Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Distinctive Monday: Philippe Starck's Juicy Salif' Lemon Squeezer

Ok, yes I know a couple of days late, but I have been busy with work and university sorting out, only a week and half until I go, its came so quick. Right this week is a completely different product to last weeks as I want this blog to contain a wide range of iconic products, not just gadgets.

This week I have chosen Philippe Starck’s Lemon Squeezer designed and manufactured in 1989. This design was somewhat controversial when it was first released, as many designers questioned its impractical design. However, this product is now recognised world wide for its innovative design that introduces the concept of sculpture into its function. Although the product is classed as a work of art, we cannot forget that people buy this as a product.

Soooo Philippe Starck:
You should really know who he is but I will give you a recap. Renowned for his innovative yet critical approach to design, he has become one of the most globally recognised designers of the ‘new’ design style. His French based company focuses on creating useful products with distinctive aesthetics to capture a target audience globally. One of Starck’s strengths is that he has not restricted his design to one specific area. He designs for a large range of markets from industrial design to small products such as a toothbrush. Starck focuses on mass-marketing ‘useful’ products and adds his own style to make the product look organic, streamlined and unique. This makes his products stand out in the market as they make other products competing look, well boring to be blunt. He is a pretty impressive man and he is well worth reading up as many of his theories will change the way you think about your own designs and other peoples. He was in the BBC 2 program ‘Design for Life’ last winter, a fantastic series that showed you a detailed account of how he looks at design, openly criticising the contestant’s ideas but improving them greatly throughout the series. Well worth a watch. Here is a link to the trailer on Youtube:
Philippe Starck.
The Aesthetics:
The product itself is a well-known design of Starck and has become an iconic product. The lemon squeezer has an obvious function and purpose but this is not the success of the design. The key success of this design is the aesthetics. Shaped so elegantly and streamlined with a futuristic style, this product certainly stands out to other lemon squeezers on the market. The product is also simple, as it is only made out of one material (cast aluminium) and dye-casted within one mould. This reduces its carbon footprint and makes it much cheaper to manufacture via mass production. The aluminium has a mirror polished finish that makes the material much more appealing to the consumer. It gives the product an expensive look and makes it much more eye catching. The finish also makes the product easy to clean and wipe after use making it very hygienic. The design is also very eloquent, mimicking a futuristic rocket in my eyes. This product definitely brings something new into the kitchen that is an eye catcher to any guest you may have.

Juicy Salif' Lemon Squeezer, note its unique form and shape.
The function:
The function of the product as a lemon squeezer does in fact work quite well. It uses gravity as its key action to bring the lemon juice down towards a dish underneath. The shape also allows juice to stay on the surface of the product as it drops down, minimising mess. Due to the product been manufactured from one mould, the product is very strong and distributes pressure and force from squeezing the lemon evenly across the three legs. That is basically it in terms of function. A great product that doesn’t use technology, but just makes lemon squeezing simpler due to its unique shape. However, saying this, the function of the product has created debate amongst users as people say that it creates mess when in use. Starck in reply to these remarks defended his design with this famous quote:

"It's not meant to squeeze lemons, it is meant to start conversations."
Philippe Starck

This product is a prime example of how a simple innovative twist on a product can have great effect. The product uses simple design with an innovative taste, making it unique on the market increasing its sales. It was so effective the art community has named it as a model as well as a product. This product now stands proud in the museum of modern art in New York, and for good reason too. People celebrate it as a piece of form over function. Starck introduced another dimension into product design and made it less risky for other designers to add an element of ‘different’ into their own work. For this, I respect him greatly and his work.

The lemon squeezer in use.
So there you have it, something completely different to last week. Next week I will try and be on time :P haha. What do you think to Philippe Starck and his lemon squeezer? Discuss below...

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Speak soon x

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