Here’s my choice of the Design highlights of the year. To be honest in a difficult year there’s been slim pickings; you may totally disagree and that’s fine by me. By the way there are no chairs.
Thomas Heatherwick UK Pavilion Shanghai Expo 2010. Constructed from 60,000 transparent 7.5m long optical strands, the tip of each containing a seed from the Millenium seed bank. The Pavillion showcased the work of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew and was appropriately called the Seed Cathedral. Inside the interior is a quiet contemplative space, lit by light filtering through the optical rods. The pavilion was awarded the prestigious 2010 RIBA Lubetkin Prize and Thomas Heatherwick was awarded the London Design Medal at the 2010 Design Festival.
Jambox by Jawbone Designed by Yves Behar the Jambox is breakthrough in wireless technology being the first intelligent wireless speaker and speaker phone. The clever little box quickly and easily connects with mobile phones, computers, tablets, iPods or any other Bluetooth device, allowing you to seamlessly stream and share music, movies, games, phone and conference calls anywhere — all wirelessly and in the palm of your hand. Cleverly constructed and unlike any other speaker, the stainless steel construction is hidden behind industrial weight moulded rubber. And aside from the fact that it really does deliver on technical and audio side; it just looks so much better than its clunky rivals. I’m particularly miffed as I bought an ugly little beast a month before the Jambox came out. Its amazing that so many companies producing tech products don’t pay the same attention to detail on the aesthetics as they do to the technology. . Haven’t they learned anything from say… Apple which brings me to my next pick
Apple iPad I have to admit I just thought “hmm just looks like a big iPhone but I can’t make calls what the heck do I need that for?” But as it gets passed around the kitchen table the kids doodle and play games(educational ones!); I’ll have a flick through a magazine that I’ve saved a huge amount in money and paper weight by switching to digital subscription. Grandparents flick through photos. Its just a magic little book with all the information you’ll ever need without having to lug your laptop around.
Plumen by Hulgar I think I raved about Plumen on my last post so have a look here. Or… to briefly sum up: its a beautiful alternative to those incredibly ugly low energy light bulbs and its about time somebody had a go at making something so mundane beautiful.
Tom Dixon Flash Factory This was an interesting concept from Tom Dixon; an aim to connect directly with the consumer and show how designers can service world markets in reduced timescales. For this he created a digitally designed limited edition product that can be purchased and constructed on site. The Flash Factory then went on a tour of Europe popping up and offering its wares.Its a concept that we’ve certainly not seen from product designers before – we’re used to fashion designers engaging with their consumer but the world of product design has been a little more aloof and has held back from really getting involved with those who actually buy and use their work.
Scholten & Baijings Butte boxes for Established & Sons. It seems strange to put a small wooden box in my design favourites, but the reason behind this choice is that a simple object can encapsulate many different product trends and desires in one seemingly simple package. Its been made in a traditional way using raw bent beech wood, inside it hold the surprise of a bright shock of colour revealed when you open it. And finally the use of illustration not only decorates but also tells a story. Its just a damn shame that an intelligent and beautiful product costs so much… about £366 (it sounds less than saying 425 Euros)
So there are my slim pickings from this year. All the best for 2011!