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HEMA design competition October 22, 2010

Posted by Karīna Sīmane in design competition.
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I spent a wonderful weekend in Amsterdam and also saw some interesting exhibitions.  The first one I want to share with you is the exhibition of HEMA design competition. It is a competition organized by a very popular department store HEMA for design students of Belgium and the Netherlands.

A little bit of the history (text from the exhibition brochure): “in the beginning of the 80’ educational institutions indicated that more and better practical experience was required as part of their courses. During the same period, HEMA switched to a trendier look in designs and packaging. In 1983 and 1984 these two developments came together in the first HEMA design competition”.

During all these years more than 20 successful competition entries have been turned into commercially sold products. Therefore this competition is a wonderful chance for the design students of the Netherlands and Belgium to show their work to the public and if they are lucky- to get their product produced and sold in HEMA.

Le Lapin, author Nikolaï Carels. Winning product from the year 1989/1990. You can still buy it in HEMA

The briefing for the 23rd edition of the HEMA design competition was: design an authentic HEMA product, which makes it easier and more fun for people to get out and about. The design should be inspiring and feasible, broad but not too broad, and it needs to lead to a design that expresses the authentic HEMA feeling effectively while making people’s lives easier and more fun. Exceptional simplicity: that is the essence of a strong HEMA design.

The competition briefing is quite broad; therefore for me it was interesting to see how other design students- my colleagues- have tackled the task. As the complicity for this task also came the condition that the work will be mass-produced. Therefore the design had to be feasible for the production.

As Dutch and Belgian are cycling nations, there were many proposals related to that process. Also the winning work by René Bijsterveld suggests a different way how to bring heavyweight goods on the bike with you. Looking at it doesn’t really convince me that the design works, however jury members of the competition tried it out in the real life. They report that it works perfectly, in spite of the fact that before the production some small changes in the construction have to be carried out.

The first prize winner “Vrachtpatser” (freight heavyweight), author René Bijsterveld, Utrecht School of the Arts.

The first prize winner “Vrachtpatser” (freight heavyweight), author René Bijsterveld, Utrecht School of the Arts.

product in action

product in action

Second prize winner “The last journey”, author Toon Welling, Utrecht School of the Arts. The last journey is a small coffin for pets. Children can decorate the box allowing them to deal with their grief better and learn in playful ways that death is a part of life.

Second prize winner “The last journey”, author Toon Welling, Utrecht School of the Arts. The last journey is a small coffin for pets. Children can decorate the box allowing them to deal with their grief better and learn in playful ways that death is a part of life.

 The third prize winner “Juice on the go”, author Annet Bruil, Delft University of Technology. Annet has designed juice packaging for children; these packages can be used as toys at the same time.

The third prize winner “Juice on the go”, author Annet Bruil, Delft University of Technology. Annet has designed juice packaging for children; these packages can be used as toys at the same time.

The public also gets chance to vote in the competition and this year the winner of the public vote is Yantl Slaats, Amsterdam School of Technology. He has designed a basket that can be mounted straight onto the back of a bicycle and filled with, for instance, picnic necessities.

The public also gets chance to vote in the competition and this year the winner of the public vote is Yantl Slaats, Amsterdam School of Technology. He has designed a basket that can be mounted straight onto the back of a bicycle and filled with, for instance, picnic necessities.

This is also one of my favourite designs. It is simple, easy to produce and can be customized.

There were also many works that made me smile. Not in the bad way, just as a foreigner observing the importance of different things in the locals’ daily life. Or in this case- what do students find important and relevant.

What's the most popular product of HEMA? Many people say it's HEMA sausage. Josha Roymans from Gerrit Rietveld Academy has made a packaging/ box for this popular product, so you can take it easely everywhere.

Glows that allows you to make snowballs fast and easy,author Janet Emmelkamp,Utrecht School of the Arts.

"Frog lights"- a diadem with bicycle lamps in form of frogs' eyes, author Leanie van der Vyver, Gerrit Rietveld Academy.

The exhibition is taking place at the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam just until the 31st of October. I think the place fits very well the exhibition content – the interior of the library itself is wonderfully designed. It seemed that it is not only a place where the locals come to search for books or music, but it is also appreciated by tourists. I was not the only one affected by the design and the technologies, there were also other admires just taking pictures of the interior.

In my opinion these kinds of competitions which result in a mass-produced and commercial product is a very nice way how to bring the design to the real life. That is a gap missing in the design scene of Latvia. Thus design competitions are also well known methods how to integrate users in new product development (see for ex. article by Piller and Walcher, R&D Management 36, 3, 2006).

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Designs for the new world March 13, 2010

Posted by Karīna Sīmane in design competition.
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It is already two weeks since the 21st international design competition “INTERIEUR 2010” has been launched. This year’s theme is: Designs for the new world.

” The world is changing fast. We are living in turbulent, uncertain times. The music industry, the automobile sector and the press are struggling. Pop culture seems to have lost its momentum. We spend more time online than in our living homes. How can design cope with the new world? Should design be sustainable? Should it be virtual? Should design make us think? Or should it make us feel good? In short: design a product that is relevant right now.”

In my opinion the theme is quite broad. There is given free choice for designer what to design. It could be anything- seating, lightning, things that helps us to arrange our stuff (I think, that is a major problem for many people. We just buy and buy. And we own so many things. How to cope with that?). Design should definitely make us happy and the same time force us to think about the environment around us. Sustainable design for happiness. Thus I would like to express my identity through the things I own. Wouldn’t be nice to have a cupboard in a shape of a barn as an ultimate symbol of the Latvian national character? :

Cabinet by Mara Skujeniece

First of all it’s worth to participate in order to check your creativeness and abilities. Secondly also the total prize money is quite appealing- 40 000 euros spread between 7 different awards. Plus 2 places in the Summer Workshop 2011, organized by the Vitra Design Museum in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou and 2 stands in the idea fair. Even if you will not be among the winners don’t worry. All the entries will be on display during the design biennale from 15th – 24th of October (place- Kortrijk, Belgium) and will be published in the catalog.

You can get some insights in the last INTERIEUR (2008) here:
http://www.designspotter.com/dstvshow/2008/10/Interieur-08-21.-Design-Biennale.html
INTERIEUR 2008 was visited by more than 95.000 visitors and 800 journalists from all over the world. The total event was a great success! Thus 2 Latvian designers were among the winners – Ieva Laurina (founder and co- writer of this blog) and Indra Merca:

Ieva Laurina NEST. Prize awarded by Durlet for a luxurious but relaxing seating element for individual and family use in limited spaces. In addition to that Ieva also received a free stand in 'theyoungdesignersfair'.

Indra Merca BIOSEAT. Category "Playing". Prize awarded by Kortrijk Xpo.

Indra Merca BIO SEAT. Prize awarded by Kortrijk Xpo.

The show is taking place every second year. INTERIEUR was launched in 1968 as Europe’s first International Design Biennale, with a focus on product development and creative innovation. Besides the Biennale INTERIEUR foundation is hosting and organizing many side events like exhibitions, a reputed International Design Competition, debates and lectures. INTERIEUR’s guests of honour have included Raymond Loewy, Gio Ponti, Philippe Starck, Alessandro Mendini, Dieter Rams, Andrea Branzi, Jasper Morrison, Rolf Fehlbaum, Konstantin Grcic, Alfredo Häberli and Jaime Hayon.

For more info check out the website http://www.interieur.be/

Consumers- the new (co)creators. December 17, 2008

Posted by ieva in design competition, Uncategorized.
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I recently wrote about the design-it-yourself trend. Here is the part 2.

“Broad cultural, technological, and economic shifts are rapidly erasing the distinctions between those who create and those who use, consume, or participate. This is true in digital experiences and information environments of all types, as well as in the physical and conceptual realms.”(Joe Lamantia)

More and more companies make sure they satisfy the needs and desires of consumers, letting them be heard, developing systems of (often online) communication. For example, the French company MyFab produces the objects (furniture) that get the most votes on their website.

All kinds of crafts and diy (do it yourself) are gaining popularity. More designers will soon provide users more possibilities of using their designs for free or low costs, by downloading patterns from internet sources. Will we soon be able to make our own “Prada” coats? Open source, open data and co-creation will be the keywords for anybody who does diy.

There are more and more companies that ask for consumers’ opinions, so that they can get free or cheap business ideas and give them feeling their opinion matters. There are firms like Starbucks that successfully use this principle. They collect real ideas’ banks that are worth… a lot!
Letting consumers choose and decide is for sure one of the shortest ways to their hearts (and wallets).
In the future active and successful co-creators could benefit of different advantages from the companies, integrating their structure.

Nowadays one doesn’t need to be a designer to be a creator. Like the Latvians who made the TrousersLondon brand as a result of their own difficulties to find cool jeans.

Consumers and creators won’t have totally separate roles any more. Already now the Second Life owners earn millions of dollars thanks world the to the users contributions. They have developed a sophisticated world comparing to the primitive one the Linden lab started with.


Diy also matches the “going green” trend. It encourages to recycle waste materials, reuse things we would throw away otherwise. It also stimulates small scale community creation and development (online and off line). We are already familiar with all kinds of knitting groups. These communities will become even more popular, bringing together people from different parts of the world, allowing exchanging ideas, tips and cultural questions.

The quick ongoing technological development will also stimulate the diy in the future. The technologies will become much more affordable and will provide more high quality possibilities for creating in virtual and physical world. One could draw a piece of furniture, jewellery etc. and order it from a rapid prototyping company and get it delivered in a few days. Or “print” directly at home (at least small scale) 3 dimensional objects.
This will change business and economical structures. One of the results will be the growth of virtual economies.
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What role will have designers when everybody will become a designer?

For sure, it will change. Will they be there just to make systems and tools for creation? Will designers become some kind of design “coaches”, teachers? Probably they will be like gurus, the ultimate “know-how” holders and some kind of translators, who know, how to give 3 dimensions and life to the ideas people have? Will they be mostly preoccupied with designing services and experiences? There will be creativity courses for children and adults- to help them to develop their creative skills and imagination. Creativity and ability to improvise will be extremely important in the future for each one of us.