product design

Designs of the Year 2014: Product Design Nominees

Designs of the Year‘ is the London, UK located Design Museum‘s exhibition of the most innovative, intriguing and original international design across the seven categories of Product, Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphic and Transport design. Although global in spirit, I do sense a Euro-Western Europe slant in the list of nominees across the categories. Starting today (26th of March, 2014), voting opens as part of the social jury process in selecting the winners of round one, across the seven categories for the final exhibition. These are the nominees for Product Design for the year 2014. Take a look.

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Product Design: ‘Inspired Urban Living’ 2013.

1700 product concepts from over 60 countries made their presence felt in this year’s Electrolux Design Lab, in response to the brief of ‘Inspired Urban Living’. Industrial and product designers pitched in with some common themes addressing personal care and care of the near and dear ones – from healthier, cleaner homes to cooking, from appliance accessories to domestic robots. Product concepts emerging out of design schools are audacious at times, and one can see a hint of it in some of the concepts. Bio-mimicry appears to be catching on, along with the need for us to breathe non-polluted air. Not all of the concepts are going to go through to final development and prototyping – but for the very few that do, it will still remain a test to see if what looked good as idea sketches and concept notes, actually function as envisaged in the everyday real world. Take a look at some of the entries for the Electrolux Design Lab 2013.

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Product Design – Electrolux Design Lab 2012: Finalists

Design Lab is Swedish appliances major Electroluxs’ annual student product design competition. In this tenth year of the contest, there were 1200 entries, from which these ten finalists were shortlisted to battle it out in Milano, Italy on 25.10.12. As I was going through the entries, the final thirty and now down to ten, it was quite clear that the shortlisting was done considering the Electrolux business idea of a ‘smart’ kitchen / home, with an ‘amazing range of capabilities’. I also paused to think whether there has been a collective dumbing down in this rather frenzied race for ‘smartness’. Student contests do have an exploitative edge, as major corporations seek out business-next ideas for the price of a cola can. The text accompanying each of the entries here is untouched and presented in their sugar coated, sales pitch manner. I found some of the project ideas redundant and almost laughable, and for large populations of the world, most of them are alien objects, sans meaningful form and credible function.

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Royal College of Art: Design Products: Foldboat

Design students Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies were both studying for their Masters degrees in the Design Products programme at the Royal College of Art when they conceived the Foldboat. In a paper furniture workshop they started to understand origami techniques and they wanted to use these techniques to create a functional product. The boat is folded from a 8ft by 5ft piece of plastic and can be transformed from a flat sheet to a rowing boat by a single person in under three minutes using only three components. ‘You just fold it, clip it together then push it out into the water.’ If this was made affordable, the Foldboat could be of considerable use in flood prone areas.

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