2003 Annual Design Review Consumer Products Design Distinction

Posted inID Mag


Designed with attention to performance, safety and fashion, the Snowsoft Softlock combination lock attaches to the snowboard rather than to the boarder. Principals at newdealdesign of San Francisco say mating the product with the board allows for better maneuverability and minimizes risk of injury when objects spill out of a user’s pocket during a fall. Weather-resistant and compact, the stamped-aluminum case houses a retractable, plastic-coated, steel aircraft cable. The plastic dial can be easily turned with gloved hands, while a small magnifying glass helps users see the combination numbers. Juror Stuart Constantine appreciated these features, noting that “their integration makes this product stand out.”

CLIENT Snowsoft, San Francisco: Chris Lenart, principalDESIGN newdealdesign, San Francisco: Gadi Amit and Chris Lenart, principals MATERIALS | FABRICATION Aluminum case, injection-molded dial, steel aircraft-grade cableSOFTWARE Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Alias/Wavefront


When developing the Flow Bicycle Saddle, a high-performance seat for the serious biker, San Francisco-based SaddleCo emphasized the need for comfort and ventilation. The patent-pending design, by BoomBang of Los Angeles, combines an encapsulation-molded elastomeric monofilament textile with a nylon thermoplastic perimeter. The resulting suspended seating surface is stretched onto a rigid frame of lightweight composite resin molded over alloy tubing. The designers call it “a suspension bridge for your butt” that offers an alternative to traditional foam and vinyl saddles stapled over plastic shells. Janet Villano judged it “a nice application of technology,” observing that the saddle reappropriates the Aeron’s chair’s mesh seating technology for bikes.

CLIENT SaddleCo, San Francisco: Dan Bomze, principalDESIGN BoomBang, Los Angeles: Aldis Rauda, designer; Tylor Garland, principalMATERIALS | FABRICATION Encapsulation-molded elastomeric monofilament textile, nylon thermoplastic, composite resin molded over alloy tubingSOFTWARE Alias Wavefront Studio, SolidWorks


For these bath products, designers at Kohler established the best means for water delivery, water capturing, ease of cleaning, storage and basin filling. The basin is removable, and the surface underneath serves as a counter over which water flows hygienically. The faucet is simply a hole in the mirrored cabinet, which doubles as storage. Villano appreciated Purist’s minimalism and beauty. Constantine applauded the sink’s vanishing edge, noting that “the process of filling and emptying the bowl provides a very intimate and thoughtful level of interaction.”

CLIENT | DESIGN Kohler Co., Kohler, Wis.: Herbert Kohler Jr., principal; James Piatt, industrial designer I; William Gordon, industrial designer MATERIALS | FABRICATION Slip-cast vitreous china, porcelain, glass, brassSOFTWARE ProEngineer, SolidWorks


A “smart idea with a nice execution,” Villano pronounced, adding, “The look is appropriate-not too homey, not too modern.” The result of a collaboration between three design firms-Vessel, Big Design and Phoenix Design-the portable lamps act like candles, but without the fire hazard and messy wax drippings. Four lamps are charged on a base via magnetic induction, a technology typically used in electric toothbrushes. Each lamp provides a glow equivalent to a candle-enough, designers say, for reading (two Candelas) or eating dinner (four Candelas). The lamps illuminate automatically when lifted from the charger or if the power goes out-perfect for storm emergencies.

CLIENT Vessel, Boston: Stefane Barbeau and Duane Smith, principalsDESIGN Vessel, Boston: Stefane Barbeau and Duane Smith, principals; Phoenix Design, Castleton, N.Y.: Dale Thomas, electrical engineer; Big Design, Boston: Amy Ryan and Matt Rivera, mechanical engineersMATERIALS | FABRICATION Injection-molded polycarbonate for lamps and abs chargerSOFTWARE Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Ashlar-Vellum, ProEngineer

Design Distinction : MERITAGE NOTEBOOK PC

Meritage, designed by 2ndEdison of Redwood City, Calif., combines the portability of a notebook pc with the comfort and ergonomics of a desktop computer. Created for Hewlett-Packard, the clamshell-shaped notebook PC has a 15-inch LCD display and a swivel hinge that allows the screen to rotate 180 degrees. When folded down, a built-in touch screen converts the product into a large-scale tablet PC. Alternatively, Meritage can be transformed into a desktop computer via a vertical docking station. The dock has an ergonomically tilting, adjustable-height arm that lets users raise or lower the screen. Meritage “solves many problems,” Constantine said, “It takes a notebook computer and adds five or six functions.”

CLIENT Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif.DESIGN 2ndEdison, Redwood City, Calif.: Chris Bradley, founder and CEOMATERIALS | FABRICATION Injection-molded housing with internal sheet-metal chassisSOFTWARE Adobe Painter, ProEngineer

Design Distinction : DIGI 002 MIXER

“There are many levels of thinking on dozens of fronts, and all of them are done well,” Constantine said of Digi 002. Described as a high-end music studio in a box by principals at digidesign of Daly City, Calif., Digi 002 can be used as a control interface for the company’s ProTools software, or as a standalone console for creating and mixing digital music. Frog design in Sunnyvale, Calif., devised innovative features and aesthetics. Metal surfaces mixed with rubber and high-end plastics give Digi 002 an organic look that stands out among more boxy competitors. The control surface mimics the ProTools software interface in function and grouping, while rotary encoders and LCD scribble screens offer tactile and visual command over software features and parameters.

CLIENT digidesign Inc., Daly City, Calif.: David LeBolt, principalDESIGN frog design, Sunnyvale, Calif.: Hartmut Esslinger, principalHARDWARE | SOFTWARE Adobe Illustrator, Alias/Wavefront, ProEngineer, CNC milling machines


Jurors considered Fiskars’ new grass and hedge shears a cut above the rest, with Villano noting, “It’s clear how it works, it’s intuitive and utilitarian.” Combining hedging and shearing capabilities, the product has a power-lever mechanism designed for better cutting and decreased fatigue. Other ergonomic considerations include lightweight 36-inch aluminum handles that extend to 8 feet, and a perpendicular grip for a more comfortable working position. A foldable, locking head allows for safe and easy storage.

CLIENT | DESIGN Fiskars, Sauk City, Wis.: Fiskars Industrial Design Dept.MATERIALS | FABRICATION Glass-fiber reinforced polymide shears, reinforced aluminum handles and stainless-steel bladesSOFTWARE SolidWorks


The jurors were impressed with both the sound and design of JBL Creature Speakers and Subwoofer. “It’s refreshing to see some life and humor in a product’s form,” Constantine observed. “I especially like the ground-effect lights in the small speakers.” Designed by Harman Mulitimedia of Northridge, Calif., the plug-in satellite speakers and subwoofer are straightforward and easy to use. The touch of a button raises or lowers the volume and mutes or un-mutes the system, and a memory feature recalls the last volume setting. The powerful subwoofer provides a clean, low bass, while the level controls are placed conveniently on the front.

CLIENT | DESIGN Harman Multimedia, Northridge, Calif.: Kurt Solland, design leadMATERIALS | FABRICATION Injection-molded zinc and plastic, chrome and paint finishSOFTWARE Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Rhino 3D


Finally, a measuring cup that ensures a correct pour on the very first try. Inside OXO Good Grips’ Angled Measuring Cup is a plane marked with easy-to-read measurements that cut diagonally from bottom to top. Users can read the measurements by looking down into the cup rather than lifting it up. Available in one- and two-cup sizes, the innovative design, by New York firms Smart Design and Bang Zoom Design, packs a punch into a low price: $5 to $6. “Every designer aspires to come up with a solution to a problem that they don’t even know is a problem,” Constantine praised.

CLIENT OXO Intl., New York: Alex Lee, principalDESIGN Smart Design, New York: Goeran Jerstroem, senior industrial designer; Mark Prommel, industrial designer; Bang Zoom Design, New York MATERIALS | FABRICATION Cup: injection-molded SAN, pad-printed and back-painted; handle: injection-molded SantopreneSOFTWARE CDRS, ProEngineer


The in-house design team at Whirlpool employed several design tactics to emphasize the washer/dryer’s high-load capacity, ergonomic shape and energy efficiency. Curved, soft forms give Duet Fabric Care System a friendly look; a large door represents its generous holding capacity; and the machine features simple, easy-to-use controls and two color options-Tidal Blue and Dove Grey. The washer drum is tilted for better ergonomics, while an optional pedestal raises the units by one foot and doubles as storage. Villano called Duet a “beautiful object,” lauding in particular the front-loading feature.

CLIENT Whirlpool Corp., Benton Harbor, Mich.DESIGN Whirlpool Brand Design Studio, Global Consumer Design, Whirlpool Corp., Benton Harbor, Mich.MATERIALS | FABRICATION Cabinet: stamped steel with paint and porcelain finishes; front body panels and outer door: molded from engineering polymers; control-panel graphics: pad-printed; logo badge: aluminum

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