By Vicki Matranga, Design Programs Coordinator
Get to know the people behind the stylish products that will appear at the 2014 International Home + Housewares Show in Discover Design. Our conversations with exhibitors give you a glimpse of the inspirations, influences and ideas that go into creating the exciting products that you’ll see in March at McCormick Place.
blomus is the brand name for design in stainless steel by blomus Design, Germany GmBH, a market leader in stainless steel design for elegant contemporary products for every room in the house as well as outdoors. Blomus’ U.S. sales and warehouse center is based in southern Illinois.
Today we’re speaking Ralf Ohlig, Export Manager, Germany.
Mr. Ohlig, where do you find inspiration when designing new products?
We strive to create products for everyday use combined with outstanding design. Functionality usually is a clearly defined fact with a product while the design is a variable. We aim to create an outstanding design for a product with a clear function.
Are there any specific designers, places or eras that influence you?
Certainly we look at the work of different designers and possibly eras. However, we want to focus on our own design language so we don’t want the influence of a designer to become too dominant in our own design.
How do you choose which idea to take to the next step — to product development?
When we come across a new product idea we look at the market to identify existing products with a similar use. We then get designs for the product and select one. When it has been established that the product would be sellable we check existing retail prices against our calculation. When we find that our new product can be sold at the estimated retail we go ahead with it.
How do you identify the key user audience for your products?
Our user audience is defined by design and price of the product; we don’t “select” a specific target group.
Is there an approach or look that joins the functionality, form or emotional appeal of your product line?
It depends on the kind of product that is being developed. If you look at products which are to be simply of a decorative purpose you have more freedom in design. The creation of functional products sets natural limits to the freedom in designing. Form follows function is the prime idea as the function is the most important factor within this product category. Bottom line is—they have to work. Nevertheless, designers explore ways of maintaining the function and creating designs that have not been seen before. The design influence differs by product, but you want to establish a certain handwriting so your brand is recognizable and can be differentiated from others.
Where are your products manufactured?
Predominantly in China, but some items are still made in Germany.
How do you see design’s importance in our industry as it moves forward?
Design will always be a key factor in our industry. The perception of the home as a place of well-being and retreat from the outside world is rapidly gaining importance. Consumers are willing to invest a bit more to be different. We believe this trend will continue and design will play a greater role in everyday life.
Thank you, Mr. Ohlig, for sharing your perspective on design’s crucial value in your product differentiation. We look forward to seeing the latest blomus offerings at Discover Design S3462. Learn more about striking and distinctive blomus products here.
Discover Design is the premier design destination at the International Home + Housewares Show. Located in the South Building, the invitation-only category features more than 100 exhibitors from around the world. Companies driven by innovation and design present distinctive products and collections in Tabletop, Gift, Textiles and Home Décor categories. The Discover Design Gallery, accessible to buyers and media, features select products that are entries in the Global Innovation Award (gia) for Design. Learn more about Discover Design exhibitors and their products by checking Housewares Connect 365 here.