Product Design Archive

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.”

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. 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”.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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”.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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?

  30. List

    Inspired by Mary Poppins’ seemingly never-ending bag, Royal College of Art student Jule Waibel’s post-graduate project Enfaltung, meaning unfolding, was based around a range of garments created using intricate folding techniques. Incorporating the concept of collapsible structures into her design process, Jule toys with ideas of dimensionality to create clothes which expand and contract with the movement of the wearer, placing emphasis on transformation and growth. She uses Tyvek, a lightweight waterproof, tearproof synthetic paper to make her pieces, onto which a gradient is printed before the garment is made. Even better, you can watch a time-lapse film of the whole arduous process below. As she explains, “the project celebrates the beauty to be found between geometry, transformation and play.” I’d say she’s done Mary Poppins proud, wouldn’t you?

  31. List

    Every year the James Dyson Award throws up some potentially worldcvhanging inventions which kind of make me feel bad for doing so little with my life (comparatively). This year’s competition closes tonight but already a UK student has caught the eye with a great solution to the longstanding problem of access to clean water in developing countries.

  32. Lexpott-list

    Dutch designer Lex Pott has a product design practice that’s intuitive in its logic, making use of natural processes, historic traditions and happenstance to inform the conceptual backbone of his physical projects. He’s fashioned jewellery from coins, intentionally tarnished mirrors for aesthetic purposes and even, most impressively, created furniture that’s reliant upon the oxidisation of its component materials.

  33. Manere-list

    German designer Martin Schuster (aka Lang) is something of a creative polymath. He’s recently completed a masters in visual communication at the Bauhaus-University, Weimar, where he’s been engaged in a variety of design practices, from graphic to product design and seemingly everything else in between. During his studies he was employed by BUREAU Mario Lombardo, where he worked extensively on some of their projects for Gestalten Verlag (including one of my favourite monographs, The Tender Spot) and since graduating he’s been slaving away building up his own concept brand Manere, specialising in luxury products and furniture.

  34. List

    A wooden bike, you say? Surely not? Yes sir/madam, it’s true – Strasbourg-based BSG, founded by design studio Boltz & Saos, have created a beautifully designed new model called WOOD.b, made from a strangely harmonious combination of beech plywood and high-quality steel. The careful balance between the two materials allows for complete customisation of the design, and the universality of the Columbus parts means it can be repaired or serviced at any European bike shop with no trouble at all. Quite simply, this is great design at its most versatile.

  35. Sapper-list

    For a man with no formal design education, Richard Sapper has managed to make an indelible mark on the face of global industrial design. Since the 1950s his innovative approach to product design has led to some of the most forward-thinking, technically complex and strikingly-beautiful objects of use. From his early days at Daimler Benz to latter years at IBM, Sapper’s vision of the industrial world has come to be more or less our own; from the kettles we boil our water in, to the units from which we send emails.

  36. List

    In the ongoing battle to redefine and reimagine the act and art of publishing for the 21st Century comes this project from the fine fellows over at Artomatic. CONTAINER is a thematic collection of objects produced specially by the contributors to that particular “issue.” For the first one, based around the idea of “hot and cold,” the likes of Nic Roope, James Bridle, Daniel Eatock and Accept & Proceed have created a weird and wonderful selection of treats from takeaway forks to pine wood burners. Not only are the objects themselves really special, the project challenges our notion of publications and our increasing expectations of what is becoming a luxury rather than a staple of our everyday lives.

  37. Cmyk-list

    If a great idea and clever name is all you need to achieve design brilliance then we imagine Peter Chadwick of Popular is basking in the warm glow of creative success right now. Assisted by Jonny Holmes and aided by the photographic skills of David Ryle, Popular have created a fully-functioning printing table that acts as a simple, elegant manual press.

  38. List

    The Design Museum has already announced its winners of the annual Designs of the Year showcase and we were thrilled to see the GOV.UK site scoop the top prize. But with just a few weeks of the accompanying exhibition set to run, now is YOUR chance to have a say on which designs really knocked your socks off. The Visitor Vote throws the power to the people and anyone can cast their vote at the pop-up polling station as to which of the 99 entries is their favourite.

  39. List

    If you’re reading this at work, get ready to pretend you’ve got something in your eye because this is one of most uplifting design projects we’ve seen in ages. JWT Brazil worked with the A.C.Camargo Cancer Center in São Paulo to help change the way children think about their leukaemia treatment. We see a lot of high-tech wizardry aimed at alleviating the stress youngsters undergo in hospital, but the Superformula solution is simplicity itself.

  40. Main

    It’s not often we post about things that you can actually buy with your hard-earned cash, but seeing as it was payday last week we present you with one of the most coveted household items we’ve seen for a long time. We found out about Schönstaub after lovely photographer Nadja Stäubli dropped by the office last week. Together with pal David Schönen, she creates machine woven, large format carpets that resemble the creamy, sci-fi goodness of The Milky Way.