Friday, August 12, 2011

My friend Diane said she had my picture on her refrigerator and so I look into the kitchen today and I noticed a few different things there. My commonplace objects look different. I tracked it down to designer David Stowell. He said, “You can’t rely on love at first sight, relationships develop over time. You are not going to know at first glance whether it is going to do what it is expected to do. ” He should know, for more than 30 years he has been at the head of his firm Smart Design.
David and his team have designed some keepers that have revolutionized kitchen helpers. He began as a college intern at Corning ware. He is responsible for the single serving Gravette. It became the best selling object in the corning ware line for many years. He also is responsible for the change in design of cookware. The familiar cluster of blue flowers on everything is now gone.

Now we see the grooved and very popular French white line on everything. Fluted with a sculptured exterior, pretty much ensures that the flowers can not be put on the cook wear. He went further. The good old potato peeler is also now gone. The old metal sides was not a good grip for people with arthritic hands who still need to peal potatoes. His team built a better one based on a rubber bicycle handle on the peeler. The result is a peeler that is in 10 Million American homes and the start of the company Oyxo.
It is a brand that has now become a household name. Their “GOOD GRIPE!” on every packaging for any kitchen thing you would want or need proves their success in the kitchen gadget business. The design philosophy is to make a task easier and faster or better or high performance. The thought process has produced more popular things. Jar openers, graters that work in both directions, measuring cups that can be read from above.
These are all simple objects that I can’t believe I’m writing about but have earned so much respect in the innovation world that some sit in a collection at the Museum of Modern Art. His inspiration comes from trying to make something that everyone should have. I think everyone should have my picture on their fridge too. Well, maybe not that.
He looked at the sink strainer and how no one should have to wipe the gunk that accumulates there. He tried mess screens that were even worse. He tried rubber like they use in plungers. After many different designs, he decided on a rubber strainer with holes that you can pull on that will fling the gunk into the trash. Finally, something America really needs!
The Smart Design company is now looking to design stuff far beyond the kitchen and home now. They helped design the ultra-simple Flip. Last years top selling camcorder. They also worked with Ford. If you own or have test driven the new Fusion Hybrid car, you noticed a completely different and new dashboard.
The instrument panel has been turned into a easy to read computer screen. Instead of just a battery light for instance glowing, it will also tell you in words what the possible problems are that are causing concern in your car. This is incredible new stuff being produced for everyone’s better lives. This design firm known for its urbanisms in handles, now owns the Patent on many other great things in your life you didn’t even notice. The company really does have the grip on the future. As for us, the best things in life happens when you don’t really notice it at first, the things that just creep on you in a good way.

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