The end of the year is quite special to us, because this is when new designs unleash themselves on the world. From Design Awards to Design Weeks, all of them happen around the last quarter of the year… which means this overwhelming wave of great industrial design hits us, and translates into articles like these… Just choc-a-bloc with great design.
This round-up is doubly special because it epitomizes the term “great design”. I’m talking about the Red Dot Design Concept: Best of Best. These products and concepts stood out as inspirational, innovative and well-detailed, and in a year like 2017 that’s difficult because it isn’t as easy to do new things now as it was a decade back. However, these ten designs concisely capture innovative thinking, and in a lot of ways the direction in which Industrial Design and our world is heading. Stay tuned till the end where we debut this year’s Luminary Award winning design for the first time on YD!
01. Fan+A Stick by Hamee
Simple, sophisticated, and with the perfect bit of flair, the Fan+A Stick is an external charger that connects the old-world charm of the oriental folding fan with the new-age technology of consumer-based solar charging. The stick, in its wonderfully portable avatar, opens out into a fan of solar panels that can tap into our solar system’s largest power supply and use it to charge your mobile devices!
02. KIN Wallet by KIN Studio LLP
Until cash transactions are completely done away with, we’re going to have to deal with wallets that have separate enclosures for banknotes and coins. Most transactions involve a mix of both and when a vendor hands you a bunch of notes and coins, what do you do? You first separate them, and then put the notes away neatly in their slots, and then the coins in their pouch. Seems like a headache to me. The KIN Wallet gives you one less problem to worry about. Just dump all your change into one single enclosure and the wallet does the sorting for you! When you open your wallet again, the coins are miraculously segregated and placed in a separate pouch! Alakazam!
03. Peninsula – Floating Docks by Jean-Benoit Clermont & Tara Harb
Designed to give Montreal’s coastline a bit of verve, the Peninsula are interlocking floating modules made from eco-friendly glass concrete that can easily be interlocked to create pathways, river-fronts, and floating gardens… all on water!
04. Vitreous Robot by Ron Ferencz
The Vitreous Robot takes the human expertise out of retinal surgeries, which means no matter where you are, you can get retinal surgeries done without the need of an expert surgeon (who are a rare bunch). With high demand and less skilled surgeons, Ron Ferencz gives robots the job. These robotic arms can perform highly precise and complex medical procedures with stunning ease. Remember that one video online of a robotic arm stitching a halved grape back together?!
05. Vario by Rik Oudenhoven
Designed to be the first and the last kitchen appliance you’ll need, Vario comes with an induction baseplate that’s central to the entire cooking experience. Just mount a series of utensils from grills to non-stick pans to casseroles all calibrated to fit like modules onto the baseplate and you’ve got one shape-shifting all-purpose cooking appliance! Of course, Vario comes with all the utensils you need to mount on its base, so it’s literally your entire kitchen in a single appliance.
06. Travel Kit by Choi Jaewan, Kim Kyuseok, Kim Myungnyun & Youn Heejin
Wouldn’t travel be a whole lot easier if we had something as streamlined as the Travel Kit above? Designed to be modular, and compact, and most importantly, be together, the Travel Kit bases its design on a principle a lot like the Vario. The motor and battery house themselves in one base component and a hair-dryer module, electric toothbrush module, and shaver module just simply snap on top whenever and wherever needed. No need to carry three separate appliances when you have something as unified as this! (And you won’t be forgetting any of the separate gadgets either!)
07. Bamboodia by Huang Yu-Man, Wang Yu-Chi
Rather than developing specialty materials with custom physical properties, Bamboodia relies on nature’s very own Bamboo to replace metals and polymers in prosthetics. Designed to be low on cost, and high on efficiency, the prosthetic uses bamboo sheets bent into a specially designed shape to mimic the way an ankle behaves. The name Bamboodia comes from a portmanteau of Bamboo and Cambodia, where the designers hope to begin production and help provide employment to local craftspeople.
08. P-Scooter by Husky Design
So, just how backpacks started becoming designed specifically for laptops a little over a decade ago, Husky Design is trying to usher in an age where backpacks will be able to carry your mode of transport. The P-Scooter is an electric last-mile vehicle that folds so thin, it can literally fit into most regular backpacks, making you carry your vehicle around the city when the vehicle isn’t carrying you around the city!
09. Gettou by Panasonic
Designed around an illusion of a lampshade producing light without a lamp within it, the Gettou uses a rather alluring and hypnotically designed acrylic and bamboo combination to make a lampshade that looks like an artpiece… but where is the light bulb within it?! The trick is in acrylic’s light refracting properties. The light-source hides itself at the frosted base of the lamp, and therefore all you see is the light emanating from a source you can’t really identify as the acrylic glows like magic fire, creating a beautiful illusion that you won’t want to stop looking at.
10. Halo City by Beijing Onemile Technology [Luminary Winner!]
While we imagine a world where the conceptual P-Scooter is a reality, the Halo City is actually making serious strides (can scooters make strides?) in the last-mile commute department. The electric scooter can literally be folded into a compact trolley-esque design and be wheeled around like a suitcase (at just 15.5 kilograms, it also weighs as much as one) and even placed in the boot of a car. The scooter comes with an intelligent app that shows transport related information, allows users to switch between drive modes, and even remotely operate the vehicle. With over 13 national patents, the Halo City is on its path to become China’s next go-to zero-emissions vehicle for its vast population!