As the year winds down I decided to try to put together a best of design 2009 post. This is turning out to be tougher than I thought. The reason is, there is so much good design work that came out in the last year how could I possibly narrow it down to a list that would fit on e page. So I think what I am going to do is a series of posts over the course of the next 5 days that will try to highlight some of the best of the best. And while these objects will be stacked in a numbered order, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one thing is better than the other. Different designs have different purposes you know. So in no particular order, these are designs that had an impact on me for a variety of reasons.
Human-Centered Design Toolkit. Designers; Tatyana Mamut, Jessica Hastings, Fidel Calderon, Scott Tong, and Sandy Speicher, IDEO (U.S.). The Human-Centered Design Toolkit empowers NGOs and social enterprises in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to address smallholder farmer needs. The toolkit (comprising print and online elements) leads groups through a process of fieldwork and data analysis, idea generation and prototyping, and implementation planning. Ultimately, the kit and the open-source effort it inspired work to better the lives of those in the developing world surviving on less than $2 a day.
Soundbulb. Designers: Hoang M Nguyen, Poom Puttorngul & Anh Nguyen. This is a concept for a wireless speaker that is housed in and combined with a LED light source. Although just a concept, the possibilities of this are really pretty amazing. The parts of the SoundBulb are replaceable and can be upgraded from time to time.
Concrete Block Humidifier. Designer: Sang Jang Lee. A slab of concrete with a bit of gadgetry gets us this Concrete Block Humidifier, which works with an all-important weight sensor. This is to ensure that a dry, empty bowl gets automatically switched off. The choice of concrete as a base was deliberate says the designer, because the material has the unique character of absorbing and evaporating water rapidly.
Interactive Tiles. Designers: Soo-Jin Chou, Young-Hee Cho, Young-Kuk Oh, Oh-Jae Kwon & Kue-Hoo Hwang. The I-Quad Interactive Tile, uses tile shaped LED electronic boards held together by a simple frame and interacts with external devices via USB or wireless. Each tile is capable of a low-res, almost dot matrix-like resolution. Essentially anything can be displayed across these tiles; from communication, entertainment, even ambient lighting.
Eko Stoplight. Designer; Damjan Stankovic. This is an LED stoplight that has a countdown meter built-in to let motorist know how much time is left before the light changes. It’s such a simple idea, you wonder why it wasn’t thought of before.
Banq Restaurant, Boston. Design by Office dA. The interior of Banq gets your head swirling with its banyan tree-inspired aesthetic. The interior is made up of curved layers of birch plywood that form an abstract wooden canopy that helps with the acoustics of the room.
Coffee.It’ espresso maker. Designer; Wiel Arets for Alessi. Architect Wiel Arets added to Alessi’s collection of home appliances with a sturdy and wonderfully stylish espresso coffee maker. Made from glossy stainless steel with a black plastic lid and a generously proportioned ergonomic handle, the ‘Coffee.It’ comes in two sizes – for three and six cups. It’s simple, elegant and practical.
two-tiered table. Designer; Industrial Facility. Designed for Herman Miller, this table has simple clean lines and can function as a desk as well. The cantilevered second level adds a level of fun and function to a very utilitarian object.
Hitachi UltarThin LCD. Designer; Hitachi. Hitachi’s UltraThin 1.5 Series LCD is probably the most beautiful flat-panel TV you’ve ever seen. Not only is it impossibly thin (1.5-inches, hence the name), but its graceful angles and curves are stunning even when the picture is off.
Samsung BDP 4600 Blue Ray Player. Designers; Jaehyung Kim, Yunje Kang, and Koungwon Park, Samsung Electronics. There is no reason that a piece of home theater equipment has to be a conservative black box. Samsung’s BDP 4600 is a prime example of this. WiFi connected, Netflix downloading super sleek beauty shown right here.
13 inch MacBook. Designers; Industrial Design Team, Apple (U.S.). At only 0.95-inches tall and weighing just 4.5 pounds, the 13-inch, full-featured, aluminum MacBook is a compact and durable notebook. Featuring the new NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor, MacBook delivers outstanding 3D game play on a consumer notebook, with up to five times faster graphics performance than the previous generation.
Project Masiluleke Home HIV Test Kit. Designers; frog design (U.S.). The Project Masiluleke Home HIV Test Kit was designed to make HIV testing in South Africa a comfortable and familiar process. It combines mobile support with off-the-shelf, saliva-based diagnostics. The test, with copy written in both English and Zulu, is available free of charge and is intended for private use in the home and outside of the traditional health-care infrastructure. Not only that the package design is just wonderful to look at.
BTS1 Dual Cook Oven. Designers; Kang-Doo Kim, Joo-Hee Lee, Seon-Ju Lee, Chan-Young Lee and Ji-Young Shin, Samsung Electronics. The BTS1 electric oven provides the functionality of two ovens in the space of one. The divider, composed of two steel plates with a layer of air in between, means that users can cook one large dish and a small dish in a small space or two dishes with different cooking requirements at the same time. The divider plate blocks the flow of heat and smells between the two cooking spaces.
Teneo Storage Furniture. Ayse Birsel, Bibi Seck, Birsel + Seck. I love this stuff and I want it for my own office. Teneo is a storage system for everything that doesn’t fit on your computer: books, papers, files, other technology devices, personal items. The system’s 20 parts can be combined to make more than 80 products, including credenzas, easels, lecterns, book and project carts, and supply islands.