Product Design Archive

  1. Stiff-list

    We’re not condoning pipe smoking (much), in fact we’d be inclined to suggest that inhaling tobacco smoke through a wooden receptacle probably isn’t the best idea you’ve had all week. But let’s just say for argument’s sake that you’re an enormous fan of this luxurious, effulgent pastime and you’re in the market for a new piece of hardware to meet your smoky requirements. Wouldn’t you like it if the pipe in your hands was as sartorially elegant and well-crafted as the shoes on your feet? We don’t know, we’re wearing Vans, but if they were a polished pair of brogues our answer would be “Yes, of course!”

  2. Photobot-list

    There’s literally nothing worse than having to take photos at a party – except maybe the people who enjoy taking them, push their cameras in your face and momentarily blind you. Nobody wants to be THAT person, herding their guests into forced lineups, making them smile unconvincingly for a group portrait. And yet you definitely want to be able to document your night, if for no other reason than to piece together some of the details the next morning.

  3. List-print

    Mmmmm felt tips: making the plain pages of sketch books colourful since pretty much forever, you can’t help but love a good felt tip! But imagine if you could transform that trusty old pen into something completely new?! Mind boggling stuff right, but that’s exactly what the talented trio of Amsterdam design students – Jaan Evart, Julian Hagen and Daniël Maarleveld – have done with their super-impressive PenJet printer. Taking an old inkjet printer apart and switching the usual ink cartridge for felt tip pens, not only is the concept incredible but it also creates seriously impressive and lovely looking pictures as a result. Cool!

  4. List

    Ohhh mother, here we go. McSweeney’s have just dropped a musical bombshell with their announcement of this extraordinary musical release from Beck. No doubt a little fed up with the lack of record sales (blah blah blah) rather than getting all uppity about it, Beck has taken on the beast that is illegal downloading by releasing his new album in the form of a songbook of brand new, unrecorded material.

  5. Made%e2%80%93list

    If, like us, you’re pretty partial to hand-crafted objects then it’s time to hold onto the seat of your selvage pants, because we’ve just come across the magazine for you. MADE is a quarterly journal from Published by Process and Hunt Studio that deals exclusively with artisanal objects, whether they’re fashioned from steel, leather or organic cream. As we plough on further into the digital age it’s reassuring to know that there are some seriously talented folks out there doing things the old-fashioned way, and MADE’s mission is to find out why they do what they do.

  6. List

    There’s always a project like this at The London Design Festival but it’s rare the names involved are this fantastic, and the results so good. Bench Years at The V&A is a series of one-off benches designed by the likes of Barber Osgerby, Martino Gamper, Konstantin Gric and Felix de Pass, one for each year LDF has been running.

  7. List-fb

    While you might well consider yourself inventive when it comes to food I bet you anything you have never considered turning cauliflower into a bobble hat or indeed broccoli into a handbag. But then again that is where you and artist Fulvio Bonavia probably differ.

  8. List

    European Union border agreements might not be the most obvious starting point for a design showcase but when you think about it they have been integral to the new generation’s creative education. With such free movement between European countries, designers have been able to absorb different cultures and approaches far more easily than their predecessors, boosted by exchange programmes like Erasmus.

  9. Oplist

    It may be at the second time of asking as this has been around before but there was literally no way we couldn’t post this amazing Ostrich Pillow by Key Portilla-Kawamura and Ali Ganjavian. I am blessed in that I can fall asleep literally anywhere thanks to a teenage holiday when I learned to sleep in essentially nightclub conditions in the caravan we were staying in, but if you aren’t so lucky then this is definitely the product for you. Shut out ambient noise and light and joy 40 winks anywhere, all the while looking both cuddly and futuristic – what more could you ask for?

  10. List

    For the past few years one of the highlights of the London Design Festival has been Tom Dixon’s Portobello destination The Dock bringing together not only new work from one of the godfathers of the UK design scene, but also interesting and unusual collaborators.

  11. List

    The only enviable light bulb of last year is back. Light bulb envy sounds petty, but when Brit Insurance Design of the Year winners are involved, it isn’t. The inevitable phasing out of traditional lightbulbs with ugly eco replacements was all getting a bit dull yet Samuel Wilkinson and Hulger’s curvy, stylish Plumen 001 was an unexpected design solution to new EU regulations and obviously welcomed happily last year. “It’s a bulb that doesn’t need a shade and so goes a long way to make up for the loss of the Edison original,” said Design Museum stpremo Deyan Sudjic.

  12. List

    Anyone who’s ever won a goldfish at a funfair or bought one off a man in a pub will know they’re pretty dull pets. Owners try lots of things to ramp up the wow factor with models of castles and scuba divers but at the end of the day these little swimmers are able to resist all such attempts. But hang on a minute (or double the length of a goldfish’s apparent attention span) as Sheffield studio Psalt Design may just have found the solution.

  13. List

    The phrase “ideas man” has become warped by its overuse as a middle management staple, the meaningless cover letter boast. But it’s time to reclaim it we think as Dominic Wilcox is an ideas man in the purest sense.

  14. Benpawlelist

    Don’t worry, we’ve not swapped editorial teams with Nuts magazine for the day, this is an actual piece of design with very noble intentions. Ben Pawle has created a condom wrapper that can be opened with a single finger-clicking motion. Initially designed for people with hemiplegia, the paralysis of one half of the body, the wrapper is intended to make this everyday (!) task simple for those with the condition.

  15. Dysonlist

    It’s amazing how often the best design solutions are based on the simplest ideas. There’s an awful lot of (justified) handwringing over the issue of overfishing and politicians and campaigners are wont to debate how to make the industry more sustainable until the cod comes home. But recent RCA graduate Dan Watson broke the problem down to its basics – how could you help fish that weren’t meant to be caught get out of the industrial nets?

  16. List

    If there’s product designers on more of a roll than Japanese studio Torafu right now then we’d love to see their stuff because these guys are absolutely on fire (not literally). Whether it;s installing 800 wind chimes in a Tokyo department store or producing a shelf that doubles as a secret hiding place drawer, they have amazingly good ideas which they execute with that often-elusive combination of style and charm.

  17. Nju-list

    Anyone who consumes magazines with the voracity that we do will, at some point, have encountered the problem of what to do with your subscriptions once you’ve read them. You can’t throw them away of course – suppose you suddenly need to lay hands on a vital piece of information that’s long been shredded and mulched? Unacceptable! But you can’t just leave them hanging around the house either, taking up valuable space that should really be full of potted plants and stylish furniture.

  18. Deanbrownlist

    I’ve not got much experience when it comes to furnishing a house or flat, as my accommodation arrangements thus far have never allowed much creative freedom to choose my own functional objects. If the landlord likes a fake leather sofa then I’ll put up with it, if she’s a huge fan of ornately patterned net curtains then heck, maybe I like them too (I don’t).

  19. 3d-printing-list-maybe

    Once upon a time for six months, I lived opposite a construction site, and enjoyed seeing a whole house go up bit by bit – the different levels, the roof-beams, the plastic-y material flapping around on the wind as roof-tiles were added on top. Anyway, the gradual process was interesting for an observer but must have been unpleasant and occasionally frustrating for the workers, scaling various heights and battling the elements. But that usual building scenario may be about to take a turn, if Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California has his way.

  20. Vaseslead

    Curiosity is a strange impulse, chiefly famous for alleged cat-killing. It’s also the name of the Mars Rover landed by NASA this week which is currently sending many of us into paroxysms of scientific awe (and Twitter into quip-overdrive).

  21. Office-list

    As you read this there’s a pretty good chance you’re seated in an office space or studio, looking out across a sea of focussed faces, or maybe staring out of the window onto a busy street. If you work at home perhaps you’re half in bed half out, barely able to distinguish between sleeping area and workspace (I’ve been there, it’s tricky). Whatever your current surroundings there’s one thing I can absolutely guarantee – they don’t look half as good as the stunning Soho offices Studio Swine have built.

  22. Tom-chunglist

    My initial plan was to write about just one of Tom Chung’s design projects, Locker Room, a stylish bit of kit designed to bring the thrill and anticipation of team sports into your own home. But then I discovered that it was just one project in a series of sports-related gems, so bear with me while I take you through them all.

  23. Blockslist

    What’s more geometrically exciting than Jenga with the colour palette of Lego (don’t worry this isn’t the start of some appalling joke)?The answer is Balancing Blocks, a serious piece of boredom-evading hardware from product designers Fort Standard. Balancing Blocks encourages players to construct complex structures from 10 hardwood pieces in an assortment of unusual shapes. You may not be able to create vast plastic utopias as with the aforementioned scandinavian cubes but we’ll be damned if the constructions shown here don’t look equally beautiful in their tidy little arrangements.

  24. List

    With the print industry flailing around like a boozy reveller in a deceptively deep fountain, you might think that publishers would be keen to snare buyers with cut-price offers. Not so over at Taschen where bigger is better as exemplified by their gorgeous new Marc Newson monograph, a 610-page behemoth, the special edition of which retails at a cool £3,500 (regular edition £650).

  25. Oclist

    All last week #savethesecret was trending on Twitter, a hashtag-plea for anyone involved in or lucky enough to have witnessed the dress rehearsals for Friday’s Olympic Opening Ceremony to maintain the mystery.

  26. Pulselist

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there’s LOADS of information online, most of which swirls around the digital hurly-burly without a by or leave. But fortunately ether are designers out there like Christian Ferrera and Jon McTaggart who have created Pulse, a project which turns digital information into a snazzy red graph using computre-programmed motors, small metal arms and some chord.

  27. List

    Throughout the Olympics we’ll be taking a look at all the creative collateral, what it looks like and how it performs in the context of the games. First up as it wings its away to east London for its big moment tonight, we look at the torch that has travelled the length and breadth of the country in the past 70 days.

  28. List

    As everybody should know by now, bees have been in a spot of bother lately. They’re really not having the best time of things, either because of global warming (probably) or because we’ve stopped loving them like we used to (less likely). Sadly if they die out, so will an enormous amount of the native flora that decorates the landscapes we inhabit – not to mention we’d have no honey, effectively rendering crumpets obsolete.

  29. Corbusier-1

    Born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret 125 years ago, Le Corbusier’s legacy as a designer, architect and writer is one of the most influential in the history of modernist architecture. So what then, would you give as a worthy birthday present to such a man?!

  30. List

    Wilfred van der Weide and Timo Demollin are a young pair of designers working together under the moniker of wilfredtimo, producing beautifully bold, achingly cool, graphic design. With an approach that’s undeniably playful these young Dutchmen are building a portfolio of incredibly engaging work that makes deft use of both analogue and digital techniques.

  31. Basket-tree-list

    What did the tree say when it looked in the mirror? “Geometry!” (“Gee, I’m a tree!” Geddit?) That is my all-time favourite joke – I saw it in a Zig & Zag annual in the mid 1990s and it’s been firmly rooted in my repertoire ever since.

  32. Things-list

    It’s been another mighty week for Things – we’ve been getting all manner of delightful post arriving each morning at the It’s Nice That headquarters. This week we’ve been indulging in 1990’s stickerbook nostalgia, a bit of bike-spotting, a freaking awesome piece of self-promo, a beautiful publication on food aaaaand a very nice illustrated book involving reindeer and the Greenland landscape.

  33. Chengguo-list

    Up until now the mouth has merely been a cavity into which one places cake and, occasionally, mutter a sonnet. Finally, we can put it to good use with the various instruments from Cheng Guo’s Mouth Factory.

  34. Michael-schoner

    Amsterdam-based architect and designer Michael Schoner is responsible for these pieces, and yep, they’re pretty damn great. They can store and display objects in all sorts of different configurations, and the furniture itself can be swapped and changed around – a bit like life-size lego blocks.

  35. Sam-weller-list

    Sam Weller does interesting things with old craft technologies creating design solutions that use the simplicity of their forms and functions with new contexts and a new aesthetic appreciation. Such treatment raises them up to sculptural and even, strangely, musical status in his immediately pleasing furniture and product designs. Like his Holdfast shelving and tables that use deceptively humble clamping elements that support themselves using tension, or the quite brilliant Public Resonance. A project, also using clamps, that can be attached to street furniture and existing architecture of the everyday, channelling its vibrations and the literal resonance of a public space, and was inspired by “the spontaneity of street performers and the busking community.” Inventive, wonderful stuff (with lots of insightful makings-of insights to enjoy).

  36. Impossible

    Way back in 1969 French artist Jacques Carelman created Catalogue d’Objets Introuvables, or to me and you other monoglots, the Catalogue of Impossible Objects. The collection is the creation of a beautifully bright wit and cheek, and to prolong the great man’s legacy since his passing in April of this year, are giving you the chance to own your very own specimen. The first available “perfectly useless” piece is the famous Coffeepot for Masochists and the people behind the company are asking for your votes on what to produce next. A wonderful way to spend too much of your Monday afternoon if you ask me (my vote’s definitely for the lateral rocking chair).

  37. Ryan-dunn-1

    Ryan Dunn, aka “Inane Systems”, uses furniture, photography and collage to furnish our minds with spatial challenges, possibilities, and realities.

  38. List

    Designers of all stripes can get fixated on their own trials and tribulations – when that font just won’t render properly or your Creative Suite keeps on freezing – so it’s salutory to be reminded about designers forced to work in very different circumstances.

  39. Sechairslist

    One of the most encouraging things about the Occupy movement which swept through parts of the Western world last year was that it re-engaged many artists with socio-political themes and re-energised themes and ideas that had fallen out of fashion a bit. One of my favourite responses came from Chielan-born New York-based Sebastian Errazuriz whose Occupy Chairs took were inspired by real slogans which appeared on protesters’ placards. Ranging from the considered “To big to fail is to big to allow” to the, um, more straightforward “Sh*t is f**ked up and bull sh*t” it’s a nice way of capturing the anger and the frustration that erupted but also perhaps a slightly subversive reaction, plastering these comments onto the most prosaic commercial design fair staple – the chair.

  40. List

    Here in London graduate season is in full swing and it’s easy to forget in the maelstrom of private views (hip young things swigging tepid beer) that the annual migration from arts and designs schools is a global phenomenon. Luna Seo is one of those emerging from the highly-respected Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Sweden and her final project That Piece of Time re-imagines the everyday and wants to sprinkle a liitle bit of magic onto the mundane, aiming to " grasp time from the sunlight and shed unexpected, unrepeatable moments for you to cherish."