15 November 2014

Design Quote (XXIV)

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944)


12 November 2014

Make’s Top 10 Products of 2014

It’s time for the 3rd annual Make Top 10 Products of the Year!

This year we’ve added over 750 products to the collection. After intense discussion between Make staff followed by secret voting (each staff member selected their top 10 in order with 1st place being awarded 10 points down to 10th place being awarded 1 point) here are our favourite products of 2014.

Counting down from 10th place…

10. Power To Make’s Mr. & Mrs. Wobble


Local Melbourne designers David Leggett and Paul Loh’s Mr & Mrs Wobble planters wobble.

Which is why they’re called Mr. & Mrs Wobble.

Makes sense really…

Buy them here

9. Sands Made Plates


Sands Made is a local Mebourne company making beautiful things out of beautiful timbers.

Including plates!

Buy them here

8. Jacob Jensen Watches


I grew up in a household that always had a Bang & Olufsen hi-fi that sounded and looked great but always seemed to have a design flaw built in.

Maybe that was Jacob Jensen’s private little joke.

No such problems with his watches.

Buy them here

7. Suck UK 3D Cookie Cutters


I love it when someone designs something that’s kind of completely obvious.

We can send a probe to Pluto but prior to this no-one had thought to create three dimensional cookies.

As a species our priorities get a little mixed up sometimes.

4 animals and 4 dinosaurs to choose from.

Buy them here

6. Design House Stockholm Pleece Throws


Okay so it’s just a rug but it’s difficult to explain how fabulous Pleece feels – you really have to feel it.

It’s like satin.

But warm and woolly.

Buy them here

5. Wasara Tableware


The 21st century’s answer to the paper plate.

Made from bagasse sugar cane waste, bamboo and reed pulp, Wasara single use tableware is beautiful to touch and environmentally sound.

Buy it here

4. Menu Flip Around Stool Table


Is it a stool?


Is it a table?


Is it a tray?


Is it an excellent piece of contemporary Danish design?


Can I buy it here?


3. Normann Copenhagen Craft Mills


An oak base with a marble top encasing a CrushGrind ceramic mechanism with a 25 year warranty.

It’s not exactly reinventing the wheel but it is making a better one.

Buy them here

2. Susan Cohn Earrings


After five years out of production whilst busily flitting around the world organising exhibitions, finishing a PhD and the like, Susan Cohn cranked up her workshop again earlier this year and the i-Cohn-ic disc earrings made their return in an evening launch at Make with lots of wine, lots of earrings and very heavy antique concrete sewerage pipes.

Available only at Make (the earrings that is).

Buy them here

1. Orbitkey


This is one of those products that comes around very rarely.

A reinvention of the wheel.

A better mouse trap.

In August I had a visit from Charles Ng, a graduate from RMIT’s Industrial Design course. He told me he liked to run but hated having his keys rattling in his pocket. So he took the keys off his keyring and put a bolt through them (a bit like an axle). It was much better though a little crude.

So he refined it.

And again.

And again.

Eight prototypes later Orbitkey was born.

But then he needed funding. So he put it on Kickstarter and set a target of $10,000. Thirty days and $210,793 of funding later Charles and his business partner Rex had a fully fledged company!

Orbitkey stops your keys from putting a hole in your pocket or handbag.

Orbitkey stops your phone from getting scratched.

Orbitkey can include a bottle opener.

Orbitkey can include a USB data stick.

Orbitkey is awesome!

Buy it here

27 May 2014

Susan Cohn Earring Launch

Thanks to everyone who joined us on the evening of Wednesday May 7th for the re-launch of Susan Cohn’s i-Cohn-ic disc earrings.

Whilst we’ve been selling Susan’s Alessi Cohncave Bowl for many years we’re really pleased to finally be able to stock one of her best known and most loved series.

A core range of the disc earrings will be continually available in the store and online along with a series of special extremely limited edition colours which will be released every six months.

You can buy Cohn earrings here

Category: Make Products,Make Stuff | Tags: , , | pat @ 1:30 PM | 1 Comment »

23 November 2013

The Lost Ones (VII)

I once lived on Victoria Street on the border of North and West Melbourne.

It was a fairly nondescript 1930s house but it sat on the site of what was once the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum.

Designed by Melbourne’s City Surveyor Charles Laing (1809-1857) the building in its earliest form dates from 1850. A new wing was slapped on every ten years or so until the Asylum moved to Cheltenham and the building was demolished in 1911.

It now looks like this…

22 November 2013

Christmas Front Window

New window installed for the Christmas season yesterday with a Christmas tree constructed from Suck UK’s wooden bulbs surrounded by heaps of red and green stuff.

Less than five weeks to Christmas!

Category: Make Stuff | Tags: , | pat @ 1:56 PM | No Comments »

14 November 2013

Design Quote (XXIII)

“Thirty spokes meet in the hub,
but the empty space between them
is the essence of the wheel.

Pots are formed from clay,
but the empty space within it
is the essence of the pot.

Walls with windows and doors
form the house,
but the empty space within it
is the essence of the home.”

Lao Tse

Category: Design Quotes | Tags: | pat @ 4:33 PM | 1 Comment »

12 November 2013

Make’s Top 10 Products of 2013

Every year we add hundreds of new products to the store. Last year, curious to see how we rated the new arrivals we started the Make Top 10.

This year – it’s back!

After intense discussion between Make staff followed by secret voting (each staff member selected their top 10 in order with 1st place being awarded 10 points down to 10th place being awarded 1 point) here’s our favourite products of 2013.

Counting down from 10th place…

10. Tonfisk

Irish designer Brian Keaney’s been stuck in Finland since 1996 when he arrived to study. Since then he’s won the Ilmari Tapiovaara Award and also the Ornamo Design Prize. His company Tonfisk make beautiful tableware from porcelain and walnut veneer.

See the full range (and buy them!) here

9. K Bowls

Stephen Ziguras’s K Bowls series is sharp, angular, geometric, colourful and lots of other adjectives.

And they hold fruit.

And salads.

And other stuff you like to put in bowls.

See the full range (and buy them!) here

8. VOID Watches

David Ericsson’s VOID watches launched in 2008 but we only took them on this year.

We’re a bit slow sometimes.

Buy them here

7. Magisso Terracotta

Black terracotta champagne bucket, carafe, wine cooler and ice bucket with tongs.

The tongs aren’t made of black terracotta.

If they were they wouldn’t flex.

Which would defeat the purpose somewhat.

Buy them here

6. Marimekko T-Shirts

We have customers who’ve been wearing Marimekko t-shirts for over 20 years and they still fit well, haven’t faded and are much loved.

Many of them have been asking us to sell them for the last 10 years.

It never occurred to me that one day we’d be selling t-shirts but if enough people scream at you for long enough sometimes it makes sense to listen.

So here they are.

And I have one.

And I love it.

Buy them here

5. Kinto Mugtails

Seven porcelain mugs with seven tails that also work as tea light candle holders.

These went bonkers when we launched them last month.

And they’ll go even more bonkers this Christmas.

Bonkers is a good word.

Buy them here

4. Design House Stockholm Nordic Lights

Jonas Grundell’s Nordic Lights candelabra is a modern classic that folds away.

Available in 4 and 7 arm versions.

Buy them here

3. Secrid Wallets

My Secrid wallet is simply the best wallet I’ve ever owned.

I’m not sure why but I was a little non-plussed by these wallets when I first saw them. So I didn’t bring them into the store.

And then I changed my mind.

And then I started using one.

And it’s changed my life.

Every time I flick the trigger and my cards present themselves in a beautiful staggered display people look at me and say “Now there’s a man of style and sophistication!”. Well, they don’t actually say it but I can tell that’s what they’re thinking.

Anyway, I think my initial scepticism may have been borne of my assumption that I needed all 23 cards I was carrying around in my old wallet but having used a Secrid wallet for three months I haven’t needed one of the cards I now leave at home.

The standard Secrid wallet holds 5 cards, lots of banknotes and has space for a few other cards (other than those in the dispenser). The aluminium casing keeps your cards safe from being damaged or broken and protects your information from RFID scanning. Awesome wallet!

Buy them here

2. Ute Arko Letterbox

Letterboxes are one of those things you don’t think much about until you need to buy one and then you realise (to your horror) that everything on the market is pretty horrific.

We’ve been selling products by Melbourne designer Kain Lucas since 2008.

Arko may be the best yet.

Buy them here

1. Marimekko Saapaivakirja

Marimekko released it’s Siirtolapuutarha range of porcelain ceramics in 2010 and it changed the way the world thought about the company. What was once considered a fashion and textiles group was suddenly a genuine homewares company.

Siirtolapuutarha combined Sami Ruotsalainen’s original ceramic forms with Maija Louekari’s predominantly black and white designs (with the occasional bit of colour).

Saapaivakirja continues with Ruotsalainen’s original forms and injects the colour and pattern of Aino-Maija Metsola.

See the full range here

9 November 2013

New Front Window

Last week saw the arrival of the Kurv bowl series from Brunswick based designer and wood-freak Stephen Ziguras.

So we’ve put them in the window…

There are 13 variations in the series.

Here are a few…

You can see the rest (and buy them) here

Category: Craft,Design,Make Products | Tags: , , | pat @ 4:16 PM | 1 Comment »

2 November 2013

Old Meets New in Berlin

I’m a bit of a sucker for new architectural interventions with earlier structures.

I.M.Pei’s Louvre Pyramid, Norman Foster’s Reichstag, Robert Simeoni’s Make Designed Objects store… :)

I stumbled onto this one in East Berlin.

16 October 2013

Postcards from Tokyo

As previously mentioned I’ve recently been in Tokyo.

Here are a few pics from the streets…

Category: Design | Tags: , , , | pat @ 3:47 PM | 1 Comment »

9 October 2013

The Iittala Factory

I visited the Iittala factory in Iittala, Finland in late August.

It’s an amazing place with a fantastic museum but best of all is watching the glass blowing.

The pictures below show the making of a 160mm white Alvar Aalto vase…

The finished product…

8 October 2013

21_21 Design Sight

If you find yourself anywhere near Roppongi in Tokyo make sure you drop in on Japan’s first design museum – the beautiful 21_21 Design Sight.

Designed by Tadao Ando the building’s half underground but flooded with light.

I visited in August when there was an exhibition on colour called Colour-Hunting curated by Dai Fujiwara.

25 May 2013

The Great Unbuilt (IV)

From the land of the unfulfilled drawing board comes Melbourne firm Denton Corker Marshall’s design for a commercial tower/mixed use complex in Dubai in 2011.

This was was the winner in the Tall Buildings category in the MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects Awards.

Cluster Complex scheme is conceived as a striking vertical street in Dubai’s Business Bay district, a micro city to meet the needs of 21st-century creative knowledge workers who characteristically blur their social and working lives.

Rising from a podium, the 75-level office tower is composed of four stacks of individual office buildings clustered vertically up a dramatic 225m atrium.

Below the imposing office tower sit smaller blocks of apartments and a hotel. Retail and recreation uses are accommodated in a linear 5-level podium. A continuous mesh canopy envelopes the podium and grounds the towers in a tapestry of green.

According to DCM director Peter Williams…

“The Cluster Complex was designed to provide Dubai’s globally mobile and largely expatriate creative professionals with a home close to work and recreation, with easy transition from one to the other, and back again. This demands an environment as complex and diverse as any city.”

Category: Architecture,The Great Unbuilt | Tags: , , | pat @ 12:55 PM | 2 Comments »

Design Quote (XXII)

“A great building must begin with the unmeasurable, must go through measurable means when it is being designed and in the end must be unmeasurable.”

Louis Kahn

Category: Architecture,Design Quotes | Tags: , | pat @ 12:14 PM | 1 Comment »

4 May 2013

Data Aesthetics (IV) – The Launch of Virga

Thanks to all of you who joined us on Wednesday night for the launch of Virga and Critical Play (more on that to come).

It was a terrific night and a great way to end what’s been a really enjoyable two year project.

This is Rob and me trying to give speeches about the work whilst it steals the show…

I’ve tried to explain to a number of people what the Data Aesthetics project is over the last two years and I’m still struggling to fully explain it but for want of a better attempt here’s the press release we sent out about it…

The Cloud Takes Shape in Bricks & Mortar Retail

Virga – Data Aesthetics in Retail Space

Data Aesthetics in Retail Space is a collaborative project between Make Designed Objects, Robert Foster of Fink & Co and Geoff Hinchcliffe of University of Canberra’s Faculty of Arts & Design.

Virga (an observable streak or shaft of precipitation that falls from a cloud but evaporates or sublimes before reaching the ground) is the product of that collaboration; an LED light and data sculpture formed by internationally acclaimed designer-maker Robert Foster that colourfully expresses itself based on the digital data fed into its environment.

What data?

Any data we choose!

Want to watch a colourful representation of the seasonal nature of Make’s sales data?

Feed in the data.

The change in inner Melbourne maximum average daily temperatures from 1913-2013?

Feed in the data.

With bricks and mortar retailers rapidly migrating to the World Wide Web why not bring a bit of the World Wide Web back into bricks and mortar retail? Why not feed the traffic data from the Make website into Virga and see what happens?

The real joy of Virga lies in its abstract representation of a digital world in a rapidly evolving bricks and mortar retail environment.

And it looks way cool…

Data Aesthetics

The proliferation of data and its presence in our everyday lives leads us to ask new questions about data and its representation. Rather than the analytical question of which data visualisation has focused, this project focuses on the aesthetics of data, the materiality of data and its cultural role.

Key to Virga is research conducted by staff within the University of Canberra’s Centre for Creative and Cultural Research into; data visualisation; cultural interface aesthetics; emotive lighting design, and 2D and 3D data forms.

Virga aims to provide new insight into the design of data within a retail context; the material aesthetics of data; and the poetics of physical data representation.

Make Designed Objects

The launch of Virga coincides with the 10th anniversary of Make Designed Objects. The design store began life in May 2003 when it opened the doors in Carlton in the inner north of Melbourne. Since then the business has grown rapidly to become one of Australia’s finest design stores.

In a market and world where increasingly we have a physical and virtual version of almost everything; people, businesses, streetscapes… it’s not surprising that online retail is booming. And while the news reports a great deal of fear for bricks and mortar retail, this ever changing market presents opportunities for innovation in brokering an extended relationship between the virtual and physical aspects of a retail business such as Make.

It is from within this landscape that Pat Coppel, Director of Make has initiated this collaboration between retailer, designer-maker and academic. The result is Virga; a beautiful sculptural installation that translates our technological data into a spectacular visual language of light and colour. As such, Virga creates a playful narrative around the virtual and physical instances of Make Designed Objects.

Robert Foster

Robert Foster initially trained as a silversmith and enjoys an international reputation as a designer and skilled hollow ware maker. His name is closely associated with F!NK & Co., his production company based on distinctive, colourful, durable, anodised aluminium homewares. All F!NK & Co products are made in Australia.

Foster’s studio works place great emphasis on the importance of research and development. He pushes both handwork techniques and innovative applied technology allowing the discovery of new aesthetic expression built from a freedom that comes from a complete mastery of his medium.

His practice encompasses lighting, furniture, accessories and public art commissions, highlighted with signature vessels and teapots full of personality, held in major international collections.

Geoff Hinchcliffe

Geoff Hinchcliffe is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts & Design at the University of Canberra where he heads up the Graphic Design and Web Design & Production programs. Before commencing his academic career, Geoff worked as a commercial designer in print publication, web, interactive media, and broadcast graphics. He has served as a councillor for the Australian Graphic Design Association at state and national levels.

Geoff’s current focus is on new forms and practices in graphic design: web design; interface design; generative design; and data visualisation.

Geoff’s practice-based PhD focused on the creative and aesthetic dimensions of computer interface media. His experimental design work parallels his theoretical research, exploring creative modes of interface communication and interaction.

So there you go!

I’m still not exactly sure what it is we’ve done but I’ve realised that at the very least we’ve given birth to an organism that will grow and change over time.

And that’s quite a pleasing thing!

From left: Gretel Harrison (Fink & Co), Pat Coppel (Make Designed Objects), Robert Foster (Fink & Co), Geoff Hinchcliffe (University of Canberra)

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