For our 13th and most recent Design Challenge, Kikkerland Design visited Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

The objective was to see the product presentations from the MA Industrial Design students and choose an Academic Winner. The brief for this Design Challenge was to design innovative products in stationery, desktop and office categories that incorporate Kikkerland Design’s witty, story-telling aesthetic. In attendance from Kikkerland Design, founder Jan van der Lande, Design Director Jay Lee and Managing Director EMEA, Edwin Zeller. From Central Saint Martins, Nick Rhodes who is the Programme Director: Product, Ceramic & Industrial Design accompanied by Dr. Matt Malpass and Professor Ralph Ball. This group served as the judging panel, gave feedback to the design students and chose an Academic Winner.

The Academic Winner is chosen by Kikkerland Design with input from Central Saint Martins’ tutors. The Academic Winner should meet and exceed the expectations of the brief and exemplify forethought throughout the design process. Officials from Kikkerland Design and Central Saint Martins chose “The Mom Mug” by Jade Echard. This project is somewhat “anti-design”. It offers a gift alternative to generic and impersonal gifts with its seemingly handmade form. The mug also comes with a special ceramic pen so you can add a sweet, personal message. This concept also includes an ash tray and teacup form. This product has the warmth and sense of humour that Kikkerland Design strives for with a clear narrative and major gift-ability. Kikkerland Design is proud to announce this design as the Academic Winner.

A few other designs caught the eye of the judging panel. Alberto Giordano designed “Buon Appetito”, a series of ceramic kitchen tools inspired by his own Italian heritage and the famous book, “Speak Italian: The Fine Art of the Gesture” by Munari Bruno. Each of the 5 tools take the form of a well-known Italian hand gesture and puts that form to function as a bottle opener, corkscrew, lemon squeezer, pizza cutter and Salt & Pepper Shakers. Not only does this project have a clear connection to its designer’s culture, (something we at Kikkerland Design love), but also a beautiful aesthetic that would make a great gift.

Qiuwan Wang designed the “Colander”, a project that intrigued the panel. This product offers a neat and simple way to save your coffee grounds after brewing. Coffee grounds have many uses such as a pest deterrent, air freshener, exfoliant and natural wood stain among others. This product cleverly laces a drawstring through the outer perimeter of a standard cone coffee filter allowing you to cinch and easily remove the grounds without mess. This project is both clever and practical, which the panel enjoyed and noted.

Another design of note was the DIY Nightlight Battery by Tobie Chevallier. This eco-friendly design addresses the issue of “clean energy” and required quite a bit of ingenuity from the student. The product is made of all natural materials and teaches you how to create light and energy using only zinc, copper and vinegar. The “cells” are housed in an attractive cork and glass structure, which completely contains the chemicals and absorbs any potential odor from the vinegar. The fact that the light is powered by a natural chemical reaction makes this item ideal for classroom and STEM learning or for any science buff! More so, the panel was very impressed by how thorough the student’s explanation and presentation was- right down to the cost of production!

After the presentations and careful deliberation, Kikkerland Design joined the faculty and students of Central Saint Martins for the announcement of the Academic winner (Jade Echard) and a celebration. Each of these students worked very hard to produce impressive products. In addition to the Academic Winner, there will also be a People’s Choice winner from this challenge. Online voting dates will be announced mid-April. All of these designs will be on exhibition as part of NYCxDesign Week at Wanted Design in Manhattan, NYC May 18th-21st. The top designs from this challenge will be considered and developed for production by Kikkerland Design. The goal of these challenges is to introduce young designers to the real-life experience of bringing well designed products from prototype to production. Stay tuned for updates!

Ralph Ball

Ralph Ball’s critical design practice is based on what he calls ‘Design Poetics’. ‘Design Poetics’ forms an experimental, continuously evolving series of objects and collections, which act as commentaries and contemplations on the culture of Modernism, Postmodernism and contemporary design.The work rejects the discrete distinctions of art, craft and design and explores the conceptual, provocative and lyrical possibilities of the spaces in between. Drawing on rhetorical themes and axioms specific to Modernism and contemporary design culture, these rational and reductiveaxioms are re-examined and co-opted to endorse paradox and legitimise the invention of formal incongruities, rational irrationalities or poetic transgressions. ‘Ironic Iconics’: the pieces are self-consciously introspective and are made to reflect upon themselves and the culture that supports them.

Matt Malpass

Matt Malpass is a lecturer and design researcher. Recognised internationally for his research centring on critical, socially and politically engaged practice in industrial design.Matt’s doctoral work focused on building a taxonomy of critical practice in product design. He continues to conceptualise this field considering the methods and principles used to establish the critical move through design, questioning critical design's contribution to the design profession and discipline.While Malpass’ primary interest lies in critical design, his research and practice extend into other areas of industrial design working with a range of commercial and third sector partners.As the author of the book Critical Design in Context: history, theory and practices (published by Bloomsbury) he has published and spoken internationally on critical design, regularly writing and reviewing for leading design journals including Design and Culture (Bloomsbury) and Design Issues (MIT Press).

Nick Rhodes

Nicholas is a Designer and Educator with some 20 years experience in practice. He is currently Programme Director: Product, Ceramic & Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, and has taught at institutions elsewhere – in the United Kingdom, the United States, China, the Caribbean, and Australia.

UAL: Central Saint Martins

University of the Arts London offers an extensive range of courses in art, design, fashion, communication and performing arts. Its graduates go on to work in and shape the creative industries worldwide. UAL is ranked number two in the world for Art and Design in the 2019 QS World University Rankings.

Kikkerland Design

Kikkerland Design was founded in 1992 in New York City by Netherlander, Jan van der Lande. Since then, Kikkerland has established itself as one of the leading product design companies in the world. Kikkerland proudly supports and represents independent designers. Additionally, our in-house design team creates, develops and markets new ideas to make life easier and more fun. At Kikkerland Design we pride ourselves on giving back to local and global organizations, ranging from ecological restoration projects to creative writing programs for inner-city youth.