Thursday, December 10, 2009

Budget leaves ACID taste for designers...

Angus Montgomery from Design Week reports....

Chancellor Alistair Darling’s Pre-Budget Report is ‘rather unhelpful’ to the design industry, financial experts say.

Darling’s report, which was announced yesterday, saw VAT climb back to 17.5 per cent after being cut to 15 per cent for a year, and National Insurance rise by 1 per cent instead of the 0.5 per cent that had been predicted.

The report also saw a planned increase in Corporation Tax deferred, with Corporation Tax on earnings from patents slashed from 21 per cent to 10 per cent. The Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme, which sees the Government guarantee loans to small businesses, has been extended for a further 12 months.

Ian Cochrane, chairman of management consultancy Tice Group, describes the report as ‘a bit of a non-event’ and ‘rather unhelpful to design businesses’.

He says the increase in VAT is ‘not very good news in terms of consumer spend’, adding, ‘For the man in the street there is now an increase in tax directly on purchases and on income [with the rise in National Insurance] and all, while salaries are being held.’

Cochrane says that while the deferral of the Corporation Tax is ‘welcome’, it will take a while to filter through as the tax is collected annually.

Amanda Merron, partner at accountant Kingston Smith W1, says the increase in National Insurance will ‘put pressure on costs’ for design groups, particularly when combined with the Government-backed national pension plan, due in 2012, which will see employers required to contribute 3 per cent of employees’ salaries to the pension pot.

However, she adds that maintaining the status quo in Corporation Tax is ‘good news’, while the cut in Corporation Tax on patents ‘is trying to stop intellectual property leaving the UK, which is good news for innovation and product companies’.

Referring to this move, Dids Macdonald, chief executive of Anti Copying in Design, says, ‘I think this is a step in the right direction. The UK is becoming a knowledge economy, and anything that Government can do to help produce intangible assets is good news.’

Meanwhile, the Technology Strategy Board welcomed plans to increase the roll-out of high-speed broadband, outlined in the report. Nick Appleyard, lead technologist at the TSB, says, ‘The TSB is already engaged in supporting research that will address the technical and cost issues facing the introduction of ultra-fast broadband within this timescale. Such a broadband capability would fundamentally change the way that British businesses operate and would give us a competitive edge.’

The argument for on...tribute to David Mellor

Hugh Pearman on Design week comments........

'Don’t be tempted by throwaway goods, when hand-finished pieces are within your reach. Hugh Pearman marvels at David Mellor’s perfectly balanced cutlery

Occasionally, I used to drop in on the hub of David Mellor’s empire up in Hathersage - near Sheffield, but actually in Derbyshire. Chances are - even if it was a weekend - if you peered in through the windows of the Michael Hopkins-designed circular factory building, there would be Mellor himself, wielding the knives he made, or attending to machinery.

Mellor, who died earlier this year, was seen off in fine style last month with a (wholly secular) memorial service at the marvellous George Frederick Bodley church of Holy Trinity on London’s Prince Consort Road - handy for the Royal College of Art, which is where everyone went afterwards for the party. Not just a party, but a complete pop-up David Mellor exhibition organised by his designer son Corin, who has taken over his father’s role in the business.

It’s important that the David Mellor enterprise continues to thrive, because the honourable trade of designer-manufacturer does not have so many members. I don’t mean designer-maker in the craftsman sense, because what they produce are mostly one-offs or very limited runs. What Mellor did was design for production, which he controlled. And while some of his pieces - the Embassy silverware or the church candlesticks - aren’t produced in great quantities, he designed for the common man, too. My kitchen drawers are stuffed with David Mellor’s basic Classic stainless-steel cutlery. I’m lucky/ I can afford it, when there’s a sale on.

It’s a tricky business, because this kind of production does not mean mass-production in the Fordist sense. David Mellor cutlery is properly made (I love the fact that the sales website offers you a thorough description of the manufacturing process) by a small English workforce with a lot of hand-finishing involved. What all this boils down to is that if you buy a large Classic knife, the list price is £12, with a 44-piece canteen £504. Other ranges, such as his famous Pride design, which dates back to 1953, are more complex designs that cost a lot more. The lovely, perfectly balanced carving knife I bought myself in the sale last year is listed at £48.

It is thoroughly worth it, I might add. This cutlery brings me joy every time I use it. But this is the price of retaining control over every aspect of your business, from concept sketch through manufacturing to sales, which entails positioning yourself upmarket in consequence. David Mellor’s Sloane Square shop in London was originally an ironmonger’s. Nice idea, but there was no profit in screws and nails.

This desire to achieve design for Everyman, coupled with the economics of small-scale production in an affluent nation, has exercised the minds of everyone from William Morris to Terence Conran. It can’t be done without that magic ingredient, economy of scale. Morris & Co, the Conran Shop, David Mellor/ their founders all aspired to equip Everyman, and all ended up selling to the well-off. Conran got further than most with Habitat, the loss of which he felt (and still feels) keenly.

But look at it this way: how long do you keep a bit of furniture from Ikea? That stuff is brilliant in its way, but it’s not for the long term. Mellor may have driven an E-type Jaguar in the 1960s, but he never subscribed to the 1960s notion of the throwaway society.

The concept of high-quality design and careful manufacture for the long term is more relevant today than it has ever been. Save up for David Mellor goods: you’ll have them for life.'

All wrapped up in them chair fron Cohda Designs

British design firm, Cohda Design, have created a video that shows how they make the RD Legs Chair that was designed by Cohda’s founder, Richard Liddle.

Besides simply being something interesting to look at, the chairs use a proprietary process that allows them to make the chairs from 100% molten plastic waste. For more info on their use of reclaimed plastic, read this article – here.

Watch them making a chair below....

Making the RD Legs chair from Cohda Design on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fries in Bed?.............Award winners Fries & Zumbühl

Zurich based  Fries & Zumbühl have recieved an award.....

'Darling' bed at first had its first sight by some at last year's Stockholm Furniture Fair, where it gave a clear indication of its enormous potential. With its attractive design and the innovative simplicity of its construction it impressed  the jury of the 'iF Product Design Awards', who have now presented the two designers with one of their prestigious 50 'Gold Awards'. Consisting of two leg elements made of plywood and cross slats of various lengths as a base, the bed can be adapted to mattresses of various sizes with a few simple adjustments.

At the moment the bed is produced on a self-made basis, but a partner has recently been found for its future manufacture and distribution - 'Darling' will soon be added to the collection of the Swiss label 'Moobel'.

Fantastic Bio Plastic ...from Bert Karrer..

Seen on Architonic...

'Beat Karrer's work with bioplastics

When half a century ago designers such as Verner Panton and Luigi Colani revolutionised people's living rooms with their brightly coloured plastic furniture it crossed nobody's mind that this wonder material that could be formed into any required shape would one day come to become a symbol of global rubbish and the ecological crisis.

However, there is hope: for years now international materials producers have been working on sustainable alternatives and they are now ready to launch biologically degradable plastics which can be used for a range of applications. The long-term aim is to create those everyday objects which nowadays consist of countless materials from as few components as possible in order to simplify recycling and accelerate the natural degradation process.

Just as with 'normal' plastics these bio-plastics also consist of countless chains of molecules, the polymers, which in turn are formed from a large quantity of basic components, the monomers. In contrast to synthetic polymers, which are produced from fossil raw materials, the term 'biopolymers' refers to the origin of the basic components for the polymers, which come from renewable resources. Biopolymers are composed of materials derived from living organisms - in other words plants, animals or bacteria. These can be starches from potatoes, wheat or maize, cellulose from vegetable cell walls or proteins such as silk, spider's webs or hair. The properties of the material are determined by the length and molecular structure of the chains. Depending on the manufacturing process and the formulation of the material they can be regulated and optimised by additives such as natural fibres. The variety of bio-plastics which have been tested is already impressive today.

Creating the material is one thing but finding applications for it is another, because the cost-intensive development of new production materials is only justified by their use in series production. This is where the skills of product designers and manufacturers come in - above all those who are aiming at greater things.

One of these is the Swiss designer Beat Karrer, who together with the biochemist Michael Kangas experiments with new possibilities for processing biopolymers. The low-tech experiments in their Zurich witches' kitchen produced promising results and these were quickly built on by cooperations with a number of materials producers and a research institute.

"Because we don't have the necessary equipment we tend to limit ourselves to basic research and feasibility studies, as well as testing new areas of application. If an idea functions in our studio we contact a possible project partner, present the proof of concept and then discuss further steps [...] As designers we translate the application possibilities of the materials into products which can be marketed. Design is a language which everybody understands", explains Karrer.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Superfruits...made to make this to your taste?

Seattle, Washington based Fruitsuper Design have pulished some photos of their new CH1 chair.

'The inspiration for this chair structure was derived from studying various forms that people create when seated unsupported. With reference to the human silhouette, CH1 is a straightforward lounge chair. Seamless construction, an honesty to materials and simplified details combine in an elegant seating solution. Using powdercoated steel tubing and maple with a soap finish, the CH1 chair is the first furniture piece by Fruitsuper Design.'

New Studio in Singapore by Austrailian designer Jarrod Lim....

From the 20th to the 30th of November, Singapore will be hosted the Singapore Design Festival 2009. Jarrod Lim Design will be held an official launch of its new studio in Joo Chiat Road with an exhibition of old and new works. The exhibition ran for 10 days to coincide with the Design Festival .

See more of this award winning designers work at Jarrod Lim's website

Folded design from Belgian architect Tobias Labarque

Spotted on Contemporist blog.

'Belgian architect Tobias Labarque has created an aluminium chair.

Tobias says:
'Cantilever-type chair made from a single piece of perforated aluminium plate. there are no joints, no connections, no welding, no details, … just a (meticulously) folded plate. The chair is stackable and is fit for both indoor and outdoor use.'

It looks quite aggressive, but sits very comfortable.'

Take a look at Tobias's web site for mor interesting folded style chairs or just get a piece of paper and see what you can create for yourself ....why not send them in to me...sorry no prizes but lots of praise available!

Compact living advice from Poliform

Italian furniture manufacturer Poliform has created an inspirational residential interior project called “My Life in 80m²” to show that the quality of a living space does not depend on the size.

Obviously they have no children and are exeptionally tidy!.........