Glass tech creates groove controls
19 November 2013
Morph: Seymourpowell’s airline economy seat to fit various sizes
14 November 2013
BMWi3 interior uses honest materials in a premium way
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.”
The car’s interior looks different because it makes its materials apparent to occupants, suggesting a new design direction.
“It doesn’t look like the old image of sustainability. That was a risk and a chance, because we didn’t know how our customers would accept that. We just dared to show it and set it as a new way. The reactions have been quite positive which shows there has been a longing for a change.”
Schaer was interviewed on stage at the conference by Chris Lefteri, who described this use of materials as an “honest” approach.
In an earlier session, automotive designer David Hilton (who was most recently at Bentley), praised the BMWi3 for its “cheap” materials used in an honest way – by “cheap” he meant less expensive, not poor quality.
“I really applaud that interior, I think it’s great,” he said. “It took a lot of bravery. I think we will see a lot of other companies doing that.”
At our PD+I 2012 conference, Benoit Jacob, head of design at BMWi, also discussed the BMWi3’s premium aesthetics. At this year’s PD+I conference, there was a session on how to premiumise.
A view of the world like no other
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.”
Unique material absorbs shocks and picks up award
1 October 2013
New CEO as BDI becomes BIDA
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.”
Desbarats continued: “Industrial designers are unsung heroes in the manufacturing and service economies, creating stunning levels of ROI, and helping generate substantial revenues and exports for UK companies. Under Mark and the new name, BIDA intends to relay that message loudly to industry, government and overseas, and add real value to member companies.”
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).
BIDA says the new standards will ultimately help industrial design companies develop and grow by ensuring new entrants to the industry are equipped with the skills required work in it.
Mark Roelofsen said: “Practical initiatives such as the NOS, conferences, an export programme and promoting our message to industry will be at the core of our activity for the next year. I look forward to developing strong partnerships with our members and stakeholders in design, industry and government, so the work of industrial design is properly recognised and developed.”
Design Chain @ K: the place for materials and manufacture
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.
Disco or calm? The driver chooses in Mini’s new vision
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.
Grcic's move from bulb to system
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.
Drop the Chinese dragon
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.