Keech Design

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Designer Feature: Naoto Fukasawa
Posted by: Cane on 4th Nov 2010 in Creative Report

From the crisp mountain home of Seiko-Epson, to hip San Francisco and a little place called IDEO, then back to Japan to set up IDEO’s Tokyo office, then his own consultants, and eventually his own brand…

Now after a 30 year career, Naoto Fukasawa is bringing sense to brands at the very top, and bottom of the market and across numerous industries. Like many of his celebrity designer contemporaries, Fukasawa has been involved in diverse enough projects that you could pretty much live out the rest of your life in a bubble of his creations, that’s if you can get hold of them of course...

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Tokyo Design Week
Posted by: Cane on 27th Oct 2010 in Creative Report

For a week starting on the 29th of this month, Tokyo hosts the 25th annual Tokyo Designers Week much of which takes place at Jingu Gaien, in the city’s Ayoama neighbourhood.

This year’s theme is the 'environment,’ but ‘environment’ not just in terms of ecology, but also our general surroundings and locale.

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On The Wall
Posted by: Ketch on 27th Sep 2010 in Creative Report

If you are a fan of common or garden massed-produced wall coverings then look away now. Last week I was treated to an inspiring tour of Cole & Son's London factory by managing director Simon Glendenning.

What a treat.

Cole & Son excel at knowing their product, its production methods and its potential. This is an adaptive, design-led process yet rooted in hundreds of years of technical tradition and skill. From ancient sycamore printing blocks (still in use) to an amazing flocking process that would be quite comfortable as a contemporary art installation I witnessed all the industrial yet essentially human processes shown here.

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London Design Festival
Posted by: Cane on 13th Sep 2010 in Creative Report

Now in it’s 8th year, the London Design Festival will start on Saturday. Here are a few ways you can get involved, give a little, and take a little home.


What must be the most fun Trafalgar Square installation yet, ‘Outrace’ created by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram, is eight robotic arms borrowed from an Audi production line. Visitors can control them remotely to trace letters and write messages in the air with light.
If you can’t make it there, you’ll be able to try it out remotely online here, although it's probably not quite as much fun.
16 - 23 September, Trafalgar Square.

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Stirling Work
Posted by: Cane on 2nd Aug 2010 in Creative Report

Last week, RIBA announced the shortlist for this year’s Stirling Prize for architecture. If you don’t know the award, you’ll know some of its past winners, and chances are you will have been in or on some of the architecture. Since its inception in 1996, the prize has been awarded to 14 projects, including Gateshead’s ‘blinking eye’ Millennium Bridge, the Kubrickian Media Centre at Lords, and 30 St Mary Axe in EC3, or ‘The Gherkin’ to the architecturally relaxed.

The winner will be announced at the beginning of October so plenty of time to place your bets. The six possible future landmarks for this year are as follows:

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Rick Mather Architects
Image (above): Richard Bryant / Arcaid

The 39 galleries of this new building have doubled the exhibition space at Britain’s oldest public museum. There is also a new education centre, conservation studios and the obligatory café (although it is on the roof.) The delicate, crisp new interior provides a contrast to the original 19th century building.

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Here Comes The Sun
Posted by: Cane on 5th Jul 2010 in Creative Report

images credit: Solar Millennium AG

Three large-scale renewable energy projects for today, tomorrow and...some time in the future...


Solar Millennium are currently putting the finishing touches to their third Andasol facility in the Spanish desert. Once all three are completed, they hope to provide electricity for half a million people. Their technology involves fields (think seventy football pitches each) of parabolic reflectors heating oil, to heat water into steam to drive turbines.
Apart from their award-winning 99% efficient collector troughs, another of their innovations is a thermal storage system, which retains excess heat in vats of molten salts, which can then discharge overnight, giving a more even and reliable output.
Andasol 3 will be followed by a facility in Egypt, then several more across the world.

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Louis Vuitton Maison
Posted by: Cane on 1st Jul 2010 in Creative Report

From travel bags to the Turner Prize: Louis Vuitton and the art of retail.

We visited the new Louis Vuitton Maison on New Bond Street; a 20,000 sq. ft. cathedral to contemporary art and scandalous opulence. Here are eight things you can do there without your credit card (well almost…)

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World Industrial Design Day
Posted by: Kootz on 29th Jun 2010 in Creative Report

It's World Industrial Design Day! More information and a list of celebratory events around the globe is here. Not a huge amount happening in the UK - new government take note.
So, by way of personal celebration I'm listing five industrial design classics that I have used today:

1. Pentel P209 0.9mm automatic pencil.
Nothing draws a line quite like it; and if it's good enough for Norman Foster, it's good enough for me.

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At The Cutting Edge
Posted by: Kootch on 22nd Jun 2010 in Creative Report

Rich Gilbert's work typifies the talent and design energy to be found among the RCA's double masters graduates this year. Thats a Royal College of Art (MA) and Imperial College London (MSc) together. I've had the privilege of working with Rich and his peers, in that exciting territory where design meets cutting edge technology and engineering.
Rich's work includes the world's first 3D webcam (pictured), a solution to the problem of hand hygiene in hospitals and a 'ruthless lime-crushing monster' that is the coolest caipirinha maker you've ever seen.

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RCA Innovation Design Engineering is 30
Posted by: Keech on 14th Jun 2010 in Creative Report

I'm always inspired to be a visiting tutor at my Alma Mater, and am looking forward to the shows this year (details to be posted soon). There are some extra celebrations going on too ...

In 2010 Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) will celebrate its 30th year. This period has seen a dramatic change of approach in the world of industrial design: it is no longer a purely object-orientated activity. The research, strategy, experience, system – indeed everything around, before, after and supporting the product proposition – is now within the designers' influence. In IDE we are looking for a new type of designer who can innovate masterfully in areas of this broad spectrum. Whether it is experimental exploration, market-focused product innovations or projects driven by new business models and commercial planning. Our remit is: 'To fully exploit creativity, to deliver social benefits through design, and to achieve commercial success through innovation'.

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Better By Design
Posted by: Katch on 3rd Mar 2010 in Creative Report

A sports car made out of fabric and a collapsible electric plug are among 100 or so items currently on show at the Design Museum in London, and in the running to win the 2010 Brit Insurance Design Awards.
Evan Davis - accompanied by Museum Director Deyan Sudjic, and sculptor and awards judge Antony Gormley took a look at the ingenious and stylish creations.

Link to the BBC audio slideshow is here

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The Future Is Here (next to the Albert Hall)
Posted by: Ketch on 1st Feb 2010 in Creative Report

I've been lucky enough to have been a recent visiting tutor in one of the most exciting departments of the most exciting design school in the world. For a taste of this, don't miss the Work-in-progress Shows of the Royal College of Art's Innovation Design Engineering school.

3rd-9th Feb. RCA Galleries, Kensington Gore London. (Next to the Albert Hall.)
As well as IDE you'll get to see work in progress from architecture, design interactions, vehicle design, printmaking and animation students.

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Apple iPad launched!
Posted by: Konch on 27th Jan 2010 in Creative Report

Apple introduces iPad tablet device. Breaking news here. Let us know what you think to it...

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What's It To Be Then?
Posted by: Kouche on 27th Jan 2010 in Creative Report

What exactly WILL Apple be launching at 18.00 GMT this evening? A sort of hybrid iPhone/laptop tablet? A car? An e-book? A Jesus tablet? A space mission?

Some possibilities to ponder on your way to the bookies here

Detroit Motor Show 2010
Posted by: Klutch on 12th Jan 2010 in Creative Report

You can feel the tingle of electricity around this year's North American International Auto Show in Michigan's motor city.

Here's what they say:

Detroit's Deafening Electric Buzz

Small, Hybrid and Electric Cars

Doors Open at Detroit Motor Show

Audi's Electric E-tron (pictured above)

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Google Nexus One
Posted by: Keech on 5th Jan 2010 in Creative Report

Google is about to unveil a new phone; the Nexus One. This is more than significant as it will surely go head to head with our beloved iPhone. Carrying the obligatory 300 quid plus price tag, it apparently rides on Google's own Android mobile phone software first launched in 2007.

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Brand New Heavy Light
Posted by: Keech on 23rd Sep 2009 in Creative Report

I first saw Benjamin Hubert's concrete lamps at last year's 100% Design and was instantly attracted to them. For me, they breathed new life into a familiar material and process. Great to see then, that the range is now extended to include a desk lamp.

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From Kings Cross to Kyushu
Posted by: Chisa Kono on 11th Sep 2009 in Creative Report

British architects and designers have a long history of making their mark at all corners of the globe. Interior designer Chisa Kono talks about a project that is literally close to home...

What an exciting building this is! I've never seen a building quite like it. It's a temple, designed by Heatherwick Studio, and is scheduled to be built in Kagoshima at the south-western tip of the Kyushu island of Japan. British designer Thomas Heatherwick was commissioned by a the Shingon-Shu Buddhist sect to create the new temple and ossuary.

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Ones To Watch
Posted by: Keech on 22nd Jul 2009 in Creative Report

Hotbed of creativity is perhaps an overworked metaphor, but always does nicely for the Royal College of Art. Particularly around degree show and finals time when things get very warm indeed; creatively speaking. This year I was teaching a module in the college's Industrial Design Engineering department. Helping final year students with the process of metamorphosis whereby concepts and plans become fully functioning reality. The core philosophies of the department are an inspiration in themselves:

Innovation is the bedrock of IDE and our philosophy is that of the Enlightenment: creativity, design and science in harmony.

This year there were five Distinctions awarded in IDE. Here's the pick of the bunch...

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Wish You Were Here
Posted by: Keech on 15th Jul 2009 in Creative Report

What: A collection of souvenirs that can be sent by e-mail and then materialize using a 3D printer (stereolithography rapid prototyping).

Who: Héctor Serrano Studio sponsored by 3D Systems.

When: When you are on holiday and want to send a postcard/souvenir with a very low carbon footprint.

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Yes, But Is It Art?
Posted by: Keech on 23rd Jun 2009 in Creative Report

Of course it is. And industrial design and architecture too. Eric Parry's new door handles for izé are exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the first door handles ever to appear there. (The RA summer show runs until 16th August 2009)

The genesis of the Z handle, from concept drawings in Parry’s sketchbook to working models, and a cast prototype are used to address curator Will Allsop's theme of illustrating the process through working models.

The Z handle, which comes in three sizes, is part of izé's growing portfolio of creative collaboration in the field of architectural ironmongery.

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The Design of The Future
Posted by: Keech on 1st Apr 2009 in Creative Report

Now is a very exciting time for design. Sure - there is a global downturn, but there are many new developments in design that may change the way we eat, sleep and even talk. We've been doing some detective work and have found some beacons of hope - it could be that design might just change the world...

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Iconic British Design
Posted by: Keech on 28th Jan 2009 in Creative Report

I love stamps. Bite-sized pictorial pieces information that chart the history of the political, scientific and natural world since 1840. Neat then, that a set of new stamps depicting design classics could be referred to by Mary Quant as design classics themselves.

Issued on 13th January the Design Classics stamps celebrate a century of British design, honouring some of our best-loved designers.

The ten first class stamps feature instantly recognisable design icons from the 20th Century. From Mary Quant's mini skirt to Sir Alec Issigonis's original Mini and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott's timeless red telephone box, the striking set of stamps proves why British design is rated amongst the best in the world. (Words of the Royal Mail, not me, but I wouldn't really want to disagree!)

Other examples of home grown design excellence in the spotlight are London's famous red Routemaster bus, Harry Beck's sublime Underground map and George Carwardine’s Anglepoise Lamp. Here they are...

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Of UFOs and Wind Farms
Posted by: Keech on 8th Jan 2009 in Creative Report

I read with interest on the BBC News website that a 20 metre high wind turbine in Conisholme, Lincolnshire may have been the victim of a UFO attack.

The turbine has been badly damaged, and the culprit, so far, remains a total mystery, despite extensive investigations by the site owners, Ecotricity.

The BBC says that County councillor for the area Robert Palmer said he had seen a "round, white light that seemed to be hovering", and local UFO enthusiasts say there has been a lot of activity in the area of late.

Could there possibly be a design angle on this?

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At Last
Posted by: Keech on 26th Nov 2008 in Creative Report

At last - a mobile phone that I really like the look of. According to friends I'm officially a phone tart (what designer isn't?); regularly changing and upgrading handsets in pursuit of, well... something or other.

I recently took part in a workshop event called UK Design In China, organised by Creative Connexions and Tecatech. Part of the workshop involved the design and modelling of your ultimate mobile phone, in super-fast time. The exercise forced us to condense our myriad expectations and It became clear that physical form is most problematic, with most of us attempting to get away from the conventional rectangular, forward-facing layout.

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Tudor Grove
Posted by: David Keech on 29th Sep 2008 in Creative Report

I recently attended an open day at Tudor Grove Studios (at 21 Tudor Grove, Hackney), along with fellow Olympian Arts directors Robert Connolly and Michael Day.

Tudor Grove is artists' studios and non-commercial exhibition space operated as a not-for-profit collective under the umbrella of the Olympian Arts Trust. It is home to some of the UK's most exciting contemporary artists.

Those of you familiar with this blog will know about Olympian Arts from previous posts; I have also added some information at the end of this one.

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Sound Design
Posted by: David Keech on 13th Aug 2008 in Creative Report

re:voice is a new device that harnesses the human voice, enabling the user to explore new directions in music making.

Product design or digital engineering, musical instrument or iconic object? All of the above. Traditional musical instruments are so ingrained in our consciousness that it's hard to imagine what lies down the evolutionary path. Marek Bereza has done just that. re:voice is a sophisticated electronic device, but clearly its progenitor is the hollow piece of bamboo or conch shell that first surprised Early Man with its sound-making potential.

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Posted by: David Keech on 11th Aug 2008 in Creative Report

We spotted Henry Bagshawe's 4D coffee table at this year's New Designers show (see previous blog posts 16th and 18th July for full details.) It is one of those pieces that is simply impossible to walk past without taking a closer look. Very effective use of laminated plywood, and variable positioning from two nicely detailed perpendicular hinges.

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New Designers 2008: Best In Show (In Our Opinion)
Posted by: Annette Gelling on 18th Jul 2008 in Creative Report

London. The Business Design Centre in July. Cool outside but very hot inside; either through a surfeit of design talent or something dodgy with the BDC air conditioning. Anyway, here is Keechdesign's pick of the bunch. See if you agree...

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New Designers 2008
Posted by: David Keech on 16th Jul 2008 in Creative Report

We visited Part 2 of the show, at The Business Design Centre in London last week and spent an inspiring afternoon looking at a particularly broad spectrum of fresh design talent. Equally inspiring was the professional and confident way in which the students talked about their work. We'll feature our pick of the bunch later, but first, more about the show...

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Man Machine
Posted by: David Keech on 24th Jun 2008 in Creative Report

At last someone has taken on the formidable task of making a film about one of the 20th Century's true creative spirits, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi.

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Posted by: Annette Gelling on 30th May 2008 in Creative Report

The Royal College of Art's annual graduate summer shows are taking place over four separate exhibitions this year: next up for your diaries are SHOW RCA Part 2 and SHOW RCA Sculpture. Don't miss them...

How To Grow Your Business in Japan
Posted by: David Keech on 29th May 2008 in Creative Report

How To Grow Your Business In Japan was a seminar that I recently attended at JETRO's impressive offices on High Holborn.

RCA meets Courtauld
Posted by: David Keech on 28th Mar 2008 in Creative Report

I recently attended a private view of the Printmaking & Sculpture Work-in-Progress shows at the RCA - unique in that this was also the first ever joint Courtauld/RCA alumni event.

99% Design
Posted by: Annette Gelling on 4th Oct 2007 in Creative Report

This year 100% Design London saw an updated format created by Tom Dixon. The intention was to create more of a city-like environment and was designed to offer places in which people could network, do business, exchange ideas and relax.

Half Life
Posted by: David Keech on 3rd Oct 2007 in Creative Report

If you are an experienced designer with a background in high-tech architecture, product design and furniture, what type of project might you find yourself working on these days? Simple: a major new landscape work in Scotland currently attracting a lot of attention called Half Life. If you are James Johnson that is.