conditions of sweets and confectionary (who isn’t?) Matthias set about translating the colours, textures and layers of sweets into his product design. I’ll take the liquorice allsort for my living room, if you don’t mind.

  15. List

    The Christmas nativity scene encompasses a great deal of efforts; from the Home Alone diorama to my mum’s oddly idiosyncratic collection of figures (there’s a kangaroo ffs). But my new favourite entry comes from Royal College of Art graduate Emilie Voirin who’s cut through all the usual cultural, sartorial and manger-based confusion with her fabulous Minimal Nativity Set. Simple wooden domino shaped blocks with clear character inscriptions mean you can wave goodbye to sacrilegious mistaken identity for ever (i.e. Is that one of the kings? No it’s an angel…). I imagine you’ll all be wanting to buy me a present so consider this firmly on my list (but I hope someone has drawn up a spereadsheet to prevent duplications).

  16. H%c3%b6vding-list

    Hövding is a mind-blowing new device that offers head protection for cyclists, particularly those commuting in built-up areas. It’s the result of seven years of hard research and development by Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, two Swedish product designers with an extraordinary commitment to their cause. Together they’ve developed a product that could revolutionise the way people protect themselves while cycling in cities – though for some reason they’re relatively unknown despite having produced the invisible helmet for over a year.

  17. Main

    So this is pretty exciting as far as technology news goes. Until a couple of months ago Dave Hakkens was just a graduate of the Design Academy in Eindhoven with a couple of internships and a few really lovely personal projects under his belt – one of them even caused us to write a poem in his honour. But since graduation he’s been beavering away on a project that he (and increasingly everyone else in the world) believes could change the mobile phone game forever.

  18. Main

    Apart from pre-grated cheese which is RIDICULOUS, I’m usually pretty against things that take ages to make that you can just buy in a shop (bread, cakes, cider). But since seeing this simply beautiful bread oven designed by California’s Mirko Ihrig, I’m totally coming round to the idea. Mirko’s bread-maker is the final project in his MA in Industrial Design that he completed in Sweden and the project is “a reaction to the fact that many people don’t know where our food comes from anymore. Fast foods and other processed industrial foods determine our daily lives.”

  19. List

    Studio Swine have found themselves back in São Paulo where they’re continuing to produce some seriously exciting work that makes extraordinary use of recycled materials. Last time we checked in with them they were recycling beer bottles to use as lighting fixtures, but they’ve taken their sustainable objectives even further, democratising the means of production for the city’s population.

  20. List-2

    Here’s what Marta Veludo taught us today: if you’re a dab hand at creating an aesthetically pleasing image, why not print it on a silk scarf? In fact, why not print a whole collection of scarves, photograph them really nicely and then compile them into an equally fun lookbook?

  21. List

    Satta Skates is the brainchild of Brixton resident Joe Lauder, a guy who’s channeling the ethos of the Z-Boys in South West London. Joe’s an avid skateboarder and a really excellent woodworker, and has combined these two passions to create handmade skateboards in the traditional 1970s style (more like a mini surfboard than the curved decks I used to fall off in my teens). It’s not just the construction that makes Joe’s boards stand out though, each one is customised with hand-screened images designed by the man himself with occasional contributions from Stevie Gee. They also come with beautifully detailed inlays the likes of which it’s rare to find on a board designed for shredding the skate park (I love it when I get to say shredding). Joe assures us that’s not what they’re for though. His boards “are made for surfing the sidewalks of our cities…like rideable works of art”.

  22. List

    Hey you know what we like more than a super-silly bit of product design? A follow-up to a previous international smash hit bit of super silly product design, that’s what. And so just over two years after we introduced you to Kawamura-Ganjavian’s Ostrich Pillow – a device which enabled wearers to catch 40 winks wherever they were inspired by the big bird’s ability to bury its head in the sand – we are giddy to bring you the studio’s latest creation, the Ostrich Pillow Light. Aimed specifically at “commuters, frequent flyers and holidaymakers” this new model dispenses with the over-the-head design to create a more practical, portable and lightweight option, which also doubles as snazzy scarf.

  23. Db-list

    For an industrial designer there’s an enormous amount of conceptual thought present in Dean Brown’s work. He’s not one for post-rationalising his design decisions but instead creates a clear narrative around the objects he produces. Witness the Reservoir Rug a wall-hanging-cum-floor-covering that flies in the face of the our traditional conception of a rug and uses the real-world tonal subtlety of moving water to demonstrate complex processes in textile production. Similarly his most recent series, Shrines, reappropriates traditional commemorative shrines by adorning them with miniaturised household objects to encourage a more functional use. Dean’s a designer we’ve enjoyed seeing develop and are anxious to see what he’s capable of producing when he leaves the confines of Fabrica for good.

  24. List-2

    Kia Utzon-Frank designs products with the kind of genuine innovation that makes life easier, energy more efficient and rooms more beautiful. The designer recently graduated from the RCA with an MA in goldsmithing, silversmithing, metalwork and jewellery and a whole host of transferrable skills that have seen her move seamlessly from jewellery design to products, describing herself as “a goldsmith that can’t escape my sculptural and architectural heritage”.

  25. List

    There’s nothing quite like really lovely-looking product design, and when we discover that a creation we like the look of is environmentally-friendly too there’s nothing to stop us from gushing about it. And can we gush.

  26. Apo-list

    There was a time, as a young budding freelancer, when my business partner (that’s much too professional a title really) and I used to work on his kitchen table all day. We’d eat breakfast and lunch there and sometimes dinner too, with our computers pushed to one side for five minutes so we could shovel down tins of soup. The best part of this otherwise disheartening existence was rigging up a table tennis net on the table every lunchtime and pretending we worked in some trendy up-and-coming studio where 50% of your time is spent brainstorming over foosball or hot-desking on bean bags.

  27. List

    I can look back fondly now on Christmas morning, when my poor, sleep-deprived parents would spend hours wrestling with those little rubber sandwich ties in boxes and relentlessly searching for batteries in drawers which hadn’t been opened for years. This is exactly the kind of impatient nostalgia that Andy Brown harnesses. When the photographer was commissioned to make a series of images for the Children’s Hospital in Sheffield he decided to photograph the most popular toys since the 1880s from museum collections around the country, and the resulting surge of frustration, joy, and the memory of a veritable cacophony of irritating electronic sounds indicates that he’s more than succeeded in brightening up the place.

  28. List-1

    If the phrase “changing the way we interact with our tableware” just reminds you of that bit in The Little Mermaid when Ariel is told that a fork is actually a comb for her hair then it might well be time for you to become better acquainted with the work of Polly Collins. Whilst studying silversmithing and jewellery at Edinburgh College of Art, Polly decided to push the boundaries of dining experiences to encourage users to spend more time over eating.

  29. Jessehoward-list

    I don’t really see myself as the paranoid type but I have to confess to a very occasional and irrational fear that when the technological apocalypse comes (and it will, you mark my words) I’m going to be one of those goons left behind by people with real world skills. As someone who spends more than their fair share of time online I’d be useless in a world without electricity. How do you make a fire? With the switch of a button. Cook a meal? Pretty much the same way. And what about boiling water for tea? Look, I don’t have a clue ok, there’s people out there whose job it is to know these things so I can just keep on tapping away at my keys.

  30. Particules-list

    Hold on to your hats kids because this is a little more complex than it looks. The images above and below show the work of Particules Studio, a french product design duo doing remarkable things with simple objects. Their Objets Sans Âge series in particular pushes traditional materials in wholly unique directions, fusing ceramic, wood and exposed electrical circuitry to produce radios, alarm clocks, speaker systems and light switches that are uniquely tactile.

  31. List

    It was London Design Festival last week and so creative stores city-wide joined in the excitement; perhaps none more so than Darkroom. The design accessories store launched a season of products based on the work of Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass using themes he introduced during his time with the legendary Memphis group.

  32. List

    Every year by dint of their size and the publicity machines behind them certain LDF projects get more attention than others. But to really appreciate the festival in all its glory, it make sense to seek out some of the hidden gems which always help make LDF what it is. So today we are looking at a show inspired by abandoned shoes, one which celebrates London in graphic novels and a Mexico/London-inspired exhibition form the award-winning Bethan Laura Wood.

  33. List

    I make no secret of my stationery obsession – there were times as a child where I’d walk into a Rymans and be near incontinent with glee. In fact it was the one part of returning to school after the summer holiday that would put me in a good mood. Stuff seeing friends after the long August break, I was more concerned with what ink eraser/pencil case combo I’d be going for that term. Needless to say I’d have been beside myself had this new piece of kit from Antalis been available in Year Nine. Designed by Blow in Hong Kong, this beautiful poster drawer of paper-based goodies recreates design studio staples in various Antalis stocks, from a mousemat and ruler through to your very own pulpy laptop. It IS September kids, so I might treat myself to a little gift for the new term.

  34. List

    We’re no strangers to the age-old conundrum of how best to fix a wobbly table leg at dinner (see folded up train tickets, the restaurant menu, a salt shaker, your foot), and neither, it seems, is Ana Rita Antonio. A Portuguese-born, Oslo-based designer who claims to have too much time on her hands, her recent project 14 Ways of Replacing a Table Leg does exactly that, and takes full advantage of her limited resources. This hilarious project was first presented as the second chapter of an ongoing series The Poetics of Miss Understanding as part of her graduation show from DesignLAB and promises to be the first of many strange but brilliant ideas from Ana.

  35. List

    Early morning, prising your eyes open, you reach into your clothes drawers and pull out those cycling shorts. No, it is not sleep deprived eyes tricking you, they really are that small and you really will have to squeeze your resistant limbs into them. Some can pull it off; those fully covered lycra bodies speeding on their bicycles, but let’s face it, under a dress or fitted jeans, that extra padding ain’t so svelte.

  36. List

    Unsure where to pop that pin you’ve just pulled out of your newly repaired hem? Well do not fret, friend, Eleonor Boström has designed a ceramic dog with a pin cushion for a head which will be suitably equipped to meet all your pinning needs. Not a sentence I ever predicted I’d write, but I’ll embrace it with open arms because not only has Eleonor designed tiny ceramic pups for fans of needlework, but also as salt and pepper shakers, and peeking out over the rims of teacups, and with eggcup pots for heads. And other less functional kinds which are just as lovely.

  37. Print1

    Given up trying to wrench paper from the clenched jowls of a printer that has greedily hoovered up too many pages at once and then choked, coughed a bit and paused, flashing a big lit-up-in-red NO at you? Well worry not as recent design graduate from Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne Mugi Yamamoto is here to take all of our printer foibles away with his incredible new design Stack.

  38. List

    Dumbbells made of mayonnaise containers, a crocodile-lilo created from empty detergent containers or a tea-bag lamp anyone? These were just some of the eye-popping pieces on show at Unilever’s recent Reform exhibition where they worked with our sister agency INT Works to challenge a host of creatives to turn everyday products into something new and inspiring.

  39. Bag

    The tote bag became big when we gave up on the idea that we’d one day get around to using all of those plastic bags that were stuffed inside one another and lodged in a drawer. Less of an eyesore, totes came swaggering onto the market to couple with illustrators, designers, artists and record labels. The tote bagged them all and we loved them for it, so much so that they began to stack up, hidden guiltily beneath coats in their plenty, savoured by their users as fashion statements, edging dangerously close to the passé.

  40. List

    French onion soup with fresh thyme and gruyère cheese; a light coconut crȇpe, wrapped around halibut delicately poached in truffle butter followed by forest foraged ramp risotto topped with prosciutto and dusted with fresh parmesan. Still hungry? How about some crack pie with milk ice cream balanced on a vanilla tuile followed by a French canelé with a malt barley and hazelnut latté?