Tag Archives: Collaboration

15 Jun

Neocon 2018: Blurred Lines

As a product development consultancy, our company works in a range of markets from furniture to theme park rides. When comparing technical projects involving theme park restraints or autonomous automotive interiors to furniture, we typically view furniture design as relativity straight forward. Then there are days we walk through 10 showroom floors filled with nothing but furniture and we are reminded that no design is simple and straight forward. In other words, not all chairs are created equal.

Furniture design is about a user’s environment; it is emotive and primal. We continue to see a trend of blurring the lines between home and office and it has never been more noticeable than now. From texture to color and finishes, we see furniture companies do what they can to differentiate in a market so saturated it’s water-logged. This makes design more important than ever. What makes a chair stand out in a building with thousands? This question is only answered by thorough research, well-balanced design and pointed execution.

As work environments continue to change through new products brought to market it creates new design challenges for future product development. We’ve seen offices open-up in terms of floor plans and desk configurations. In response, we’ve seen walled conference rooms, isolation pods and other creative answers to noisy environments with little privacy. This creates a continuous cycle of new design challenges and constant need for new product development and research.

This continuous cycle of research and product development will continue to focus on user experience. This will always be the driving force for furniture whether it be healthcare, home or office. It is our job as designers and engineers to continue this process for both the users and the companies that rely on us to help bring successful product to market. Constantly evaluating users, environments and products allows us to stay relevant in a fast-paced world and consistently deliver innovative and responsible product.

In competitive job markets, we see spatial and furniture design as a recruiting tool for companies to bring the best talent into their teams. Furniture design is used as a powerful driving force behind a company’s brand identity and a continuation of their culture. All these decisions have a lasting impact that goes far beyond what looks “good” in your office park.

All in all, Neocon serves as our annual memento for how far furniture has come and all the problems we still need to solve. It is truly incredible to see so many different designs for something that, in theory, could be as simple as an elevated surface. This serves as a constant reminder that our design problems, industries and businesses are forever changing and evolving.

(All photos taken while attending Neocon 2018)

Conor Fredricks

Industrial Designer

Fredricks Design, Inc.

Fredricks Design, Inc. is a full-service design and engineering firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan. The firm specializes in working as an extension of the client studio and engineering team to identify the right problems and accelerate development of solutions from early ideation, feasibility, concept development and production of mock-ups, prototypes and show properties. Fredricks works with key Clients in the automotive interiors and seating industries, advanced rides and show action projects for themed attractions, furniture, healthcare and consumer products markets.

31 May

Business Transformation Requires a Fresh Mindset

This is a brief story about business challenges and different ways to develop solutions?

Ms. Smith has recently been promoted to lead her family-owned, West Michigan based company. She grew up in the company before attending an undergrad program and completing her MBA. The leadership team is well established and talented with deep industry experience.

Widget Corp. was founded by her grandfather several decades ago. They manufacture components and sub-assemblies for the automotive industry. The company is financially solid with a backlog of contracts extending over the next two years. Business is good, but there is a lot to worry about for Ms. Smith and her leadership team. Read More

27 Feb

You are affected by PLM. What is PLM and how to stop it…

This article is not about stopping a wide-spread, silent and dangerous disease as the title may suggest, but you’re here now so let’s talk about PLM or Product Lifecycle Management. To put it dryly, it’s an information management system that can integrate data, processes, business systems and, ultimately, people in an extended enterprise. [1] Most importantly, it’s a disciplined way to connect and supercharge a ridonkulous amount of information in your company to get product to market faster, decrease redundant activities, and increase profits. To readers not operating “extended enterprises”, you can imagine PLM to be like the work of ecologists who study complex, living ecosystems. Read More

21 Feb

Fredricks announces the addition of Dave Miller to our team!

On February 19, 2018, Fredricks Design, Inc. welcomed Dave Miller, BSME, to our team.

Dave graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He spent the last few years as an engineer in the manufacturing environment at Gentex Corporation in Zeeland, MI. His true passion is in new product development, design, and engineering. He brings a strong skill sets in 3D CAD modeling, prototyping, testing, design for manufacturability and understanding of the manufacturing process. Dave will be a tremendous asset to the design and engineering team at Fredricks Design and our Clients. He will be based in our Grand Haven, Michigan studio.

Please join us with an enthusiastic welcome for Dave!

Maury Fredricks

CEO

Fredricks Design, Inc.

Fredricks Design, Inc. is a full-service design and engineering firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan. The firm specializes in working as an extension of the client studio and engineering team to identify the right problems and accelerate development of solutions from early ideation, feasibility, concept development and production of mock-ups, prototypes and show properties. Fredricks works with key Clients in the automotive interiors and seating industries, advanced rides and show action projects for themed attractions, furniture, and consumer products markets.

fredricks.com

design.fredricks.com

 

25 Jan

CES2018 Mobility ideas, concepts and future solutions…

image source: google images

Back to the future…

“The Jetsons” was a hit cartoon when I was growing up (produced by Hanna-Barbera,aired in primetime from September 23, 1962, to March 17, 1963). For a half hour every week, the show engulfed my imagination in a future world where people were enabled by robots, automation and streamlined, on demand mobility options. Rosie the maid was a robot and everything seemed so much easier for humans. The family seemed so happy, except when they were complaining about the hard work and minor inconveniences of life. Many things have changed over the years, now decades, and some things will remain the same.

This lifestyle, as it relates to mobility and the way we interact with products, is a reality in the developed countries of this world. CES showcased IoT, smart city, smart home and automotive technologies to improve our lives. That’s the idea anyway.

Read More

29 Jun

furniture and work space insights…

workspace office furniture design

City planning for the work space.

We commissioned a research and ideation project to explore the correlation between city planning and the design of work environments. The findings from this study supported our premise that any work environment is a landscape of unique environments and spaces designed to meet different types of activities and work styles. This connection is a powerful concept that can be leveraged on space planning and furniture design. Collaborative partnerships with the customer, A+D firms and product designers from diverse backgrounds will drive new thinking and dramatic improvements in the work place.

The work space continues to evolve and the next several years will be a challenging time for many furniture brands. The overall market is flat and there are simply a lot of companies competing for market share. Ongoing uncertainty in the market will require agility and responsiveness to customer demands for new thinking and solutions.

A recent day trip to Neocon in Chicago highlighted the trends that will shape the furniture market over the next several years and beyond.

Read More

28 Feb

fredricks new website launched…check it out.

www.fredricks.com

We have launched our new website. The site includes new case studies and content based on our recent work. Please check it out and send your comments.

Thanks!

-Maury and Team Fredricks

02 Feb

Fredricks Design Review: Autoshow 2017 insights

Adient AI17 Demonstratorsource for images: Adient.com

Autoshow 2017 insights | Adient AI17 Demonstrator

Our first stop at the NAIAS Detroit Autoshow this year was at the Adient showroom. We were invited to tour the showroom by the Adient Studio Team based in Plymouth, Michigan. We were absolutely blown away with the demonstrator produced by Adient and their key suppliers.

In interest of full disclosure, we were the design and studio engineering resource on the 20% armrest housed in the second-row seating. Although we had seen the rest of the demonstrator in development at the build house, this was our first glimpse into the design thinking on display at Cobo Hall. Wow!

The AI17 demonstrator is a benchmark example of the advanced development of concepts by cross-discipline teams working on different continents. Adient is the leading supplier of seating to the automotive market with development centers and manufacturing facilities around the world. At a time when the cost pressures continue to increase from the OEMs, Adient remains committed to the advancement of seating with a laser focus on the end users, drivers and passengers. A little more about the AI17…

Read More

17 Jan

CES and Auto Show 2017 automotive insights

 

autonomous vehicles design

image source: maury fredricks @ CES 2017 BMW showroom

I’ve taken a bit of time to reflect on my experience over the past two weeks at CES and Auto Show.

The sequential timing of the shows this year was challenging. I am curious about what is going on behind the scenes with the planning teams for both shows. Will the shows be held during the first two weeks of January 2018 or will they get smart and collaborate on timing to attract more automotive attendees out to the desert? Schedules aside, it was a wonderful experience and I am energized about the future of the mobility business and the challenges ahead!

We find ourselves at unique moment in time to work on wicked problems for drivers and passengers. The trending for autonomous vehicles continues to pick up pace and it will not be long before we are able to call up a guided vehicle to make our way from point A to point B. The real work is just beginning… Read More

08 Jul

Conor Fredricks joins our family business!

Conor Fredricks, Industrial Designer

We have some great news to share…

Conor Fredricks has joined our family business. Conor graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design in May 2016 and was heavily recruited by design firms and corporations. We reminded him through the rigorous interview process that his name is on the door at Fredricks!

Conor completed his studies at the Kendall Campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Manchester, England in May 2016. He has been preparing for his new role with Fredricks since his formative years hanging around our studio. In addition to his wicked sketching abilities, he also has excellent rendering and Solidworks capabilities. Conor really likes building things and working through manufacturing challenges. We are really lucky that he decided to join us.

The addition of Conor to our core team in Grand Haven, Michigan brings us to four family members and two generations actively involved in the company. Ben Fredricks joined us in 2009 and will be key in Conor’s development working with our team.

Please join us in our celebration of this key milestone with Fredricks! A world of thanks to all of our Clients, advisors, suppliers and team members for making our success possible over the past 32+ years!

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