25 September 2016

Inside the mind of an award-winning designer

Dr Cingoli spoke at the National Design Centre, Singapore.
Dr Cingoli spoke at the National Design Centre.
Dr Andrea Cingoli, founder, ConceptIcon, has been building up a name for his team with Zo_loft architecture & design and more recently for himself with ConceptIcon through awards, which he believes is a good yardstick of the quality of a design. "If we stay everything in our box we won't go anywhere," he said. "We have to make design social, show others and give inspiration to others."

"Inspiration is something that is strongly linked with context, in my life, and my experiences," he continued. "I try to think in a lateral way, to add significance to things, to make things that will stimulate our minds.

"It is what you feel in your heart or your mind, most of these objects are for my needs, to fulfil my happiness. Design is strictly linked with your life and each life is extraordinary, so design has to give you extraordinary things."

The perfect design, Dr Cingoli said, has the "best usability with the best simplicity". "If a design can be popular, (across) cultures, liked by people of (different) ages, it will be a very good design," he said.

A good design can combine structural concerns and marketing concerns, he noted. His Twist embodies this concept - the spiral lampshade can be packaged in flattened form, and then pulled apart into the the spiral form when it is to be used.

Designs also have to enable people to make it their own, he added. His Plan shelf, for instance, has a hole at one end which can be used in different ways - to hold a ball, or be fitted with a basketball net, he said.

Last but not least, multiple functions can be combined in a good design. The C-Glass is a drinking glass with a removable ashtray below it. When integrated together, a cigar placed in the ashtray can warm a beverage in the glass, Dr Cingoli said.

The Red Dot design award in particular is one of the best tools for design professionals to understand the essence of design, he said. He has three Red Dot awards in 2016 to his name, for the Qwerty Sofa, CrickIT and BALAMP. All three use technology in innovative ways.

QWERTYsofa won a Red Dot design award in 2016 in the Furniture category.
QWERTYsofa won a Red Dot design award in 2016 in the Furniture category. 

Inspired by the act of falling asleep on a sofa, the QWERTYsofa is a sofa bed that uses the 'QWERTY' computer keyboard as imagery. The exact sitting or lying position required can be micro-customised as each key is attached to a micro-motor that can be remotely controlled. Measuring 310cm in length, 110cm in width and 100cm in height, QWERTYsofa is made from stainless steel, multi density polymer, and waterproof and flame-resistant faux leather. It operates on both electrical and software equipment, and the latest generation of gel batteries. The remote control stores 10 position combinations. 

Cingoli is looking for partners with which to commercialise the sofa bed, and said that the letters 'Q' and 'W' were not included as part of the sofa as they did not contribute to the overall aesthetic.

In trolley mode, the user places an object on the platform and  stands outside of the vehicle to drive. A maximum of 250kg  can be transported.
In trolley mode, the user places an object on the platform and
stands outside of the vehicle to drive. A maximum of 250kg
can be transported.
CrickIT won a Red Dot design award 2016 in the Mobility category. It is an electrical vehicle that can be packed flat and envisioned as an alternative mode of long-distance transportation, especially where roads are narrow or pedestrianised.

According to ConceptIcon, this is the first portable scooter that allows the user to lean back in a semi-sitting position with the ischial tuberosity (Editor's note: the part of the skeleton which takes most of the pressure when sitting down) supported. The handle and the seat are both ergonomically designed and adjustable to allow people of different heights and sizes to drive in the most comfortable position possible.

In the vehicular configuration, the user leans against the seat 

and drives by holding on the handlebars, leaning left and right 

to steer, much like a skier does. In this mode, CrickIT can 

achieve a maximum speed of 15kmh, but the driving speed 

usually averages from 8kmh and 10kmh.
The shell is made of polycarbonate and carbon materials to provide strength and lightness. It runs on modern gel battery that can last about two hours per charge. Other functions include signal lights; battery charge and vehicle status indicators; and location-based software that guards against theft or tracks the location of goods.

"It (gives) you another way to move," Dr Cingoli commented. "It can be folded, it is portable, it can be placed in the back of a car."
BALAMP, which won a Red Dot design award 2016 in the Illumination category, combines the functions of a nightstand light, an alarm clock and a wireless battery charger. A mobile app provides customisation controls for colour of the light, the alarm tones and to set the clock.

Balamp is customised with a mobile app.
Balamp is customised with a mobile app.
BALAMP is weight activated. The light is switched off when an object is placed onto it, providing a dim light when the object is removed. "It works like a scale but it has an (inverted) way of working," he said.

In designing BALAMP Dr Cingoli's challenge was finding a lamp manufacturer which could create what he had in mind. "Many enterprises are specialised in covers of lamps, and not in putting together electronic software and the shape," he said.

A designer's home must be a treasure trove of unique pieces, but Dr Cingoli shared that he actually buys furniture off-the-shelf. What he does do is customise what he buys, to make it completely his own. While each of his designs is like a child to him and he says he has no favourites, he revealed that he does have some of his own designs at home, namely the Flamp lamp and the Glass Pop-Corn lamps.


Visit the Red Dot online exhibition pages for QWERTYsofa, CrickIT and Balamp

posted from Bloggeroid

*All pictures of products are from the Red Dot online exhibition.