Product Design Archive

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Plugg-list

    As a religious Radio 4 listener I’m constantly troubled by the appearance of The Archers twice daily, interrupting the station’s otherwise exciting range of shows. When the theme music starts I’m quick to switch the volume off, but I’ve often wished for a more literal way to put a cork in my least favourite radio drama (nobody cares what’s going on down on that bloody farm).

  13. Fslip-list

    The first time we posted Fort Standard’s work you could have been forgiven for thinking that they weren’t exactly heavyweight designers. We loved their geometric Balancing Blocks for their playfulness and charm but you’d have been hard-pushed to suggest that they were essential items – I can’t really think of an instance in which red, blue and green wooden shapes would get you out of a fix.

  14. List

    With COLLECT – The Crafts Council’s annual showcase of the some of the best creative talent from both the UK and abroad – opening its doors in London tomorrow, it seems like the perfect time to swing our spotlight on three more of the artists who will be displaying their work in the show’s Project Space area. We’ve praised before the sheer range on show at the Saatchi Gallery over the weekend and this selection proves once again that The Crafts Council have worked hard to identify talented individuals across the spectrum of disciplines they promote.

  15. List

    Since the days of GCSE maths I haven’t had much cause to use a calculator but my solar-powered Casio will always have a place in my heart. But there’s a new pretender to the throne in the form of this extraordinary Knock Knock offering from Swiss designer Khalil Klouche. Designed for small children, it works through an Arduino circuit board and presents an amazingly tactile, fun way to engage youngsters with fundamental maths. Well I say fundamental, you may find yourself having to concentrate on these simple sums more than you’d expect!

  16. Main1

    You may have recollections of making pinhole cameras at school or university. Perhaps, like me, you remember being a bit confused, not entirely sure why you were being told to put paper into a plastic cup and leave it outside before spending time making a smudgy photo that you can’t quite make out. Well those days are OVER. Not only does Kelly Angood’s much anticipated project, The Pop Up Pinhole Camera look like a lovely classic Videre camera which follows on from the success of her previous pinhole Hasselblad project, but it also produces very high quality, two-fingers-up to Instagram, pinhole photographs of which you can see some examples below.

  17. Swine-list

    Studio Swine are pretty unique in their commitment to sustainability in the luxury product market. There’s not many other designers out there that would trawl the oceans for plastic to create a bespoke stool or use human hair as a production material for luxury eyewear. It seems to us that they’re almost single-handedly championing recycling and reusing in their area of the creative industries – which is all well and good on its own, but all of Swine’s output also looks fantastic.

  18. Lisssstmate

    What’s that you say? Toiling over how much pasta to cook for numerous people has gone for good? Well Studio Lievito has designed a beautiful accessory which might just have ended that conundrum for good. Made from a single piece of white Carrara marble, each slot caters for one, two, three or four people. It’s an Italian hunk that not only is ridiculously good-looking, but means you will never let pasta go to waste again. Along with the spaghetti measurer, Studio Lievito presented an variety of elegant and practical products at Milan Design Week 2013, including this dry-rack suspended by a perimeter of natural bristles. Benissimo!

  19. Mallist

    What an absolute pleasure it is to read about Philippe’s carefully made, happy projects. From beautifully crafted bowls made of leftover receipts, to tiny boats powered by tea lights, to contraptions that produce perfectly rectangular loaves of home made bread. You know those ideas that you have sometimes when you’re walking along in the sun that, for one reason or another, you shrug off? Well, it’ almost as if Philippe’s practice is to actually put those nice little ideas into practise. And, as you can see, it was definitely worth his while. I urge you to read more about his lovely projects over on his website.

  20. Wonmin-list

    We came across South Korean designer Wonmin Park tucked away in a basement of the Spazio Rossana Orlandi – just below the space in which Konstfack were exhibiting – but don’t be fooled, the quality of this man’s work can’t be contained below ground. Wonmin is a graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven and since 2011 has presided over his own studio creating unique products and furnishings, all notable for their ethereal beauty (not a word you’d normally associate with an object designed to cradle your backside).

  21. Philips-list

    It might be over now but we’ve still got one or two bits and pieces left over from Milan Design Week that we’re not done talking about just yet, one of which is the collaboration between Philips, Kvadrat and Patricia Urquiola at Moroso’s Milan showroom. To celebrate the launch of Patricia’s first textile collection for Kvadrat, Moroso held a special launch event, The Revolving Room, that played host to these innovative fabrics.

  22. List

    One of the other great things about being in Milan this week is how many old friends you get to run into. The guys at Konstfack (arguably Sweden’s most prestigious design school) have visited us in London a couple of times, but we never get to see their work outside of paper portfolios. At their Milan show Design Anima, we got a chance to spend some time with them and have a proper look at the incredible quality of their work.

  23. Monterzino-list

    There’s a vast amount of incredible design on display at Milan’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile at the moment, from huge, big-brand collaborations releasing worldwide collections to lone practitioners making limited-run objects by hand. Big or small, the aim of the game is showcasing intelligent, beautiful products and design. Which makes it odd that the first person I got talking to here has temporarily given up his day-job as a product designer to spend time developing a more conceptual practice.

  24. List

    “Everyone’s a winner baby” sang Hot Chocolate and in a way they were right, but in another, more accurate way they were wrong. Of course all the work which gets nominated for the Design Museum’s prestigious Designs of the Year is brilliant, but we’ve just this minute received word which projects scooped the top prize in each of the seven categories.

  25. List

    LA-based artist Steven Harrington has been exploring the idea of balance in his work for a while now, interested as he is in the metaphorical significance of balance in our increasingly hectic lives. But in his new foray into product design, Steven has applied these ideas to a lamp, creating a great-looking, super-fun piece covered with his trademark shifty eyes. Working with wood for the very first time, each piece is hand-carved and hand-painted to create objects of real beauty, the curious totems topped with splash-coloured shades. Steven says: " Each one represents the harmony we seek in our daily lives, an inspired and inspiring reminder of the importance of equanimity…Each lamp is a functional work of art that illuminates, literally and figuratively."

  26. List

    We’ve long admired Giles Miller Studio, which is based just a stone’s throw away from us in east London, but it’s been a couple of years since we posted their work on the site. So imagine our delight when Giles got in touch this week with a host of new offerings in both metal and ceramic. Where Giles and his team excel is in the combined manipulation of colour, texture and shape to create pieces which soar above the sum of their parts, whether it’s for a blinged up Dubai shopping mall or more conservative settings. The constant interplay between the studio’s murals and the light that bounces off them adds a thrillingly constant element of change too. Nice indeed.

  27. Utec-potable-water-generator-list

    Often billboards do no more than clog up the sky with uninspiring advertising. But in Lima, in the midst of the Peruvian desert, one has been made that does nothing less than create drinking water from thin air. There’s a dire lack of clean water in the region and rarely any rainfall. Atmospheric humidity, however, is at 98 per cent.

  28. Blind-maps-list

    Although Blind Maps is only a concept at this stage, it really is a remarkable one. The device, conceived by designers Andrew Spitz, Ruben van der Vleuten and Markus Schmeiduch during a 36 hour project at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, is a handheld interactive smart phone maps accessory made for the visually impaired. Using tactile-sensitive haptic technology, the interface has a perforated braille-like screen with pins which move to show navigation. Constantly receiving information and adapting, Blind Maps warns of changes to the user’s route, responds the user’s progress and gives options for bird’s eye or line view. Very impressive concept, let’s hope it becomes a reality.

  29. List

    There is something so brilliant about seeing a really simple idea executed to perfection, and Swiss trio Dimitri Bähler, Linn Kandel and Ismaël Studer have done exactly that with Fanion. The Swiss designers, who work together as BKS, have created a series of rugs which use simple asymmetry to make them look like three dimensional creating a fun optical illusion. Named after the French word for “fringe,” the quality of the craftsmanship is nicely high too, making the pieces more interesting than mere visual one-liners.

  30. Main

    Speaking from the perspective of a chronic hoarder, I can definitely confirm that the world needs beautiful objects. One of the world’s most skilled beautiful object makers is Italian design mastermind Alessandro Mendini. Together with his most trusted craftsmen, Alessandro has produced a heart-stoppingly laboured-over exhibition based around the small topic of time. The level of intense craftsmanship and honed skill is pretty breathtaking, made all the more impressive by the beautiful making-of shots of the objects.

  31. Bl-list

    London-based ceramicist Billy Lloyd has been making quite a name for himself since setting up his own studio in 2011. A graduate of Camberwell College of Art, Billy spent five years following education honing his craft through apprenticeships with local practitioners, improving his throwing skills and refining his design sensibilities. As a result his aesthetic is immensely polished for a relatively young designer, each piece handled with masterful care and attention.

  32. List

    There are two ways in which product designers can be game changers. Etiher they can introduce a new, unexpected model that takes the market in a brand new direction or they can apply their technological and innovative nous to an existing type of product and blow the competition away. It’s this second route that best describes James Dyson’s new project unveiled today in London. Building on his previous success with hand-dyers, he has taken on the all-in one tap and hand dryer which up until now has usually comprised a dribble of water followed by a waft of tepid air not dissimilar to a kitten’s burp.

  33. Main

    It’s fun to have kids’ drawings in your home, whether they’re drawn on sugar paper hanging off the fridge or scribbled on the wall by the upstairs bathroom, they tend to be pretty hilarious and could, one day, be sold for a lot of money. It’s a shame to store away these little nuggets of potential future artistic talent into a cupboard where they can’t be seen, so Crayon Creatures have invented a genius method of turning the images into objects using 3D printing technology to be kept as ornaments – a little sandstone souvenir of your child’s early, cheerful artistic habits. Very cute. One please!

  34. Main

    Difficult to know what to do when your toaster or cheap white kettle breaks, do you just put it…in the bin? The worst part is, these household appliances have usually broken in such a way that they could be very easily fixed, we just don’t know how. Enter RCA graduate Gaspard Tiné-Berès and super craftsman Tristan Kopp, who together are on a mission to clear landfill sites of small appliances by transforming old glass parts and cork into new, very beautifully designed toasters and kettles.

  35. Main

    There’s nothing quite like brand new stationery –unused rubbers, sharpened pencils, unused felt-tips, it’s giving me tingles just thinking about it. So when you think you can sap joy simply out of a colour-coordinated pencil pot, you may be surprised to see this absolute game-changer of a series by Australian designers Daniel To and Emma Aiston. More desk installation that stationery, this utterly beautiful set of objects are not just immaculately made, but are photographed so well they could be pieces of fine art.

  36. Rockingknit-list

    The association between knitting and rocking chairs is powerful and longstanding. It’s common knowledge that all knitting takes place next to log fires under the watchful but cataract-ridden eyes of octogenarian grandmothers as they rock gently back and forth. But the latest groundbreaking output from ECAL students Damien Ludi and Colin Peillex takes that stereotype and smashes it to pieces, removing the knitting from the hands of the oldies and mechanising it for ease.

  37. L_l-list

    Between them, Swiss designers Loris Jaccard and Livia Lauber have worked with an awe-inspiring list of fashion and furniture clients including Martino Gamper, Tom Dixon, Established&Sons and Michael Kors, Nina Ricci and Prada. It’s testament to their remarkable skill that they’ve managed to keep such high-profile clients and collaborators over the years, particularly given their distinctly unorthodox approach to their practice.

  38. List

    Creative studios are really only as good as their ideas, and with that in mind Amsterdam’s Natwerk are absolutely brilliant. They’ve worked with a range of big name clients (like Diesel, Grolsch and Puma) to make interesting, fun and memorable brand experiences and eye-catching ad campaigns but it’s in their self-initiated work that we see their weird and wonderful collective mind run wild.

  39. Battin-list2

    Philip Battin is a design talent to be reckoned with. The young Dane has forged an impressive career in graphic design, art direction, strategy, web and product design that began aged 18 when he set up his own business selling web solutions. Since then he’s won numerous awards, kept his own business going strong and even held the prestigious role of art director at luxury street wear brand Norse Projects.

  40. Rli

    If you haven’t done it already, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? I’m obviously referring to the epic quest that is purchasing a Christmas tree from what is normally a highly inconvenient location, following the age-old tradition of dressing it up in all sorts of oddities, and then spending the rest of Christmas slowly watching it die. Fair enough, that last part sounded a bit brutal, but the life of a Christmas tree is one that normally ends up in the January heap of discarded packaging, making it even more important for us to dress them up well for their final wiggle in the spotlight! And here to dress these trees in their first and last glisteningly glorious frocks are the folks from Studio Badini Createam, who have dreamt up the Pantone Christmas baubles. They are stylish, classy, arty and fun and needless to say want, want want!