Cut-a-pult flexible furniture

Cut-a-pult flexible furniture

Cut-a-pult is an exciting new range of furniture by German designer Lars Contzen, one of my absolute favourite designers, in collaboration with Atelier Schneeweiss.

According to Contzen, the idea for the light-weight, multi-functional furniture comes from society’s need for mobile, uncomplicated and flexible products. The use of light-weight material with a customisable surface in conjunction with a collapsible and interlocking system allows the user to quickly build and dismantle a minimalist seating solution such as a table or lecturn.

Cut-a-pult comes in a trendy shoulder bag which makes it ultra-portable and a range of graphic surface finishes allows the user to personalise their furniture.

I think I need to contact Lars immediately to find out where I can purchase this furniture as it would make a perfect little collapsible desk and stool for blogging. Not only could I take my new mini Vivienne Tam laptop with me but also my entire desk in a nifty little bag. Blogging on the go couldn’t be easier!

P.S. Last year I had the opportunity to catch up with Lars Contzen and you can read the full interview here.

Design for Life

Despite some really bad press that the show has received I’m really enjoying the new reality TV series, Design for Life,  that started on the 14th September and is shown on BBC2. I’m afraid I can’t tell you what day or time it is on as I always miss it, but you can watch it on iplayer if you live in the UK.

The series is basically based on Philippe Starck’s hunt for the next big British Designer. The aim of the series, according to Starck, is no less than to create an ‘English style’ as he believes that the Brits haven’t had a new national design aesthetic since Terence Conran opened his first branch of Habitat in the early 1960s.

Slightly ironic I would say that a French man is trying to create an English style and exactly how English it can be if it has been created by a French man I do not know.

The series started out with 12 eager designers, all chosen by Starck himself, to compete against each other for a six-month placement working as part of his ‘tribe’ in his Paris Studio. In the program, which is basically Philippe Starck’s version of The Apprentice, Starck sets the designers creative tasks and each week he eliminates the weakest.

I must say I was very pleased to see Polly Firth in the programme as I had picked her out as a designer to watch from New Designers 2008. I was also happy to see Nebil sent home so early on. I found him somewhat over confident, but luckily Starck had him sussed, much to his surprise.

I shall be catching up on the programmes I have missed tonight on iplayer and at this point in time I would have to say that my money is on Ilsa Parry to win the series.

Love at first sight

The Love bathtub by Novello

The Love bathtub by Novello

I first spotted this bathtub back in July of this year when it was still a prototype and I loved it even then. Part of the aptly named Love project, designed by Arter & Citton for Italian Manufacturer Novello, this bathtub was first shown at ISH in Frankfurt earlier this year.

The sleek smooth lines of the bathtub run straight into the basin providing a neat shelving area for cosmetics and toiletries.   The continuity of the tub and the basin create a single entity with a very romantic feel to it, hence the name.

The basin can be situated on the left or the right and a matching shower tray is available in Corian.

Design fit for a Prince

Design has come more under the spotlight recently and, perhaps in part due to the recession, people are starting to reassess the role and value of design. The Design Council‘s Value of Design fact finder is proof that people’s attitudes towards the importance of design are changing.

Moreover, the European Commission recently launched a public consultation on its working document ‘Design as a driver of user-centred innovation’  which provides an analysis of the rationale for making design an integral part of European innovation policy rather than something which is left to individual Member States or a regional level.

However, there are some people who have been interested in and have actively been promoting the value of design for over 50-years now, namely Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. He has been one of Britain’s most outspoken design critics and champions. He launched his Designers Prize, which is the UK’s longest running design award, 50 years ago to put the spotlight on the designers who are improving and influencing our daily life and business success.

Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs had the pleasure of interviewing Prince Philip and had the opportunity to discuss the Prince’s passion for design and how the role of design has progressed over the past five decades.

You can read Kevin McCloud’s article for the Times here or you can watch the video of the interview below.

Easy Living

Easy Living is a modular washing machine

Easy Living is a modular washing machine

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve needed to do washing but haven’t had enough to make up a full load of either coloured or white washing.

One design that could go a long way in solving this is called Easy Living, a concept which was conceived by French designer David Genin as part of this year’s James Dyson Award.

Easy Living is a perfect concept for those who want to do their washing individually. The system comprises a single wall unit that has three separate, detachable pods, ideal for when you want to do two or more loads of washing simultaneously.

It also offers an advantage for families or house-sharers in that the pods can be removed and used in individual rooms, such as bedrooms and bathrooms. They can be used to store dirty washing and when full they can be hooked up to the base unit.

And because each of the four drums is relatively small, the appliance uses less water and takes less time, therefore saving energy as well as space. Genius!

A new view on cooking

Kitchen Window incorporates a sink and a stove

Kitchen Window incorporates a sink and a stove

As we increasingly face a lack of space and our living quarters continue to get smaller, one of the main challenges we have is fitting everything we own and need into a smaller footprint.

This slightly wacky design was thought up by German designer Cornelius Comanns who entered it into the Electrolux Design Lab 2009 competition, which focussed on designs for the next 90 years.

The space saving kitchen module resembles a regular window with transparent glass, but can be folded down to reveal a sink and a stove.  How, one might ask, is this possible? Basically through the use of a special material named ‘power glass’ that can be heated to act like a regular hob. I’m still reserving judgement on this one.

Smart Space

Smart Space combines a shower, washing machine and dryer

Smart Space combines a shower, washing machine and dryer

Smart Space is an innovative space-saving design that combines a shower, a washing machine and a dryer. Designed in response to the depleting water resources  and lack of living space we face in the future, Smart Space is an eco-friendly design that occupies a mere 1 square metre of floor space, making it ideal for residences where space is at a premium.

This compact product, designed by Lithuanian designer Inesa Malafej as part of the Electrolux Design Lab 2009 competition, recycles the water used for washing and showering and the dryer can be used for either drying clothes or people.

Smart Space was voted one of the top 25 products in the competition.

The Art of Cooking

Campbell's soup can range hood

Campbell's soup can range hood

Earlier this year, US-based Metallo Arts came up with a new take on ventilation style in the form of four works of art that also happen to be working range hoods.

Christopher Plummer, Metallo Arts‘ CEO, has used his training as a fine artist to push a vision of interior design that is driven as much by the kind of social critique found in modern art as it is by the comfort of style.

Plummer described the Campbell’s Soup Can hood as both “a tribute and an insult” to Andy Warhol’s work. Other designs include a replica of a ’57 Chevy Bel Air, rangehoods based on ‘The Birth of Venus’ by Botticelli, and Jasper John’s controversial 1955 ‘Flag’ painting, and a Jackson Pollack-inspired hood.

Badkamer sliding bathroom

Badkamer sliding bathroom

Badkamer sliding bathroom

The idea behind the Badkamer [Dutch for ‘bathroom’] is basically a sliding system that enables the user to make the most out of even the smallest bathroom space to create a fully functioning bathroom in a space no larger than 2m x 1m.

By sliding elements to the side a space for showering can be created, and by sliding the cabinets against each other, you prevent your appliances from getting wet. The shower features a large water surface and a 20cm-wide waterfall. Both the shower and the washbasin are operated with natural interaction fixtures. To set the volume you rotate it round it axe, and move it left or right for water temperature settings.

The toilet has a side cabinet which contains the paper-holder. Sliding the cabinet towards the toilet prevents it from getting wet while the shower is in use.

The Ladybird Bathtub

Ladybird Bathtub

The Ladybird Bathtub

The compact and very much multi-function Ladybird is a freestanding Vanity and Bath unit, aimed at apartment and loft-style living where space is at a premium.

The vanity/lid of the Ladybird can be removed to reveal a tub within. The tub is a ‘sit’ style bath which is smaller in size than a typical bathtub and is an intimate space that holds less water. The unit also subtly integrates a step for ease of access into the bath, which retracts when not in use and opens out with a simple ‘push’ action when required.

This concept design is by Australia-based industrial design graduate Coco Reynolds.

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