”Some people thought it was strange that I was making things like that but I think there is a kid inside everybody.” Design should be fun. Winnif Fang is a ‘big kid’ designer.
Product Design is a professional and competitive market. Product Designers are constantly striving to produce the ‘ultimate’ design. These designs are both beautiful and functional. It’s a serious world. But what about a world that’s fun? Designs that are useful but light hearted. Winnif Pang is a designer at the forefront of this joyful market; producing home and office products with a touch of joy. A hobby became a career and now his company Hoobbe is excelling within this exciting market.
“We merge creative design with our Hobby, a new and creative objective of making products in terms of aesthetics, functions, fun and enjoyment.” – Hoobbe
Some things we design the concept is already set in stone. An idea has been passed on from previous generations. The form and materials can be slightly varied. However there is a remaining connection to past experiences. What Pang does is re-think the problem and arrive with a new approach; a joyful approach. ‘Cracked Up’ is a plastic colander. This is where the similarities end. A colander is quite simply a bowl with holes which are mathematically located. Pang has designed a colander which quite literally scars cracked surfaces. The design indicates the gluing back together of fragments, fragments of a once perfectly designed bowl. The imperfection of the cracks creates a unique draining experience for the user. It is joyful and delightful. It is also quite interesting to note how imperfection can give the bowl greater value than if it was ‘perfect’.
Cracked Up, N/A
When you think of magnets you imagine the things you hang on your refrigerator door; photos, bills and school notes. The magnet is usually hidden with images, places you’ve visited or advertising. Pang took the idea of a magnet but with a little twist. Magnets can be classified in a category called stickiness. Stickiness can be defined as something having the property of adhering, like glue. Believe it or not chewing gum in its most chewed state can become sticky (hence why footpaths are covered in them. People also like to stick their chewing gum under chairs and tables to dispose of it). Pang designed a ‘Chewing Gum Magnet’. Using chewed chewing gum as the magnet is quite humorous. The audience is engaged through its unconventional state. There is a sense of wanting to touch it to feel if it’s real. This makes it ironic. If the chewing gum was in any other context the user would be less inclined.
Chewed Chewing Gum Magnet, N/A
In further analysing the integration of fun and things we associate with every day, I stumbled across an organisation called Fred and Friends. “FRED is a Rhode Island-based team of designers with partners around the globe, all focused on well-designed stuff that solves a problem, puts a smile on your face, and doesn’t cost a fortune”. Each design is unique and interesting. They are refreshing and delightful; two words I would associate with ‘Poetic Design’.
Mother’s day was coming and I thought here is my chance to surprise my mum with a fun gift. I purchased a ‘Mr. Tea’ from the Fred and Friends online store. ‘Mr Tea’ is a quirky little tea diffuser. The body is of a characterised man who hangs over the inside edge of the tea cup. His position suggests he’s relaxing in a nice hot spa (like hot tea). The pants can be removed and filled with tea. My mother’s reaction matched the intention of the designer. “We delight in taking every-day functional products and turning them into something fresh and unexpected, something funny, something personal. FRED products are useful, but they’re also social expressions – they say a lot about you as well as about us”. She found it amusing and unexpected, she had never come across something like this before. What makes this design work is its functionality. It really does function just like other diffusers. This is what makes it a great design; fun but useful.
Mr. Tea, 2014
Fun and design bring light to the world. As Pang has demonstrated “there is a kid inside everyone”. This kid is bursting with extraordinary ideas and imaginations. We just have to let it free. Designs should be things we adore and enjoy. Adding fun and enjoyment connects the audience through smiles and laughter. As designers we are going to create an innovative world. Why not make it a fun and exciting?