Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More thoughts on design

My original design began simply - on a scale drawing of a rectangular guitar case I sketched shapes that would fit round a guitar and be no larger than the original case.

I drew the profile that became the basis of our work in about 5 minutes. (I used to worry this should have taken longer - I should have sweated hours before arriving at this point. Three years down the line I see that shape as a gift - but a gift that I had to do a lot of work on.)

As we approach launch I've been looking for ways to explain the design decisions I've taken over the three years. Though I'm a long way from formulating my own words I've found a couple of writers who have ideas that resonate with my own.

Paola Antonelli, Curator of Architecture and Design at MOMA writes
"When an object is well designed...it seems to glow from the inside, proud of how well it performs the function it was intended for..." and
"A good designer makes us think everything is simple, as if the new objects were already in the air." Introduction to Humble Masterpieces, 100 Everyday Marvels of Design.

The second sentence ties in closely with my ambition to create designs which look as if they have always existed and will always exist - and we just happened to have discovered them now.

Alain de Botton in his book The Architecture of Happiness explores the emotional impact of architecture (and design).

"We can understand, and...explain. why we believe a [design] to be desirable or offensive on the basis of the things that it talks to us about."

"What we search for in a work of [design] is not...so far from what we search for in a friend. The objects we describe as beautiful are versions of the people we love."

I like this notion - and I'd hope people looking at my designs might see in them characteristics they like in people. For example the simple curves and flat un-adorned surfaces - intelligent, calm, and trustworthy. The carbon fiber, leather and steel speaking of strength and reliability. The richness of brown leather - sophistication, and the irridescent silk velvet - a touch of hedonism.

And de Botton suggests that just as we are attracted to people who have variety and contradictions in their character so we take pleasure from designs which combine opposites . "...including the old and the new, the natural and the manmade, the luxurious and the modest, the masculine and the feminine."

I'm hoping that people will share my enjoyment of the contrasts in our cases - the the modernity of the shape/carbon fiber and the traditional stitched leather. The plain lines and dark brown leather exterior contrasting with luscious richness of the velvet interior.

On elegance "For us to deem a work...elegant...it is not enough that it look simple: we must feel that the simplicity...has been hard won...we admire simple works that we intuit would, without immense effort have appeared very complicated."

The simplicity of our cases has been hard to achieve - we've constantly pared things back the bone, revised and reviewed. Seeking for a look that seemed effortless - as if it were the only solution possible - this has been the most enormously demanding task.

categories: thoughts on design

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Blogger Alistar said...


Couldn't agree more with your comments about design - if a product is well designed, then you can just hold, look and touch it - perhaps even without actually understanding its purpose or function.. We had some images from in from the guys at IronCAD that I believe you (or your design partner) use if your instrument cases - damned impressive work and speaking as a designer adn a guitar player, i think I'm got an informed opinion (or indeed, biased).. keep up the good work..

al dean
mcad magazine (www.mcadonline.com).

11:25 AM  
Blogger jonas said...

Thanks a lot for your comment on my blog post on minimalistic design (http://jonasboner.com/2006/09/06/the-art-of-minimalistic-design).

Here is the source for the quote you asked about:

Good luck with your work.

4:02 PM  

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