Doesn’t get better than the Red Dot Concept Design Best of Best!

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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!]
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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!

Can your smartphone repel mosquitoes??

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I’m standing on a fine line between highly amused and highly impressed with the LG K7i. Coming from India, and a scenario where necessity is the mother of invention, the K7i’s selling point is actually the fact that it repels mosquitoes. Built with a mesh on the back that emits ultrasonic waves at frequencies above the human hearing wavelength, the phone can actually meddle with a mosquito’s navigating system and therefore deter them from flying anywhere in the vicinity.

The K7i is a pretty low-end phone priced at just $100. Designed for rural areas where mosquito counts are higher (often linking to endemics), the phone was made to appeal to the low income groups (India of late has seen a massive boom in smartphone usage with the leading telecom having the world’s largest data network and internet-using user base). The phone also makes use of another feature that seems to be typical only to countries like India. Available with a dual-sim functionality, the phone is meant to cater to users who own more than one sim card and phone number.

The K7i’s “Mosquito Away Technology” seems like a ridiculous idea at first, but one slowly begins appreciating its genius. It adds a feature that seems to be rather useful to its intended audience. The technology works marvels because people usually have their phone around them at all times (even when asleep… especially when asleep). The ultrasonic technology doesn’t use/burn any chemicals (which is much safer) and therefore doesn’t need constant replacement or refilling of repellent cartridges. It uses a device humans are attached to, and gives it a feature that if noticed, will easily propel it ahead of its competition. Wow, what’ll they think of next?!

Designer: LG India

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This Headset Does VR the Correct Way

“Would you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the jelly?” says the narrator in the video above rather convincingly, and I can’t help but agree with her. Seeing is believing, but try watching a movie with terrible audio quality and you immediately realize how bad your experience feels. The same goes for VR. Be it the cheap Google Cardboard, or the state-of-the-art HTC Vive, audio is given the least priority and you know what, it reminds me of something we humans have experienced before.

History repeats itself. Think back to the days of moving pictures when the Lumiere brothers invented the first moving image capturing and projecting device that began the ‘Cinema’ revolution in 1895. It was only thirty years later that sound began being incorporated into film, and the talkies were born, and no one ever watched a silent film again. VR (currently still in its formative years) is following pretty much the exact trajectory and it isn’t because of a lack of technological advancement, it’s just history repeating itself and ANMLY is trying their best to be the much needed breath-of-fresh-air.

The Model A by ANMLY is the full PB&J experience (now that analogy is stuck in my head and I can’t honestly think of a more appropriate one). Coming from Mikie Krisztal who’s made high end audio equipment for a decade, the Model A by ANMLY integrates the audio component into a VR headset beautifully, the way it’s truly meant to be. The Model A is a universal VR headset that integrates ANMLY’s high end supra-aural earpieces into the design. Made out of foam, the entire VR headset is virtually indestructible and can be placed carefully or dumped unceremoniously into any bag and carried around. Designed to fit any smartphone into its enclosure, the Model A comes with a modular design and its own earpieces that remind me a lot of AIAIAI’s TBS headphones. The earpieces have rather large 30mm drivers within them, capable of delivering incredible hi-fi audio to perfectly match your 360° video. The headset comes with an audio cable that fits right into your phone’s audio jack. They even come in lightning cable variants for the iPhone 7 and above users, making this arguably the only VR headset designed for Apple devices. I say this because the Model A comes with its own dedicated app with free content.

Modeled out of bendable non-toxic foam that fits all head sizes with remarkable ease, the Model A is completely modular and customizable. Parts can be swapped easily and ANMLY even makes larger circum-aural (around-ear) earpieces with 40mm drivers that provide a better and more isolated and immersive VR journey. At just $40 for the early-bird, the Model A is the most reasonably priced and probably the only truly immersive VR headset on the market. It’s comfortable, long-lasting, and delivers an experience that feels as emotionally and physically satisfying as a good sandwich with copious amounts of peanut butter AND jelly!

Designer: Mikie Krisztal of ANMLY

Click here to Buy Now: $65.00 $90.00

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Click here to Buy Now: $65.00 $90.00

Watch your Stress Fade Away

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Increasingly, we see a disconnect between the traditional clock with its large hands, labeled numeric values, and flat 2D faces – and a move towards non-representative forms displaying time in a soothing and calming manner much like the Magnetic Clock Blackhole by Josselin Zaigouche. This clock is much more than a simple time-telling device; the Magnetic Clock Blackhole adds an element of serenity and harmony to its surrounding environment.

These feelings are recurrent themes with Zaigouche’s work, having said that her “philosophy amounts to adding to a project a poetic dimension because, for me, poetry is the fundamental link between aestheticism and function.”

Zaigouche gained inspiration for this piece by the immensity of space while examining the Black Monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s magnificent Space Odyssey. Magnetically driven, the time is orchestrated by the revolution of three metallic balls following the grooves set out for seconds, minutes and hours. This clock is easy on the eyes and can add a sense of calm to any stressful workspace within seconds.

Designer: Josselin Zaigouche

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Welcome to Highway Heaven

From a concept to the coast road, BMW Motorrad AG and Roland Sands Design have created a truly magnificent touring bike like never before in the form of the Concept 101. With no detail overlooked, the 101 has an all-round encapsulating design that would make anyone sitting atop the saddle look mighty cool.

This BMW bike has a body, giving the appearance that looks as though the wind has cut away all along it – leaving the surface with an edgy, unorthodox look. With a great mix of complementary material choices here; walnut veneers, carbon fiber, leather, brushed and anodized aluminum – could BMW have started a new design language for the touring bike?

One thing is for sure, this bike has character. The headlights are hypnotic pulling you straight in – from there, it’s hard to pull yourself away from the thoughtful additions up and down this two-wheel dream. Undoubtedly, the Concept 101 will have people stop in their tracks and leave them with no other choice but to gaze and daydream in jealousy.

Designers: BMW Motorrad AG and Roland Sands Design

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