Archive for the ‘Industrial Design’ Category

Feltro 2 Feltro 3

by Rebecca Brunette

If you attended this year’s Interior Design Show in Toronto, you likely have an affinity for design and beautiful spaces. Rooms adorned with designer furniture delicately arranged according to the golden ratio, flanked in symmetry by ceiling-high windows, topped with a grand chandelier! What order – what bliss! Who doesn’t indulge in the reverie of what stylish domestic living should be? But what happens when you through kids in the mix?

The Modern Building Block
Sam Kennedy, a recent graduate from OCAD’s Industrial Design program, may just have the solution to maintaining the fine balance between play space and adult space within the home. Sam is the enthusiastic creator of Feltro, an interactive construction toy; a sort of modern take on the classic building block. Those of us who remember our grade school geometry lessons will recognize the Feltro module as the friendly trapezoid, made of blended wool felt and edged with magnets. Currently designed in two sizes and in a multitude of beautiful colours, Feltro becomes a geometric rug, a modern play fort, or your next ball gown. As if there weren’t enough reasons to get excited about these clever fabric sheets, the Feltro building modules are also manufactured in Cambridge, with most materials sourced from North America.

Rocket to Reality
We first met Sam at the ACIDO Rocket Competition in May 2013, where he showcased Feltro as his design thesis project. Sam cleaned up a multitude of awards including recognition from Ideatious and Umbra. Rocket boasts participation from Ontario’s top industrial design graduates of Carleton University, OCADU, and Humber; a fascinating window into the minds of tomorrows creative professionals. Not only did Sam feel Feltro was validated as a market worthy product, he also received valuable counsel from experienced members of the design community; advice that has led to a patent and trademark pending on the Feltro product and brand.

More than Child’s Play
Feltro bridges the worlds of play, design, and abstract creativity, bringing playful exploration into any living space. But don’t expect Feltro to stay within the confines of domestic life. With its minimalist design and simple assembly, the soft modules transform into flexible dividers, creating pockets of privacy within open concept offices.

Local Support
It seems Feltro is well on its way to home (and office) spaces across Canada, a claim not many designers can make so soon after graduation. Sam has been working with the Imagination Catalyst, OCAD U’s entrepreneurship and commercialization hub, exploring funding opportunities, and receiving entrepreneurial support. Armed with talented illustrator, Adam Hilborn, buddies Steve Tam and Jesse Cowan, and even his dear mother, Sam Kennedy is braving the many challenges of bringing Feltro to life.

To follow Feltro’s adventures towards production you can visit their website (link to sign up for their newsletter. We also heard word that a Kickstarter campaign is on the horizon, so you can back this budding company and help build Feltro into a force of imaginative play. Whether you’re after a stylish diversion for the kids or you simply can’t resist its limitless building potential, Feltro is one playful pastime that won’t need stowing away.

Rebecca Brunette squareRebecca Brunette is an Industrial Designer at Swave Studios and the Social Media Strategist for ACIDO.

Feltro 4

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Feltro 5 - Credit Feltro Site 1

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Feltro 5 - Credit Feltro Site 2

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Transcending Fearl - 2013

Panellists from left to right: Indigo’s creative director Paddy Harrington, architect Andrei Zerebecky of Four O Nine, designer Alison Phillips of Blackberry, and designer Jonathan Loudon of Swave Studios.

By Rebecca Brunette

October 4th, 2013

Fear. It can be your biggest impediment to innovation, but can it be harnessed to spark creativity? A panel of Canadian and international designers braved the question, exposing personal and professional fears last week at the IIDEX Canada seminar “Transcending fear to Drive Innovation”.

A struggling economy is often perceived as an impediment to business. People become conservative and risk adverse, making experimentation scarce. In these times [clients] often want to follow rather than lead, and only make incremental improvements”, says designer Jonathan Loudon, owner of Toronto creative agency Swave Studios. But fear turns into excitement and energy, and can make us very resourceful, he says, reminding us that the weak economy has been a catalyst for entrepreneurial platforms such as Kickstarter. As president of Ontario’s Association of Chartered Industrial Designers (ACIDO), Loudon is familiar with the fear that often accompanies innovative projects, known to passionate entrepreneurs and  established companies alike who look to disrupt a given market.

But the world is changing, rapidly. It can be difficult to keep up with the competition, let alone lead the way. Panel moderator, Azure editor Catherine Osborne, inquires as to how Indigo is addressing changes in technology and shifts in customers reading habits from paperback to digital. Paddy Harrington, SVP of design innovation and digital creative director, offers a refreshingly philosophical perspective. Indigo is a “purveyor of every idea, ever had by man”, it just so happens, says Harrington, to be in book form. Broadening the context of such questions has allowed Indigo to move beyond the challenge of reading habits, to consider what’s at heart, “the stories that go along with the books”.

This kind of soul searching takes guts, and it’s “easy to get distracted by your competition”, says Alison Phillips, industrial design lead at BlackBerry. Fear can be “palpable”, she confesses. But despite global criticisms and market challenges, BlackBerry is staying true to their core; who they are. “For us, it’s always about the user”, says Phillips, “tapping into the emotions that people experience when they use your product.”

Understanding your customer is critical to ensuring that what your company offers will be valued and relevant. Yet having confidence in the development of innovative ideas is not always simple. There is always the risk of failure,” but you cannot let it paralyze you from innovating”, says architect Andrei Zerebecky, who boldly moved his life from Toronto to Shanghai, in the pursuit of new markets. At the time, there were no guarantees, just instinct and intuition. Now owner of the successful company O Nine, Zerebecky describes Asia as a “sandbox” for creative design work.

In this figurative sandbox, where designers play and new ideas abound, future success is often a cocktail of strategy and intuition. According to Phillips, “intuition must be combined with depth of knowledge and insight”, an approach which offers companies the conviction to carry out innovative ideas. Pragmatically, Harrington reserves his intuition, choosing to hold design solutions against a well defined brief; a check list to affirm his gut feelings. With their many tools, designers are challenging themselves and their clients to harness their fears and approach innovation with nerve.

To sum it up frankly, Loudon suggests the leap of faith for those experiencing fear in the face of innovation. Whether you are a new or existing company, “you have to expect to be disruptive, or else why do you exist?”


Rebecca Brunette square



Rebecca Brunette is an Industrial Designer at Swave Studios and the Social Media Strategist for ACIDO.


Read the full article HERE

Just slightly more than a year after his death, the high-tech, minimalist yacht that Steve Jobs imagined finally made its debut two days ago.

Named ‘Venus’ after the goddess of love and beauty, the sleek white vessel—designed by legendary French designer Philippe Starck—was unveiled in the presence of Jobs’ family.

Measuring about 80 meters long, the luxury yacht features a lightweight aluminum exterior, high walls and windows of glass.

Not surprisingly,, seven 27-inch iMacs could be found in the yacht’s interior, including six in the wheelhouse.

Each of the ship’s builders was gifted with an iPod Shuffle—with the ship’s name engraved on the back—which comes with a note thanking them for their “hard work and craftsmanship”.

Watch the video of Venus’s debut below:



[via Taxi]


An interesting paper that just came out on the importance of Design for Growth and Prosperity in Europe, click HERE to read.


Jonathan Liberty along with the design firm Humanscope launch a Kickstarter project “digit”. Click HERE to see the project.


About digit:

As any designer, contractor or student knows… once you focus on your work it’s easy to misplace your pen or pencil.

For CNC Shop Owner Scott Pogue, the answer to his problem came from the mind of a child, his son William. William told him to strap his pencil to his finger. After quickly deciding that his son was on to something, he began creating concepts.

Scott took his concepts to Humanscope; a Canadian based product development firm. Once the project reached the team at Humanscope, the team created the new DIGIT.

The design team says “The DIGIT is unique .Made of thermoplastic rubber, rigid thermoplastic and elastic webbing , DIGIT is fully adjustable to fit a wide range of sizes. The DIGIT holds your pencil in a comfortable writing or sketching position.” The DIGIT is the answer to Scott’s problem and yours!

For only $10 a DIGIT, you can buy a DIGIT for you or all the SCOTT’s in your life! P.S. William says thank you!!

What makes digit unique
The thermoplastic elastomer, with a specific durometer, holds your pen firmly in place while allowing it to easily flex for writing.
The innovative adjustable strap design is very quick and easy, with no screws, glue or threads.
The digit is very comfortable. Unlike other pen or stylus holders that force you to grip the pen in a weird way, the digit flexes easily and sits as your pen normally would. The digit is simple. Hold your pen how you like. Let go and repeat.

About Humanscope:
Humanscope is a product design and development company that provides integrated research, design, development, and manufacturing services. We help businesses connect with their audience and maximize marketing opportunities. Our team of designers and engineers work with our clients to create meaningful, innovative product solutions that improve the human experience.


Published: June 15, 2012, The New York Times


Just 16 and recently released from a naval academy, Kenji Ekuan witnessed Hiroshima’s devastation from the train taking him home. “Faced with that nothingness, I felt a great nostalgia for human culture,” he recalled from the offices of G. K. Design, the firm he co-founded in Tokyo in 1952. “I needed something to touch, to look at,” he added. “Right then I decided to be a maker of things.”

One of the most enduring objects in his 60-year design career — which includes the Akita bullet train and Yamaha motorbikes — is the Kikkoman soy-sauce dispenser. Introduced in 1961, it has been in continuous production ever since. Traditional in its grace yet modern in its materials, the bottle’s design drew on Ekuan’s experiences at war’s end. The atomic blast killed his younger sister, and his father, a Buddhist priest, died of radiation-related illness a year later, prompting Ekuan to train briefly as a Buddhist monk in Kyoto.

But he quickly left that training behind, fascinated by the G.I.’s he saw roaming Japan’s ruins. In their jeeps and immaculately pressed gabardine trousers, they were like a “moving exhibition,” extolling the virtues of American invention. Ekuan pored over the newspaper cartoon “Blondie” for clues on American consumer culture. He enrolled at the National University of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo, urging fellow students to give shape to a contemporary “Japanese lifestyle.”

It took three years for Ekuan and his team to arrive at the dispenser’s transparent teardrop shape. More than 100 prototypes were tested in the making of its innovative, dripless spout (based on a teapot’s, but inverted). The design proved to be an ideal ambassador. With its imperial red cap and industrial materials (glass and plastic), it helped timeless Japanese design values — elegance, simplicity and supreme functionality — infiltrate kitchens around the world.

More than 300 million dispensers have been sold, in more than 70 countries. In 2007, to mark its 50th year in the United States, Kikkoman issued a gold-capped version, and the company has also given souvenir bottles, bearing the image of Mickey Mouse, to groups of schoolchildren visiting the factory. But Ekuan’s original design persists.

“For me it represents not the new Japan, but the real Japan,” he says. “The shape is so gentle. Of course, during the war, we were forced into acting differently. But for a long time, some 1,000 years, the history of the Japanese people was very gentle.”


In the ‘‘Museum of Soy Sauce Art’’ (1998-2000), the conceptual artist Tsuyoshi Ozawa recreates Japanese masterworks in soy sauce, from contemporary works to thousand-year-old sumi ink paintings. He spoke via Skype from his Tokyo studio.

Why soy sauce? I was studying oil painting, but my interests changed. Because oil paintingis European in origin, and sumi painting is from China. Then I went to Paris for a month, and I was very sick, but when I ate soy sauce, my condition improved. Also, when Western people arrive at the Tokyo airport, sometimes they say it smells like soy sauce. So I found that it is very important to me, and I began painting with it.

What was the response when the work was exhibited in Japan? Many people believed that it was real history. The president of a soy- sauce company atfirst believed it, and he decided to buy all my work. Now he knows they are copies. But they are shown in the company’s permanent collection.

A version of this article appeared in print on June 17, 2012, on page MM29 of the Sunday Magazine with the headline: Who Made That? (Soy-Sauce Dispenser).

Check out these awesome transistor radios from the 60′s

See them all  HERE.




The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is celebrating World Industrial Design Day (June 29) to recognize the contribution designers make in improving economic, social and cultural quality of life in Canada.

The Industrial Design Office of CIPO understands that designs are a valuable intellectual property (IP) right that helps promote innovation, creativity and economic growth in Canada. To this end, we encourage you to publish the attached web graphic button on your website throughout the month of June; the graphic should link to more information about industrial design. If you require a graphic of a different size, please let me know.