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September 4th, Berlin – the city was once again home to the world’s leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances. PDD’s Creative Director, Jamie Buckley and Principal of Design, Marko Plevnik were there to meet current and future clients and see what companies and brands are talking about and launching in the not too distant future.

As well as the eagerly awaited launch of Samsung’s folding phone (re-release!), Sonos’s portable speaker, Braun LE series speakers and Panasonics transparent TV, Jamie and Marko have highlighted 10 of the most interesting experiences and products they came across on their travels…

Severin milk frother IFA 2019
  • Sony’s beautiful colourways and colour, material and finish compositions
Sony headphones IFA 2019
Electrolux dischwasher IFA 2019
  • Bosch vacuum sealer – store, sous vide, blend
Bosch vacuum sealer IFA 2019
  • Bosch concept washing machine
Bosch washing machine IFA 2019
  • LG solar panels and integrated energy storage
  • Vacuum blenders, everywhere!
Vacuum Blenders IFA 2019

Visitors to this year’s Design Shanghai 2019 show were exposed to glorious sunshine alongside many famous pioneers from the Design Industry. Names such as Aldo Cibic (co-founder of Memphis Design), Daan Roosegaarde, Timothy Oulton Studio with the “space capsule” device were all on hand at the exhibition site. The PDD Asia team were extremely passionate about new trends and were also enthralled with the breakthrough innovation. Please read on to discover some of the exciting things that the PDD team discovered at the show.

Material Revolution in the design pool

Whilst wandering around the 1000-metre-square hall dedicated to materials, a fabulous talk devoted to New Materials was taking place, presenting sustainable projects gathered together. It demonstrated how designer’s and students place value on raw materials or waste from industry and successfully turn them into recyclable materials with a variety of applications. As the speaker pointed out, the textile revolution is the result of our thinking:

Image Credit: Dezeen

Willow Project

Iceland students experimented to discover great uses for willow branches turning them into a range of materials. Sheets of Wood from forests are bonded to a piece of fabric and then through the microlaser etched, the materials are given impressive pliability.

Image credit: PDD

‘Ignorance is Bliss’ by Agne Kucerenkaite

This is an ongoing project about rethinking the value of metal waste from industries such as water treatment plants and soil remediation into new valuable products and methods. The collection consists of elegant porcelain tableware, woven textiles, and ceramic interior wall tiles.

Image credit: Agne Kucerenkaite

Plastic Stone Tiles by Enis Akiev

Post-consumer plastic waste is formed into a new type of rock stone. Surprisingly, the more contaminated the raw material is, the more of a vibrant the design the objects have.

Image credit: Enis Akiev

Bananatex by QWSTION

Designed by Swiss studio QWSTION, The world’s first technical fabric made from banana fibres in the Philippines. Qwstion is passionate about transforming unassuming natural materials into 100% biodegradable bags and enhancing the handcraft market. On their website, you can see more details on how this is achieved through viewing their inspirational video.

Video credit: QWSTION

3D Printed Terrazzo Flooring by Aectual

Aectual print patterns with a bio-based plastic based on linseed oil. It’s a wide customized selection of recycled natural stone, marble, granite, glass and recycled plastic infills. The use of bio-materials and waste material makes the floor highly sustainable. There is no waste in the entire production of the printed mats.

Image credit: Aectual

Improving lives with bold design and health care

FRANKE Smart Deco Collection

It was inspiring to see FRANKE use light colours in the design of their range of cooker hoods. Helping to bring emotional comfort to cooking and also brighten any kitchen space. Replacing iron or stainless steel colour and texture, this gentle curved smart collection will most definitely be popular in smaller kitchen spaces in the future.

Image Credit: PDD

Home-use air purifier system

SWISS IQ Air highlighted wall mounted clean zone and Atem, vertical air purifier, offering hospital-grade clean air at home. This space-saving Atem, absorbing polluted air like PM2.5 into a 360-degree inlet and generating clean air. A better interactive experience is created by the ability to simply pat the side of the Atem to switch it on easily.


Image Credit: IQAir

Interaction innovation connects human and environment

SMOG FREE TOWER by Studio Roosegaarde is widely known in China due to its remarkable campaign on reducing air pollution and providing an inspirational experience of a clean future.  Daan Roosegaarde, the founder of Studio presented a series of thrilling projects about human and environment to seek the opportunity of creating an interactive experience in the spaces “in between” art, craft, design and digital technology. WATERLICHT and GLOWING NATURE are very incredible examples I particularly hope to see in Asia:

Image Credit: Studio Roosegaarde

WATERLICHT- it’s a combination of LEDs and lenses which create an ever-changing layer of light, influenced by wind and rain. As a virtual flood, it shows how high the water could reach and raises awareness about rising water levels. Dann mystically said that this amazing campaign would launch at an international city in Asia afterwards Rotterdam. Will Shanghai be the lucky city? I look forward to it.

GLOWING NATURE – shows the beauty of nature through a unique encounter between man, biology and technology. It provides a flowing experience with live bioluminescent algae as new building blocks for our future of food, fuel and light. Following an intensive period of research and design Studio Roosegaarde created the perfect conditions for visitors to experience the magic of nature in the darkness and its potential for a better future.

Design Shanghai is Asia’s leading international design event bringing together established international brands alongside up-and-coming designers from China and around the world. This year we saw an interesting change to the exhibition space in the form of an additional area outside of the main building, providing more room for brands to exhibit their products. In collaboration with artists, an installation was displayed upon a giant pool in the middle of the exhibition centre, capturing the spirit of design.

In contrast to last year’s show that was a collection of ‘flashy, funny & dramatic’ furniture, home ware and tableware; this year felt a lot more ‘gentle, modern & young’. Many products expressed this aesthetic through mellow shapes and subtle colours, with some interesting influences from the world of fashion.

Here’s a roundup of some things that caught our eye at the show this year…

Wooden Textiles & Wooden Cabinet by Elisa Strozyk

New tactile experience from traditional materials…

These intriguing ‘Wooden Textiles’ by designer Elisa Strozyk are a material somewhere between hard and soft, rigid and malleable, familiar through tactility yet strange in form;  creating a new tactile experience. The wood is deconstructed into different shapes and sizes and mounted onto a textile backing; depending on the geometry and the size of the tiles each design behaves differently in terms of movement and flexibility. Applications are more akin to textiles rather than what you would expect for wood and include drapes for beds & sofas, table runners, rugs, curtains, wall hangings and lamps; each giving a unique pattern through colour and movement.

The Rug Company – Festival by Paul Smith, Chiaroscuro by Alexander McQueen

From fashion to floor, capsule collection… 

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, The Rug Company has created a capsule collection of handmade rugs by leading designers, including fashion designers Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. The distinct styles, characteristics and colour palettes of each designer have been skilfully translated into these rugs, all of which are handcrafted in Nepal using traditional time-honoured techniques; allowing people to express their fashion tastes though their home as well as through their clothes.

‘La Collection’ bathroom by Jacob Delafon and and Alexis Mabille

Interdisciplinary blends capturing the spirit of the bath…

‘La Collection’ is a bathroom furniture and accessories collection encapsulating the ‘spirit of the bath’ and born out of collaboration between French bath specialist Jacob Delafon, Parisian Couturier designer Alexis Mabille and master craftsmen. Designed to create an atmosphere of old washrooms from the 1930s, the combination of soft pink walls, beautifully veined marble and brass gilded with gold creates a sophisticated and feminine aesthetic. The bathtub, basin, shower tray and stool were crafted by a stonemason from the same marble block and hand sanded to a matte finish. While the shower cage with round showerhead, faucets and towel rails were crafted from brass and gilded with a fine gold by a master locksmith.

If you would like to find out more about what the team saw at Design Shanghai contact Daisy on: DaisyHu@pddenglish.wpenginepowered.com

IFA, Berlin – one of the biggest technology shows in the heart of Germany’s capital, sees thousands of people gathered to witness the latest products and innovations in consumer electronics and home appliances. Vass was at the show and describes here, 5 key home appliance products we could be seeing in people’s homes very soon.

Longer lasting freshness of ‘functional foods’
Consumers are more aware of their health and nutrition, food safety and quality, local economics and the environment more than ever before. As a result, ‘convenience’ focused consumers are looking to purchase large domestic appliances that maintain the freshness, taste and nutrition of fresh foods for longer periods of time. This fridge-freezer by Siemens has vacuum technology that does just that.

Noise reduction
A recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO) linked household noise levels emitted from dishwashers, hoovers, washing machines etc… to increased blood pressure and heart disease. The study suggests these everyday household appliances could be making us ill and according to WHO, the problem looks set to get worse due to the popularisation of open plan living spaces in homes. These home appliances by Bosch have been designed to have low noise admittance and thus go some way in solving these issues and improving people’s wellbeing.

Consumers are looking for appliances that are time savers, convenient to use and maintain a healthy environment at home. This cordless upright vacuum cleaner by Bosch can be used without being tied to a specific workplace or electrical outlet. Mobility is the main objective for this updated unit which was launched initially during last year’s IFA. One of its key features is that the user can remove the handle and foot sections easily. As well as the addition of a shoulder strap, the user can now carry the (wearable) vacuum cleaner and access hard to reach spots such as upholstery, plants, car interiors etc… This appliance offers maximum mobility and full performance in any environment.

Enhancing usability
Many modern small electrical appliances are still using the same technology and demanding the same patterns of interaction from consumers, but this award winning line from Severin, exhibited at IFA this year sets itself apart. The new drip coffee station combines features such as a removable water tank, combatting the difficulties often found in refilling integrated tanks; and easy to use interfaces, making it a clear step up from its previous models and the competition. In addition Severin has evolved its water kettle, with an electronically controlled water regulator and a toaster which includes a continuous browning adjustment.

Given their size and dominance in the room, large domestic appliances have spent years tucked away in kitchens behind cabinet doors and crammed into utility rooms. But we are starting to see ranges of appliances, such as these from Vestel which are demanding pride of place in the kitchen as ‘feature pieces’ rather than designed to have minimal visual impact.

As part of its 25th anniversary, the Design Museum asked leading designers and architects to talk about the future of design and how the design world is changing. Paul Smith opened the series in February with an inspirational talk on the need to reinvent ourselves in an ever changing world.

We are sitting in the middle of the main exhibition space, surrounded by illustrations and pictures selected by Paul Smith himself – a room full of what inspires him. In front of us, Paul is about to share  his point of view and his thoughts about what’s next in design, and what we – as designers – need to keep in our minds. A reminder of things we tend to forget, as we get too busy trying to keep busy.

‘People say that trade today is difficult’ he tells us, ‘… but if you think about it, there used to be very few people fishing in the same pond. Today, you’ve got many more people. Everybody is trying to reach to the same customers, so why would they go to you?’ From the beginning of his talk, Paul Smith sets the tone and the focus: what is it that makes you, as a designer, a brand and/or a company different from others? It could be style, a product, a feature, a service… but also a point of view.

However, the key focus is ‘Balance’, a notion he refers to throughout his lecture; the balance between the dream and the money that pays for rent, the balance between newness and experience, ideas and business. It is about your aspirations as a designer, against the things that need to be done to earn wages. He looks back at his own debut, when his very first shop was only opened two days per week, while he would spend the rest of the time handling different jobs to earn his wages. This, he says, is also what he means by balance: to balance the need to pay for rent and survive, and to work on his own dream. Today, the ‘dreams’ are the fashion shows, and what brings business are all the other collections and ranges that Paul Smith produces. Despite the publicity, the prestige and the work involved in a Fashion Show, it only accounts for a small portion of his global business. It may be the part of the business that makes the most noise, but it may not be the one that brings revenues.

Image Credit: Paul Smith
Featured image credit: PDD

The world today is fast-paced and filled with information. We create an incredible amount of data every day, exposing us to so many things, all the time. And this of course has enabled us to learn, to be informed, and be influenced by others but at the same time has also led us to compare ourselves more to others too. In this context, it can be easy to lose sight of what is our own point of view, and to shift the original balance: to raise the money, and lower the dreams. Who hasn’t been tempted to follow the steps of others in the design of a new product or service? To do X or Y product, just because it is the trendy thing to do? ‘Do we need to follow them?’ Paul asks. ‘Question if you should do the same’, but don’t be childish: be child-like: exploring, daring, creating…with a point of view.’

He does not mean for anyone to discard all rules under the pretext of sticking to our own point of view; rather, he pleads to us to think laterally ‘because we don’t need more of the same’. He takes for example the work of Thomas Heatherwick, with his rolling bridge and the latest Routemaster bus design; and the work of architects Herzog & De Meuron for their unconventional apartment building in New York, or ‘Bird Nest’ stadium for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. All of these represent to him striking solutions to what has been resolved so many times in a ‘boring and repetitive’ fashion. Apartment towers don’t have to look like a monolith and bridges don’t have to split in half from the middle.

Image credit, left to right: Heatherwick Studio, Herzog and De Meuron.

On the same wave, Paul Smith goes on to talk about Style. As he reminds us, what is progressive, unique and desirable one day can quickly become ‘not so distinctive’ tomorrow if we don’t keep on questioning and analysing ourselves, and we should never be too proud to do so. To analyse and question ourselves is of course not limited to this context but is also valid across disciplines. You can never rest on your success and there are no excuses for not trying to reinvent yourself. (Re)inventing does not necessarily mean we need to start work from scratch again. Rather, it is about what needs to be kept, not what needs to be removed. Design is as much about today, than it is about tomorrow.

Image credit: PDD

By reinventing and questioning ourselves and our work as designers, he does not only mean reinventing our style, but also our methods of work and in a wider sense, our mentality.

He recalls his own experience with the dying textile trade in UK, that was increasingly unable to compete with the raising competition of the East… Yet craftsmen were unwilling to change their methods of work or their machinery. It wasn’t only about money, but about mentality. He looks at other iconic UK businesses, once successful such as Harrods or Mini, which were in decline until they were purchased. ‘Why couldn’t we keep them alive?’ he wonders. Was it money that brought them back to life, or was it a mentality? Were they too complacent in their success, while other business and countries developed to surpass them? Everything is always changing and the world is moving fast. We need to keep moving forward, look forward and be curious.

But as Paul Smith says, ‘everyday is a new beginning’.

To learn more about the DM25 Talks, visit the Design Museum website.

Toys, products prototypes, automotive parts, guns, shoes, medical implants, prosthetics, ceramics, meat, gold… It is starting to sound like we are on our way to be able to 3D print our way to the future. Possibilities are already endless, and as research and technology develop, who knows what can become possible!

The Science Museum recently opened a new exhibition called ‘3D printing the future’, showing how versatile 3D printing can be. On display, a collection of various printed objects ranging from toys to prosthetics showing what can be achieved at the moment and in the future.

3D printed moving model engine at the Science Museum

Without any doubt, 3D printing enables us to create objects that would have been more difficult to produce using regular manufacturing techniques. Experimentation and research never stops, and great innovations are constantly coming through. Earlier this year, among other things, we heard about the first printed gun, printing meat and tissues using a bioprinter and 3D printed architecture.

Additive manufacturing is already used commercially, for example to produce car and plane components, but also to prototype and test designs.

3D printed pills

Of course other sectors also benefit from the possibilities offered by 3D printing, such as the medical sector. From printed pills to organs, researcher are excited to discover how the additive manufacturing process can be used to provide better healthcare, tailored for each of us. Maybe one day, pharmacists will be able to print your medication in store. Maybe further down the line these printed pills could be tailored for each patient, using his/her genetic profile. Already, people have used 3D printers to create their own prosthetics, including devices adapted to young children and custom-made implants.

The Hipsterbot printer, made of lasercut parts

Additive manufacturing is also closer to our homes. Over recent years, smaller printers have become more accessible. Artists, designers and enthusiasts can now have their own desktop 3D printer at home and experiment with it, even with limited knowledge of CAD. Many designs are shared online, ready to be created and tweaked. This can be combined with 3D scanners that are now available on phone apps and sensor devices clipped onto tablets. Many people already imagine a future where the high street is dead, where everything that we have is to be printed at home and all things are custom-made.

With all this effervescence around 3D printing, it is hard to tell what is coming next and where we are truly going!

On first sight of Hussein Chalayan, one could be mistaken for not assuming this minimally dressed, polite and calm man who lists Sunday brunch as one of his main enjoyments, is in fact the creator of the extravagant, show stopping fashion he has become synonymous with since his St Martins graduation into the 90s fashion world. In fact, Chalayan himself appears frustrated at the strong association of his name with show pieces. He insists that such design barely features in his day job, that of making clothes. He makes clothes that people can, and want to wear. This is what his business does and Chalayan is a business man, as well as a designer.

It almost appears as though Chalayan has two parallel strands to his design approach. He sees himself as a communicator of ideas. This is where the shows come in. More than most fashion designers, Chalayan also exhibits his work in museums – this is really just another forum for ideas  communication  which allows the viewer an alternative experience. His shows are fast and powerful and in a museum the observer can scrutinise. Chalayan draws much inspiration from his sense of being a cultural alien in London, despite having been educated here in Britain. Chalayan is Turkish Cypriot by birth – such cultural differences and connections to ‘other worlds’ can be seen as inspirations to his previous work. Having been active in the fashion world for many years, Chalayan has produced a large body of work, which he now feels he can ‘swim in’ for further inspiration -‘you don’t always have to continue generating new ideas’ he says.

The second strand which lies alongside Chalayan the communicator, is Chalayan the business man. Unlike many other high profile designers, Chalayan does not have residency at an international fashion house. This means that the business must be profitable itself and cannot just be a showcase for its lead name. There was a possibility many years ago for Chalayan to move to Gucci, but it did not transpire in the end. Maintaining a profitable fashion business for many years is obviously difficult, thus it was felt a real loss when he was not able to go to Gucci – though on reflection Chalayan is happy about the turn of events. The body of the Chalayan business brand is the production of high end, wearable clothing. They are currently working on a more affordable line, which should be available towards the end of this year. The business is also supported through Chalayan’s consultancy work: he is currently creative director at Puma.

Hussein Chlayan has experienced decades of the fashion world and has observed a lot of changes. Starting out in the 90s was exciting, risky and possibly easy, when compared to the hard times in the new millennium, where he found himself having to work harder and harder. Like many, Chalayan is slightly cynical about the modern day fashion world: where money speaks louder than talent and celebrities join the ranks of the designers: although he admits that if the clothes are good, then is there actually a problem? He cites fashion bloggers as some of the most influential people in fashion and definitely feels the power of social media. This is not a natural  route  for him, although he understands the necessity (his company has a Facebook page).

Chalayan has just published a new book and released his first fragrance‘airborne’.