Joe Doucet x Odabashian
Can designing a rug be a social statement?
For our second collaboration with the Odabashian, I wanted to do something quite meaningful and to serve a larger purpose. Odabashian works in several traditional techniques, and Jaime Odabashian and I spoke about doing a different rug for each technique around a central theme. There is little difference in designing a rug than designing a poster. It is in essence a work of graphic design which is placed on the floor rather that a wall, but it serves as a large canvas which could be used to express an idea. I put this thought in the back of my mind and let it simmer for a while with the hopes that something would present itself to me in due time.
It didn’t take long. A day or two after the conversation with Jaime, Trump tweeted a ban of transgender people serving in the military. A brief period of shock quickly turned to anger. How could we single out a group of people so brave that they are willing to endure so much to live their lives the way they feel they were born to be? What could I as a designer do to show support for them. The rug project came to mind, but honestly didn’t at first seem like a likely medium for support. It also seemed a risk that I might be tone deaf in using a series of rugs as a form of protest. I decided that instead of protesting their discrimination, it might be better to celebrate their bravery. With no small trepidation, I opened up my sketchbook and began working.
The uniting theme of the series became Transcendence. I wanted to capture the beauty of outwardly becoming what you are internally. The four rugs each attempt to convey this thought in a different visual language. I shared the concept and designs with Jaime, not knowing if he was willing to go down this path with me, but to my delight, he was willing to throw his hat into the ring. A few months later and the entire collection was ready. I hope the rugs and the thought behind them are received with and understanding of the intent that each of us have a responsibility to use our skills to stand up for what is right. We chose to donate our royalties to the ACLU, the organization who fights the fight for equality for all in the US.
Can gloves make running more exciting?
Reebok approached us though their agency in London, M&C Saatchi, to come up with a project to highlight their new Flexweave material. After a conference call where my business partner Richard and I asked many questions around the specifics of the project, we came away with the sense that the opportunity could be quite interesting. There was no specific brief other than that whatever we did had to use the material and be something that could physically be presented and should relate to running. A fairly wide open brief can be an intimidating place to start, but we decided to commit to the project with a blind faith that we would come up with something that would work for them.
After receiving samples of the novel material, we were asked to submit ideas within a few days. When I looked at the construction, the fact that there were parts of it that had a bit of a grip contrasted with other sections that were quite open and breathable, the idea of a glove popped into my head. A day or two later when pressed with what we were going to do I shot back “a glove”. Met by silence, I quickly followed up with “a glove that makes running far more interesting.” I could hear their enthusiasm on the line followed by a green light to the project and a deadline to have a fully functioning prototype ready in three weeks when a crew would be coming to film a video around the glove and its making. In fact, I had no idea of how to make a glove that would make running more interesting and had painted myself in quite a corner with an impossible deadline approaching.
I quickly decided to focus on the occasional runner rather that the die-hard. What pain points could a glove address? In asking what the number one problem was, I encountered “boredom” over and over again. Running was to some people monotonous and in that problem there was an opportunity. What if each time you ran you had no idea where you were running to? The idea occurred to me that if you were to put into an app the distance you wanted to run and a program figured out a novel route, each run could be more exciting, as well as show you things you would otherwise not see. The gloves themselves, via bluetooth sensors, could navigate you through haptic and visual cues as to your next turn. When the crew showed up three weeks later, the prototypes were complete and ready for their debut on the streets of London a week after that.
Can a bike appear different in the morning and evening?
I first encountered Tokyobike when their shop opened in New York opposite The New Museum. I was struck by the deeply strong branding of the shop, the considered curation of the accessories and the quality of the bikes themselves. A few months after the shop opened, Billy Melnyk, the CEO of Soto (pg??), asked me to go to a meeting at their PR firm as Soto was going to sponsor an opening at Tokyobike and wanted me to give some direction on how the brand should present itself. I was quite delighted there to run into an old colleague whom I greatly admired, Dean Di Simone. I was even more delighted to know that it was he, along with his wife Juliana, who owned Tokyobike in America and was responsible for the shop. After this meeting, Dean and I began a friendship that resulted in OTHR as well as this project for Tokyobike.
I was asked by Dean and Julianna to create a limited edition bike for display in their window during NYCxDesign, the official design week in New York. The brief was quite open but the parameters were quite narrow. I could only use paint as custom parts would not be practical given time and fiscal restraints. It is in my nature to love a challenging brief and I love nothing more than working with people I admire, so I set to work on a concept.
I began by thinking about how one uses a bike in NYC. A bike here is less a weekend recreational vehicle and more of a mode of daily transport back and forth to work. The thought occurred to me that you watch one ride a bike in one direction in the morning and watched them ride back in the opposite direction in the evening. Wouldn’t it be interesting if those appeared to be two different bikes? Fresh in the AM and showing the wear of the day in the PM? A simple sketch was presented to them of a bike painted two colors split straight down the middle. A few weeks later, the bike arrived in the shop.
Joe Doucet x Nude
Can contemporary design preserve tradition?
When the design legend Gaye Cevekil, founder of Gaia & Gino, asked me to design a collection for the Turkish glassware brand Nude, where she had recently taken the role of Creative Director, I lept at the opportunity. I had known Gaye for many years and we had been looking for a project to work on together. The brief was quite open and there was a long list of typologies to choose from. In scanning the list, whisky decanter jumped out at me. It was a dusty category which brought to mind mustachioed gentlemen pouring drinks in a Victorian parlor. It seems the perfect item to be rethought for a modern home.
I began the project with a bit of research into the history of decanters. There was a time when it would have been considered quite gauche to serve a whisky or gin to a guest from a bottle with a label on it. Fast forward to the early 21st Century, and the opposite is true. One is almost defined by the brands they associate with, and the label on the bottle you serve to a guest says more about you that the glassware it comes in. Could we change that?
Having recently been indoctrinated in the appreciation of single malt scotch, I decided that rather than focusing on a general decanter, I would work on one specifically designed to house Scotch and pay tribute to the spiritual home of whisky, Scotland. There was born Alba, the Gaelic word for Scotland. Nude is known for its exquisite and detailed glass cutting techniques, and I chose to employ this to create a deconstructed Tartan pattern on the bottom of the decanters and glass, both reflecting tradition and giving a literal contemporary edge to the collection.
The defining feature, however, was the stopper. I wanted something that both lent an edge to the piece and made it immediately recognizable. After running through an assortment of materials, we settled on marble, both for its nobility and its unusual association as a stopper for a decanter. The material choice in itself didn’t seem strong enough to set this apart from historical decanters. It needed something more. The idea then came that if the stopper wasn’t vertical, it would truly look unique. We further tied this into the concept, by suggesting the owner always lean the stopper in the direction of Scotland no matter where they were in the world.
Joe was honored to be featured on the new advertising campaign for Theory's new Neoteric textile. More information to be found at Theory.com
Can a meeting place become a metaphor?
Dupont, who make the extremely versatile and interior designer go-to material Corian, decided that as part of their sponsorship of the inaugural Design Pavilion in the iconic Astor Place in NYC, they would like to commission an installation making use of the material. The theme of the event was “Blurring Boundaries” and was meant to celebrate the intersection of the different fields of design. They chose as their curator the legendary American designer, Harry Allen. They wanted a piece for the pavilion that would serve as the focus of the event and Harry was tasked in finding the right person and the right concept to pull it off.
When I received the call from Harry asking if I would be interested in creating a centerpiece anchoring the exhibit, I without hesitation said yes. I’ve long been interested in working with Corian as it allows for seamless forms to be realized in a way impossible for most materials and with Harry at the creative helm, I knew we would have the ability to do something very interesting.
The brief quickly coalesced into a central bar where visitors, exhibitors and journalists alike could work, discuss events of the day and ultimately unwind over a cocktail in the evening, so ultimately the design should reflect the theme of Blurring Boundaries. I chose for the overall form an intersection of two angles that would serve to welcome one in from the outside and gently suggest one stray from the inside. Each angle coming from divergent directions as a metaphor for different points of view and experiences, but that converged into something interesting, complex and beautiful in the center. The result was a twisting form where the two angles met, which seemed physically impossible, and in fact could only really be achieved using the Corian material. I felt the brief was dutifully and artistically resolved.
Can a container serve multiple functions?
I was approached by Claesson Koivisto Rune, the preeminent Swedish design studio to contribute a design to Smaller Objects, a retail brand they established in 2015. Being huge fans of both their work and of the new model of empowering designers to have more of an ownership role in the success of the brand, I of course said yes. Their roster of designers was small, but of the very best talent in the world. I will admit I was a little intimidated, but promised to deliver something simple, functional and understated as there are defining characteristics of their brand. Creating something both simple and having a strong and unique idea is one of the most difficult challenges for a designer. It is much easier to create something that is a statement piece, but I resigned myself not to fall into the temptation of a quick “win”, but rather meet their brief head on.
We designed several versions of small containers in the studio, and although there were many that I considered beautiful, there was something lacking. Just doing an aesthetically pleasing object is not something that gives me satisfaction. I always strive for an idea first and let the aesthetic form make that idea clear. However, with this project I was afraid that no ideas that were suitable were coming and the deadline was quickly approaching and I would have to give them a “beautiful” container.
A day before the design was due, the idea struck me that a container had a top and bottom. What if they could both be used together and independently of each other? A quick sketch, some renders and an email later, we all agreed this would be the product we would launch, which a few weeks later we did.
Can we create the first sake brand asked for by name in the west?
Soto kicked off when I was approached by Billy Melnyk, who wanted to create the first brand of Sake that one could order by name in the west. Billy and I had worked together on a few projects when he was at the Bacardi Group based in Miami. We got along very well and shared an ambition to do great work, so when he proposed introducing an exquisite sake to an American audience, I immediately agreed to come on board.
While Billy and his team were hard at work recruiting the top sake brewer in Japan, we were hard at work on the brand and packaging. After reviewing hundreds of names, we all settled on Soto, meaning “outside” in Japanese. It seemed appropriate for countless reasons, but most pointedly as we were bringing the very best of this spirit at the heart of Japanese culture to the west in a way never done before. The idea of a hole through the bottle was a direct offshoot of the name allowing one to view the “outside” world through the sake. We chose to keep a great deal of Japanese characters on the bottle to reflect the fact that this wasn’t a western sake, but a super premium sake brewed in the traditional methods in the historic Niigata region.
One hurdle we faced was that our bottling facility in Kyoto wasn’t equipped to insert corks in the sake, only the screw cap found on most sake bottles. This was an issue as most westerners see a screw cap as “cheap” when our product was one of the finest Junmai Daigingo (the highest level of sake) ever produced under $50. The solution was to cover the cap. Billy suggested Japanese denim, which was a stroke of genius. We the chose to train our sales teams to teach a ritual when taking off the cloth topper. First to use it to wipe down the inevitable condensation that would appear on the chilled bottle, and then to set the cloth on the table and present the bottle on top of it. This bit of sleight-of-hand completely distracted from the screw cap, and turned a potential liability into a powerful strength.
In addition to winning numerous awards for the packaging design, we are most proud of the fact that the sake itself has received even more accolades, including “Best in Show” at the Beverly Hills Mico Liquor Competition out of every category, and has received a rating of 92 whereas the “World’s Best Tasting Vodka” has a rating of 87.
Can a design show that 3D Printing has come of age?
When starting OTHR, I knew one of the biggest hurdles we would face would be convincing other designers that 3D Printing could produce useful, aesthetic and unique objects ready for consumers to purchase and use. Most designers are quite familiar with 3D Printing but use it only for prototyping to check form and fit prior to traditional manufacturing. Most were unfamiliar with the fact that one could print in bronze, steel and porcelain. I knew I needed some physical examples to put in front of them to instill confidence that the technology just needed good design to make it a relevant form of manufacture. I set off to design something compelling as a sales tool to get them excited.
I wanted to choose a typology that was something that most adults have in their home at some point in their life but had never really been considered by a designer before. Rummaging through my home I came across a cake set. I was certain my wife and I had received it as a wedding present, but it was certainly something that we wouldn’t have bought for ourselves. It reeked of the 19th century and was something I was certain that it was a typology that most designers wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. It seemed the perfect object for my purposes.
I wanted to function to be perfectly obvious but somehow fresh and unique. I also wanted precision to highlight what 3D Printed Bronze, which most designers at the time had not yet seen could be. I worked mostly on the relationship between the cake server and the knife and settled on an asymmetrical yet harmonious relationship between the two. I ordered a few sets from our 3D Printing manufacturer and took them around with me when recruiting the first batch of designers for OTHR.
I was delighted and surprised that this elite group of the most talented designer in the world were not only impressed with the quality of the printing, but were effusive in praising the design of the object itself. So much so that we decided to launch it for sale in the innagural collection of OTHR. It did quite well for us. The Cru Cake Set was also chosen by the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum as the first 3D Printed functional object in its permanent collection.
Can charity and technology go hand in hand?
A Tie Collection Designed Specifically for 3D-knitting by Joe Doucet for Thursday Finest.
This project first came about when I was asked to give a talk at a joint venture between the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design. I had made my way to the bar for a much needed glass of wine when I was intercepted by Michael and Veronica, the founders of Thursday Finest, a brand using 3D knitting to disrupt the traditional structure of men’s accessories. I was intrigued by their ambition and enthusiasm for a technology that could eliminate waste, as I have long thought the same. I took their card and promised a visit to their manufacturing facility in Bushwick in Brooklyn.
A few days later I found myself standing in their small shop in from of a very impressive 3D knitting machine that they had recently acquired in Japan. I determined then and there that we would do a project together, although I had no idea what it would be. We shook hands and I left to the airport for a work trip to Europe.
While in the car ride to JFK, I began thinking about something Michael had explained to me. If one were to order a 3D knitted tie, it could be completely customized to whatever that consumer wanted. They would enter in their height and the type of knot they would tie, choose their colors and pattern, and a tie would come out of the machine exactly to their fit requirements. Bespoke technology. I thought about the tie and the image of a tie bar, the accessory which holds the tie in place, came to mind. The tie bar should always be placed between the second and third button of a shirt. If a design were to be placed in the same position using their 3D Knitting machine and input parameters from the user, the design would always appear in the proper place, between the second and third buttons. A design only possible using their machines. The idea was born.
As I settled in my seat in the airplane, I called them up and explained the design concept to them. When I landed in Paris, I had a photo waiting for me of a finished prototype. Technology! A few color choices later and we had a collection ready to go in under a week. A design only possible using 3D Knitting. I chose to donate my royalties from sales to Career Gear, a charity which provides business appropriate clothing to those who couldn’t otherwise afford it.
Joe Doucet x Horm
Can an annoyance become inspiration?
Every Thanksgiving we host quite a large dinner at our country home upstate for an extended group of friends and family. One of the rituals involves going into the basement to bring out the extension for the table in order to accommodate the large group. Not only is this process irksome, but I have never encountered an extending table which I would personally consider designed to be quite easily extended. I put this problem on my long list of problems I would like to one day design and there it rested for a number of years.
I had the good fortune to meet Renato, the owner of the Italian design company Horm at a dinner in Milan. We spoke for some time and began talking about some problems we were both working on. He mentioned that he had been thinking of doing a well designed extending table but had yet seen a design that both worked well and would appeal to a contemporary design lover. I said for some time I had been thinking of the same problem and we decided there that we would work on it together as a collaboration. When I headed back to New York a few days later, the work began.
I decided the problem to focus on was the process of extending the table itself. To make an incredibly smooth system which on person could easily handle without the need for help. I also say an opportunity to house not only the extension piece within the table, but also to allow storage for other items such as the longer tablecloths which are only used with the table is at full extension.
Horm is know for their technical brilliance, and within a short time the engineering on the designs I submitted were complete. The table worked perfectly and was quite subtle in its elegance. There was only one problem. The design was too subtle and the innovations would be easily overlooked. We chose and interesting detail to the legs to be the answer. A slight turn which made the table feel light as if it could move on its own. As if it could dance a tango. The name stuck.
Can office furniture instantly adapt to changing needs?
Flexible Work System for Skandiform
While in Stockholm attending their annual design week, I had the pleasure of meeting Niklas Dahlman, the Product Development Manager of Skandiform, the Swedish furniture brand. We discussed the possibility of collaborating together on a project and I brought up a few sketches. One that struck a chord was an early idea on a seating system for open offices that allowed the users to quickly configure it to different purposes. We agreed that this would be the project we developed together.
We quickly drew up a list of need-states that would be useful to the modern working environment. A semi-private area, work-surfaces, lighting and power ports seemed a natural. The larger question was, how to seamlessly incorporate them into a seating system while allowing them to be reconfigured with minimal effort. After sketching out many possible solutions, everything felt like it was overly complicated. Feeling frustrated, I decided to put the project to the side for a few weeks hoping for a breakthrough to present itself when the task wasn’t in front of mind. After some time had passed and I viewed the project with fresh eyes the answer seemed obvious. We would insert tables, lighting and power supply directly into the legs, allowing one to switch positions on the fly.
Although we felt this was a novel and expedient approach, it wasn’t the true innovation in the product. The simplified construction method we employed to make the leg system accommodate the different options meant that the entire piece could be assembled in the warehouse just prior to shipping to the customer. Typically pieces of this scale are assembled in the factory, then shipped to the warehouse taking a great deal of volume and therefore greatly increasing the environmental footprint. This simple innovation led to one of the most environmentally friendly office systems to date. This is the feature of the project which gives me the most pleasure and satisfaction.
Can not choosing between two options become a clear choice?
I was asked by Kiel Mead, a friend and the founder of the American Design Club, to contribute an original design for a candlestick to be debuted in an exhibit titled “Curse the Darkness,” alongside friends and colleges in the American design scene. I love these sort of challenges as they can be a welcome distraction from some of the more complex projects going on in the studio.
The conceptual phase was quite succinct. The first thought to occur was to determine if I should work on a taper candle or a tealight holder. Having trouble deciding, the thought presented itself that I didn’t have to choose at all. I would design a candle holder that worked with both. I wanted the concept to be obvious, so rather that just providing two-sided holes in which to insert the candles, I decided to make the holder with two sides, one for each candle type. From there the work began. How to elegantly incorporate the two different functions into one body consumed more than a few pages in my sketchbook.
The result was Janus, named in reference to the Roman god with two faces, which seemed to me a natural moniker for the work. The form was a study in simplicity and understatement where its dual usage is meant to be both clear and prominent. Janus remains one of my favorite little projects.
Solid Steel Plated and Polished in Copper, Silver and Black Nickel
Tall 2.5”ø x 5” Med 2.5”ø x 3.5” Small 2.5”ø x 2”
Photo: Kendall Mills
Can a mirror change your perspective?
Joe Doucet x Dune
Richard Shemtov, the founder of Dune, approached me about doing a collaboration for his brand. Having been a fan of both Richard, who had recently designed the seating in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and his brand Dune for years, I grabbed my sketchbook and headed to his SoHo showroom for a meeting. Sitting down over an espresso, I asked him if he had anything in mind. He responded that he thought I should design a mirror. The Fathom Mirror had met with a good deal of press and I had recently been asked by a few companies to do a version of it for production. Not interested in turning what I thought was a strong statement into a watered down concept for sales, I politely declined those offers. When I asked Richard if he was suggesting doing the Fathom mirror, he had no idea what that was or that I had in fact designed another mirror. Regardless, he suggested we do something completely different.
I began by thinking that I wanted to do something as far away from Fathom as I could make it. I started thinking deeply about the function of a mirror. A mirror is there to show you how you appear from the perspective of someone looking directly at you. Following a contrary line of thought, I began to think what if a mirror didn’t show the viewer from one perspective, but showed their environment from multiple perspectives? In fact, if one were standing in front of the mirror, they wouldn’t see themselves at all, but reveal a new way of seeing the world around them.
I grabbed some reflective paper and starting cutting out shapes. After countless versions, I landed on a few forms I felt captured the concept and would make an intriguing piece when placed on a wall. I then laser-cut some small models from mirrored acrylic, taped them together and headed to meet Richard at Dune. He seemed to like it and let me know they would run some numbers, do some tests and get back to me.
About six months later, I received an invitation to the opening of the new Dune showroom featuring the launch of the Loverboy mirrors by Joe Doucet. With great anticipation and a bit of trepidation, I headed to the opening. I have seldom before been so pleasantly surprised. The mirrors were impressive in scale and exquisitely crafted, and standing in front of them, I saw the environment in a completely new perspective.
Loverboy Rectangular: 44.5"w X 5.25"d X 35.75”h
Loverboy Hex: 50"w X 5.25"d X 43.25"h
Photgraphy: Albert Vecerka
The contemporary Camp Decanter Collection references its form to the hip flask, often passed around a campfire. The integrated “X” coasters and base reflect the warmth coming from the burning logs, not dissimilar to the feeling imparted from a sip of great whiskey. The result is a perfect addition to the modern home bar.
When asked to contribute a design celebrating 100 years of the Coke bottle, I was delighted as my earliest relationship with this icon proved pivotal to my future successes. I grew up in what one would call a working-class environment and pocket money was challenging to come by as a child. One of my most coveted indulgences was an ice-cold bottle of Coke, which could be purchased at Luke’s Store in Fordoche, Louisiana for exactly 25¢, including a 5¢ deposit on the glass bottle. At around 7 years old, I learned that if I were to collect just 5 empty bottles and return them, Mr. Luke would hand me a quarter which I could put into the machine and retrieve a new bottle of Coke. I delighted in the fact that I would immediately be 1/5 of the way to purchasing my next bottle once I factored in the nickel the bottle was worth (after I had drained it before even leaving the store). I can vividly recall the weight of the empty bottles I collected, straining against aching arms, and the release I felt handing them over, knowing the reward waiting for my efforts.
The alchemy of turning empty glass into a delightful refreshment using only hard work as my currency was a lesson that has stuck with me and became the starting point for my celebration of the iconic Coke bottle. I chose a block of glass with an idealized version of the form that only becomes truly visible when filled with Coke. A simple, but potent reminder of the lessons of my first entrepreneurial endeavor.
MINIM is a deck of regulation playing cards that dallies with the idea of how much you can take away while still maintaining a playable deck.
Simple geometric symbols are reductive versions of hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades and while it's necessary to mark the back of regulation playing cards, we've done so with a minimal diagonal line.
Annex is a signed and numbered edition commissioned by the Shop at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Made completely of hand-honed marble, the tables use only gravity to securely join them together.
Photo: Kendall Mills
Wine Chillers by Joe Doucet with Neal Feay Studio
When commissioned by Wallpaper* for its annual Handmade Exhibit, design polymath Joe Doucet wanted to create more than an object, he sought to create a ritual. The result is a series of wine chillers, exquisitely crafted by Neal Feay Studio in Santa Barbra, California. A chilled bottle of wine is placed inside the containers, which prevent the cold from being lost by convection, conduction and radiation. The textures engraved in varying depths which wrap around the chillers are inspired by the wind patterns of cold fronts as they move around the globe.
AMU is the world's first mobile game that not only takes place on your screen, but also takes place in the world around you.
An entertaining test of agility, coordination and spatial awareness, AMU uses a sophisticatedly simple and graphic design interface to open dynamic, demanding game play to you and your surroundings. For the best experience, play AMU standing up.
AMU is available for download for iOS from Apple's App Store by clicking here.
Development by Sirqul
The “The World’s First” blended scotch whisky, Dewar’s, was looking for an agency to give the brand a refined and premium update that translated its distinctive heritage in a way that would appeal to modern consumers. Playing on the brand’s “original” scotch whisky status, we arrived at a strategy for a look and feel that emphasised “Authenticity”. We then researched Dewar’s archival history to create a branding icon from the founder’s signature, a bottle shape that elegantly expressed its earlier incarnations and a series of branding details across both the primary and secondary packaging that all supported its prestige heritage and authenticity claims.
Packaging Design with the lowest carbon footprint in the industry, while being PET and BPA free.
Flow Water is nurtured for thousands of years in a deep, artesian aquifer where it naturally collects essential minerals, electrolytes and analkaline pH. No industrial process or additives necessary, just pure, holistic H2O straight from the earth.
Our package is as positive as our water. It's made from renewable materials that are BET and BPA free. Cartons are transportation efficient. That means 3 times as much Flow can be shipped in 1 truck compared to water packed in plastic bottles. Fewer trucks = less fuel = less green house gas emissions, reducing our carbon footprint and yours.
Cheeseplate & Knife
Walnut and Stainless Steel
The real challenge of a designer is not in making a beautiful one-off gallery piece, but in tackling the mundane. What could be more banal than a cheese plate? Can you make choices which make it highly appealing, better in function and, very importantly, considerate of manufacturing processes? These questions were the starting point for CUR.
Available for purchase from
This elegant line of products and home appliances was created to reinforce the notion that taking a considered and strategic approach to product design within any brand portfolio should lead to products that are recognizable to consumers through their design ethos and not simply through the application of a logo onto the products.
The "circle" element which lights up to indicate usage on each product is prominent and distinctive while also serving a function and purpose in the products usage by the consumer. Pieces from the series were featured in the Dieter Rams retrospective at the London Design Museum (2010 - 2011) in recognition of Rams' influence with today's great designers.
Artistry asked us to develop their first skincare line for men sold exclusively in Asia with a minimal capital investment, as it was a yet unproven market for them. The result was the most successful product line launch in their history, a fact we are especially proud of.
By Joe Doucet
Birch wood and Silicone Tubing
Sling is a simple and elegant chair which holds a surprise. The backrest is actually a flexible silicone tube which conforms to the body, giving support to the appropriate area of the back as it naturally adjusts to each individual body type. Exquisitely crafted from solid birch, the tubing slips on to extensions protruding from the legs using only friction allowing for many variations by way of color and texture of the tubing. Once weight is applied, however, the tube grips the housing and will hold fast until tension is relieved.
Hand woven New Zeland wool rug
A place for everything and everything in its place, that's the inspiration for our Align rug. Hand woven by the expert craftspeople at Odabashian Rugs using the finest silk and New Zealand wool, our design expands on the 2mm x 2mm grid that forms the base of all rugs to create a design feature from its production with the benefit of facilitating the perfect alignment of furniture upon it. And just think of how much fun it'll be to move things around ever so slightly under the noses of those with Align.
Edition of 1
24" x 24"
Silver and Blue Mirrored Acrylic
Commissioned by Jean Lin and Jennifer Krichels to create a unique object to auction to relief the victims of Sandy, my thoughts turned to how quickly we forget about events of such devastation. Fathom was created as a beautiful reminder. When one passes in front of the object, the top part of your body is reflected in a natural way, but the bottom half of the mirror creates a deep refraction and convincingly makes you appear as if you are neck-deep in water.
This project for Whirlpool is demonstrative of our ability to utilize design as a tool for innovation. The brief was simple; show is something interesting. The approach was to create an innovations program based around a thesis. The first being "today, we are forced to live with our appliances. Tomorrow our appliances will be forced to live with us."
The benefit to Whirlpool is that they received a model kitchen which acts as a "concept car", to visibly prove they are an innovation based company. Additionally, several product aspects can be incorporated into their existing product lines, such as, the "cooking door" which eliminates the need to keep opening the refrigerator door when cooking.
The brand team at Artistry tasked the studio with overhauling their entire color cosmetic and skincare packaging lines to inject new life into the brand, elevate its positioning in the minds of consumers and allow it to compete with the premium cosmetic and skincare brands found in high-end department stores and pharmacies.
We were excited to participate in this collaboration with Fritz Hansen/WeAreFamilia creating a box to safe keep artwork. Our answer to the brief; Wunderkammer, a self contained space providing both storage and enjoyment of the delicate works.
Learning that one in five babies in the USA is born into poverty, Joe Doucet x Partners teamed with American textile giant 1888 Mills to create bundl, a beautiful infant necessities kit that has giving at the heart of its business model. We not only designed the branding, the multifunctional kit and all its contents, but we also consulted on the exclusive bundl™Tencel® fabric, developed the business model, brought in the Project Night Night charity and managed all the partnerships necessary to launch the brand. As business partners, we continue to be involved in all aspects of the business, the brand and its future development.
Robert DeNiro's Greenwich Hotel Group, working with the city of Shanghai, briefed us to create a spectacular installation that was to surround an entire, redeveloped block of building's in the city's historic Bund district. They wanted something special; something very disruptive and modern to distinguish this block from the other elegant, historic blocks that make up this special area of Shanghai.
We believe truly special should always be revealed slowly, teasing and building anticipation. Our concept was to wrap the entire block, allowing for entrances and traffic, in panels of Smartglass, which go from transparency to opacity panels when a low current of electricity goes through them.
The electric current was controlled by a computer program that created random patterns, colors, gradients of transparency and movement around the entire block, ensuring constantly changing glimpses of the buildings inside. Relatively low cost, the Smartglass "hoarding" brought a sense of modernity while allowing for seasonal or celebratory displays throughout the year.
One Madison Park is an iconic building with a bit of a troubled past. We were asked to create an identity both appealing and transformative. We chose the silhouette of the building for its resemblance to the address. The visuals ask you to imaging yourself reflected in the window looking out at you commanding view of Manhattan.
Prism is the result of our first collaboration with the venerable French producer of design goods, Lexon. Reminisent of a cube sinking into the suface upon which it rets, the series includes a 10cm clock/radio/MP3 player, an 8cm rechargeble wireless speaker and a 6cm alarm clock. All with integrated touch controls and the latest technology.
For centuries, master furniture makers prided themselves on the technique and artistic flourish allowed through marquetry using precious wood veneers. Somewhere along the way, veneer became regarded as the cheap alternative to solid wood and synonymous with superficial. WL03 "Venerate" showcases the beauty of wood veneer - in this case maple - while highlighting the importance of conservation, creating a table with joinery that would be virtually impossible to craft without wasting the better part of a solid block of wood.
Crystal is a fascinating medium. To begin with, it really only exists because of light and has a miraculous effect when the true nature of light is revealed through the prismatic effects of crystal. In addition to creating the Visual Identity for Swarovski, we developed many different print materials for them, incorporating various printing techniques that subtly reflect and respond to light as they are viewed.
From an environmental standpoint, the benefits of shipping an object with as small a footprint as possible are numerous. Unfortunately, flat pack furniture has long been associated with cheap. WL01 "ScrewTop", proudly displaying its construction as a design feature, takes the idea of self assembly and elevates it to a fetish. WL01 is the first product in the new line WhyteLabel by Joe Doucet, which produces intellectually and emotionally interesting furnishings of the highest possible quality.
As much a brain tease as nesting tables, Abscissa uses form and perspective to inject new dimension to an otherwise unassuming furniture concept. These tables sequentially torque to reveal the inner tables when stacked together. The tables perspective challenging lines and angles create the illusion that surfaces are not flat even though they're perfectly capable of holding your drink.
Puzzles are generally perceived as simple play objects for children or genteel pastimes for the elderly. Puzzled introduces the need for a high level of mental dexterity to fit into place its array of geometric shapes which have all been cut from one solid piece of marble. As sculpturally pure as it is intellectually demanding, WL06 "Puzzled" proves that not everything that looks simple is simple.
Wallpaper* magazine commissioned us to create a project promoting their client Chivas Regal 18. The brief was to take the qualities of a rich, luxurious drink which one must take time to enjoy, and translate that into physicality.
The answer was Stereotype, a speaker system whose decadently rich sound is derived from both the material, carved from a solid block of sustainably sourced American walnut, and the primary and secondary sound from the dual-faced speakers.
The design allows for the speakers to be suspended or set upon a flat surface.
While it's true that every minute counts, there are more interesting ways of getting there than watching a second hand tick 60 times. Sync uses sub-bass frequencies within a liquid medium to intensify the ticking sound of a clock and create visible sound waves so that you not only see, but feel time tick away.
photo: Kendall Mills
When an entrepreneur asked us to redesign Hecho a Mano, a Russian language cigar magazine,we took the brand to a new level, allowing the owner to take his business into new territories.
In addition to creating the first men's luxury lifestyle magazine which celebrates Mother Russia herself, we changed the focus away from cigars to encompass the broad world of bespoke and custom products, referencing "hecho a mano", or "made by hand".
It's often said that a little chaos can lighten up any situation. We like the sentiment so much we decided it needed to come alive. Hadron is a pure form in hand-blown translucent black glass containing a 20 meter stretch of EL (electroluminescent) wire to create some wonderfully contained chaos.
photo: Kendall Mills
When Jerry Helling, president of Bernhardt asked us to design our first contract furniture piece we were very excited as we love trying things we have never done before. The result of this collaboration was Duet. A small width conference chair that blends in to any environment. In addition to its clean lines and exquisite comfort, the chair is also 95% recyclable, a first for us both.
What's life without a few indulgences and, considering most things that are fun will eventually kill you, we thought we'd herald the virtually extinct ashtray. Our gold-plated Fetish is an effortless form; a circle pinched together in one place to hold that last cigarette before you get back on the wagon (again) for good. Remember, don't blame the much-maligned ashtray; it's an innocent victim in the war against pleasure
photo: Kendall Mills
May 17-21 2013
One of the best achievements that good design can bring to mankind is joy: a very simple concept that requires a sense of playfulness. For his yearly foray into the experimental and unexpected, Joe Doucet tackles the relationship between design and "play" through a series of concepts that re-imagine our interaction with the digital world, re-invent our perspectives on furniture and space, revamp some old-school modes of play and realize the potential of playing with some friends.
Whether the communique is of a loving or legal nature, SMS and IM conversations are only in electronic format, leaving no physical copies as a means for remembrance.
BlackBox is a portable unit that plugs into one's phone or laptop and uses a standard, non-carbon receipt printing system to create two matching records of any length of conversation. Simpler than trying to convert to email and sending to a printer, BlackBox offers instant records of conversations with a second copy that can be shared with the other party. After all, a paperless society only sounds good on paper.
9 unique objects in a series.
Solid moulded acrylic and dye.
Like most people in the path of Sandy, the first thing I did was to wait on line to stock up on water. The irony that an excess of water was the cause of the destruction was not lost on me, and led to my project. Taking the empty water bottles I stocked up on, I used them as moulds to cast solid acrylic forms ranging from clear to opaque black, symbolizing the deepening crisis water caused us over time.
Energy consumption in modern times has been considered a right rather than a luxury, guaranteed to be there at all times. With the current energy grid groaning under demand, as well as rising costs of production both financially and environmentally, consumers must wake up to a world where energy is the new luxury.
SwitchLamp is a lighting system that makes users conscious of their energy consumption by confronting them with a very large switch that must be manipulated in order to turn the lamp on and off. Integrating the switch into the lamp connects consumption directly to the light in the user's mind, while making late-night entrances less of a fumble in the dark.
We developed a new Brand Identity System for the No1 vodka in Australia and New Zealand to help them further penetrate the U.S. market.
In addition to all on and off premise items, created a new brand icon, the upside down Kiwi, to create a memorable mnemonic for the brand that reflects its origin while illustrating its intrinsic personality - something that was missing from its previous brand identity.
Created from a simple form which flows around a curve, Halo is an object which becomes visually interesting from any angle. Comfort and beauty merge into a stool which is equally at home in a cafe as it is on a pedestal in a gallery.
Printed Tyvek and Carbon Fiber.
We love kites. Equal parts folly and miracle of engineering, with a hit of harnessing nature to boot, our printed Tyvek and carbon fiber XYZ kite resulted from a study on wind resistance and its effect on flight stability.
XYZ's uniqueness stems from the idea that its stability comes from its instability, so it's perfectly capable of being flown but not controlled, so it does its own tricks, constantly surprising the kite's flyer.
Joe Doucet / OnTime
May 18-21 2012
We spend time, make time and indeed view time essentially as experiences, but can we translate these experiential notions of time into objects of beauty?
On Time by Joe Doucet is a series of concepts and experiments that seek to push our perceptions of time and its physical manifestations.
In an age where technology allows for a constant bombardment on our senses, where tablet computers and smartphones mean we are reachable 24/7, One Sense symbolises the human need for periods of peace and tranquility.
One Sense not only obscures environmental sight and sound from encroaching on the wearer, but utilises the color red and a display of spikes, drawn from nature's symbols for warning and defence, to alert others not to intrude.
photo: Kendall Mills
New York is a city that loves a challenge, and when Joe Doucet and Chad Phillips engaged the most famous and innovative designers working in this great city to create one-of-a-kind interpretations of Kidrobot's iconic Munny character, they jumped at the opportunity. The result is a never before seen group event featuring every generation of important figures in the world of design in one location transforming one form. Profero has created the most innovative online event and auction to document this moment in history, and to extend the experience to those not fortunate enough to be selected to attend the event.
When Hugo Boss asked us to reinvent their body wear packaging system, we knew the challenge ahead. The category is a "sea of sameness," restricted by the cost implications of showing a model's face across the volume inherent in body wear.
The solution was to conceive the packaging as a three-dimensional space showing the model in three overlapping poses covering all surfaces. This approach also allowed potential buyers to see the product from all angles, minimizing confusion and returns for a product that cannot be tried on before purchase.
The following is project commissioned for BMW to develop a printed documentation of their beliefs as a brand, or a Brand Book as it is referred to in the industry. The solution; a highly emotional and visceral journey, where you feel the road, sense every curve and your heart races in anticipation of being behind the wheel. Bound in white perforated leather to capture the luxury of speed and precision, the oversized volume expands into an extreme landscape format to ensure the feeling of an open road.
Mouth Blown Glass.
Spineless wonders can be greatly underrated, especially for their ability to keep the party drinks flowing. Our Baccic series of stem-less champagne, wine and martini glasses blend elegant shapes with a bit of mischief, meaning partygoers have to finish their drinks before setting them down. Needless to say, we don't believe in half measures.
Most of us sit under them, and usually bemoan them, every working day. The humble fluorescent tube has been at the forefront of efficient office lighting for decades, but reconfigured and re-imagined as a modern, immodest chandelier, it finally finds a rightful place in the home with WL02 "Flourish."
Configurable in multiples of 2 to 12 units
One of the services performed for P&G's premium hair care division in Geneva is helping them to concept the future development of their product lines.
The following is a sample of projects not currently being pursued, and therefore, we are able to show as examples of work, but it gives a good understanding of how we bring our thoughts to bear on the immense challenges they face as a brand.
This series of technically perfect, porcelain sculptures takes everyday vessel shapes common throughout history and celebrates their form rather than their function. Each WL05 "Presence" piece showcases the rarefied craftsmanship of porcelain artisans, and together they are a striking statement about utilitarian objects.
An Italian family who owned a water source in continuous use since the 4th century b.c. briefed us to create a new ultra-premium water brand from the same source as another of their products. The challenge therefore was to create a true difference in product beyond just packaging cues.
Research held that light affected the taste of bottled water, so our solution was to modify a portion of their bottling facilities so as to produce this new brand in complete darkness. The opaque bottle, its form and the secure neck seal all reinforce this experience so the customer therefore enjoys water with a taste that is completely unaltered by the effects of light.
According to Greek mythology, Zeus became so enthralled with io that his wife, Hera, turned her into a cow to hide her from him. We thought she might make a nice chair. From unparalleled craftsmanship. Individual pieces of leather are cut and moulded from a single hide and sewn using a precise saddle stitch technique which has all but vanished. Made from polished solid stainless steel base with Padova leather.
Chow Bella's sleek and comfortable chopsticks nest into a porcelain base which functions as both holder and chopstick rest.
As part of the philosophy of Bond. the design think tank formed and operated by Joe Doucet, a yearly exhibit took place during Design Week in New York. The exhibits were created to become a dialogue with the public around design as a catalyst for change.
This is Bond. was the inaugural exhibit announcing the arrival of Bond. via an exhibit of 10 projects which were designed to question the way we perceive the artifacts which permeate our daily existence.
Scape is a seating system modeled on the urban grid. Individual seating pads in five different heights slide into and out of the gridded base at will, allowing countless arrangements to be made. Its design creates instant environments. Bringing the energy of the city into staid interior spaces. Reconciling the individual and the community. Transforming the passive notion of sitting into a dynamic and involving activity. Scape brings people together in unexpected ways, facilitating intimacy and fostering interaction. Transforming one's situation into an experience.
One of the most contentious issues surrounding time is its effects on physical properties over the long term. What is perceived as character to one is viewed as crime to another. The unfinished solid walnut cone will age and gain patina over the years, changing a little each day, just like ourselves. Similarly, the mirror at its base lets the user see how they change with time as well.
photo: Kendall Mills
Inspired by a wine bottle bobbing in the ocean, Float captures a moment of complete stillness. Resting on the surface that it is placed upon, the porcelain vase gives the impression that there is more below.
iii is a membership service which enables subscribers to receive refills of selected personal products via post on a regular basis. It gives convenience a conscience, allowing consumers to save time, minimize waste and reduce their carbon footprint. The elevated aesthetic of iii imbues otherwise disposable items with a sense of permanence, as does iii's method of purchasing. The subscription service creates a sense of belonging while giving customers the reassurance of knowing they'll never run out of a favorite item.
Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda is a new brand of coffee launched by Grace and Robert DeNiro and sources its coffee beans directly from independent growers in Rwanda, supporting them and their local economies. Joe Doucet Studio developed the logo and packaging for the new brand, helping them with their presentations to also secure premium distribution through the Whole Foods gourmet supermarket chain in the USA.
When is a minute more than just 60 seconds? Through this mechanical device from an imagined past, which takes exactly one minute to complete its circuit, a minute can also become a pattern, a motion or a series of interconnected events that can have nothing at all to do with how we tell time.
photo: Kendall Mills
The glamorous Austrian crystal brand Swarovski has provided us with numerous projects and challenges over the years, including the following examples.
Frames 1-4 show an exhibition we created for them at the entrance of the Toronto Film Festival and featuring their products as they have been used in various films.
The following pages give an example of how we assisted them in developing their retail window concepts across various seasons.
A playful way to store your loose change, Cache is an adult version of the piggy banks we grew up with. The bowl easily separates so you can access your coins on laundry day, no hammer necessary.
The increasing frequency and strength of natural disasters around the world has created the need to temporarily house large numbers of victims with little notice and minimal expense.
PopShelter is an ultralightweight, easily assembled shelter construction that can be flat-packed and air-dropped in large quantities. Not only does the structure offer protection against the elements, but also considers the mental well-being of the victims with interior colors that are recognized for their ability to lift the human spirit. Made from waxed corrugated cardboard, the structure is waterproof and easily recyclable.
The established fashion house of Yves Saint Laurent asked us to concept a day and night fragrance conveying elegance with a touch of trespasse.
YvesParis is an elegantly simple solution to the brief turning a classic aspirator into a fetishistic object, featuring a studded leather pump and an exaggerated long tube.
24ct. gold folding bracelet an necklace creating sixteen facets which, when folded correctly, form a diamond shape adding a hidden dimension to an adornment for your wrist or neck.
When a developer approached us to create a new hospitality experience to be located in the exuberant emirate of Dubai, clandestinely code named Hotel Dubai, we were intrigued.
Having spent time in Dubai, one realized that to make an impression you have to be either the biggest, most opulent, or the most extravagant architectural statement of the last 50 years.
The fact that a poised and elegant person attracts more attention in a room full of fashion statements. A simple, almost egalitarian stance was out approach. A hotel with three sizes of rooms, each a cubic addition, divert from a singular column. Maximizing the views of the city and ocean, and elegantly standing out in a cacophony of overstatement.
Less and More - The Design Ethos of
18 November 2009 - 7 March 2010
Design Museum Shad Thames London
In the first UK retrospective of Dieter Rams' career in over 12 years, the Design Museum showcased his landmark designs for Braun and Vitsoe, alongside works inspired by his ethos from contemporaries Jonathan Ive, Jasper Morrison, Sam Hecht, Naoto Fukasawa and Joe Doucet.
In addition to developing a Visual Identity program for Moet & Chandon, we completed a "Brand World" project to demonstrate how the principles set forth in the Visual Identity could come to life across all consumer touch-points, from in-storeto in-bar.
One of the main components to the new branding program was the leveraging of the foil pattern around the neck of the bottle. An asset of the brand for centuries, but until our work, one which had never been utilized. Note the use of the pattern across many different media. The following is a brief visual synopsis of the work.
For centuries, the hourglass was used by man to define the passing of a specific time period. Oroborus loops in on itself to defy the finite aspect of the conventional hourglass and recognize time as an infinite concept.
photo: Kendall Mills
The genesis of Airate was a project to rehabilitate derelict square-block lots in Manhattan. Aside from green space, the challenge became how to have the space "give back" to the city. Energy generation was an immediate choice, with wind energy the preferred route. Two problems became apparent. One, large scale wind turbines must be set against a prevailing wind, causing them to operate a peak efficiency 30% of the time. Secondly, they are considered unsightly and therefore usually consigned to remote or offshore locations.
The solution, Airate. A patented vertical wind turbine that accepts wind from any direction and whose aesthetic, sculptural appeal is welcomed in populated environments.
The design was nominated for the 2010 World Technology Summit Awards.
Artistry, the second largest beauty distributor in Japan, enlisted our help to redesign the packaging across their entire skincare and cosmetics offering.
Our first project was their Pure White skin lightening system. The seven different bottles share a common theme in form and the graphics are applied using a special foil which plays with the light to move from dark to light, reinforcing the efficacy of the product.
Level is a stackable storage system whose individual units can be placed together in any configuration. The simplicity of the system allows for one to easily add or divide units as their needs change.
Eve's album, "Here I Am" marked a departure for the artist. There was a sophisticated maturity that required album artwork to reflect this shift in tone.
Not only has this been a huge success in helping to open her up to new artists, the logo we created for the cover has been adopted by the artist for use beyond this album.
Mirrors serve to provide us with a snapshot of ourselves at a specific moment in time. But we all have days when standard silver mirrors are a little too truthful for our liking - do we really need brutal honesty the morning after the night before?
Memoir's golden hue and geometric configuration creates an art form that offers a wonderfully gilded reflection of ourselves.
Perk is a coffee service set which elevates the creamer, sugar bowl and spoon into a sleek and playful centerpiece.