Supporting Cast

7 industry professionals (and I) talk great industrial design

_DSC0696Photo courtesy Anandtech.com

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“Design is the most immediate, the most explicit way of defining what products become in people’s minds”

-Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple Inc.

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I think of industrial design as being the supporting [design] cast of life: products that enhance our daily experiences, delight our senses, and reflect who we are – as well as what we aspire to be.

With that being said, Wikipedia defines ‘industrial design’ as ‘the use of a combination of applied art and applied science to improve the aesthetics, ergonomics, functionality, and usability of a product; and the role of an industrial designer as being to create and execute design solutions for problems of form, usability, physical ergonomics, marketing, brand development, and sales.’

Most would agree that Apple is currently at the helm of au courant industrial design, and with the mounting speculation that Apple will introduce a revolutionary new television in the very near future (dubbed iTV – no surprise there), I began wondering what some of my friends in the community consider to be great examples of industrial design.  I got a handful of them to weigh in.

BNO    Photo Credit Michael Luppino

Benjamin Noriega Ortiz of BNOdesign chooses Arne Jacobsen’s Flatware / 1957

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“The best example of industrial design, or let’s say my favorite example, is Arne Jacobsen’s flatware from 1957.   Ever since I saw it in 2001, A Space Odyssey in 1968, I’ve been intrigued with the scale and shape of these beautiful objects. They are the right size for healthy eating and they look good in modern as well as period interiors.”

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KT in Environment Shot 1_3_1_2Photo Credit Lorenzo

Keita Turner of KT Design Solutons chooses  ‘Nova’ by Lunar Europe: Climbing Wall for Boulder Training at Home

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.“My design philosophy is about creating surroundings that will play a beneficial and spiritually uplifting role in my client’s lives.  Although I employ an individual and altruistic approach, my projects evoke a sense of what I call ‘Enduring Fashionably Classic Style.’  Using lifestyle as my canvas, I design interiors that convey the inspirations, spirits, and habitude of my clients.   Design is all about suitability.”  

“This concept, called Nova, is created by Munich design forge LUNAR Europe.  According to Lunar, the Nova is as practical as it is aesthetically attractive for today’s modern interiors. The functionality of the wall is further enhanced by a Smartphone application for selecting routes and difficulty levels.  Lunar thinks outside the box with it’s innovative indoor sports climbing wall.  Or, should I say scalable wall sculpture?  It’s a backlit piece of wall art, when not in use.”

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Jamie Drake of Drake Design Associtate chooses Nespresso’s ‘Citiz’ Espresso Maker

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“Nespresso’s Citiz coffee machine is a caffeinated design dream come true.  It’s elegant retro lines and delicate scale are perfectly realized and take up a minimal amount of space.  It’s the only appliance I allow to live on my kitchen counter, and I must confess, I prefer it in black.”

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Jim Fairfax of Fairfax Studios chooses BeoPlay’s A9 AirPlay Music System

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 “I live with a musician, and  my personal world is filled with the constant sounds of experimentation.  How to control the cords and speakers necessary to record and listen to music is a constant challenge.  Especially when it happens in the living room of our compact 19th century garret apartment.  Enter the BeoPlay A9 AirPlay Music System. What is the adage?  ‘Form follows function’?  ‘Function follows form’?  Once you hear the sound this gem produces and see that great trio of legs – it won’t matter.  Did I mention it’s wireless?  I’m in LUV!”

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AMy LauPhoto Credit Mark Seliger

Amy Lau of Amy Lau Design chooses Thonet’s No.14 Vienna Cafe Chair

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 “Without a doubt, one of the most significant innovations in industrial design was Michael Thonet’s development of bent and laminated wood veneers; as it symbolized such a substantial progression in material technology.  The No. 14 Vienna Cafe Chair was made from six pieces of wood that were bent using a technique where it was super-heated so that it could be formed into unimaginable shapes.  Le Corbusier remarked that there ‘never was a better and more elegant design and more precisely crafted and practical item created.'”

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 Carl-Lana-545x671Photo Credit Davide Laffe

Carl Lana of Beale-Lana Interior Design (and our Design Editor) chose the ‘Different Oven’ by Xu Wei & Qiu Yi Wu

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 ” I would use this countertop appliance in all my kitchens since it is sleek and provides more than one function.  I like the idea that one can eliminate clutter on one’s work surfaces.  My role as an interior designer has always been to provide a suitable living environment for my clients that is reflective of their personal style and interests.  When it comes right down to it, I tell clients ‘you will be living here, not me.’  The firm is well versed in a variety of styles and apt to combine and build interiors around pertinent pieces from all periods.”

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Carla Aston of Carla Aston Design chose Michael Graves ‘Alessi’ Tea kettle

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“I had to go to Michael Graves, whom I’ve always admired, for his beautiful and practical products done for Alessi and Target.  Such a pioneer in making good design available to everyone – his work continues to stand the test of time.  My favorite is the teakettle for Alessi, designed in 1985, that has such a beautiful shape, interesting details, humor, and that whistle! The Alessi website hails his work ‘… it represented a meeting of great design and mass production methods, a combination that Michael Graves worked hard to achieve…’.   You just can’t beat that combination for great industrial design. More than almost anything, I think it’s a little piece of art for your kitchen!”

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And finally to close out this post, I thought I’d share an example of what I’d humbly consider to be remarkable industrial design.  The ‘Spider Computer’ from Frank Etc.

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“This Swedish company has a stable of industrial design products in the development stages. I’m drawn back to their website regularly to investigate what’s new.  Follow this link to see for yourself.  This hand held devise is a phone, and a new breed of personal computer in one.  Flip down the legs, and snap open the top, and it projects a virtual keyboard toward you, and a virtual screen in front on any flat surface.  For me, it’s genius.”

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Do you have a favorite product in the Industrial Design category?   Why not join the conversation, we’d love to hear about it.

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Written by CJ Dellatore

13 thoughts on “Supporting Cast”

  1. I really like all of the selections! Isn’t technology amazing – especially, when teamed with great design? Thank you for the inclusion! What a brilliant idea for a post.

    1. I’m so happy that you participated. It was genius of Carl Dellatore to think up this one! He and I particularly enjoy when we can have our peers participate in our stories. It adds such a unique dimension and perspective to the posts.

  2. I’m with Anthony – I think Jim and Carl’s picks represent true innovation and beauty in the classic sense of industrial design.

    1. I’m with you Barbara, the Spider Computer will be out late this year, and would fit in a stocking on the mantle perfectly!

  3. I love everything, but I want Jim’s and Carl’s pics.. The speakers are so choice…!
    As well as the “different oven”

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