By Marie Kulik, Manager of Exhibitor Business Development
Discover Design is the newest addition to the International Home + Housewares Show, one of the largest and most successful trade shows North America has to offer. Debuting at the 2011 International Home + Housewares Show, this category showcased the elegant, unique world of homegoods products that bring together design and function in ways few regular attendees of the long running show have ever seen. Exhibitors in the category were invited based solely on the design focus that they adhere to, culminating in a vibrant display of color, shape and originality.
The Discover Design participants consisted of mostly new exhibitors, many from overseas, which meant that our show was a totally new experience to them, just as Discover Design was new to the world of homegoods. We had a chance to pick their brains about design philosophy, the home and housewares industry and beyond in an attempt to give you a look into their world. This is Inside Discover Design.
Marie: What is the inspiration behind the design and functionality of your products?
B+B: Inspiration can come from anywhere or anything. With regard to function, we always try and spot areas that designers have not previously addressed. Too often, people will become complacent and work with things, which are far from ideal for the job and make do. It is exciting when we can spot these areas.
Marie: Are there specific designers that have influenced you?
B+B: Lots…Achille Castiglioni, Jonathan Ives, Phillippe Stark and sometimes even architects such as Santiago Calatrava….to name but a few.
Marie: What makes a design “great”?
B+B: A design is great when it is truly functional, transcends all fashions, and gets better with use; only then will it really have soul and connect with the person who owns/enjoys it. If you look at design classics they still look good twenty or even fifty years after they were first designed. This is very hard to achieve and very few designs make the grade.
Marie: How much does cost influence design?
B+B: Cost is obviously something that you have to keep in mind when creating a new design, especially when it will be a mass produced item. But cost should not be the main priority or be such a strong influence that it is to the detriment to the end design. Apple is a fantastic example of this. They are not the cheapest on the market, but because of the design, people are happy to pay for the quality.
Marie: What was your first impression of Discover Design? The Show in general?
B+B: The Housewares show was huge, a sea of homegoods products. I felt the Discover Design section really highlighted the more design led products which would have normally been lost in such a gigantic show. There was a wonderful gallery showcasing new products, which presented a wonderful opportunity for buyers and press to focus on these items in a pleasant environment.
How did Discover Design help to expand your brand?
B+B: Discover design produced a brochure featuring selected products from the companies in the discover design gallery. This was distributed to buyers and press; after winning a GIA award for our lunch pot we had several visitors to our stand to see our winning design. After the award ceremony there was an opportunity for press to come and see the lunch pot in the gallery; take photos, ask questions, hence expanding global awareness of our brand.
Marie: How do you see design impacting our industry five years down the road? 10? Longer?
B+B: With regard to the environment, designers have a massive responsibility. They have contributed to the consumer society that we now live in and now they have to be clever to create better products that will get us out of this mess.
Marie: What advice can you offer to designers working in the home goods field?
B+B: Innovate and live with the products you create. Too often, designers will create new products, but not really investigate how they are to live with. Ask yourself the question, would you have the product in your home.