Lugano-based consumer electronics manufacturer Punkt. has been working in collaboration with the Product Design MA students and staff of ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne, to develop prototypes of potential future Punkt. products. Eight prototypes have been selected for display at the prestigious Fuori Salone fringe event that surrounds the Salone del Mobile in Milan this April.
The collaboration resulted from an approach made by the Product Design department at ECAL, and took the form of the students designing products to fit within Punkt.’s design brief. Petter Neby, Punkt.’s founder and president, was pleased to get involved. He has always been keen on working with the educational sector, saying “It’s always good to maintain links with each new generation of designers. It keeps our business fresh, which is good for us, but I do also believe that companies have a duty to contribute to the education of people they will eventually be wanting to employ.”
Petter visited ECAL at the beginning of the project, and explained to the students about the ethos that underpins everything Punkt. does: technology shouldn’t impede the subtle nuances of human communication and interaction – it should be servant, not master. He also gave the students valuable insights into the realities of creating consumer electronics products, including costing, components, supply chains, certification and safety issues. The students then got to work, designing products that would be in keeping with this real-world design briefing.
Also involved was the Jasper Morrison Office for Design. Jasper Morrison is a British product designer of immense international standing within the global design scene. He was selected by Punkt. at the very beginning of the company, as Petter felt that his emphasis on combining minimalism with practicality exactly fitted with what Punkt. was planning to achieve. Jasper Morrison’s chief designer, John Tree, worked with the students mid-way through the course, assisting them in the secondary phase of the design process.
Thilo Alex Brunner, head of ECAL’s Product Design MA course, was responsible for approaching Punkt. He said: “To co-operate with both Petter and the Jasper Morrison Office for Design means a great deal for us, since we share many ‘Swiss’ design values such as efficiency and simplicity – but always with an element of surprise.”
The culmination of the project will be a display of eight prototypes within Punkt.’s display area at the stunning Palazzo Litta during the Fuori Salone design festival in Milan.
The final-year students product ideas are diverse and range from weather stations to wall printers, and torches to televisions.