Which home product is in desperate need of a redesign?

This week, we wrote about Dyson filing a patent for a toothbrush that squirts jets of water into the user’s mouth. We ask designers which other domestic appliance they would like to see reimagined.

Sebastian Conran, creative director at Sebastian Conran Associates. Photo by Matt Austin
Sebastian Conran, creative director at Sebastian Conran Associates. Photo by Matt Austin

“I started using a Water Pick in 1982 and now have the Phillips equivalent, which I have to say is a bit of a faff to use as an ultrasonic toothbrush – I look forward to getting my teeth into the Dyson.

Maybe with many apparent functional innovations available today it is the marketing and branding that is the strongest suite. There can be a fine line between useful gadgets and feckless gimmicks – the key is to actually improve experience of life and not create landfill.”

Sebastian Bergne, director, Sebastian Bergne Ltd
Sebastian Bergne, director, Sebastian Bergne Ltd

“A consumer product which drives me mad every time I see one being used is the leaf blower. They seem to be the least efficient solution to gathering leaves possible.

Using a petrol engine to drive a fan to create wind that approximately blows the leaves in a vague direction just seems wrong. To top it all, the noise they produce shatters the atmosphere of the environment in which they are used. There has to be a better way.”

Rowan Williams, designer, Seymourpowell
Rowan Williams, designer, Seymourpowell

“When designing products we think of entire experiences, which include a convergence of physical and digital ecosystems. Many domestic appliances would benefit from this thinking, but the real opportunity for designers is how we can change consumer behaviours to adopt a culture of repair, refurbish and reuse that improves the longevity of products – the circular economy.

This is something we have realised at Seymourpowell through our involvement with Fairphone. When designing product experiences, designers need to apply this rationale and strive to make it a reality.

Imagine retro fitting your existing appliances with technology to make them clever and in turn prolonging their life beyond landfill. There is no domestic appliance that wouldn’t desperately benefit from this thinking.”

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  • Khalil Hanna December 4, 2016 at 10:41 am


    Thank you Aimée. Actually I’ve been waiting for this topic for long, so I can tell my disappointment regarding number of products or behaviours we grown with. Sometimes a small tweak made to known products can change it to an intuitive product, and can help simplifying our daily life. Starting from small tools in the kitchen to a big transportation machines for picking up huge number of employees everyday to work.

    Most of the time, observing small things which is not obvious to normal people can change the overall behaviour of known products or tools.

    To answer your question regarding home gadgets or tools used in our home, I must tell my personal experience in doing a change in how we can deal with the bathroom door handle, and we need to apply this for sure in public bathrooms because the danger is bigger.

    Door handles is a revolutionary invention, but through time some tools must go through redesign cycle in order to cover the challenges.

    In fact I’m not a product designer, I’m a UI/UX designer and for long I loved to observe why things can’t be reproduced in new ways.

    My addition to door handles was to convert the door handle to be a sterilization tool, I know that you will say that may other people thought about it, but I’m trying to make mandatory not a choice.

    People sometimes forget to do an obviously disposal action to clean hands using water or special wipes or even using hygiene. But What I’m trying to say that some changes on daily tools can save lives.

    I’ll be happy to share me your thoughts regarding this or anything we use in our homes. If anyone interested to share my tries please send me and lets discuss more about it.

    Hope I didn’t make it long but I feel excited regarding designing products.

  • John Frieda December 8, 2016 at 11:09 am

    There were rumours many years ago that Dyson was designing a far more efficient and environmentally friendly version of air conditioning unit. Having worked in the Middle East, where these machines are in abundance, I’d say it’s introduction is more pressing than a new toothbrush or hair dryer.

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