Designer briefs for Design Smash

15/04/2011 at 14:00

Theme: things I need to work

The following project briefs are tailored to different kinds of designers… some are aimed toward product designers with an interest in electronics, other briefs are targeted at graphic designers and people who deal with pattern and shape and others still to fabric workers, fashion designers and pattern makers.

In each case, the briefs demand a variety of skills and they are to be done in teams of 2. In each team, there is a person who makes physical models and one who programs line work for cutting. From our experience this dramatically speeds up the speed and quality of the design process, and offers people the opportunity to participate in a more open and visible process.

1. Your own self defined project:

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2. Smart-phone, Ipad,  or camera mount:

Imagine the places you could use a free hand with your electronic devices… consider cooking, reading in bed, setting up a tripod from your desk or shelf, turning a webcam into a wearable accessory…

In each of these cases, we could do much more with our gadgets if only they were in the right place at the right time

Using a range of mechanical joining techniques, construct a device or housing that allows your electronic device to be transported, protected and mounted to surfaces, shelves and walls for hands-free use

There will be hack files supplied for the joining of acrylic, plywood and other materials that will allow teams to speed up their design and build processes.


Teams will be supplied with a range of materials such as acrylic, felt and polypropylene, and one ¼ inch nut and bolt to use as a camera mount if desired


3. Pendant lamp

Based on a pre-formatted design, 2D designers are invited to modify the shape of either a table lamp or pendant lamp.

Starting with a basic design that resolves the technical issues of making a dome-shaped pendant, designers will re-imagine these lamps by modifying the parts that make up the overall form.


Teams will receive 2d and 3d files in rhino 3dm, DXF and .AI formats. These files will have a basic structure for teams to work with that can be modified to produce individual lamp variations.


Polypropylene or felt, cardboard, snap-fit clips, light fitting, rubber cable-grip.


The following lamps below have the same base structure, however the individual pieces are shaped differently.

David Trubridge: Coral, Floral and Sola pendants




4. Table lamp / pendant lamp 2 > DIY Lamps

In this exercise, Designers receive hack files that detail the connection between a lamp fitting and its housing along with the lamp parts and a range of materials to play with. The only other restriction is the weight limit. Apart from the lamp parts themselves the object should weigh less than 350 grams.


An excellent example was published recently on thingiverse…

Strømg Lump Leaks by Lamp Lumps

and some (above) by Lazerian:

For the Scripters and grasshopper geeks:

5. Parametric products

A range of grasshopper definitions will be compiled for people who want to create a product that responds to variable inputs. These hack-files provide the basis for the creation of geometrically complex products that respond to various inputs… light sources, birth dates, body sizes, space requirements… anything that allows products to adapt themselves to their users.

This brief is very open, and for those who attend the training session, the definitions will be explained. Products that may be appropriate include jewellery, lighting, sculpture, containers etc.


Computational Jewelry Posted by Syuz and light modulator by Lazerian


For the pattern makers:

6. Furoshiki bag

Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese wrapping items without glues, stitching or (to a large extent) fixings.

Source material on furoshiki techniques will be available as a set of images and files. and some basic techniques explained in training.



Furoshiki 2.0 bags by Curiosite



Felt, Polypropylene or synthetic leather and 1 magnetic clip.


…some DesignSmash products: