Unlike traditional industrial design, this understated furniture piece is bespoke–made locally to fit and refit any environment, from a bathroom or bedroom to new developments or commercial retail spaces, as they continue to shrink and change shape.
One size does not fit all, and neither does one orientation. That’s why Dual Rack can be mounted either landscape or portrait due to the diagonal keyhole mounting system on the back.
Dual Rack is handcrafted in Vancouver, BC, made in steel and either powder-coated or spray-coated with exterior-grade pantone-colour-matched paint. It’s also braised with silver to achieve clean connections and minimal cleanup.
Dual Rack has been widely used by local architects — a design suitable for these critical regionalists, as it precisely fits most modern environments.
How does design bridge the gap between a prototype and a product ready for launch?
Ready is a pay-at-the-table solution for restaurants, connecting tables to the POS (point of sale) system, so guests can view their bill, pay and leave at their own leisure, while restaurants benefit from a faster table turnover and a new effective communication channel for guest retention.
In 2016, Ready started beta testing in a few restaurants. The team immediately realized the need to rebuild the downloadable app into a progressive web equivalent.
Throughout the process, key stakeholder groups were contacted for their perspectives. Research varied from focus-group field testing and restaurant staff workflow shadowing to data analysis, quantitative surveys and design sprints with user testing.
Working with external users and co-creating based on the actual restaurants’ needs helped remove additional roadblocks quickly and provided a clear product strategy for team alignment.
After over 100 prototypes, the optimal physical touchpoint format was agreed on, together with concise semantics and visuals that could live alongside existing restaurant brands.
Once implemented, the revision has shown a 65% increase in Ready transactions. Even restaurant tips have grown by 7.5% on average. The restaurant management insights allowed to generate targeted mailouts, which grew the number of demo requests and helped meet sales quotas.
The idea for the Polywall Planter was born while living in a 500-square-foot two-bedroom apartment.
Polywall Planter is a modular, vertical wall planter with user-defined pattern design intended to encourage growing more plants without taking up precious horizontal utility space.
The project started with an additive sketching process — using the most rudimentary shapes and adding dimension to them. The initial model was created in a subtractive way, by layering hexagon slaps and carving away to get the final form.
The clay model was used for the positive in the initial plaster mold, utilized to slip cast clay to dry, then be fired and glazed for the final prototype.
Pot Incorporated purchased the design and, in collaboration, made a production model and master mold, as well as produced the planters in the Lower Mainland.
Polywall Planter was sold locally for many years until the owners of the only local industrial ceramic production facility retired. In its heyday, the planter was featured in the iconic Gray Magazine, covering Pacific Northwest design.
For TOMS Shoes’ Art of Giving Tour, select Vancouver creatives were asked to style a pair to auction off at Ayden Gallery.
With the goal to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the design process began by studying TOMS’ latest adventures for an engaging story to tell.
At the time, TOMS’ last delivery for shoe donations led them to Malaysia. TOMS is well-known for its One for One policy, where the company donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. To elaborate on this story, a critically endangered endemic animal of Malaysia was selected as the basis of the shoe concept.
The Sumatran Rhino’s curvilinear characteristics were configured into to a diverse wearable pattern. Packaging was also recreated, which transformed the shoes into the literal display of the rhinoceros.
Also on display were works from other hand-picked well-known designers, comic book artists, painters, street artists and illustrators, like Peter Ricq, Lani Imre, and Ben Tour.
Shoes were entered into a silent auction to give shoe fiends a chance to score a one-of-a-kind pair of wearable art. Proceeds were donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Meditation mats are handwoven from robust wild grass of rural wetlands and are embroidered with wild palm leaves. Mats and are made collaboratively with master craftswomen in the Philippines, and bags are made locally in Vancouver, BC.
Using pythons as inspiration for the patterns is meant to provide a sense of where the mats came from, and also touching on the craft’s origins.
Feel more grounded while in meditation mode or simply heading outside for a picnic. Senses are heightened with a mat’s ultra tactile and smooth weave, natural aromas, and fibrous sounds when rolling or unrolling–so earthy.
Tikog, the grass used as the primary material, has been used for hundreds of years due to its aesthetic, jointless and robust qualities, growing into 5’ stocks–making it perfect for weaving products that last.
However, being plant-based means the mat won’t last forever but provides a responsible alternative to other synthetic mats. Mats are delivered in a snug bag, made with ethically sourced organic natural canvas, to keep mats lasting their longest.
For Human Nature Incense, form communicates function: more peaks, more strength, more complexity, with the product available in different woody scents (subtle, medium and strong).
A variety of specific wood characteristics were required to make these bind. Each type of wood also has its own scent profile known as “notes”. Notes fit profiles of low, medium and high. The incense was made with custom moulds and recipes by adding a small amount of water to get the right viscosity and drying. All results were tested and formed in press molds, which performed poorly due to their stickiness. Using rubber gang molds, however, worked well for small final batches.
Why incense? Craft is human nature.
Human nature pushes us to understand. It witnesses natural beauty and struggles to comprehend, provoking a process of recreation. It deconstructs to find perceivable components of order and symmetry. The result is comfort and delight.
Crafted incense is an intrinsic activity by which we can understand materials and the world around us. Through the act of designing by hand, we build to learn. Even in digital projects, paper prototypes possess the ability to instantly transform the abstract into concrete.
Role: Self-Directed, Designer
Amazon Beverage Packaging
How might single-serve beverages differ from national brands?
Starting with Amazon’s core tenets, a small team has defined the most important benchmarks in the product category of single-serve beverages.
The objectives were combined with stories about evocative object interactions. Habits, rituals and analogous inspirations were thoroughly researched. For example, how many objects could be opened with one hand only — useful use case for mothers holding their babies.
Then, additional insights and constraints were identified by studying the ecommerce space from a macro perspective.
How does the product get packed? What environmental damage is present? What is the unpacking experience? How to encourage reuse and recycling?
As an exercise to think beyond the easy answers, a wide range of solutions was generated, from outlandish ideas inspired by cutting-edge science to something that could be built right then and there.
Quantity is quality when it helps to get to a refined concept.
The result of the project was a sketchbook filled with wild ideas and storyboards of product journeys. Then, two entirely different concepts were refined into models and rendered to visualize what would come next and what was possible.
Client: Amazon Elements (US)
Role: Lead Designer, Consultant
Deutsche Telekom Digital-Physical Game
Launched in 2013, Server City was the first game to teach the idea of digital etiquette, aimed at kids and their parents.
The gist of the game was to save Server City from bugs. By solving mini-challenges, the players could defeat simple bugs to eventually reach the final boss living in the central server. While there could only be one winner, there were moments where all players needed to work collectively. A game combining team-based and individual strategies.
How to transform a book of guidelines into a delightful game that appeals to all generations?
At the start of the project in 2012, most teachers and parents weren’t sure how to educate their children on media use. However, they knew their children well and became valuable stakeholders in the game design process right from the beginning.
The major problem the project dove into was the ability of digital media to make someone instantly famous as well as ruin their reputation overnight.
What was the process for the project? Test, iterate, refine, repeat.
The whole team immersed themselves in gaming and went through 10 completely different concepts and game mechanic systems. Once settled on an MVP, the focus was shifted to storytelling and creating actionable tasks, such as adjusting privacy settings. After that, the characters matching each target audience were created along with instructions and packaging.
The game was tested weekly for a few months to ensure the appropriate learning curve for all audiences. During that time, the semantics were constantly tweaked.
Server City was released in English and German in 2013 and immediately appeared in Wild C magazine, which also highlighted years of case studies and human-centred products developed with the Creation Center team of Deutsche Telekom Innovation Labs.
Sometimes innovation starts with the tech. How then to make it human and get an MMP (minimum marketable product)?
Switch+ is a gesture and touch control panel for smart ambiance — the right information at the right time, lessening dependence on computers at home and providing interactive light control.
Wiredfin Engineering developed proprietary embedded hardware that enabled a digital display to be connected to the existing ground cables of a light socket. No installer for Switch+ is needed. Simply turn off the breaker to install as with any new light switch.
Different market segments, from architects to interior designers to home owners, were shadowed and studied in their own homes. All insights were then transformed into key use cases.
We found that to lessen the dependence on devices and create ambiance, Switch+ should provide contextual information according to each room.
Then, the interaction model was designed to engage users with the switch hardware through touch and gesture controls to find what was most natural.
In the end, the MVP (or working prototype) was created, designed concurrently as compelling user stories were written in advance for their Kickstarter campaign, all while Wiredfin engineered the product.