"Objects that are not only functional but also express poetry, emotions and values"
Our fascination with product design may very likely have started with a tea kettle. Laying eyes on "Il Conico" made for a welcomed thought in our young designers' minds - that something used in daily life could be pragmatic yet breathtaking. Aldo Rossi, an italian architect, partnering with Alessi, the Italian Design Factory created the most simple, beautiful and functional kettle we had ever seen.
Always known for its high quality products, Alessi began in 1921 and now, nearly a century later, has earned the name "Dream Factory" - marrying the public with the "Art and Poetry that they seek." The range of products they have curated (designed, managed design of or partnered) is broad and exciting resulting their current #giftalessi campaign - bringing this design rigor to the masses.
At Rush3 studio we are fascinated by designs that edit, distill, reduce to the most simple gestures. Dieter Rams, the German architect turned industrial designer, is a frequent inspiration. Just two years after graduating from the Wiesbaden School of Art he interviewed for an architectural position at Braun, a German consumer products company. That was 1955. In 1961, just six years later, he became the Chief Design Officer for the company, a position he held until 1995. His decades long tenure and portfolio at Braun, in our opinion, brought a rigor to the design of every day products.
Filmmaker, Gary Hustwit's interview with Dieter Rams gives us a real glimpse at this beautiful mind - from how architecture influences industrial design, to sustainable designs and his 10 points of design. "Good design is innovative. Good design must be useful. Good design is aesthetic design. Good design makes a product understandable. Good design is honest. Good design is unobtrusive. Good design is long-lasting. Good design is consistent in every detail. Good design is environmentally friendly. And last but not least, good design is as little design as possible."
Click here for the full interview.
The design-crushworthy team at Studio Formafantasma has piqued our interest with their "modern spin on ancient tales" as a recent NY Times article so aptly explains. Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin created the Amsterdam based firm, whose name means 'ghost shape' aligning with their process and describing the early stages when ideas are "cloudy and full of potential". We so get that.
Their collaborative culture, working with galleries, brands or foundations, adds a dimension that is so often lacking in the main stream product design industry and all but ensures that magical 1 + 1 = 3 reaction. Add in historical back stories, current missions, and natural materials to the equation and what results is both refreshing and familiar.
“We don’t think the future or the new is necessarily the best solution...but we don’t think the past is the best either. Creating something with what is already there is better.” Andrea Trimarchi
Teri the Pterodactyl is perhaps the most feminine and refined of the three Munch Stix® characters, but she is also the most misunderstood. We regularly get orders for the "pelican", the "flamingo" and even the dismissive "just give me 50 of the pink ones." Her uber popular siblings, Chum the Shark and Al the Alligator, out sell her each week, yet Teri remains proud as she is the most "chopstick-like" with a smooth bill (and no teeth) to help train the young chopstick hopefuls of the world.
Our all-time favorite Teri story came during the 2013 International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago. If you've ever been an exhibitor at a trade show you know that you pitch at least 20 times an hour (assuming good foot traffic which IHH always has) to prospective retailers, distributors and press. An Asian mother and daughter (80-ish years old and 50-ish years old respectively) walk up and I, of course launch into the pitch like the good exhibitor I am not knowing if they own a small kitchen store, are buyers from Bed, Bath & Beyond or writers for the New York Times. While the daughter is politely listening, I see her elderly mother, who does not speak any English, carefully and diligently trying out each Munch Stix® in our interactive display - filled with candy of course - to see which is easiest to use. The daughter explains that her mother, who has a brace on her right hand, has advanced arthritis in her wrist and can no longer use chopsticks to eat. At this time I look over at mom who has probably the BIGGEST smile on her face as she holds Teri the Pterodactyl in her wounded hand having captured the candy in its beak. Mom may not be able to use traditional chopsticks anymore, but darn it if she didn't go back to Asia with a free Teri the Pterodactyl in her carry-on. Good stuff.
This week the design patent for Teri arrived, giving Rush3 the equivalent of a product design hat trick with Munch Stix®. It's always an exciting day when the ribbon copy arrives - we blame it on the shiny, gold seal regally acknowledging the years of blood, sweat, tears and laughs involved with bringing a product to market. Perhaps even more exciting is how something that used to be a thought in Rush3's head and a drawing in his sketchbook is now a small part of people's lives. Here's to the many colleagues, friends and retailers that have helped along the way.
Learning Tree believes:
- That each child is unique.
- That children learn through activity.
- That children need time to explore and experiment.
- That adults can better nurture children if they understand how a child's uniqueness fits within patterns of growth and development.
If you are in the Oklahoma City area, stop in Learning Tree for a truly unique and customized experience and selections.
From baby toy selection to raising a non-spoiled child to, you guessed it, the best training chopsticks, Hint Mama, aka Jennifer Saranow Schultz of Wall Street Journal and New York Times fame, offers parents hints "to make parenting easier, cheaper and a bit more humorous." Right on, Hint Mama, right on.