Flower Chair Prototypes Released

Early stage Flower Chair prototypes were launched by Street Furniture Australia at the annual Australian Institute of Landscape Architects festival in Canberra, October 2016. 

Due to a positive response, the design is set to be manufactured and sold by Street Furniture Australia in 2017. 

For more, see the project page, here

Good Design - Young Australian Design Award

Speaksee, my final year design project at UNSW has won the 2016 Good Design Young Australian Design Innovation award. I am incredibly proud and would sincerely like to thank Good Design and Røde Microphones for the honour.

Speaksee is a kit of wearable bluetooth microphones that uses new insights into speech recognition technology to make conversation visual. For those who have profound hearing loss, Speaksee dramatically enhances speech comprehension by providing subtitles to group conversations in real time.

For more info, see the project page here

Art Objects

Introducing a 'Art Objects' a fun conceptual project where I designed a new product each week for 6 weeks for an imaginary brand. This project was a way to hone my skills in the design process, from creating a brief, through to ideation, sketching, modelling and rendering. It was also a fantastic way to learn new tools and techniques to apply to commercial work. I ran this project from my Instagram account which you can follow for further updates. 

All work copyright © Joshua Flowers, 2016. 

 

Beginnings

josh flowers designer speaksee unsw

I started a Bachelor of Industrial design in 2012 after dreaming about it for a whole year. Before 2011, I didn't even know I wanted to be a designer. It was something that struck me out of the blue and stuck. I love design utterly and completely. It is challenging, satisfying, mind expanding and above all, fun. I am incredibly proud of the work I've produced at university in the last few years, and I am so excited about the years ahead. 

I am currently working on finishing an award winning chair design at Street Furniture Australia. Beyond that, I can't wait to bring new and exciting designs to life. If you want to collaborate on any project big or small, feel free to email me here. 

Say hello to Speaksee

I am incredibly proud to announce Speaksee, a concept that has been in the works for the last 12 months. 

Speaksee is a kit of wearable bluetooth microphones that uses speech recognition technology to make conversation visual. For those who have profound hearing loss, Speaksee dramatically enhances speech comprehension by providing subtitles to group conversations in real time.

For more, see the project page here

Coin sculpture wins prestigious CREATE | Desktop design award

The exciting coin sculpture I designed last year with a small team from Paper Moose has won the prestigious CREATE Design Project of the year award for 2015. A huge thank you to them for the award.

Here is a small interview discussing the motivation behind the project:

What did the process for deciding upon the coin motif involve?

The initial project brief was to develop a concept to draw attention to recycling kiosks the City of Sydney were installing around the city. We thought a sculptural installation using recycled bottles would be a cool idea, and it didn’t take long to decide that using the 10 cent refund motif (which was a core part of the campaign) was the way to go.

What are the key points of inspirations, or the underpinning principles for the direction you took?

Clarity, scale and boldness were the key principles. Could we make this thing big, could we make this thing bold, and could we make it stand out?

How did you develop the visual language (in terms of research, selecting materials etc) for the sculpture?

The visual language developed fairly naturally from the choice of materials. Knowing we needed a rigid frame to hold over 1000 recycled bottles in a perfect grid, we knew we would be using some kind of laser cut metal (in the end, mild steel).

We put the coin on a slight angle, to create a kind of impossible lean. For a sculpture that weighed over a tonne, this was no small feat. We had a few engineers carefully calculating wind loads to help us devise a a way to build the frame so it was strong enough to survive freak storms.

We created a plinth for the coin to sit on for two reasons: one so that it presented as a sculptural object, and second as a space to house the electronics and the tonne of ballast it required.

What were the biggest challenges involved in the project, and in building the sculpture?

It was an incredibly challenging project, from a budgetary standpoint, but also from pure logistics, design, and assembly. The entire structure was laser cut, but then had to be painstakingly hand-welded together. The front disc structure by itself for example is made up of 7 steel sheets that were meticulously joined. Each bottle (1,200 of them) then had to be coloured and installed in the frame by hand.

What, in your view, is the most successful element of the project?

We took creative and financial risks in developing this concept along with our fantastic clients, the Zero Waste team at the City of Sydney, and we think it paid off. We created a striking installation by turning used water bottles, objects normally associated with ugliness, into something beautiful. Then we then backed it all up with an important message: that #recyclingpays.

 

Why I think 'Serif' is an exciting design

The newly announced Samsung 'Serif' TV set designed by Ronan & Erwan Bourollec is one of the most exciting designs I've seen in a long time. Here's why.

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The design is completely unlike any other television in the world, for a start. Originality is good. More importantly though, I think it represents a new emerging design language. Words that spring to mind are, warm, spirited, human. I'd describe it as a kind of retro futurism. 

serif_samsung_design_her_jonze_futurism

The first time I got excited about this style was in seeing the film 'Her' by Spike Jonze. The incredible art direction by Austin Gorg is something I'm convinced is going to heavily influence design in consumer electronics. Just look at the simple framed monitor (as if displaying art), the light, three dimensionality of the UI and the beautiful colour palette. 

her_jonze_tv_monitor_serif_samsung_design

I have a strong hunch that the Bourollec brothers were inspired by 'Her'. Looking at the remote, the design languages have a lot in common: the red and white colour palette, the thin graphic lines, the soft geometric detailing.  

serif_samsung_remote_her_jonze_design_trend

I think this style is really exciting. It recognises a shift in our relationship with technology from one centred on functionality and features, to one of seamless integration with furniture, fashion and the home. 

It appears that trends in wearables are starting to influence consumer technology at large. I'm particularly excited at the thought of an alternative to the dominant style of today, that of austere, over-earnest minimalism. This is an exciting time in design!

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Lumo Lift teardown

The Lumo Lift is a pretty neat posture and fitness tracker. I thought I'd open it up for the sake of design to find out what makes it tick. 

The shiny metal thing in the middle covered with tape is the button mechanism. The cylinder on the underside is probably an eccentric rotating mass style vibration motor. The outer wall thickness of the unit is 0.7mm and that inner wall lip is 0.4mm (pretty thin! I actually damaged it opening it up). The inner lip's function is to mate the main casing to the lid, so the whole unit can be pressed like a button, which is pretty cool. The PCB is also surprisingly only 0.4mm thick - it actually flexes it's so thin. 

I love how the magnet that mates the unit with the dock has to work through the PCB and battery to make contact, perhaps this is part of the reason why the PCB is so thin?

Overall the design is simple and elegant, but opening it shouldn't break it, so perhaps it's a little too delicate. Overall, it's a pretty cool design. 

Prototype MKII

Prototype parts for a secret project I've been working on have started to come in. I really want to show you more, but for now this will have to do.

Pictured below left is a CNC machined aluminium prototype of what will be a sand cast component, accompanied by some steel core braided ropes. You can see them assembled to the right, along with laser cut stainless steel panels and a new HDPE prototype part that acts as a sort of bridging connector for the assembly. Previously we were using rubber, but found it was too weak to deal with the loads it was taking. More updates soon. 

flower chair parts cncd aluminium childrens playground  ropes
flower chair rear underside view prototype