Happily ever after


How important is a story of products that we buy?

Let’s go from yogurt brand and diamonds to Milano design week and let’s read some of the interesting stories! Once upon a time…… and than they lived happily ever after. This hyperbolic phrase ends many fairly tales. Nobody usually asks: What happens after a big wedding or a happy-end? As it is obviously clear that THEY LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Can this phrase be valid also for customer-products relation ship? What happens after we buy a product? And what can we expected that can be full-filled? Does some product make us happier? What kind of product do we need to be satisfied?

Today we can see that, in developed countries, modernistic perception of design is perceived as an option and not as a universal output. Design thinking, concept and strategic story are taking stronger position in design process itself. In many cases people wants to create their own design, this is very common for example when using softwares. But even those people want to hear a storry as a glue, how to approach to these products.

In consumerism society, where the market is crowded and we can choose from many options, people often perceive a story and believe in it. Marketing story is used for that. From the very beginning of supermarkets it is proofed that when buying a product in the shop customers tent to concentrate mainly on packaging. In fact, they buy graphic design information instead of product itself. And have you ever heard the story: How an ad campaign revaluated the diamond engagement ring?…

foto from the movie The Stepford Wives

foto from the movie The Stepford Wives

Diamonds are intrinsically worthless”, those are the words of Nicky Oppenheimer for The Independent, February 13th 1999. In fact they are quite common. The only reason why diamonds are even expensive is that De Beers has a global monopoly on diamonds mines. They regulate diamond price by artificial restricting supply to ge prices up.



When demand for diamond rings declined in the U.S. during hard economic times in 30s, the De Beers Company began an aggressive marketing campaign using posters of movie stars with diamonds. A key element of the De Beers business structure was ensuring a stable market by preventing diamonds’ resale. Within three years, the sales of diamonds had increased by 50 percent. Lately De Beers launched its now well-known slogan, “A Diamond is Forever.” What supported even more sales. By 1965, 80 percent of all new brides in the US got one.

MAG a diamond is forever

Are you terrified by the fact that the only thing what really matters when selling product is wheather society believes that particular object has a certain value? Don’t worry, this article is not going to follow all these examples of marketing stories but it is going to speak about concept and process in design which can be of course lately use as a marketing story itself but mainly it is somehow forming and reflecting our cultural status.

Pioneer of conceptual approach in design had been Droog design. As their web page says: “Today, Droog continues to develop new concepts and scenarios for products, spaces, events and communication tools. Beauty and experience with minimal means, always with a twist and respect for the existing. Not so much less is more, as less and more. ”

One of their well-known master pices is this tree trunk bench designed by Jurgen Bey.droog_tree_trunk_bench_01

Their products with a story are still admirable and I dare to say that they will have a lot to say also to the future generation.

Lets move to Ventura Lambrate, what is the place to be in Milano during The Salone the Mobile. This year were academies and young talents supposed to continue to headline Ventura Lambrate, where overall trend was to see. Designers break free of discipline-specific frameworks and take „design education to the next level“.MAP-ventura-lambrate

So, why is it so important for young students and brands to present a process itself on such an events as Milano design week? Some of these visions will never be used or any successful in the “real life”? Mainly it is an ad for universities to tempt new students who can see that particular academic environment is not just about implementing old proven approaches, but about developing students own way of thinking what should be relative to present. Partly are those attempts matter of prestige of these institutions. Simultaneously it is than forming a status of our own society.

Between many interesting project that were focused on design process and the way of exhibiting there was one project with quite explosive title EAT SHIT. It has show to be entirely appropriate. The exhibition has been designed to present the breath and attack of the Design Academy Eindhoven’s new Food Non Food department.

Eat Shit in Salone del Mobile

Eat Shit in Salone del Mobile

What was interesting about this exhibition were different ways of students approaches what were exhibited by working with phenomena of disgust. Nobody wants to eat shit! That is more than obviously clear fact. We all feel this nausea about the issue and that is connecting us together. But let’s face that in the time where question of recycling is really actual there might come a day when this question will be extremely practical.

Pim van Baarsen © 2015 - Holy Crap

Pim van Baarsen © 2015 – Holy Crap


Pim van Baarsen © 2015 – Holy Crap


Pim van Baarsen © 2015 – Holy Crap

“Recent DAE graduate Pim van Baarsen!s project “Holy Crap” rethinks the horrendous waste problems in Kathmandu, Nepal where rubbish is dumped in landfill or in rivers and even burnt. “Holy Crap” is a new business model that encourages citiziens to separate their waste at home, be more engaged with where it ends up, and to benefit financially as an incentive.” ( Thomas Widdershoven, Creative Director Design Academy Eindhoven)

Let’s check what is going on at project webpage: http://pimvanbaarsen.com/

Oliver van Herp ©2015

Oliver van Herp ©2015

oliver van herp ktitted pattern

Oliver van Herp © 2015, ktitted pattern

For Oliver van Herp 3D printing system it is possible to print medium and large-scale domestic objects from ceramics. Clay can be controlled and do so much more than just “excrete” in one continuous line – a typical limitation of current 3D technology. His machine workswith clay from decomposed biological material and river sediment.

You can see more of his product here: http://oliviervanherpt.com/

What possibilities is shit giving to us in comparition to “intrinsicaly worthless” diamonds?

As Thomas Widdershoven, Creative director of Design Academy Einthoven says: “EAT SHIT is a definition of a human condition. You eat, you shit, you eat, you shit and than you die.”Lets just add happily ever after.







Author: Helena Patelisová

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