One of my most inspiring colleagues, Graeme Findlay, an unassuming Scot who works in our London office, created one of my favorite empathically-designed products, Makalös, for IKEA.
Tasked with the job of designing a storage system for children that complemented IKEA’s iconic Billy Bookcase range, Graeme started at the source: he watched children: how they play, how they relate to each other, how they store their stuff. Through that observation he realized that children have a unique spacial relationship to furniture, assume different permissions around and on it, and of course want everything to be an opportunity to play, not a chore to be upheld.
This in turn led him to designing something that bore no resemblance to the traditional bookcase in a primary color or with fun animals painted on it, as would be expected.
Instead he designed Makalös; rubber hangers with a gripper system into which toys can be squeezed to hold them in place. Available in two sizes, Makalös also opens up space-saving storage possibilities beyond the realm of the traditional cupboard - attach one to a wall, chest of drawers or under a table and watch the little ones race to unwittingly declutter their room.
What Of It? This to me is all about seeing a problem at eye level and not from above, in this case, both literally and metaphorically. We often bandy about the phrase “beginners mind” in design circles, but I think this is a rare instance where it has been applied. I love this story, and tell it often.
I am Curious about the idea of shifting vantage to gain advantage.