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Design Lab 2011: A Ribbon that wraps quite a punch for all your lifestyle needs

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Enzo Kocak, 20, combines practicality, sustainability and inspiration from everyday objects for his designsThe Ribbon is a modular heating/cooling device that can be wrapped around any container on the go.The Ribbon is a modular heating/cooling device that can be wrapped around any container on the go.

Making fantastic contraptions has always been a part of Enzo Kocak’s childhood.  Now 20, the industrial design student from Monash University in Australia can still remember being fascinated with remaking broken toys and junk into fantastical devices as a child.

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Enzo Kocak, 20, combines practicality, sustainability and inspiration from everyday objects for his designs.

His interest in design was aided by the eclectic collection of his parents, who would collect furniture and objects ranging from Indonesian antiques to modern classics.  Other influences include Patricia Urquiola’s kaleidoscopic Lens Table, George Nelson’s classic Swag Leg Chairs and the metalwork of Melbourne artist Damien Elderfield.

The range of influences have come together in the Ribbon, a sleek, classic-looking mobile heating and cooling device that can be wrapped around containers of different shapes and sizes.  This fantastic contraption has earned Enzo a ticket to London in September for the finals of the global Electrolux Design Lab 2011 competition, where the Ribbon will be evaluated by a panel of expert judges.

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The Ribbon is a modular heating/cooling device that can be wrapped around any container on the go.

The creation of the Ribbon is an example of Enzo’s design process, which draws from the practicality of everyday life.  “With clarity in purpose, I think products can develop far more interesting stories behind them, and their form and aesthetics tend to emerge naturally through the design process rather than an afterthought subservient to function,” commented Enzo.

We gather more of Enzo’s ideas to wrap your mind around.

What made you decide to come up with your design?

The idea came about observing how we interact with kitchen appliances throughout busy and mobile lifestyles.  I thought of creating a concept that’s not simply a portable version of, or a replacement of an existing appliance, but rather a device that could adapt to smaller tasks where larger appliances are inconvenient or inefficient.

Observing habits and lifestyles of friends and those around me, I identified scenarios where such a product could assist. For example, keeping drinks cool on the way to a party or when dining outdoors or being able to heat up packed meals of leftovers at school or work. The link through the majority of these situations was the desire to cool or heat food wherever.  After researching the technology of portable thermo-electric cells, the basis of the Ribbon concept was formed.

To keep up with changing habits and routines of a user towards preparing and cooking food, I wanted to let the product be shaped and customised to adapt to a multitude of emergent roles both outside of and within the home.

What were the biggest challenges you encountered in creating your designs?

The biggest challenge was the ideation process.  I went through a huge amount of different ideas, probably spending far longer on this stage than I have with any other project.  I really wanted to have a good shot at the competition so I persisted until eventually coming up with the Ribbon concept.  Developing the concept itself also proved quite difficult as it requires construction from flexible materials, which I don’t have much experience designing with. I think in order to realistically create a product like this, there would need to be much more material research and experimentation, with many physical prototypes being developed throughout the design process.

What’s innovative to you?

Innovation to me is when a design solves a problem with careful consideration of the path it takes to get there, not trying to use technology and alternative solutions for the sake of being unique. These designs are compelling in the approach they take, but reinforced with solid reasoning and research.

I think the Copenhagen Wheel project by SENSEable City Laboratory is a good example of innovation as it provides a well-designed solution for a hybrid electric bicycle that understands the consumer’s needs.  By reducing the design to a motorised wheel that can be installed on any bicycle as well as placing its control system on the already existing smart-phone platform, the concept meets the original goal of sustainability far more successfully than other concepts, which often contain over-designed bodies made of expensive materials.

What is your dream design project?

I think medical industrial design a fascinating field.  I think there’s a lot of opportunity to design products and equipment that keep up with the constant innovation and advancement within medicine.

Which is your favourite Electrolux product?

I really like the Electrolux E:Motion wok trivet.  It’s a very elegant and simple solution for allowing wok cooking on induction cooktops, particularly for western markets where it’s often difficult to find gas stoves with sufficient wok burners or flat-bottomed woks for induction surfaces.  Having recently been cooking with a wok, I really appreciate the versatility it provides in cooking compared to the cookware I’m used to.  It’s good to see designs that adapt to the blurring of cultural boundaries. 

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