What do you Envision? Modern Design Principles

Imagine a chair where you can insert your own drawings? Or a chair that just like a flower grows?


Photo: de zeen magazine

Milan design week is filled with interesting designs and marvelous things. Products for children are a huge market. For a designer it is about a way to make new fans from a young age.”A kid that falls in love with a design product today will probably grow ‘Kartell-hearted’  in the future says Claudio Luti a designer for the Italian company Kartell.

Traditionally,  many of the designs exhibited at Milan week have a reputation of not being practical. However, this may not be entirely true for our demands on designs are changing.

Janine Benyus says that “For businesses, biomimicry is about bringing a new discipline  – biology – to the design table.” Not only does the idea to be inspired by nature result in wonderful designs it also makes the whole process more sustainable.

Today, many toys are in poor material and quality. Toys and furnitures for children are used for a short period and then either sold or thrown away. Previously a rocking horse might have been kept in  the family for generations. Many design toys and furnitures are more durable, making the products more likely to be treasured for years which makes this approach more sustainable.

There is a trend to design furnitures and toys with parents in the mind, not the kids. Adults are after all the ones who are going to buy the products. So instead of bright colours there are black leather upholstery and detailed embroidery on a set of high chairs.

But any designs that to not capture children’s imagination and needs is probably not going to be used.

How can a toy compete with smartphones?

Customisable options, where children can choose to decorate pieces with their own favourite photographs or drawings is a way to attract children’s attention.


Photo: de zeen magazine

A way to make more sustainable things is to make things that can grow. Big Game has created Little Big Chair which can be adjusted as the child grows.

Can you design a bicycle that grows, or a pencil that be modified to suit little fingers as well as more competent hands? A shoe or jacket. . .


Shoes that grow with you

Can you draw a design of a piece of furniture that are intended to be a basis for creative activities such as reading, playing, drawing and writing? Or a piece of furniture that represent emotions and beliefs?

The focus on design exhibitions is usually on the end product. What if you display materials and let people’s imagination create an end product?

Can you use this approach to get new ideas? Can you display the parts of a problems, unfinished materials and put them together to create a solution, or something new? The display below was created by Design Academy Eindhoven graduates for the Milan show and it was called Envisions. What do you envision?

“If you are an artist, you can do anything you want. It’s perfectly all right. Design serves a different purpose. If in the process of solving a problem you create a problem, obviously, you didn’t design.”
Massimo Vignelli


Photo: de zeen magazine


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