19 November 2013 - Glass producer Schott has introduced Smart Touch for the home appliance market, where touch controls are replacing traditional buttons and dials. Smart Touch enables the design of finger grooves and sliders in the glass surface to intuitively guide use of coffee machines, refrigerators, medical devices and other devices.
Schott says its new manufacturing technology can create punctiform control elements as well as rings or sliders. It can also produce matte or polished finger grooves with different depths and diameters. Capacitive switches, as well as active and passive infrared wave technologies or acoustic wave technologies are all possible.
14 November 2013 - Designing the airline passenger experience was a key feature at our PD+I 2013 conference. Dee Cooper revealed the premiumisation route taken by Virgin, while Paul Priestman discussed his company’s designs for Lufthansa’s A380 first class cabin and its Air Access seating concept.
Now Seymourpowell – another regular at our PD+I conferences – has designed a concept economy seat called Morph, which is designed to offer passengers choice over the amount of space they pay for and fitting the seat space more accurately to each passenger.
5 November 2013 - Can sustainability live inside a premium car interior? BMW believes it can and is putting its belief to the test in the BMWi3 electric car launched this month.
The use of natural materials such as kenaf fibre, which is visible in the door panel and dashboard of the BMWi3, was discussed at our Design Chain @ K conference. Hilke Schaer, who explores advanced materials in the BMW design team, said: “The combination of different materials brings us to a new way, what we call ‘Next Premium’. Our approach is to find a premium way to sustainability.”
1 November 2013 - If you dream of floating in a tin can high above the world, then check out PriestmanGoode’s vision for a near-space experience. The group has designed a concept capsule, which will be lifted by balloon and take passengers to the edge of space in a project by World View in the US. Nigel Goode said: “This is a dream project to work on. It’s incredibly exciting to be part of this nascent industry, defining the experience of premium space travel.”
1 October 2013 - The Plastics Industry Awards 2013 have been handed out by Crain Communications (also organiser of the Product Design + Innovation conference) to manufacturers, materials groups and designers. Winner of Consumer Product Design of the Year was Brighton-based D3O for a sports helmet liner made with its unique material, which can change its state from flexible to rigid to absorb the shock of impacts. In response to concussions in the US football and baseball leagues D3O engineered a brand new polymer material called D3O Aero, a low density PU foam solution specially tuned for sport and military helmet applications.
23 September 2013 - British Design Innovation has announced a new name and brand, British Industrial Design Association(BIDA), which focuses on “representing the best in service, interaction and product design”, the three core components of modern industrial design.
The UK organisation also has a new CEO, Mark Roelofsen, who has worked with and in trade associations for over 15 years. In announcing the change BIDA Chair, Gus Desbarats, said: “The new name clearly explains to our stakeholders who we represent, and Mark’s appointment heralds an exciting future for the association, and more importantly our members.”
Another new initiative completed by BIDA board directors Gus Desbarats and Leslie Stokes is the new draft National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the industrial design industry. These have been developed in conjunction with Creative and Cultural Skills and are currently out for consultation (http://ccskills.consult-on.com/Home.aspx).
9 August 2013 - Crain Communications, organiser of the Product Design + Innovation series of conferences, is launching a new conference called Design Chain at the K 2013 exhibition in Germany in October. The K Show is the world’s leading fair for the plastics industry, attracting more than 200,000 visitors from around the world.
Product designers are part of the K visitor mix that includes manufacturers, brands and OEMs, and now they have a dedicated conference as a focal point for their visit. Design Chain @ K takes place at Messe Düsseldorf on 21-22 October.
Speakers from leading design groups VanBerlo, BPO and WeLL Design, and from materials groups will discuss the intricacies of manufacturing and materials in key markets including automotive, medical, consumer goods, packaging, electronics and more. Find out more at the Design Chain website.
26 July 2013 - Elements of the future design of the Mini have been shown in images revealed by Anders Warming, head of Mini Design, at the Mini Design@Home event.
Signature elements such as the clear separation of the roof, glasshouse and body are apparent in the Mini Vision presentation. There is more novelty in the interior, where a “Driving Experience Control” switch allows the driver to choose between a pure and focused or fully-interconnected mode.
The modes are expressed with lighting: the first in colours that are calm and clear and the second in dynamic, energy-charged shades. A highlight of the fully-interconnected mode is the "Mini Disco" floor.
The Driving Experience Control switch can also change the Mini’s circular central display from the classic, analogue-style view to a 3D look which provides a new depth.
16 July 2013
At our product Design + Innovation 2013 conference, Paul Thursfield, creative director at Philips Design Consumer Lifestyle, discussed how lighting is moving from a century of light bulbs and fixtures to a new era of LED systems which put the user in control.
The Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design website says: “The world of lighting has undergone a fundamental shift from conventional bulbs to a variety of new lighting technologies which in themselves are creating new opportunities for the design and manufacturing of lamps.”
The context is the Grcic studio’s work on the OK Lamp for Flos (pictured above right). This is based on the Parentesi floor-to-ceiling lamp (pictured above left), “which had always celebrated the bulb in the most direct and beautiful way,” says Grcic.
In the OK lamp, the incandescent bulb has become a flat disc and the handle for moving the lamp up and down the cable incorporates the electronic engine which drives the LEDs.
8 July 2013 - PDD has started a series of three blogs called 'What is Design for China?' Its first line of enquiry is the approach of western brands that use dragons and other traditional images, such as Ferrari and its 458 Italia China Limited Edition from last year.
As well as being an overused design motif, the dragon has become associated with cheap quality, says PDD. When the PDD Hong Kong team, comprising German, American and Chinese designers, created a series of water bottle concepts for the China market, it was not the ideas of the non-Chinese team members that were selected by mainland Chinese participants.
At our 2012 Product Design + Innovation conference, UK design consultancies came in for some criticism about their approach to the Chinese market. PDD is tackling the issue head on by opening a Hong Kong studio. Another consultancy, Teca is also learning about Chinese consumers.