Design Week Awards 2011: consumer product design shortlist
Following on from our recent blog post on the winners of the Design Week Awards 2011’s Consumer Product Design category, we wanted to have a look at all the designs that were shortlisted in the category.
The full shortlist of nine was:
- iPad by Apple (Joint Category Winner & Overall Winner) blogged on here
- Dell Adamo XPS by New Edge (Joint Category Winner) blogged on here
- A Tempo for A Di Alessi by Pauline Deltour (Commended)
- Trunki Boostapak by Magmatic (Commended)
- Apple TV by Apple
- Clever Little Bag for Puma by GBH and Fuse Project
- Eazistore by Gavin Thomson Design
- iPhone 4 by Apple
- iPod Nano by Apple
A Tempo for A Di Alessi by Pauline Deltour (Commended)
While it’s typically the more groundbreaking pieces of design that grab the headlines (cf. iPad), the beauty of good design is in its ability to subtly improve the more mundane aspects of everyday life. A Tempo for A Di Alessi is a perfect example. There can be no beating around the bush: it’s a dish-drainer. But it’s a dish-drainer that Pauline Deltour has brought charm and elegance to with a simple circular wireframe design that marks it out against its competitors and brings character to the kitchen.
Trunki Boostapak by Magmatic (Commended)
Trunki first found fame on Dragon’s Den with a range of rideable suitcases for children. Designers Magmatic have since expanded the range to include Boostapak, a children’s booster seat that neatly folds away into a backpack with capacious storage. It’s a brilliantly neat idea which solves multiple problems associated with family travel. Moreover, it’s a great example of building on and developing a visual brand language, with the product bearing the same characterful hallmarks as the original Trunki suitcase and applying them to a new product category.
If anyone can be in any doubt of Apple’s mastery of design, then this shortlist, in which it’s responsible for four of the nine designs, is further proof. Apple TV is Apple’s bid to take control of the TV: arguably the most fiercely-competitive stage in consumer electronics at the moment. And it’s a bid bearing all the typical Apple trademarks: intuitive (bearing a remote control so simple it makes others look like a NASA launch control), clever (movies, YouTube, photos, music and more all stream over your local network) and faintly unbelievable – it all comes from a tiny hockey puck-sized black box.
Clever Little Bag for Puma by GBH and Fuse Project
Clever Little Bag is a wonderful example of designers creatively reappraising what’s been accepted as the norm for years and coming up with a solution that not only works for both client (saving a fortune) and end consumer (a cool reusable bag), but also for the environment: the bag uses 65% less cardboard than the standard shoe box, has no laminated printing, no tissue paper, takes up less space and weighs less in shipping, and replaces the plastic retail bag. And when you consider that Puma ships tens of millions of pairs of shoes every year, that’s a little bag making a big difference.
Kitchen cupboards everywhere are piled up with perilous leaning towers of pans. Gavin Thomson Design came up with an elegant answer: a three pan set which in storage neatly nestle within one another like Russian dolls of the kitchen utilities world. Another example of designers spying a problem which people have been suffering with for years, and finding an elegant solution which they’ve executed brilliantly.
When Apple launched the original iPhone in January 2007, it changed a market that, up until that point, had been content with just getting a bit smaller with a slightly better camera in each generation. Fast-forward to the launch of the iPhone 4 in 2010, and the whole mobile phone landscape had changed. And while originally its innovation meant it had no competition, the likes of HTC have become a real challenge in recent years. So with its fourth generation of the device Apple needed to keep one step ahead. It did so by adding features like Facetime, a stunning display and HD video recording in a redesigned case that (like much of Jonathan Ive’s work) has more than a hint of the Dieter Rams. And while its launch hasn’t been without its setbacks (not least of which ‘antennagate‘), there can be no denying that in design terms it remains head and shoulders ahead of its peers.
Perhaps it was inevitable that Apple’s touch technology would find its way onto its smallest device. Diminutive in size but not in capability, the 4cm x 4cm iPod Nano boasts a touch screen that allows its users to navigate up to 16gb of songs plus FM radio, and can last for a staggering 24 hours of playback. Throw in coloured clip designs and you’ve got a highly marketable package that seamlessly combines great hardware and software.
So that’s everything from the category: congratulations to all the shortlisted entries.
So do we agree with the judges’ choice?
On the iPad, yes – it’s a brilliantly executed capitalisation on a fantastic insight.
But we also love the Clever Little Bag, a fantastic innovation demonstrating a real handle on the lifecycle of such a day-to-day object and a fantastic bit of design in improving it, with massive implications for the environment. And crucially, it also works for both the client and the end consumer – without which sustainable solutions just don’t take off.