RODD/ Observe.Innovate.Design

An industrial design and innovation agency working with international clients to deliver strategic product design solutions.

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Kitchen products and the growing importance of considered storage

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It’s not a new problem – our kitchens are full of products that all require a home, they are getting smaller and our collection of ‘stuff’ is growing.

Over several years we have seen more and more products whose main selling point is that they are easy to store. Here is a good article which demonstrates the growing trend toward storage-focused kitchen appliances, primarily collapsing and folding designs.

This small revolution has been, in part, brought about a realisation that ease of storage has a crucial part to

play in consumers’ purchasing behavior. The old formula of price, specification and (dare I say) looks, as the main purchasing criteria is being re-examined. Companies have now accepted there must be a more considered approach to storage and, as such, ‘storability’ has emerged at the fore as a main selling point, rather than an additional ‘extra’. This is where ethnography needs to play a part in the design process so that we can design products that fulfill real-life issues. Only by observation can we fully understand the real situations in which these products are used and stored.  

Only by using this approach can we look outside the current accepted methods of collapsing or folding to reduce the size of products. We will be able to tackle storage issues with an alternative and appropriate approach such as complimenting/ nesting products, using corners and walls more effectively or indeed using space that is currently unused.

Perhaps product design should take a leaf out of the Ikea book – utilising space in a surprising and effective way.

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Mark Morgan Joins the Rodd Board

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We are pleased to announce that senior designer, Mark Morgan has accepted our invitation to join the Rodd board, effective immediately. Mark, previously of Seymour Powell and The brewery, joined Rodd in 2007 and has since played a central role in building Rodd’s product brand competency.

This is great opportunity for me to help shape the future of the company and build on the great work Rodd has been producing over a number of years“, said Mark Morgan.

Mark and I have worked increasingly closely over the last eighteen months so this decision makes perfect 

sense. He is central to much of the creative and strategic client projects and Tim and I felt that the time is right for him to apply this to the future direction of the company“, says Rodd MD Ben Davies.

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Stereolithography: One hull of a Journey

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Back in the day Chuck Hull came up with a process called stereolithography, a methodology used to create tangible objects by successively printing very thin layers of the ultraviolet curable material stacked on top of each other.

In 1983, Hull predicted it would take approximately 30 years before this technology would find its way into people’s homes. So where are we 30 years on? Hull’s prognosis was spot on. Not only can consumers readily purchase 3D printed products, but home printers are available to anyone interested.

3D printing is a fascinatingly versatile process for producing just about anything, regardless of complexity or size. It has also helped to serve other disciplines, with practical uses.

For example, the technology has been used for some time in the medical realm for making bone implants. And we are very possibly looking at a future in which other, soft tissue organs will be replaced with ones made by using the stereolithography process. Then, of course, there is the consumer end of the spectrum where everyday items (items such as underwear) can be produced swiftly in large quantities using a version of 3D printing.

There are endless possibilities and so much exploring still to do. But 3D printing is still in its early development or, at best teenage years and there are bound to be some products that raise eyebrows.

Indeed, exploration has led to a number of rather useless end

products which have no practical use in the real world – producing trash from trash (looking at you Coca-Cola) and so on. There is nothing wrong with having fun and without experimentation the industry can’t progress. But we must take care to separate the real progress being made in this sector from the trivia.

The implications of 3D printing are wide ranging and will certainly lead to innovation in process and design, helping us to reduce the weight and size of products or to cut energy use. Hull predicted as far as now with amazing accuracy. What would he make of 3D’s more dashing sibling 4D printing? The technology will enable static structures to become dynamic and give products self-assembly abilities. How’s that for a future? Witchcraft.