Tag Archives: product design

White goods no longer

Jared Mankelow, Senior Product Designer at Conran Studio, spent last week amongst the fridges and flatscreens at consumer electronics show IFA Berlin. He kindly offered to share his thoughts on where are homes are headed.

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Good enough to eat in

Are kitchens the purely functional places they once were? Jared Mankelow doesn’t think so.

Rather, as our formal rules of dining have broken down, kitchens have become social hubs, folding in the dining room and living room, too.

To that end, Conran Studio‘s Senior Product Designer has written the following piece on the evolving role of the kitchen – and what that means for kitchen design.

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Conran & Company: Burning the midnight oil…

There’s been a lot of late nights recently at Conran & Company as we finish off the final product designs for our Conran M&S range for Autumn/Winter 2012 – sometimes it’s really easy to forget we are still in 2011!

But, with beautiful sunsets over The Shard, Pizza Express takeaway, Hobnobs and endless tea rounds to keep us going, we’re nearly there – and we’re very excited about what we’ve got to show.

 Of course, these products won’t be on the shelf until this time next year but by then we will have our heads firmly in 2013.  

Here’s a flavour of things in the Conran & Company Studio.

Aaron working hard on upholstery and tableware designs

 

Lale checking out some newly arrived towel samples

Working on the layouts for the first catalogue


The team getting some feedback from Jill Webb after a meeting with Terence

The Preview collection will go on sale this Autumn and be available nationwide and online from September 22nd

There’s already been a great press reaction.

You can get a sneak peak of some of these products in the M&S AW12 Catalogue – available in store now.

Watch out for Terence’s Top Ten products – one a day right here on the Conran blog – starting September 12th

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Conran: Meeting up in style…

What better place to enjoy a cool glass of wine on one of the warmest, sunniest evenings of the year than the rooftop terrace of Terence Conran’s apartment.

And while you’re there why not have a nose around our building and find out a bit more about Conran?

That’s exactly what tempted 40 of the UK’s most eminent design bloggers to join us last night for the first of our blogger’s meet-up events, run in conjunction with our friends over at mydeco.com, the one-stop shop for all your design needs.


We thought it would also be a great opportunity for people to chat to our team and get the lowdown on each part of Conran, whilst having a little look around our studios.


While the team from The Conran Shop chatted to people about some of their hot new products for Spring Summer 2011, down in Studio Conran Bryony Akehurst and Katy Clarke talked the guests through the branding project they did for the healthy cake people Petit Pois and Product Designer Jared Mankelow demonstrated the design process behind our mobile phone which launched in Japan last year, sparking a very interesting discussion on the dying art of hand sketching as a useful exploratory phase at the beginning of the design process.

Interior Designer Jacqui Senior and Architect Nico Santarelli showed bloggers around our Architecture & Interiors floor, Conran & Partners talking about the breadth of interior design we have done all over the world and the massive new redevelopment project Conran & Partners have just completed in Tokyo (more next week…).


All very interesting stuff and lots of questions asked!

In Conran & Company project manager Holly-Anne Rolfe and textile designer Lâle Güralp gave the bloggers a quick tour around their office, showcasing some of the Conran branded product they help develop including brand new bedlinen designs from Bed by Conran and Conran Fine Bedlinen which are just about to hit the shops – books, colour and inspiration galore.

Plus much interest in the beautiful collection of prints of paintbrush collections which Terence bought as a book and framed years ago which have adorned the walls of the office since it was Terence’s a few years ago (he’s now just across the hallway).

There’s already been a few reports posted up there in the big, bold, blogosphere…

there’s one here at youmightlikethis.com – (thanks!)

Watch this space – we hope to have many more meet-ups in the future….enjoy the sun!

Update: LOADS MORE NEWS HERE!

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Filed under Conran & Company, Conran & Partners, Conran and London, Conran Contracts, CONRAN HISTORY, CONTENT BY CONRAN, INTERIOR DESIGN, STUDIO CONRAN, TERENCE CONRAN, THE CONRAN SHOP

Conran: Meet the team – Afshin Mehin, Product Designer, Studio Conran

Who are we all anyway?

In these posts you can find out a little more about us…

Lorraine Brennan, Head of Business Development for Conran & Company, was the last to be featured – now here’s one of our fabulous product designers from Studio Conran, Afshin Mehin...


What’s your role here at Conran?

I’m a Senior Product Designer in StudioConran.

What were you doing before you joined Conran?

I just recently moved back to London. I was working for the last 6 years in California, most recently at IDEO in San Francisco. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed the optimism in California, but missed the critical design culture of London. I headed back to London last year, and was doing a bit of freelance work for studios like Barber Osgerby before joining StudioConran. It’s really great to be back!

Velocitek Sailing Speedometer, 2010

Where did you study?

Here in London, at the RCA. I studied industrial design but was interested in how electronic products could be designed in ways that could feel more sympathetic and delightful. So I did an internship at M.I.T.’s Media Lab in Dublin where I had a chance to explore this further. In California, this interest grew into a more commercial focus.

What do you love most about your job?

The opportunity to design objects that people will hold onto for a long time. People have the potential to invest personal meaning and value in objects over time and I am particularly interested in how technology products can move away from being throw away consumables to objects that people keep and love.

What are you interested in now?

My family is Iranian and I grew up in Canada though I’ve worked in the UK and the US. My cultural identity is complex and I am interested in how design can respond to this by merging and sculpting multiple aesthetics in ways that are both relevant to me and the products I design.

Vudu Remote Control, 2007

What’s the most interesting project you’ve ever worked on?

The most interesting project that I’ve worked on so far was the Olympic torch for the 2012 London Olympics. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work on a product that will live on for years to come.

I’m also excited about the tactile audio speakers I’ve been designing as a way to have technological products integrate with daily life,  allowing them to become just as familiar as furniture.


Read more about Afshin’s work at Conran next week…



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Conran: Notes from Ambiente

Trade show season again! Here are some thoughts and favourite things seen at Ambiente in Frankfurt from Wolfgang Zender and Afshin Mehin, product designers from Studio Conran


Wolfgang’s choices: Fold up bucket


The best thing about going to a fair is to find something which has been done a thousand times, but then you see it done better. It seems very obvious – it is easy to collapse and takes up no space at all.

Airtight canister by Jia inc


At first glance you mistake it for just another storage container with the usual silicone lid.

Taking it into your hands you discover a product with a nice finish, nice shape and an unusual material: Terracotta.

It is nice to see such an old material being used in a modern context.

Afshin’s choices…

There were a lot of great things to see at the fair but  a couple of pieces that stayed with me were:

A collection for Rosenthal called Papyrus that had a really elegant surface texture that was inspired by a rolled up strip of paper.  It was nice how the texture of the pages create a nice sense of movement and lightness within each of the objects.

On a more light hearted note, Menu did a very entertaining wobbling and rolling salt and pepper shaker that made passing the salt a lot more fun. The way they rocked back and forth was quite delightful and it was nice that the objects themselves were quite visually paired down.



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Conran: Studio Conran are looking for new design talent

We are on the look out for some new blood – are you up to it?


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Studio Conran: Designers on the look out..reports from Light & Building and Milan fairs

Earlier this month, Studio Conran dodged the ash clouds to visit the Light+ Building trade fair in Frankfurt. Shannon Smith, a Senior Product Designer reports:

L+B is a biennial event, covering a diverse cross-section of the lighting, electrical engineering and building automation industries.We continue to work with Yamagiwa in Japan and are currently working on a range of beautiful lighting control panels for a Finnish company so, thought it an ideal opportunity to lace up the sensible shoes and wander through eleven halls of the imposing Messe Frankfurt. With over 2000 exhibitors, there were plenty of inspiring innovations worth mentioning, however as we reflected wearily on the flight home, there were a couple of cleverly beautiful design solutions that stuck clearly in our minds.

OCCHIO PIU

Once we stopped gaping at the eye-catching exhibition stand complete with waterfall, rainforest and a battalion of iPads, we realised that the comparatively unassuming design of the Occhio Piu lighting system was actually rather good. Every interchangeable component in the modular spotlight assembly was laid bare for public scrutiny, expressing not just a great functional versatility, but incredible aesthetic attention to detail. Although Occhio Piu was cleverly designed to suit various light sources, it was clear that Occhio, along with vast the majority of exhibitors at L+B, viewed high performance, energy efficient LEDs as the way forward.

www.occhio.de

LUCEPLAN

A dazzling highlight of the Luceplan stand, and indeed the entire L+B show was the Hope pendant light, designed by Francisco Gomez Paz and Paolo Rizzato. Hope is a lightweight, refreshingly contemporary take on the traditional chandelier, constructed from a series of thin, polycarbonate ‘fresnel leaves’. Each leaf has a highly polished outer surface, and a textured inner surface of concentric micro-prisms that reflect and refract light much like crystal. Assembly is dead simple, with each ‘stem’ snapping easily into a central steel armature without the need for tools.

Image courtesy of messefrankfurt.com, luceplan.com and gomezpaz.com

More from Milan

Carlos Queiros, another Senior Product Designer here at Studio Conran was also out and about at the Milan Design Fair last week and was Lorraine’s travelling companion on that long overland journey home.

You’ve heard the story but we couldn’t resist these pictures:

“An extra night in Milan usually sounds great…but not at the prices these hotels were charging.

We needed to find a way out of the city. Maximus, the Italian Taxi driver was our chosen chauffeur. After calling his wife of 25 years to tell her he was going to be ‘late for dinner’, we set off stopping off first for some much needed sugar treats….next stop Nice”

Maximus: (shame he doesn't look more like Russell Crowe)

...still working...honest

Still working...honest...

...Paris Darling

Lorraine keeping stylish throughout!

Carlos is the Senior Designer on our exciting and ongoing collaboration with cult German coffee and retail brand Tchibo - our new range is due to launch on the 12th May – more nearer the time!

Here’s some stuff at the fair he loved:

“Milan was full of thought provoking products; the bit that I always most enjoy is the attention to detail from some of the Italian big furniture manufactures.

As a fellow designer it’s always interesting to meet other designers at Milan to discuss their designs. On this occasion the designer who stood out was Thomas Heatherwick.

He explained and demonstrated his fun new chair SPUN, which he’s designed for Magis…

Thomas Heatherwick's SPUN Chair designed for Magis

The Concrete table by Arflex also really stood out – it’s great that it’s made from concrete – no wastage.”

More about Carlos and Tchibo next week.

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STOP PRESS! News from Studio Conran

We were very excited back in 2009 when Japan’s leading lighting company, Yamagiwa, invited us to create a premium concept that treats light as a raw material rather than to design an object which lights up.

The result is the Stem Ray Light, an elegantly simple and discrete task light. Primarily designed to focus a bright pool of soft light on a small area, it’s ideal for reading anywhere.

We were over the moon when this month we were awarded a Red Dot Award - distinction for high design quality.

Find out more about this flexible friend here

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