Reinventing Doorknobs and Lamps via "Squishy Design"
From our friends at Fast Company, "bridging the fuzzy border between design and business."
Dieter Volkers combines hard iron and soft materials to add clever new functions to everyday objects.
We love it when designers attempt to reinvent the mundane, and Netherlands-based inventor Dieter Volkers basically makes that his whole job. He combines squishy materials with traditionally rigid objects to create whimsical products like this doorknob that doubles as an air horn to announce incoming guests.
Dieter Volkers must not have Jehovah's Witnesses in his neighborhood.
"My fascination with [combining these materials] is when you squeeze the soft material, you create new beautiful forms," Volkers tells Co.Design. "You can't design those forms on paper, only by experimental research. I just love to design in this way." These new textures are most apparent in the soft "clamp lamps":
Volkers says that building and fabricating his own parts is essential to his design explorations. To create his ball clamps shown below, he used a rotational molding machine and flexible molds. Not only do they look useful for holding delicate or fragile objects, they could also double as perfect baby toys -- plenty of springy grip, but no way to hurt little fingers.
"My collection represents the actions of our daily lives," Volkers writes on his site. "Central is the value of 'normal' things and acts, such as passing a door." Finding new ways to recombine old materials is the essence of design, and Volkers's squishy approach nails it. (Or softly clamps it.)