How do you design for zero-gravity??

Industrial designers are required to fit themselves into a wide variety of scenarios so as to solve problems effectively. But how do you solve problems in a scenario that’s literally out of this world? This is the Ballantine’s Space Glass. Its purpose? Letting astronauts efficiently get tipsy in outer space!

The Space Glass for Ballantine’s remains one of my most favorite case studies. It strikes all the right chords and showcases an incredibly detailed design process. “As a designer, you spend your whole life breaking your babies”, says James Parr of the Open Space Agency, the team that was approached by Ballantine’s to solve a rather unusually complex problem. It’s a layered feeling, rejecting concepts your brain tells you is right, only because it actually isn’t. You fall in love with your creations multiple times and the nature of your profession is to make sure your creation survives… and performs. So a lot of times, you need to break your creations.

Designing for space is an extremely complex challenge not just because of zero gravity, but also because of the effects of zero gravity. A lot of things we take for granted get changed in space. Fluid dynamics change dramatically, there’s no air to oxidize the alcohol, so what you taste outside the Earth is a whole lot different from what you taste on Earth. Not to mention your body changes in space too. Your senses behave differently in the absence of gravity.

So how do you design for a scenario as obscure and unrelatable as this? The video above shows how Parr and his team at OSA designed, tweaked, and validated their concept for a glass that could deploy alcohol in antigravity. The glass is entirely 3D printed, with a baseplate that allows the alcohol to stay within the glass. A helical channel allows you to create a vacuum and sip the alcohol from a gold mouthpiece that gives you the exact intended taste. Ballantine’s designed a special space blend scotch whisky, meant for drinking in outer-space, and what’s truly worth noticing is that even though the Space Glass is a marvel of engineering, it looks like a beautifully designed piece of glassware that could just as easily sit among the finest spirits on earth as it could on the International Space Station!

Watch the advert for the glass below, and the case-study documentary on its design and testing above!

Designer: Open Space Agency for Ballantine’s

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Ten Tips to improve your Industrial Design Portfolio

Ten Tips For Your Industrial Design Portfolio - Cover Image

For an Industrial Designer, there are few things more significant than your portfolio. It’s the number one reason you still haven’t landed your first design job. Alternatively, it’s the main reason you got the job you are in. We all understand its importance, so here are a few pointers.
By no means have I figured it all out or published a blueprint for the ultimate portfolio. However, I’ve learned a lot along the way and received some great advice from top guys at places like IDEO, Nike, Fuseproject and Google – and I feel there are some really great points to pass on. So, here are 10 thoughts to consider:

Show Your Process

01. SHOW YOUR PROCESS

Your portfolio should not look like a catalog of the products you’ve designed. You’re not trying to sell your products, you’re trying to sell YOU. In order to do this, you need to show your thought process and how you got to the end solution. If you only show images of the final product, then that is the only thing you can be judged on. With no evidence of initial ideas and how you approached different aspects of the project, you make it impossible for a reader to assess the thinking behind your approach. If I’m reviewing your work, I may dislike a certain aspect of the final design, but might appreciate the way you got there. If you don’t show the development journey then you don’t allow for this appreciation.


Convey Multiple Skills

02. CONVEY MULTIPLE SKILLS

In order to sell YOU, think about what capabilities you can convey. One great exercise is to note down a list of the skills you have, and make sure these skills are evidenced in your portfolio.

Rendering is only one skill. A lot of portfolios fail to show a range of skills beyond KeyShot, so think about incorporating hand sketches, Photoshop renderings, Illustrator linework, and prototypes.


Present Projects Not Snippets

03. PRESENT PROJECTS, NOT MISCELLANEOUS SNIPPETS

In recent years, I’ve seen graduates compile a page of random drawings and group them on a page titled ‘Sketching’. This presentation style of miscellaneous snippets is NOT the way to go. The work should not be grouped by skill. There’s no story in that. More importantly, there’s no storytelling ABILITY being conveyed.

Instead, your portfolio should be presented through projects, and the skills are entwined within those projects. Not every project needs to communicate EVERY skill. One project might focus more on a mechanical challenge and another may focus on form, but the skills are integrated into projects – not isolated in a separate section.

Tailor Your Work To The Business

04. TAILOR YOUR WORK TO THE BUSINESS

When you build your level of design experience, you have more projects in your locker than you need for an application. So, you base your decision of which projects to include based on which are the most relevant to that specific business.

When you are just graduating, you can still adopt the same mindset even though you have a limited number of projects. The way you can do this is by shifting the focus of the project. You are in control of your portfolio and have the ability to draw attention to whatever you like. For a large, complex project you will not go through every aspect of the design in an application portfolio. So, if you know that the particular role you are applying for requires more of an understanding of mechanics, then draw more attention to that aspect of the project. Tailor your portfolio for each application.


Focus On The Role

05. HOBBIES ARE HOBBIES. FOCUS ON THE ROLE.

I often get asked by ID students if they should include graphic design work within their portfolio. The answer is always no. The reason is because your portfolio itself should be a shining example of your sensitivity to graphic design, layout, and proportion. The question normally comes from those who enjoy developing brand identities on the side or have a graphics freelance gig designing menus for local restaurants. There is a tendency to include things just because you CAN do them. Just because you can, it doesn’t make them any more relevant.

Photography skills are important as a designer, but not as important as being a great designer. That is what must come first and foremost. Make sure that you don’t infringe on your ability to present yourself as a great designer by clouding the portfolio with a lot of ‘side skills’. I’ve seen 22-page
design portfolios where the last 8 slides were personal photography. This is detrimental. Instead, plant a seed in your résumé by mentioning other skills and present more detail in the interview (if you land it). First and foremost, focus on communicating the fact you can design great products.


Reduce Word Count

06. REDUCE WORD COUNT. YOU DON’T NEED TO TELL EVERY DETAIL OF THE STORY.

The purpose of the initial application portfolio is not to land the job. It’s to land the interview. When you adopt this mindset, your application portfolio will improve. It only needs to create enough intrigue for the Design Manager or Senior Designer to say “Ok, let’s bring her in for an interview”. The speed at which the reader will flick through your work is rapid. Barely enough time to read sub-headings, let alone a huge paragraph. Engineering roles are different, but for Industrial Design positions, I skim it incredibly fast and stop when something jumps out and makes a visual impact. Only then will I read a few of the details. There are two main levels being assessed. One is the quality of the visual communication. The second is the quality of the actual ideas and concepts. (Behind a great idea drawn badly, is still an individual with great ideas). Both are being judged.

However, the point to take away here is that it MUST be visually impactful in order to catch attention in the first place and draw the reader in. You don’t need to describe every task and every detail in long paragraphs. You can tell the full story in the interview. Telling the story through text is too easy. It’s lazy. A key differentiator is in being able to capture the important aspects of a story in a visual and creative way. So, reduce your word count and make a visual impact.


Clarify The Premise

07. CLARIFY THE PREMISE

One thing that contributes to a poor experience from the reader’s perspective is when you are 4 pages into a project and have seen various sketches, images and renderings, yet you STILL don’t fully understand what the project is about. You’re still asking yourself what the whole point is and what problem is being addressed.

This happens when you don’t clarify the premise at the beginning and make it completely understandable. By not filling this gap in the reader’s understanding, you skip on before they are on the same wavelength. It’s what Chip & Dan Heath refer to in their book Made To Stick as ‘The Curse Of Knowledge’. As in, because you know the subject area so well and are very close to it, you struggle to break it down effectively for someone seeing it for the first time. Taking a step back and being able to do this is a very important skill for any designer.

You must take the reader on a journey where they understand each step. When you do this well, and clarify the problem, it means the reader fully understands what needs to be addressed, and can therefore have a heightened appreciation for the actual ideas within the ideation pages. They get a greater sense of what you are trying to achieve and start connecting with your work on a level deeper than just seeing nice visuals. Allowing for this deeper connection through more effective storytelling is the difference between a good portfolio and a great portfolio.


Keep It Simple

08. KEEP IT SIMPLE (STUPID)

I often come across individuals who are trying to land their first job in a design team, presenting themselves as ‘JHS Designs’. It’s not appropriate. You are John Smith, trying to land a job, so put your name on the cover and not some corporate nonsense. The other thing I see is initials turned into a logo that’s barely readable, and garish borders on every page. Stick with your full name in a simple typeface and get rid of the border. Do away with the clutter, go full width and let the work speak for itself. Keep it simple (stupid).


Be Concise With Commoditised Work

09. BE CONCISE WITH ‘COMMODITIZED’ WORK

What I mean by ‘commoditised’ work is the type of content that doesn’t really show how good you are as a designer. I’m talking about the types of pages that anyone could put together, that don’t show the skills that help separate applicants.

For example, statistics from market research sat next to generic images you found online, followed by a page of existing competitor products and their features, followed by a page explaining target users. Although these are things that may be carried out during the project, they are the types of things that should be done as concisely as possible (if at all) in an application portfolio. It comes back to the point about not needing to tell the ENTIRE story in the initial application because you can go into the detail in the interview. Graduates show too much of this sort of work.

Naturally, we are drawn to pages that are rich in ‘hard skills’. Sketches, ideation pages, visuals of refined concepts and exploded view renderings. These types of things are more individual and help give a better steer as to whether you would bring them in for an interview because they are ‘easier’ to separate if they’ve been done poorly or to a high standard.

Although research stats and personas help with the understanding of the details of the project, they have less influence on the decision to bring in for an interview. Therefore, your portfolio wants to have a high concentration of ‘skill-rich’ pages. People often don’t do this because they lack confidence, so put in the hours and make those pages great. There’s no other way around it.


Nail Down The Hero Shot

10. NAIL DOWN ‘THE HERO SHOT’

Although your portfolio should not look like a catalogue of renders and photographs of the final product, your presentation of the final product is still a VERY important element. The advice I’ve received time and again from some big-hitters in the industry is that less is without doubt more.

Many portfolios show multiple photographs of the final product on one page in a grid layout. This is the fastest way to lose all visual impact. Less on the page is the way forward. It requires a lot more skill to select ONE image. The right image. The one that simultaneously shows the product in context, communicates its purpose and is visually striking. A picture paints a thousand words, but only if it’s a great picture.

When thinking about your hero shot, don’t look at what other students are doing. If you are designing a wireless speaker for the home, go and see how Bang & Olufsen are presenting their latest product in GQ magazine. Look at the billboard campaigns for the latest Tom Ford sunglasses or social media ads for the latest Dyson fan. Look to the best in the world for inspiration, not the best in your class. You will instantly up your game.

Also, creating an image of the product being used in context usually requires more skill to make it look great, compared to rendering out of context against a white background. Sometimes these clean renders in white space are appropriate, but if you know the ideal image is to show the product underwater on someone’s wrist, then push yourself to visualize this. You’ll develop this ability faster and contribute to your own growth, instead of building a moat around your skill set.

So, that concludes ten things to consider when putting your portfolio together. We wish you the best of luck in crafting the best version you can, and moving closer to the job you want most. Go ahead and bookmark this page for future use, or share it with a friend who’s gearing up for that job interview!


Nick Chubb

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nick Chubb is a Senior Industrial Designer at IDC in London, designing consumer products and medical devices for some of the world’s leading brands. He has a 1st Class Masters Degree in Product Design and assesses hundreds of design portfolios each year. He acts as lead portfolio advisor at Arts Thread, and is often invited to give talks at leading Universities on the subject of design. Learn more at nickchubbdesign.com


Portfolio Improvement Program

ONE-TO-ONE PORTFOLIO IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM

If you wish to take your design portfolio to the next level and land more interviews at the companies you love most, check out Nick’s One-to-One Portfolio Improvement Program. Learn more at nickchubbdesign.com/portfolio-improvement-program

Ten Tips to improve your Industrial Design Portfolio

Ten Tips For Your Industrial Design Portfolio - Cover Image

For an Industrial Designer, there are few things more significant than your portfolio. It’s the number one reason you still haven’t landed your first design job. Alternatively, it’s the main reason you got the job you are in. We all understand its importance, so here are a few pointers.
By no means have I figured it all out or published a blueprint for the ultimate portfolio. However, I’ve learned a lot along the way and received some great advice from top guys at places like IDEO, Nike, Fuseproject and Google – and I feel there are some really great points to pass on. So, here are 10 thoughts to consider:

Show Your Process

01. SHOW YOUR PROCESS

Your portfolio should not look like a catalog of the products you’ve designed. You’re not trying to sell your products, you’re trying to sell YOU. In order to do this, you need to show your thought process and how you got to the end solution. If you only show images of the final product, then that is the only thing you can be judged on. With no evidence of initial ideas and how you approached different aspects of the project, you make it impossible for a reader to assess the thinking behind your approach. If I’m reviewing your work, I may dislike a certain aspect of the final design, but might appreciate the way you got there. If you don’t show the development journey then you don’t allow for this appreciation.


Convey Multiple Skills

02. CONVEY MULTIPLE SKILLS

In order to sell YOU, think about what capabilities you can convey. One great exercise is to note down a list of the skills you have, and make sure these skills are evidenced in your portfolio.

Rendering is only one skill. A lot of portfolios fail to show a range of skills beyond KeyShot, so think about incorporating hand sketches, Photoshop renderings, Illustrator linework, and prototypes.


Present Projects Not Snippets

03. PRESENT PROJECTS, NOT MISCELLANEOUS SNIPPETS

In recent years, I’ve seen graduates compile a page of random drawings and group them on a page titled ‘Sketching’. This presentation style of miscellaneous snippets is NOT the way to go. The work should not be grouped by skill. There’s no story in that. More importantly, there’s no storytelling ABILITY being conveyed.

Instead, your portfolio should be presented through projects, and the skills are entwined within those projects. Not every project needs to communicate EVERY skill. One project might focus more on a mechanical challenge and another may focus on form, but the skills are integrated into projects – not isolated in a separate section.

Tailor Your Work To The Business

04. TAILOR YOUR WORK TO THE BUSINESS

When you build your level of design experience, you have more projects in your locker than you need for an application. So, you base your decision of which projects to include based on which are the most relevant to that specific business.

When you are just graduating, you can still adopt the same mindset even though you have a limited number of projects. The way you can do this is by shifting the focus of the project. You are in control of your portfolio and have the ability to draw attention to whatever you like. For a large, complex project you will not go through every aspect of the design in an application portfolio. So, if you know that the particular role you are applying for requires more of an understanding of mechanics, then draw more attention to that aspect of the project. Tailor your portfolio for each application.


Focus On The Role

05. HOBBIES ARE HOBBIES. FOCUS ON THE ROLE.

I often get asked by ID students if they should include graphic design work within their portfolio. The answer is always no. The reason is because your portfolio itself should be a shining example of your sensitivity to graphic design, layout, and proportion. The question normally comes from those who enjoy developing brand identities on the side or have a graphics freelance gig designing menus for local restaurants. There is a tendency to include things just because you CAN do them. Just because you can, it doesn’t make them any more relevant.

Photography skills are important as a designer, but not as important as being a great designer. That is what must come first and foremost. Make sure that you don’t infringe on your ability to present yourself as a great designer by clouding the portfolio with a lot of ‘side skills’. I’ve seen 22-page
design portfolios where the last 8 slides were personal photography. This is detrimental. Instead, plant a seed in your résumé by mentioning other skills and present more detail in the interview (if you land it). First and foremost, focus on communicating the fact you can design great products.


Reduce Word Count

06. REDUCE WORD COUNT. YOU DON’T NEED TO TELL EVERY DETAIL OF THE STORY.

The purpose of the initial application portfolio is not to land the job. It’s to land the interview. When you adopt this mindset, your application portfolio will improve. It only needs to create enough intrigue for the Design Manager or Senior Designer to say “Ok, let’s bring her in for an interview”. The speed at which the reader will flick through your work is rapid. Barely enough time to read sub-headings, let alone a huge paragraph. Engineering roles are different, but for Industrial Design positions, I skim it incredibly fast and stop when something jumps out and makes a visual impact. Only then will I read a few of the details. There are two main levels being assessed. One is the quality of the visual communication. The second is the quality of the actual ideas and concepts. (Behind a great idea drawn badly, is still an individual with great ideas). Both are being judged.

However, the point to take away here is that it MUST be visually impactful in order to catch attention in the first place and draw the reader in. You don’t need to describe every task and every detail in long paragraphs. You can tell the full story in the interview. Telling the story through text is too easy. It’s lazy. A key differentiator is in being able to capture the important aspects of a story in a visual and creative way. So, reduce your word count and make a visual impact.


Clarify The Premise

07. CLARIFY THE PREMISE

One thing that contributes to a poor experience from the reader’s perspective is when you are 4 pages into a project and have seen various sketches, images and renderings, yet you STILL don’t fully understand what the project is about. You’re still asking yourself what the whole point is and what problem is being addressed.

This happens when you don’t clarify the premise at the beginning and make it completely understandable. By not filling this gap in the reader’s understanding, you skip on before they are on the same wavelength. It’s what Chip & Dan Heath refer to in their book Made To Stick as ‘The Curse Of Knowledge’. As in, because you know the subject area so well and are very close to it, you struggle to break it down effectively for someone seeing it for the first time. Taking a step back and being able to do this is a very important skill for any designer.

You must take the reader on a journey where they understand each step. When you do this well, and clarify the problem, it means the reader fully understands what needs to be addressed, and can therefore have a heightened appreciation for the actual ideas within the ideation pages. They get a greater sense of what you are trying to achieve and start connecting with your work on a level deeper than just seeing nice visuals. Allowing for this deeper connection through more effective storytelling is the difference between a good portfolio and a great portfolio.


Keep It Simple

08. KEEP IT SIMPLE (STUPID)

I often come across individuals who are trying to land their first job in a design team, presenting themselves as ‘JHS Designs’. It’s not appropriate. You are John Smith, trying to land a job, so put your name on the cover and not some corporate nonsense. The other thing I see is initials turned into a logo that’s barely readable, and garish borders on every page. Stick with your full name in a simple typeface and get rid of the border. Do away with the clutter, go full width and let the work speak for itself. Keep it simple (stupid).


Be Concise With Commoditised Work

09. BE CONCISE WITH ‘COMMODITIZED’ WORK

What I mean by ‘commoditised’ work is the type of content that doesn’t really show how good you are as a designer. I’m talking about the types of pages that anyone could put together, that don’t show the skills that help separate applicants.

For example, statistics from market research sat next to generic images you found online, followed by a page of existing competitor products and their features, followed by a page explaining target users. Although these are things that may be carried out during the project, they are the types of things that should be done as concisely as possible (if at all) in an application portfolio. It comes back to the point about not needing to tell the ENTIRE story in the initial application because you can go into the detail in the interview. Graduates show too much of this sort of work.

Naturally, we are drawn to pages that are rich in ‘hard skills’. Sketches, ideation pages, visuals of refined concepts and exploded view renderings. These types of things are more individual and help give a better steer as to whether you would bring them in for an interview because they are ‘easier’ to separate if they’ve been done poorly or to a high standard.

Although research stats and personas help with the understanding of the details of the project, they have less influence on the decision to bring in for an interview. Therefore, your portfolio wants to have a high concentration of ‘skill-rich’ pages. People often don’t do this because they lack confidence, so put in the hours and make those pages great. There’s no other way around it.


Nail Down The Hero Shot

10. NAIL DOWN ‘THE HERO SHOT’

Although your portfolio should not look like a catalogue of renders and photographs of the final product, your presentation of the final product is still a VERY important element. The advice I’ve received time and again from some big-hitters in the industry is that less is without doubt more.

Many portfolios show multiple photographs of the final product on one page in a grid layout. This is the fastest way to lose all visual impact. Less on the page is the way forward. It requires a lot more skill to select ONE image. The right image. The one that simultaneously shows the product in context, communicates its purpose and is visually striking. A picture paints a thousand words, but only if it’s a great picture.

When thinking about your hero shot, don’t look at what other students are doing. If you are designing a wireless speaker for the home, go and see how Bang & Olufsen are presenting their latest product in GQ magazine. Look at the billboard campaigns for the latest Tom Ford sunglasses or social media ads for the latest Dyson fan. Look to the best in the world for inspiration, not the best in your class. You will instantly up your game.

Also, creating an image of the product being used in context usually requires more skill to make it look great, compared to rendering out of context against a white background. Sometimes these clean renders in white space are appropriate, but if you know the ideal image is to show the product underwater on someone’s wrist, then push yourself to visualize this. You’ll develop this ability faster and contribute to your own growth, instead of building a moat around your skill set.

So, that concludes ten things to consider when putting your portfolio together. We wish you the best of luck in crafting the best version you can, and moving closer to the job you want most. Go ahead and bookmark this page for future use, or share it with a friend who’s gearing up for that job interview!


Nick Chubb

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nick Chubb is a Senior Industrial Designer at IDC in London, designing consumer products and medical devices for some of the world’s leading brands. He has a 1st Class Masters Degree in Product Design and assesses hundreds of design portfolios each year. He acts as lead portfolio advisor at Arts Thread, and is often invited to give talks at leading Universities on the subject of design. Learn more at nickchubbdesign.com


Portfolio Improvement Program

ONE-TO-ONE PORTFOLIO IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM

If you wish to take your design portfolio to the next level and land more interviews at the companies you love most, check out Nick’s One-to-One Portfolio Improvement Program. Learn more at nickchubbdesign.com/portfolio-improvement-program

YD Spotlight: The Delightful Designs of BKID

bkid_layout

BKID Co is the brainchild of BongKyu Song, an award-winning Korean Designer. It’s also one of the only design studios that boasts of having a design language unique to it. You can look at a BKID product and there’s something innately BKID-ish about it. Their human-centered, design-based approach is evident in the work that they do, and each product has a playful quality to it, projecting technology as more docile, rather than trying to look superior. The result is a product that looks inviting to people of all ages, and that looks friendly and ready-to-help, rather than cutting-edge and intimidating.


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The Retroduck by BKID for Wisekids is probably one of our favorite projects. It pays tribute to one of the earliest forms of entertainment, the Cathode Ray Tube Television. An iconic appliance found in almost every home in and around the 60-70s, the TV set looked bulky but beautiful, and who can forget those knobs for adjusting the channel and volume on the side?! Retroduck harnessed that nostalgia with its ability to dock the iPhone into its housing in a manner that turned the retina screen into a retro appliance. BKID’s design of the Retroduck employed a beautiful color palette of red and white, while also keeping things original with the brown and black combo. Soft curves dominated the design, and its plastic build gave it a more inviting appearance than the usual metallic, cold demeanor of the iPhone.

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The Fairy for SK Telecom probably most clearly outlines BKID’s approach to product design and how different it is from the others. Pit the Fairy against the Google Home, or the Amazon Echo Show, or even Apple’s Home Pod and you’ll realize that the Fairy was designed with a character, while the others just played along to the character the AI had assumed. What’s more, the Fairy, with its soft, red, almost plush-like design, looks much more approachable than its competitors, even though it’s just as advanced. Think of it as Wall-e and Eva’s love-child in 2017.

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The Samsung Mouse brings design thinking to something that’s essentially an accessory, and therefore, an afterthought. Mice are usually taken for granted until the minute you realize you don’t have one, or that the one you have isn’t working. BKIDs mouse design for Samsung brings a refreshingly different dynamic to mouse design, pointing out a pain-point that most people have with mice (they’re too bulky), and proposing a solution that is full of dynamism and playfulness, but at the same time doesn’t take away from the fact that the mouse is more than capable of being highly useful when needed. The mouse’s telescopic design feels like it would be the primary reason I’d buy it! The silver and blue color duo go together beautifully, and the arc the mouse forms when opened completely feels solid in one’s hand, allowing it to have mass when needed, and turn into a tiny, pocketable device when folded inwards.

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BKID’s products never isolate the user. In fact they play well to human’s ability to trust and adore things that look ‘cute’ and ‘friendly’. BongKyu Song does a marvelous job of using soft curves, rounded forms, and a vibrant, almost childish, color palette to make products look friendly as they solve problems, allowing humans to bond emotionally with them, and therefore always leaving the users with a smile on their faces… and ultimately, isn’t that what we all want??

Red Dot Design Has A Swanky New Address In Singapore

It’s the new year and we have exactly 365 new opportunities to make it the best year for us. One of these opportunities that you can have as a designer, is to showcase your talent by winning a Red Dot Award: Design Concept. We have spoken to Ken Koo on multiple occasions, however this time around, we learned a lot about how changes (of location) and transitions (of the museum) have helped Red Dot evolve into a collaborative unit that has been. In fact, some of the points he speaks about reiterate how change should be embraced as it challenges us to do our best.

The glorious new location of the Red Dot Museum, right at the Marina Bay, was it just the moving of a building or was there any change in the way they are looking at things.

Ken Koo – there is a multi-level change that we have had to embrace. There is a location change along with the physical manifestation of the museum and mindset change.

Today, there cannot be a better location than this in Singapore. An empowering place that has led to many new collaboration and partnerships. For example, we have collaborated with designers on uniform, installation, architecture and lighting of the museum.

Our mindset has changed because this new museum has raised the bar for us. The place has forced us to change our thinking and push our limits to do our best.

The museum has manifested into a modern new venue. Earlier we were in a heritage building, so there was little that we could do about the place and had to present everything to the best of limited space. But now, we have the liberty to put design first. This place was like a blank canvas and we could make architectural changes and present modern interiors.

We have more interweaving of space and the design exhibition. The only limitation we have now is budget. We have taken a modern and finished approach, akin to an Art Museum.

As a result, we have elevated our award winners as well.

If you put good design amongst a heap of things, it will not shine. Now we are presenting our award winners in a much more sophisticated manner, hence they are being represented to their full potential.

Every exhibit here gets better attention and presentation.

Back in the days, we did everything ourselves, however with this new address, we have the responsibility to integrate the design community into the museum. So, right from the architecture to the designer ceramic plates used in the café, they are all locally sourced and collaborations or partnerships forged with the design community of Singapore – the uniform by a local fashion designer, the VR by a multimedia company, we have collaborated as much as we can.

This kind of mindset will help us grow, for example collaborating for an installation at the façade. If we don’t do such collaborations, we will be under utilizing the potential of this modern museum.

Are you going to limit to local designers or open up to international designers?

Ken – we will always be international as we are Red Dot. However, collaboration is not easy, there is a lot of chemistry that is involved. A lot of synergy is required and we have to see what the designers want to do and what the museum wants. Our goals have to be aligned.

My endeavor will be to first work with our own Red Dot winners. Every year there is some interesting installation that wins an award, so I would like to collaborate in that. With fashion, lighting and other avenues will be easier to work with international designers.

Can we expect anything new for 2018?

Ken – every year we look at major trends, and lately methods of manufacturing is in the news. For example, the area of 3D printing; people ask me if we can start a category like this, however it’s like asking can we have injection molding as a category. Likewise, for Kickstarter or crowdfunding, these are platforms so they cannot become categories. These are financing platforms and not design categories.

Over the years there is a lot of development in bionics, so we have interesting submissions in this section. I hope to see good work in this area.

There is an increase in design companies winning awards in the concept design space, how is this affecting universities?

Ken – last year there was 23% entries by companies and this year 27% and they won 38% of the awards. This is good for designers because companies raise the benchmark. Professional teams and Independent designers are competing and this builds mutual respect for each other.

Does this not put pressure on universities as most concept designs come from there.

Ken – From my experience it is the power of the platform that we provide, whether you are a student or a teacher or a big corporate – a good idea is a good idea, and that is what we all value. The day I started Concept Design it was very clear for me, that it doesn’t matter if you are a veteran or a newbie; it’s what you put on the table. Even when we do judging, you could have a big company’s idea placed next to a student concept. Only the more powerful idea will win the accolade. We do not reveal the designer details, so jury has no idea who they are judging.

This is why a lot of students want to compete, because of the platform and recognition we provide.

Now that you have moved to the new museum, why should a tourist come to the Red Dot Museum?

Ken – everybody benefits from better living and design is about enjoying life better. By coming here, it opens your eyes to what new design is all about and you can bring it home with you – if you buy something from the shop. You can enjoy the café where the food is crafted specially for the museum and is about award-winning designs. Hang out with friends. You will enjoy it here.

Tell us more about the café.

Ken – the café is important. With the exhibition you learn, with the shop you buy and bring design to your home. With the café you can consume and enjoy design on the spot. Drink from the award-winning Bodum Glass and have coffee or tea. We are visually stimulating you with food that looks very unique. I have worked with the team and helped set up the design for food. The square meals are specifically designed as signature dishes. We have created a form and play with the many layers. Food Anatomy are the people behind it.

The next time you are in Singapore, you should make a trip to the Red Dot Museum located at the Marina Bay waterfront. The museum also hosts a dedicated market called MAAD and there will be 72 events this year. The only criteria for participation is that your design should be original as the market curates it. It typically should get about 10,000 visitors for each show, so participate or visit it.

Red Dot Award: Design Concept Early discount submission period 2 Jan – 31 Jan 2018

Red Dot Design Museum Singapore is presented with the help of Singapore designers in the following:

Red Dot Design Concept Exhibition: curatorial and presentation by Gustavo Maggio and Wendy Chua of Forest&Whale.

Front of house crew vests: outfitted by Max Tan and Yuan Zhiying of MAX.TAN.

Design cafe’s ceramic tableware: handcrafted by Ivan Lee of Modular Unit.

Architecture works: provided by Lee May Anne of MAKK.