Tag Archives: Concepts

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.

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.

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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.

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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…

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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

14 Jan

CES 2016 insights

 

Photo by John F. Martin for Delphi.

A visit to CES is like taking a trip to Europe. You have to choose where you spend your time or you run the risk of experiential overload. There is a lot to see and too little time. A high degree of patience is required for any visit to Las Vegas. There are people everywhere and dinner reservations are at a premium. These, of course, are developed world problems and I was lucky to be able to experience the show over two busy days.

CES is set up in 2.74m square feet of space housed in three different venues from the north of the Strip to the south end. There were 3800 companies exhibiting and the show attracted approximately 175k visitors from North America, Europe, Asia and many other countries. The investment in manpower, travel, marketing, show design, exhibit fabrication, setup and tear down must be an astronomical number. It’s really amazing that anyone with business credentials, a nominal fee for entry and the desire to walk miles every day can experience everything the show has to offer. Read More

30 Nov

Ben Fredricks celebrates 6.0 years with our company!

Ben Fredricks, Industrial Designer

Ben Fredricks joined our family business on November 30, 2009 and it’s been a wonderful journey, so far!

They say that height and talent skip a generation. This is entirely the case in our family. Please note that, Ben is not standing on a soapbox in the photo above.

Ben is a well rounded designer with the ability to sketch, render, model and figure out how things will work when the concepts ultimately go into production. Read More

30 Sep

What is Freespace in the Product Development Process?

Freespace - first phase in product development process

What is Freespace?

It’s the first phase in our product development process and it’s where unmet needs are identified and product ideas begin to surface for future exploration and development. Freespace is a word we came up with to describe the wide open, exploration of unmet needs and end user problems.

This is how we briefly describe Freespace on our website:

“Using primary/secondary research and a preliminary business case, we analyze the market needs and potential with our client to identify the challenges and opportunities ahead”.

Let’s unpack this description and dive a little deeper into how we work in early phase exploration of unmet needs? Read More

31 Mar

Auto Show 2015 | a project case study

Auto Show 2015 | a project case studyOverview

All of our clients struggle with the same challenges; they have limited internal design and engineering resources, too many projects and not enough time to complete them. They are also looking for fresh insights to develop new products that build an emotional connection with the end user. This situation is prevalent across all markets and companies.

The annual North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is held in January in Detroit. Many of our clients begin scrambling in early fall for resources to meet tight timelines and technical challenges to prepare properties and prototypes for the show.

This brief case study follows our work with a key client from September 2014 through the installation of show properties at NAIAS in January 2015.

How we started?

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