Fair Trade Baskets

Designer: Piet Hein Eek

Piet Hein Eek. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

To look at these trays, without knowing their name, you can be sure that they’ve borrowed their form from a traditional  craft.

Piet Hein Eek. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

Asian? Indian?

Vietnamese ?

But the designer is Dutch, with a little help from the locals.

Piet Hein Eek. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

I first saw them in SCP years ago in London and I have never forgotten them (or the Marimekko plates). After doing a bit of digging I now know that they are made from palm wood, which grows quickly but warps easily. Hein Eek designed these baskets to combat this issue, the thin laced slats can shrink and expand but the baskets remain intact.

Piet Hein Eek. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

Hein Eek visited a workshop in Ben Tre at the request of Fair Forward (a Dutch fair trade company – formerly called Fair Trade Original) and designed a series of baskets for them to sell through Fair Forward to the international market. Upon returning to Ben Tre to teach and explain the complicated designs people kept coming forward to him with ways to improve on his design, they knew the materials best!

Piet Hein Eek. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

Piet Hein Eek. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

A local fisherman chipped in to show him the best way to knot the wire that now holds the slats together really snugly. A son and daughter of a forestry worker told him how they could season the wood to best minimise that damned warpage. 

Piet Hein Eek. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

These baskets are a commercial triumph and three family workshops have expanded to become a formal business operation in Vietnam. I imagine a huge part of their success is because Hein Eek listened to the locals and deigned their ideas and expertise into the products.

Piet Hein Eek. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

It is far too easy to think you know best and to think that your design is finished when you put down your drawing board and like what you see, but if you don’t listen and learn from the people making and using your products then you’ll never improve and grow as a designer.

Piet Hein Eek. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

I am in the process of learning from the successes and failures of my first product collection (thankfully at lot more of the former!) and I’ll be wholeheartedly applying this knowledge in my second collection.

I can’t wait!

Piet Hein Eek. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

Piet Hein Eek. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

Image Credits: fonq.nl / The Future Perfect / Wergeld Winkel / flat

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Wax Sculptures

Designer: Helmut Smits

 Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

I thought these candles were products. They are not.

 Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

They are sculptures! The artist sells prints (20 x 30 cm at €150+vat on Smits’ website if your interested), but you can’t actually buy the product itself, or the ‘original’ I guess its called.

Well maybe you can, if you contact him and are super nice, but I imagine the price would be prohibitive if you wanted to use the candle, like I do.

 Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

 Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

 Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

So because this is art – not design- I will let the work speak for itself for a change, instead of gabbing on about what I like about these candles.

Suggested internal debate while scrolling down;

Art vs. Design …

 Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

 Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

 Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

 Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

 Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

 Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

 Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk  Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk  Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk  Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk  Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

 Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk  Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk  Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk  Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk  Helmut Smits wax sculptures. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

This isn’t even all of them, these are just my favourites!

Image Credits: Helmut Smits’ Website
(Though I first saw these candles on Sight Unseen)

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Bread from Scratch – Oven

Designer: Mirko Ihrig

Bread from Scratch. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

This bread oven is part of a larger story. It is part of Ihrig’s MA Thesis, he was exploring the issue that many people don’t know where their food comes from these days.

Bread from Scratch. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

I know he’s right because I had a boyfriend during university that had never seen a chicken in real life. We lived in the North of England for peatsake!

Bread from Scratch. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

Ihrig resolved to design a set of tools and items that would allow someone to make a loaf of bread from start to finish.

Bread from Scratch. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

I love this designer’s ability to make this oven huggable. Just as it was cooling down in the twilight I’d be out there in the garden clutching this oven like it was a big dog, keeping warm from its friendly radiation.

Bread from Scratch. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

Bread from Scratch. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

The angled curves, the stable stance, the softly turned legs, the raw finishes and the presence of fire itself all contribute to my visceral reaction to this oven.

Image Credits: Mirko Ihrig / Milk Decoration

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P.S. Who here loves a good scale model?

LOOK at these models and WEEP. This is some extreme precision product modelling.

Bread from Scratch. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

Malva Sofa

Designed by: Anon for Habitat

Malva by Habitat. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

I’ve been watching Anime shows recently (not the naughty kind, just the Japanese animated stories!) and something struck me when I saw this sofa. It reminds me so much of how manga artists depict excitement or magic bubbling up in people or a house or pet.

Malva by Habitat. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

These artists are great at representing how we feel about something in a visual way. If a character was feeling trepidation walking into their office building at night the animator will make the walls bubble or shiver occasionally behind the character’s back. Its really effective as an extra way of showing how they are feeling, their perception of the world around them.

Malva by Habitat. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

When you first watch anime it can be a little confusing – “Errm… is that actually happening?” but you soon get your eye in.

Malva by Habitat. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

The designer of the Malva range has conveyed life and human emotion in the object with the same skill of the comic artists. This sofa would really animate a room. Its bulbous shapes make it look bouncy, it is inviting play and fun.

Malva by Habitat. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

 

The off kilter backrests make me want to properly lounge myself along on it. I can’t imagine two or three people sitting bolt upright on this piece of furniture. It has been designed for snugglers and blanket hogs. Malva is 70% wool too so that deep red will feel as luxurious as it looks.

Habitat Logo. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

Habitat has always been a favourite of mine. I even got a job in Manchester’s Habitat with the intention of staying in the company for… well… life (!) until they shut down all 31 shops that weren’t in London. It still annoys me that I didn’t even voice my desire to keep my toe in the company, if you don’t ask you don’t get. Listen to your Mothers 21 year olds!

Personal idiocies aside, the company’s reshuffle and focus on the European market has stood to them. They have managed to hold on to their focus of bringing fresh design to the UK.

If anyone knows which Habitat designers were involved in the Malva range please let me know in the comments below, my research hasn’t produced any specific names yet. And I do like to champion the designers themselves!

Image Credits: Habitat

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Ring Dishes

Designed by: Lindsay Emery

Suite One Studio-Ring Dish. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

Suite One Studio-Ring Dish. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

These things are so pretty. I did not know what a ring dish was until today. Apparently they are “perfectly sized for holding your favourite sparkly rings and other tiny things.” I would be more likely to use them as drip dishes as in the image below.

Or coasters? They look about the right size for a glass. Im not really a ring girl so I’m trying to think up another use for these simply to justify buying one…

Suite One Studio-Ring Dish. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

Suite One Studio, Emery’s ceramics studio, creates full size plates and dishes too but the full size indigo ones do not have the gold detailing you can see on these tiny plates (sorry – ring dishes, I’m never going to get used to that!).

Suite One Studio-Ring Dish. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

Pink, indigo and pale blue are the only colours Emery is using at the moment and it makes for a very cohesive collection.

If you like her work you should definitely check out Suite One Studio’s Instagram, she is a flat-lay queen.

The dishes are hand thrown porcelain ( I love a good controlled wibbely edge) and the studio use a handmade ivory/white glaze before slinging on the expressive colours.

Suite One Studio-Ring Dish. As seen on www.TheProductEdit.uk

Demand outstrips production at the moment so their website’s shop gets updated once a week, usually on a *Thursday* and it sells out fairly fast. Thankfully you are always able to see all of their current collections on the website and on each product’s page you can sign up for a notification on its restock date.

Image Credits: Suite One Studio / Suite One Studio’s Instagram

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