Thoughts on Visiting Euroluce of Milan Furniture Fair in 2015
After having seen most of products displayed in Euroluce of Milan Furniture, I have known the distance between our and western designers and where to aim. Out of a sense of responsibility to Chinese luminary design industrt, I wrote this article to share some of my thoughts on Chinese designers’ ways of developing with luminary entrepreneurs and designers who were unable to attend the fair.
A perfect light should has a good story to build emotional connection between customer and itself. Emotional connections are especially important for consumer lights. This is a detail which has been paid close attention by European brands while ignored by Chinese enterprises. Chinese designers are used to make “good looking products”or “expensive looking products”instead of exploring how to build emotional connections between products and customers. Take products from Euroluce as examples:
On the fair, Italian brand Foscarini has invited designers from different countries and developed a series of lamps on the theme of “memory”. The texture of kites (pic 1), the rotating of bike’s hub under the setting sun (pic 2), the foggy riverway (pic 3) can all be themes of memory. In order to arousing consumer’s feeling, they made fancy videos of those products, and the products’ concepts are presented more vividly. Who doesn’t have a childhood? And who doesn’t have memories? Could the product be successful or not? It depends on if the consumers can be touched by designer’s memory.
Here is another product from Foscarini: this concept is lines formed on a liquid surface when sound wave vibrates. This rhythmical lines have been used on lights, and brought special emotional experience.
The name of a product is the most intuitive reflect of its concept. The famous SK4 record player named “Coffin of Snow White”designed by the German industrial designer Dieter Rams for Braun 60 years ago. This name is so attractive that make people want to realize the player’s charm. Both a good story and a good name will cause consumer’s good connection in the mind. There are hardly any lights have stories, and that is what should draw Chinese designer’s attention. What designers should do is to not only give out the appearance but also shape the soul. A good designer should also consider from the marketing angle to give an overall plan to package the design scheme.
Almost every brand on the fair has its own positioning and feature. Besides big brands like Artemide, most of luminary brands has precise positionings and simplified product lines. They prefer to make one or two products perfect than develop lots of products. What has impressed me most is a brand named Album. Its products are designed around the theme of universe, and the demonstration is also ingenious. When I walked into the demonstrating gallery through a small door, it seemed like an album was slowly opened, and lights came to us in the form of pictures. All those works were about the niverse, and I felt I had enterred a magical world. This demonstrating style was not only adopted in their exhibition room but also in their promotion materials, website and so on.
Another Itallian brand Artemide is also a good story teller. A light named “Danseuses”looked like a girl in a swirling dress has attracted lots of audiences. Another gesture-controlled modular light named “Scrittura”was also very charming through the illustration of video. I thought that, in China, when manufactures introducing a gesture-controlled light, instead of vivid videos, they might only add few words in product description.
Delightful displayed its wall lights in a dreamlike way; Exenia displayed its track light in a polychrome way through the products’ rich colors and booth design; Vibia buried its product into earth to show its concept of bamboo; Fontana Arte prepared several wooden boxes, and painted the inwalls with their brand colors and then light interferences would not happen inside the boxes. All these compositions and overall arrangements are narrative.
Then I went to a booth of a designer brand. The designer Kate Yorks introduced her products to me friendly. She said that her brand identy was jus like a pet of hers. Her works emphasize on modular and environmental ideas. She made wooden modules into table lights, panel lights and wall lights. Products she designed are equipped with woven bags, cushioning foam and wooden packaging boxes. All those things are with a unitive style. In the end, Kate has given me a miniature table light as a little gift. She told me that she had spent weeks on this little stuff, but when she thought it might impress others, she became very excited and satisfied. I tell her that there are hardly any exhibitor prepares gifts for visitors so carefully. Kate also told me to follow her on twitter. After seeing her twitter pages, I found many inspiring introductions include her concepts, developing processes, and mass producting processes.
In fact, coming up with creative ideas is simple. What is dfifferent from Chinese designers, many foreign designers excute their ideas after figuring them out.
After coming back from Milan, I have held several sharing sessions with the themes of product naming, product story, product design, exhibition design, packaging design and animation design. Those design contents come down in one continious line, and that’s what we lack. Both entrepreneurs and designers are lack of integrated awareness and mentality of making high quality products. RUI Design has been providing luminary design service for domestic enterprises. The economy of China is developing so fast that there are so many opportunities for our luminary enterprises, and they are least likely to develop one fixture really well. I hope to see as many Chinese designers and luminary developers as possible to go to cities like Milan, Tokyo and Frankfort to visit and learn. We need to learn how designers there design, how they tell stories, and how do they develop one fixture really well.
ANDSON and RUIDesign have the same product concept which is to develop special products with LED characteristics. Different from general industrial projects which only need to design attractive appearance for fixed hardware, this streetlight is designed from the perspectives of structure, using experience and LED innovation. After the project is started, we analized problems of exsited streetlights, summarized problems in using process, and figured out problems in installation and maintaining. We obtained several design directions：
1. Fashionable appearance: The appearance should be fashionable enough to present the LED’s characteristics.
2. Modularization: Not only streetlights but also commercial and household lights are developing towards the direction of modularization because of the specialty of LED light source. Thus, we need to innovate and try to develop power source with the idea of modularization. In this way, our products will be different from general LED streetlights at the core. The integration of power source and the light body is what makes this streetlight outstanding.
3. Tool free maintenance: Complicated processes are needed to maintain traditional lights. There is still room for improvement because of its risk and complexity. We make maintaining safer and easier by ingenious structure design.
4. Intelligent control: There are many unpredictable problems in controlling traditional street lights such as operating, charging and electricity.
According to these design directions, we spent half a year on drawing, modeling, thermal analysising and testing prototype. Now this product’s mold has been opened. It will appear in various exhibitions and enter the market soon.
Both appearance and structure of this streetlight co-developed by ANDSAN and RUIDesign is well-designed, and it is full of highlights from the inside and outside.
1. Ingenious appearance design: this streetlight has taken LED’s advantage of small size. Having gotten rid of heaviness, it redefined streetlights.
2. Modular plug design: the light source module is connected with the light body through water proof connector. No matter install or replace, the electric wires won’t be touched. The water proof connector is developed individually to ensure safety.
3. Power source design: Power source is one of the most potentially troublesome part in LED fixtures. We have given full consideration to sorts of problems and factors when designing the power source of this streetlight.
4. Common connecting base: This streetlight can be used as garden light when it adopts single module. At this time, the body and pole of the light would be installed vertically. The connecting base is rectangular shaped, and it can meet two most common installation methods.
5. Lighting automatic and managing system can solve those mentioned problems very well. It has many advantages which traditional managing systems don’t have, such as to open and close the light flexibly, to know the operating parameters at any time, to raise management efficiency, to lower power consumption and increase service life by managing the lighting time and so on. In this project, we established a wireless telecommunication system based on ZigBee technology to monitor the streetlights wirelessly and remotely.
Design styles of Japan and Northern Europe conform with the aesthetic orientation in China’s market.
Our analysis focus on these brands: Sharp, Panasonic, Toshiba, Philips.
Lighting Product Innovation Design Method—Special Lighting Effect
effect design f(t, e).