Game Chang­ers

In a world fac­ing so many chal­lenges caused by hu­man con­sump­tion, de­sign­ers are coming up with smart and thought­ful so­lu­tions for cre­at­ing ev­ery­day items. Good brings to­gether some of the lead­ers in this in­no­va­tive space, whose work is not only beau­ti­ful

Good - - CONTENTS - Words Car­olyn Ent­ing

Meet the peo­ple lead­ing the way in sus­tain­able de­sign

The dis­rupters

New York com­pany Othr cre­ates use­ful, beau­ti­ful and uniquely de­signed prod­ucts with min­i­mal im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment, us­ing tech­nolo­gies such as 3D print­ing. This means their objects do not ex­ist un­til some­one or­ders one. Founded by de­sign­ers Joe Doucet, Dean Di Si­mone and Evan Clabots, Othr part­ners with the world’s best de­sign­ers and is rack­ing up a list of awards for its ground-break­ing ideas. Co-founder Joe Doucet shares some of their in­sights.

Othr cre­ates prod­ucts through 3D print­ing. How and why does that work?

Tra­di­tion­ally, man­u­fac­tur­ing and de­sign have been lim­ited by the need to mass pro­duce objects. Be­cause Othr op­er­ates on a zero-in­ven­tory model, we are able to be sus­tain­able in an en­tirely new way. We only pro­duce items when they are specif­i­cally or­dered; we have no fac­to­ries, no ware­houses, and our pro­duc­tion process elim­i­nates ex­ces­sive waste. At the same time that this method of man­u­fac­tur­ing re­duces our en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print, it also gives added mean­ing to our de­signs. Ob­serv­ing the rise of 3D print­ing, I saw an op­por­tu­nity to har­ness this techonol­ogy to pro­duce some­thing en­tirely di er­ent from the overly in­tri­cate objects first as­so­ci­ated with this move­ment. We are run­ning counter to the cul­ture of dis­pos­abil­ity and thought­less con­sumerism.

Othr rep­re­sents de­sign­ers from around the globe. Why do you choose to part­ner with the de­sign­ers that you do?

The de­sign­ers who we launched with were a care­fully se­lected group of lead­ing names – icons, friends and col­lab­o­ra­tors. In ad­di­tion to con­tin­u­ally on­board­ing the best and most recog­nised names in de­sign, we are also ded­i­cated to launch­ing new­com­ers. Be­cause we don’t have to in­vest in mas­sive amounts of prod­uct

when we com­mit to a de­signer, we have the lux­ury of tak­ing these risks with­out the bur­den of in­ven­tory.

Othr has been col­lect­ing quite a few awards re­cently…

Othr was win­ner of Inc.’s 2017 De­sign Awards in the “Most En­tre­pre­neur­ial De­sign Stu­dio” cat­e­gory. Our ‘Kyou’ col­lec­tion by Todd Bracher was the re­cip­i­ent of a 2017 Wall­pa­per* De­sign Award. We have also been nom­i­nated for the Bea­z­ley De­signs of the Year at the De­sign Mu­seum, Lon­don, and are a fi­nal­ist in the Prod­uct cat­e­gory in Fast Com­pany’s 2017 In­no­va­tion by De­sign Awards.

What has the con­sumer re­sponse been?

One of the big­gest chal­lenges that we faced start­ing out was ac­cu­rately com­mu­ni­cat­ing our model to con­sumers who are ac­cus­tomed to an in­dus­try founded on rapid pro­duc­tion, lower-qual­ity items, and im­me­di­ate sat­is­fac­tion.

While 3D print­ing tech­nol­ogy does al­low us to dras­ti­cally re­duce pro­duc­tion times, it also means that we be­gin pro­duc­tion on an item once the or­der is placed. This as­sures that we main­tain a zero-waste model, and that each of our objects has a pre­de­ter­mined home be­fore it’s made. How­ever, it re­sults in a two to three week lead time once a prod­uct is or­dered. We com­bat this un­fa­mil­iar step for con­sumers through ed­u­ca­tion; driv­ing home to our cus­tomers that each of our objects is orig­i­nal and pre­cious. Ev­ery ob­ject we print is em­bed­ded with a se­rial num­ber, and comes with a cer­tifi­cate of au­then­tic­ity, to em­pha­sise that ob­ject’s in­di­vid­u­al­ity and mark its edi­tion.

What at­tributes does ev­ery prod­uct pro­duced by Othr im­bue?

We have three cri­te­ria that we brief our de­sign­ers with and val­i­date pro­pos­als against: Use­ful, Aes­thetic and Unique. Use­ful in that our prod­ucts must have a pur­pose and are not just pure decor. Aes­thetic in that they must have a high de­gree of artis­tic merit, and Unique in that we are not look­ing for a vari­a­tion on some­thing that has come be­fore. Though much of our in­ven­tory might be de­scribed as ‘min­i­mal­ist,’ it’s a re­sult of this three- pronged ap­proach, rather than an aes­thetic fil­ter ap­plied over a de­sign.

Is there a re­stric­tion on what you can cre­ate size and scale wise?

Yes, there is cur­rently a re­stric­tion to our scale – we are tied to a bound­ing box of ap­prox­i­mately 8”x 4” for porce­lain prod­ucts, and even less for metal. How­ever, the tech­nol­ogy is get­ting more so­phis­ti­cated each year; larger-scale 3D print­ers will soon be­come more a ord­able, al­low­ing us to (lit­er­ally) ex­pand our prod­uct se­lec­tion. We cer­tainly plan to broaden our o er­ings when this hap­pens, pur­su­ing fur­ni­ture and larger-scale de­sign as soon as it is fea­si­ble.

Tell us about the name.

I’d had the idea for this com­pany for a while. When it was time to make it o icialI, was look­ing through some old files and re-dis­cov­ered that I’d pur­chased othr.com sev­eral years ear­lier. Im­me­di­ately, I knew this was the name. It en­com­passed what we were set­ting out to ac­com­plish: some­thing to­tally other, di er­ent from what came be­foreW. e are not sim­ply a con­sumer goods store, or a 3D print­ing de­sign brand; we are a com­pany that will dis­rupt the sup­ply chain al­to­gether, chang­ing the way that con­sumers in­ter­act with, pur­chase and re­ceive de­sign.

What makes great de­sign?

Car­ing about how and why the things you sur­round your­self with are cre­ated is the ul­ti­mate dis­cern­ment, and the mark of great de­sign. In con­nect­ing with our con­sumers, it’s crit­i­cal that we tell the “why” of each of our objects; not just the “what.” This is why we fo­cus so heav­ily on our de­sign­ers and their process; the prin­ci­ples ap­plied in de­vel­op­ment mat­ter just as much, if not more, than the fi­nal prod­uct it­self.

cube – “like a for­est of legs with glass on top”.

When The Clever De­sign Store started sell­ing the ta­bles it went vi­ral. Blog­gers from Europe wanted to tell the story and the Milan Fur­ni­ture Fair in­vited Her­ring to take his prod­uct to Milan.

Her­ring’s pieces are made from a large va­ri­ety of re­cy­cled tim­bers. “As with my other work in the se­ries, this is an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of ma­te­rial and what lies be­neath its sur­face; find­ing a beauty within,” says Her­ring. “It’s about min­imis­ing waste, mak­ing do with what you have and to a cer­tain ex­tent al­low­ing the ma­te­rial to gov­ern the form.”

De­sign­tree in Welling­ton is also part of The Clever De­sign sta­ble. Its Frankie lights are made from tim­ber and felt made of PET (plas­tic bot­tles) and can be made al­most any size by adding mod­ules – sin­gle, dou­ble and triple pen­dant.

Tau­ranga de­signer Mat Macmil­lan uses ply­wood o cuts for his strik­ing iO Drum pen­dant lights that cre­ate a cosy e ect.

“The iO Drum pen­dants are aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing as a sculp­tural ob­ject as well as pro­vid­ing light so it has func­tion­al­ity and form as well as a nice story be­hind it,” says Kayser.

Hand­crafted Kowhai lamp­shades by Ron Crum­mer, Auck­land are also beau­ti­ful and unique. In­spired by the na­tive kowhai tree they are made from 100 per cent polyester fi­bre with no chem­i­cal binders and cer­ti­fied low VOC. The fabric is mould, wa­ter and fade re­sis­tant and must be used with an en­ergy e icient light­bulb.

Cut­ting edge Othr is dis­rupt­ing the 3D print­ing in­dus­try with their stylish, sus­tain­able de­signs, in­clud­ing porce­lain plant hold­ers, chic cit­rus juicers, and pol­ished bronze bot­tle open­ers. othr.com

Light it up Tau­ranga de­signer Mat Macmil­lan uses ply­wood o cuts for his strik­ing iO Drum pen­dant lights. Frankie lights are made from tim­ber and felt made of PET (plas­tic bot­tles). Hand­crafted Kowhai lamp­shades by Ron Crum­mer.

@mi­randabrownyes mi­randabrown.co.nz the­cleverde­sign­store.com

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