Product Design Archive

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. 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).

  6. Ryan-dunn-1

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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."

  10. Admain

    Maybe it’s a case of this only looking good if you have an immaculate pastel wall and some really cool possessions, but who cares, it’s a sweet idea. Andrew Dawes has designed the solution for those who like to have a consistently clean floor or desk – simply suspend everything you own from a minimalist panel above your head and let it just hang there, looking cool. The best thing about this idea is that even the most ubiquitous and unglamorous of day-to-day items are suddenly transformed into hovering treasures. I guess just be careful when you start hanging up stuff like scissors or vials of poison. Check out Andrew’s other work too, he’s made a pretty cool book in the style of a hotdog. Nice one!

  11. Jublist

    We Brits are a strange bunch. 99% of the time if you asked the average person in the street almost nobody would even really have an opinion on the monarchy – maybe, maybe the odd grumble about taxes or a vague blathering about history and tourism. But offer us a couple of days off on their behalf and suddenly we’re all bunting-bedecked, foaming-at-the-mouth uber-Royalists, prepared to lay our red, white and blue bodies on the line to protect our glorious leader, her family members and their funny little dogs. Naturally whenever such a fever grips the nation, the creative community are quick to join in and we’ve seen all manner of right royal responses. Here’s some of the work that’s rolled in. Merry jubilee everyone!

  12. List

    Long gone are the days where ceramics meant those terrible grey figurines that cost an obscene amount of money so beloved of certain family members. It’s time to make way for a new kind of porcelain wonder, so welcome CadCam Tableware from product designers Minale-Maeda.

  13. Jeppe-hein-7

    Given the opportunity and such inexplicably good weather that we’re enjoying euro-side, the coast is a necessary destination and in particular, the Belgian coast where the fourth edition of the Triennial of Contemporary Art (Beaufort04) is taking place.

  14. Benn-fiess-list

    I’m going to go ahead and assume that all other places of work foster the same strange fascination myself and my colleagues have with each other’s lunches. Our editor, for example, inexplicably eats two of everything, one of the directors goes through a lot of pate and the other day someone from design ate burger and chips in a wrap. For me though, it’s all about the vessel. I thought I’d found it, the perfect container – an enamel tiffin with compartments and carry handle – but then the internet presented me with Utilitarian Ceramic by Ben Fiess and I was left wanting.

  15. Mit

    Solving a crossword is pretty satisfying, but solving a problem that has niggled at the dinner table of mankind since 1837 is nothing short of revolutionary. So where to begin in describing the utter genius behind the recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology breakthrough? Well, for two months a team of mechanical engineers and scientists, led by MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith, have been holed up in a lab trying to find a way to eradicate the problem of wastage in condiments bottles; and they’ve done it. The solution? LiquiGlide, a non-toxic coating that can line the inside of the bottle to make the liquid inside slide out with complete ease leaving nothing behind.

  16. Listy

    Girls just wanna have fun right? Well apparently furniture designers want the same, or at least Dutch designer Lucas Maasen does. He has a range of projects that flirt with the boundaries of the way we perceive objects, playing with how they’re presented to us or the way they’re created – he personifies the beloved if overused phrase, “thinking outside the box.”

  17. 3

    We admire anyone who can actually make things but it gets more interesting when these inventions do something even cleverer than make our lives easier, like using external elements around us and employing them into the process. Take Mischer’Traxler, a Vienna-based studio made up of Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler who develop and design products, furniture and installations (among other things) that push concepts and innovative thinking to the limit. As a result their projects are experimental, with an emphasis on the physical process and combine both craft and technology together in the wonderfully simple but refined mix.

  18. List

    While we can get overawed by the wealth of established talent in the creative industries, it’s important to support those who are either just starting out or still climbing that competitive tree of success. Like flowers they need watering, feeding but above all nurturing to continue becoming the best flowers (creative professionals) they can. This is why the Design Museum’s annual Designers in Residence programme is such an excellent opportunity in recognising new and emerging talent.

  19. Drlist

    In 1976 leading designer Dieter Rams sketched out some of his core beliefs in front of an audience in New York City. Concerning his work with Vitsoe, it’s an invaluable insight into the principles on which the work of one of the 20th Century’s leading design figures were based and is a must-read for creatives across any design discipline. Massively ahead of its time and bursting with sound advice, the full transcript has just been released to mark Dieter’s 80th birthday later this month.

  20. Cclist

    Next week sees the return of the Craft Council’s annual jamboree Collect, a celebration of the very best ceramic, glass, jewellery, textiles, wood, furniture, silver and fine metalwork by both new talent and established artist. To whet your crafty appetite (as in your appetite for craft not your cunning) they are counting down by asking a selection of top arts and design types to choose an object that encompasses everything they love about this eclectic, painstaking medium.

  21. List

    The small things from childhood that we forget easily – like your granddad ruffling your hair or your favourite cup to drink out of – are what Japanese studio Nendo want us to cling on to and they’re realising this themselves through collecting the everyday into concrete, easily understood design. This year alone they’ve produced a huge amount of compact projects of joy that are both playful but well-executed.

  22. Ikcameralist

    With everyone apparently now a photographer thanks to the ubiquity of camera phones and inexpensive digital snappers, the design story has so far been one of ever increasing sleek and cool aesthetics. Maybe though what was needed was for someone to create a camera whose look echoed the simple functionality which remains all important in the mass market. Well step forward Ikea who are set to launch the KNÄPPA which they have developed with Stockholm’s Teenage Engineering – it’s a cardboard digital camera which can store 40 pictures and plugs directly into a computer. Hip? No. Revolutionary? Potentially.

  23. Cranetd

    “I’ve been writing to robot companies for the past five years,” sounds like the ramblings of a madman but it’s actually a line from this excellent film about the ever-tremendous Tom Dixon. Anyone who has been to The Dock – the designer’s riverside HQ – during London Design Festival knows how well he does these big public events, and during Salone last week he set up shop at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan. Our pals at were out there and produced this piece showcasing not only the impressive set-up but Tom’s ideas about technology, creativity and commerce.

  24. Listairdrop_edward-linnacre_ah24

    There’s obviously a place for – and a very good living to be made in – design that solves the small everyday issues like making car seats more comfortable or bus timetables more legible. But many designers harbour ambitions to tackle some of the world’s most intractable problems and The James Dyson Award rewards some of this kind of inspired idealism.

  25. Dmlist

    In this Olympic year it was always going to be a hot favourite and sure enough Barber Osgerby’s Olympic Torch won the coveted Design of Year, it was announced tonight.

  26. Noman-6

    Once you know that NOMAN is the collective efforts of a fashion designer, Selina Parr, and a product designer, Lara Tolman, it becomes wonderfully, obviously clear that the design sensibilities of one is clearly affecting the other; be it material, how a form just hangs or the careful assortment of colour and texture. For this reason, they tell us, we could discuss whether their work as “designed art of useless design.” But, of course, fashion is never just limited to garments that are worn and NOMAN’s vital directive is to “carry out an atomsphere.” which they do with installations and a deliberate and aesthetic extroversion of standard inanimate forms; lengthening, colouring, iterating and carefully composing – not totally un-like dressing a model for couture – their end goal being that to afford the concept of ‘fashion’ a “broader interpretation.”

  27. Noijelll-list

    Jelly is probably one of the most fun foods there is. Regardless of whether you like the taste, you can’t deny the wobbling, translucent bundles of joy will always bring a smile to your face. For Raphaël Pluvinage and Marianne Cauvard though, they wanted more from jelly, so have cranked up the fun factor to 11 (and the weird factor to about 7) and created the game Noisy Jelly in which players can make sweet melodies from the gelatinous dessert.

  28. Ecallist

    Gherkins, like politics and skinny jeans, tend to split opinion. Depending on which side of the delicious/disgusting divide you inhabit will determine your reaction to Cranchion by Joseph Gallix which is part of renowned Lausanne art/design school ECAL’s Milan showcase. Combining “the plebeian product and the vanity represented by the skull” Joseph has produced something undeiniably eye-catching.

  29. Lp_01

    Rust, we were taught by parents frantically retrieving bicycles left carelessly out in the rain, is to be avoided at all costs. It’s ugly, they told us, and damaging – a stark sign of dilapidation easily avoided.

  30. List-elisa-strozyk

    Elisa Strozyk had us at Wooden Carpet, the beautifully crafted isometric floor covering made from hard wood, but we’ll take her Accordian Collection too. A designer with a penchant for surfaces and surprising manipulations of very traditional materials, this latest work created in collaboration with artist Sebastian Neeb, continues with Elisa’s affinity for creating unusual textiles.

  31. Nightshop-pov-list

    We’re going to be treated to all sorts of design gems in the build up to this years Milan furniture fair, and occasionally these products might even look like jewels. The P.O.V vase by NIGHTSHOP (Ward van Gemert and Adriaan van deer Ploeg) is an iridescent vessel with a perspective heavy design, changing colour as you move about it. Tasking themselves in creating “surprising products,” the vase more than qualifies.

  32. Cel-list-porcelain-garden-detail

    Porcelain is such a delicate material that as an indelicate child I was often kept away from the pearlised slopes of a figurine, the voluptuous derriere of a vase, and the regal arch of a teapot handle. It’s because of this isolation that I can’t help but be entranced by anything porcelain now – even a toilet seat has sometimes rendered me speechless, but most recently, it’s been the work of Buenos Aires born, Cecilia Borghi that’s enchanted me.

  33. Calcfront

    “Math is beautiful. Arithmetic is simple. Rechner is both.” It may sound like the strapline of a particularly leftfield perfume advert but actually that’s what Colorado-based designers Todd Berger and Lucian Föhr say about their new app which creates the world’s first minimalist gesture-based calculator. Taking the touchscreen iTechnology we’ve all come to know and love, they’ve applied it to one of the world’s most basic products with stylish results. Certain swipes engage different mathematical functions (multiply, divide etc) and both in aesthetics and functionality this appears to be a significant milestone on the road to a time when this technology is ubiquitous.

  34. Liliana-ovalle-list

    The Mugroso Couch, Mugrosita chair and El Otro (de los Mugrosos) sofa are an ongoing collection started in 2006 of casually-composed seating pieces inspired by the “improvisation and low resources” of the people in Mexico City. Royal College of Art graduate and Mexico-city-born designer, Liliana Ovalle, has taken the functional ingenuity of binding, tying and pushing through carriables onto wire frames and transportation trollies, applying this collage-like logic to her furniture. The results are wonderfully aesthetic, intuitively constructed with a direct line to their reference material, all in all, telling a very nice design story.

  35. Scoooot

    Scooters have a bit of a bad reputation as a must-have hipster accessory (think Nathan Barley) but I have to admit that the new SwiftyONE Chrome from Jason and Camilla Iftakhar might break the mould. Firstly it’s beautifully designed and made – sleek and stylish. Secondly, it’s robust enough to make you feel like you are actually using something built for adults (rather than ironically using a child’s toy) and yet it only weighs 7.5kg.

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  38. Gardar-eyjolfsson
  39. Heinekeneeeeee
  40. Bertjan-pot-small