Be it a vacuum cleaner, a mobile phone or just a chair all of these industrial design examples have become a part and parcel of our lives. They have successfully blended with our day to day activities making our lives easy and comfortable.
Just as the name suggests, industrial design is all about balancing, being creative, conceptual and freeform thinking along with practical and industrial constraints of actually getting something made. It requires extensive knowledge of production processes, different materials and latest technologies.
Over the last few decades, some legendary designers have mastered the art of achieving this crucial balance, making these products into iconic stars. The following industrial designs are such that you may have not even seen them in the market or are at the design phase only. So, if you are interested in new gadgets or technologically advanced products for your smart home or a designer, the following list will help you understand these industrial design wonders.
1. Mini Cooper
The restriction in fuel supply during the 1950s caused due to the Suez crisis lead to the development of the Mini Cooper. Designer Alex Issigonis was given the responsibility of designing a car that was economical compared to the large cars of those times with the aim to compete with popular German car models like the original WV Beetle, which itself is a design classic. The original design was a true British icon that influenced a generation of car designers and was quite a revolutionary product of that time. The distinctive color of these cars is still quite popular even today.
2. Coke Contour Bottle
The coke bottle is immediately recognizable and is considered an industrial design master piece that has its history dating back to 1915. It was when Coca-Cola company asked its bottle suppliers to design a new bottle that would stand out and be recognizable even in the dark, it was designer Earl .R. Dean who took up this challenge.
Following the instructions from his boss he came up with a design that is based on the ingredients of the drink. He was unable to find any reference image for either the cocoa leaf or the kola nut, which in turn inspired him to use the image of a cocoa pod from his encyclopedia. This led to the invention of the iconic ribbed bottle shape of coke that we all are familiar with today.
3. Piaggio Vespa Scooter
The classic Vespa scooter that is very well-known worldwide has very Italian design aesthetics. But, the fact is the design for this scooter has been influenced from the World-War-II Cushman scooters that was made in the United States and shipped to Italy by the Allies to act as field transport for paratroopers and marines during the war. It was only after Piaggio involved aeronautical engineer Corradino D’Ascanio that the familiar scooter shape came into existence.
4. Hasselblad 500c Camera
During the World War II the Swedish government handed over the charge to design a camera to Victor Hasselblad that was similar to a German aerial surveillance camera that was recovered from a downed plane. This camera was studied and worked on for years and refined to eventually create the iconic 500C in the late 1950s. The camera was so popular that it became the anchor product for the Hasselblad Company for the next four decades. The popularity of these cameras was such that it was used by NASA during the Apollo missions to the moon.
5. Alessi Juicy Salif
Designed in 1990 by Phillipe Starck, the juicy Salif is considered one of the iconic industrial designs and has found place in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The citrus squeezer is made from aluminum, which is later polished. The design resembles a squid and according to the founder, Alessi was originally sketched out by Starck on a napkin while eating squid with lemon squeezed over it. This is a classic example of how a little bit of observation can inspire some iconic industrial designs.
6. Edge of Belgravia Knife
Knife is the strangest item to be included in the D&AD annual. Christian Bird a UK designer created a balanced industrial design that weighs up a sleek ceramic blade that will never need sharpening with an angular and soft touch handle. It is a work of art as well as a precision cutting tool. Each of these knives comes in a limited edition run of 999.
7. Rocking Wheel Chair
This rocking wheel chair is a fresh bold take on the favorite knitting grandmothers the world over curls round into a sleek and circular shape. Developed by a German Industrial designer and concept artist, Mathias Koehler’s rocking wheel chair enables a fluid rocking motion that also powers a reading light at the top. It still remains at the concept stage and we all are waiting eagerly for the finished product to arrive.
8. Dyson Cyclone Vacuum
The Dyson cyclone vacuum is a perfect industrial design product that thinks how a daily household product should work. In the 1970s, it was James Dyson who got inspired by an industrial cyclone system in a sawmill that gave him the idea to develop a bagless vacuum cleaner. He later on famously made over 5,000 prototypes in a workshop that he setup behind his house before he finally arrived at the DC01. Over the years, many different models of this classic industrial design have been developed since then, which also include the handheld version of the vacuum cleaner.
9. Bergmonch Folding Bike
Driving down a steep and rocky terrain on a mountain bike can be very interesting, but imagine reaching the summit; it can be a very slow and painful effort. For a mountaineer the climb is the best part of the effort, while the downward leg can be killer on the knees. This bike lets you do both by transforming the bike into a backpack to let you carry it with less effort.
10. Cipher Drinking Glass
Designed by Serbian designer Damjan Stankovic, this unusual take on the drinking glass is quite an inspiration. He has put fresh twists on different products like tea infuser to spaghetti fork. When these glasses are empty, it is covered in a seemingly random mosaic, but when it is filled with a colored liquid like milk, juice or cola, the squares join up to spell the name of the drink.
11. Eames Lounge Chair
The 1950s classic, Charles and Ray Eames lounge chair and ottoman combo was this couple’s first attempt at high-end furniture. They fashioned this living room lounge chair from moulded plywood and leather. The Eames lounge chair is such a luxurious piece of furniture that it would be seen in rich households and is popular for its comfort and style. Since its launch in the 1950s, this piece of furniture has been in production. This classic industrial design has got its place in the permanent collection at MoMA in New York.
12. Plumen 001 Light Bulb
The humble looking light bulb was stylishly presented by Samuel Wilkinson and got the prestigious D&AD black pencil award last year. Fluorescent glass tubes in this bulb twist around each other in an organic and harmonious way, giving the light bulb a nice good appearance. Not only is the design appealing, this light bulb uses 80% less electricity than the incandescent bulb.
These three devices are arguably the most iconic and celebrated industrial design innovations by designer, Sir Jonathan Ive. They have been a game changer of sorts. All these three devices have the ability to stand out from the rest on their own. The journey of these devices started way back in 2001 with the original iPod; the first iPhone was released in 2007; and the iPad followed three years later and the iPad mini came in 2012.
Apple has successfully designed its devices in such a beautiful way consistently that other desktops have been made to look bland or boring. Despite including all of its iOS devices into one entry, Cupertino’s finest still made to the list twice. Spearheading the reinvention of Apple in the late 90s, the all-in-one and bright colored boxes made the competitors boxes boring and ordinary. Since, then Apple has released many different, sleek and slim products that have remained iconic and special.
15. Rising Table
The design of this table defies the concept that a table need to have four spate legs and a flat surface. Based on the concept of rising chair, Robert Van Embricqs rising table uses a single piece of wood to transform into stylish looking furniture. He challenged the notion that a table needs to have four separate legs and a flat surface. This table design goes for an organic latticework of beams that are beautiful and functional in equal measure.
16. Curl Lamp
The curl lamp has been designed by a London based industrial designer Sebastian Bergne uses the concept of adjustable LED lighting to cycle between cool and warm white light. This beautiful and simple table lamp concept was introduced at interieur 2012 in Belgium. The curved design in this lamp allows the users to place the lamp in different positions.
17. 22 Hybrid Tube Amplifier
Minimalist industrial designs have always attracted attention. This is one more design masterpiece by Koichi Futatsumata that questions the complex design of the traditional valve amplifiers. It instead balances two beautifully simple amplifier tubes on the top with two large and stylish dials on the front. All of this is nicely set in a sleek metal outer shell making it an ideal product to be nominated for D&AD award for 2011.
18. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer
The silhouette of the Kitchen Aid Stand mixer has not changed over the years. Designed in 1914, for the purpose of industrial use on US navy battleships, the Kitchen Aid stand mixer made entry to our homes first in 1918, but it was only in the 1930s that Egmont Arens patented Silhouette that has remained unchanged for years has turned into an iconic product of American industrial design. This product is exhibited in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
19. Moody Aquarium Sink
The Moody aquarium sink is a beautiful take on the simple wash basin, even though it may not be very practical for the home considering the cost. This sink will take you back by $4500. This luxurious wash basin is a nice twist to the plain porcelain basins we are used to. If you want to have an aquarium in your bathroom, then this is a good combination that works. The product is sold and fitted by opulent items.
20. Ladder (Concept)
This ladder design is a conceptual design that showcases a super strong ladder that is stylish as well as practical. This ladder is just 20mm thick and is a concept for the domestic ladder that works on the rotational moulding process for creating a lightweight and a super strong product that is great on the utility front. This industrial design idea is a joint venture between Kerman Gomez, Andrea Gross Gaiani, Alessio Monzani, and Martina Fagiani, who were students from Milan and studied together.
21. Tip Ton Chair
The Tip Ton chair is durable, lightweight and easily stackable making it a simple and classic plastic moulded chair that is practical. Barber Osgerby’s Tip Ton chair lets you switch between two different seating positions; relaxed and forward leaning. The unique shape of this chair allows you to rock forward, but the chair remains in place due to the uniquely designed skids. This industrial design has won the D&AD yellow pencil award.
22. Anglepoise Lamp
The Anglepoise lamp is a classic and timeless piece of design that was conceived in 1932 by George Carwardine, a car designer who was into vehicle suspension at that time. His expertise in this field inspired the versatile four spring mechanism that defines the Anglepoise lamp. The purpose of designing this lamp was for use in surgeries and workshops, but a similar version with three springs came up for domestic purposes.
23. LO Mindport
Mindport has been seen as the workspace of the future by its creators Lista Office. It was designed by the multi-award winning creative team Carmen and Urs Greutmann. Made completely from steel, this design is about its functionality and versatility. It has zones for conducting an ad-hoc meeting while keeping the open plan feel.
Maglite were introduced in 1979, with krypton or xenon bulbs and variable length beams. Maglite are so popular that they have become collectible items. They had limited and special editions and came with custom paint schemes. Now, they use LED bulbs and due to their functionality and power, it became the flashlight of many, even the police forces. Recently, LAPD withdrew the usage of Maglite because of the controversy surrounding its double usage as a baton.
Which Inspiring design product do you have in your home?
A well-designed product has the ability to make our lives easier, more efficient, and even more enjoyable. In a world where so much is mass-produced, it’s inspiring to see examples of industrial design that reflect a commitment to quality, craftsmanship, and aesthetics.
From sleek kitchen appliances to innovative medical devices, these products demonstrate the power of good design. And while not all of us have the budget to purchase high-end designer items, we can all appreciate the beauty and utility of well-made products. So take a look at these 25 inspiring examples of industrial design, and be inspired to create something beautiful yourself.