HEMA design competition October 22, 2010Posted by Karīna Sīmane in design competition.
Tags: design competition, HEMA
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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.
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.
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.
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).