Last night I stumbled upon a programme called Design for Life - anyone seen it? It's a reality TV show (originally aired in '09 in the UK, I have since discovered) where 12 designers aim to impress Philippe Starck with products they develop. The brief, from Starck, is to make something "useful to humanity and democratic" and the prize is 6 months working in Starck's design company. Now, you can love or hate Starck, but I'm assuming if you've got any ambition in the tough world of product design, that prize would be pretty cool, not to mention professionally useful, to win.
|Starck's ubiquitous Ghost chair - image via everythingsimple.com|
It was the first I'd seen of this show, so I didn't know (until I read later) who the contestants were. I was really hoping they were random strangers plucked off the street, but alas, they're mostly qualified product designers, some already employed in the industry. So I am just a bit gobsmacked at the ideas some of them came up with ...
Bottom of the list for me, hands down, was the bedside lampshade that you could take off the lamp, roll up and fashion into a sort of baseball-bat-looking object, in case you hear a bump in the night and need to go and investigate, and you wish to look vaguely menacing in your jim-jams as you do so. Hmmmm. Starck was harsh - "you arrrrre in la-la lande and you heve complett-ely miss-ed ze point" (he has a very strong French accent!). I did feel a bit for the guy who came up with an ergonomic chair to be used in schools based on the exercise ball idea - a tad heart-breaking when the first thing Starck said was, "I made zat, uhhh, twenty yearssss ago".
So before I get on with the week, I feel the need to remind myself how beautiful, useful and ingenuous design can actually be ...
|The workings of Wegner's Valet Chair - photo via chairblog|
You hang your jacket on the back, then the seat flips up to create hanging for the trousers. Lifting the seat reveals a tray in which you can pop the contents of your pockets. Simple!
William Morris is famed for saying, "Have nothing in your homes that you do not either know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful". I love it when the 'or' in this quote becomes 'and' - when you come across a product that ticks both boxes - beautiful and useful.
Hope all is well in your world. Til next time, Nx