Monthly Archives: November 2013

Minimal Coat Rack for the Younger Generation

Many designers have played with the idea of a coat rack from hooks on a wall to a stand with protruding arms to awkward tables that don’t really seem like coat racks at all. This design called “Coat Rack for Bonnie” by designer Annabelle Nichols definitely surpasses all previous designs in its simplicity and minimalism.


This design focused on four main object: keys, shoes, books, and coats. One of Nichols overarching goals in this project was to create habits from design – she aimed to find a home for these objects that are easily overseen and strive for attention in an overclutterd house. At first glance, you may be a bit lost at how such an ’empty’ structure could house all of these objects, but that is the beauty of it. The piece is made only out of four main components – white steel, wooden dowels, a wooden shelf, and 3D printed porcelain bowl. And another perk of this design is you only need for screws to assemble everything. The dowels are simply placed through the colinear holes of the steel frame and wooden shelf, creating a liberating and whimsical nature to the piece.





What setting do you think this would be best in? College dorm, urban apartment, high rise in Chicago? Tell us what you think!

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New Partnership with IIDA for RED Awards

We are very excited to announce that Unbranded Designs will be partnering with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Illinois Chapter for their second annual RED Awards, Recognizing Exemplary Design! IIDA is an international organization for Interior Designers that has chapter in 58 countries, offering numerous benefits to its members, including but surely not limited to networking events, portfolio workshops, and exclusive opportunities for professional development. More details and information about IIDA as a whole can be found on their infographic.


The RED Awards is open only to Illinois professionals and students and is organized into 15 categories, including the new Furniture Design category in partnership with Unbranded Designs.


“The submitted designs will be voted upon by our peers, colleagues, friends, and the general public during the month of March, 2014. Unbranded Designs will promote the top three finalists. The first place winner will be recognized at the RED Awards ceremony and Unbranded Designs will explore the opportunity of manufacturing and selling the winning design through their company.”  – IIDA Illinois

For more information about the RED Awards, visit their website here!

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Upcoming Announcement

Hey guys, we have some very exciting news that we really want to announce ASAP but unfortunately we are are not allowed to just quite yet. On the other hand, we can tell you that it will definitely raise the bar of the designs submitted to Unbranded and that our community’s awareness will skyrocket. We should be able to give you more details in the upcoming week so be on the lookout!

Hope you all have a good weekend!


Unbranded Designs Team

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Nadia Anochie: Leading the Submissions Category

Nadia Anochie is one of Unbranded’s designers who graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2010, majoring in Industrial Design and minoring in Furniture Design. Her portfolio exhibits a wide range of styles ranging from her submission on UD, Falling Chips, to a translucent lamp in the shape of a human heart entitled Extracted Love.


Unlike some of our designers who bases their pieces on the manufacturing processes or commitment to materials, Nadia’s inspiration rather comes from the desire for her product to connect to as many people as possible. A connection that is not just an understanding between the designer and consumer but rather some sort of heavier bond. She aspires for her pieces to reach the viewer on a personal note to create an immediate and subtle affinity.



Read about Nadia’s design here and vote for it to get it to the next level of refinement! She only has 35% more to go!

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Dining with Birds

The utilization of nature into furniture design or any other man-made structure always gives me a sense of awe and sublimity. It’s a combination that calms me for reasons that I’m unsure but can spectate that it is because nature is ultimately the greatest designer, and to incorporate it into one’s creation in a way that works is clever and beautiful.

Gregoire de Lafforest designed this table which also serves as a birdcage. 

From afar and even up close, this piece is beautiful aesthetically and the idea that you can eat with birds sitting right beside you gives me some unusual sense of freedom. The birdcage holds a pool for water and an artificial tree designed as organically as possible to look and feel as natural as possible.  The tree is made out of metal, the clear tubes out of glass, the table out of wood.


gregoire-de-lafforest-cage-archibird-02Yet, is this table really something one would buy to put in their kitchen or living room? Yes, it is gorgeous. Yes, it gives you a good tingling feeling in your stomach. And yes, the idea is original. But, did Lafforest have the well being of the birds in mind? Who will clean the bird’s waste? How will it be cleaned? Is metal really the best material to be used for the tree? These are just some of the questions I asked myself.

Tell us what you think about this piece in the comments below!

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Motorola Mobility’s Design Challenge Winner: Adam Owens

After almost a month after announcing the challenge, we are extremely excited to announce that the winner of Motorola Mobility’s Reception Desk Design Challenge is Adam Owens! Born and raised in Austin, TX, Owens was constantly in the shadow of construction sites with his dad, being exposed to industrial manufacturing processes (the most prominent being concrete processing). As a result of his upbringing, although Owens graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics, he ultimately became a freelance artist/designer after spending two semesters in architecture school.

For his submission piece, Owens created a desk that we detailed in an earlier post as having minimalist and Wabi-Sabi qualities. The judges of the competition seemed to agree. Steve Monaco, the Real Estate Operations Manager of Motorola Mobility and judge of the Design Challenge (who also received a BA and Master’s Degree in Architecture), states that Owens’ desk “gives tribute to our manufacturing approach because the different components of the desk are made off-site, shipped to the reception area and assembled in place.” Furthermore, they too were very impressed in the efficiency of how he utilized the wooden frame to create the concrete legs/cantilevers as the main surface for the desk. Monaco responds, saying, “We love the idea that the concrete is poured and the wood formwork is reused as the desk surface . . . innovative and sustainable – nothing was wasted or over-designed.”

Owens’ desk will be the front desk at Motorola Mobility’s division in Fort Worth, TX where they will be assembling their new flagship phone, the Moto X. Congratulations, Adam!

Adam 1

Adam 2

I would also like to give recognition to our three other finalists, Christina Fehan, Javier Velez, and Zac Lindemann, for the their beautiful designs as well. Please check all of them out!

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Luna Ikuta, Creator of the Line Light

With a mother who is a graphic designer, Luna Ikuta, like many of our other members, has been heavily immersed in some part of the design world since early on. However, Luna began her own path into the world of art and design at the end of high school. It was at that point that she moved away from engineering and towards Industrial Design. For Luna, design became a new form of communication; a way to express herself through the created rather than just the spoken. It was through Luna’s design that she began to showcase her bi-cultural background. Her Japanese influence not only shows in the product’s aesthetics, but dictates Luna’s approach and methodology.


Luna’s first submission on Unbranded Designs is called the Line Light. The design demonstrates her appreciation of Asian aesthetics as she created a piece that takes moves in all 3 dimensions. The Line Light’s adjustable height makes the piece more intriguing as you struggle to identify its most beautiful shape. In any form, it has the ability to be the transformative piece in any space.

Luna is currently studying at the Rhode Island School of Design as an Industrial Designer. Her next project may be her biggest challenge as she strives to design and create an entire “room” beginning with just 4 white walls. Check out Luna’s personal website to see some of her other work and help her Line Light hit 100% on Unbranded Designs!

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The Piano Harp’s Second Chance

I was looking through our website for new submissions and got into that trance many of us have experienced of continuously scrolling down the page, admiring the spectrum of designs. As I was going down, there was one design that forced me to quickly scroll back up. I looked at the thumbnail image again and stared at it for about five more seconds. It was so different but still so elegant – I had to look into the design more.

Piano Bench

Darrell Martin‘s Piano Bench is fearless. It looks like a product that could be placed in a history museum or a very industrial-styled loft in the high-rises of Chicago. According to the design description, the bench is made out of two bedposts, tobacco barn lumber, and – the highlight of the piece – a 1920s Emerson piano harp!

I don’t want this post to be about dissecting Martin’s design but rather discuss the atmosphere and life it can bring into a room. I’m assuming that, like many of our submissions, the materials drove the overall design because quite simply the piano harp is beautiful – I’ve never seen anything like it. Being from the 1920s, the piano harp by itself drives the design to another level beyond it just being aesthetically pleasing. The harp gives the bench a dimension(s) that is so hard to grasp in modern furniture – a dimension of history, which brings with it other dimensions of intimacy, mystery, love, tragedy, and countless more. Who played on the piano before it was destroyed? Where was the piano placed?

Anyways, if I were walking down an aisle full of awesome furniture and the Piano Bench was there, I’d definitely do a double take and spend more time looking at this piece. Frankly, it doesn’t look too comfortable, but it looks so sleek. 



What do you think about his use of the Emerson piano harp? Would you put it in your living room? Comment below and check out more of Martin’s unique designs on his page!

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Michael Powers, Unbranded Designs Top Influencer

Perhaps you’ve come across his elegant and simple design, non: the table, or maybe he’s commented on one of yours. Michael Powers is a part of our community who has been an essential member in keeping the conversation between all of us who are connected to Unbranded Designs smoothly flowing. Our mission is not only to help designers bring their product to life and to the market, but it’s also simply to connect like-minded (or different-minded) individuals to each other – to create a constant dialogue so that we can also create inspiration, drive, passion, and professional relationships.

Since signing up to be a member of our community last month, Michael and his table design, non, have jumped to the front lines. Currently, non is the third most voted design at 26% after Luna Ikuta‘s Line Light, which is in first at 38%, and Saana Hellsten‘s Slider Stool, which is trailing in second at 36%.



Though at first glance you may wonder how non has advanced all the way to third in just one month, it becomes clear after reading its background and life-story. In his ‘About the Design’ section, Michael writes, “non is an exercise in using as little material as possible to make a piece of furniture. non is made from seven pieces of scrap steel. powder coated. non. what does a table have to be?” – non is a table that cost Michael nothing, perfectly exemplifying Michael’s style of design: “Products which harness complexity to reveal simplicity.” He embraces the challenge to create his designs using materials that have been thrown away as he says in one of his replies to a comment about non – “In the past couple years I have been increasingly getting into ‘upcycling’ as it were, and looking for opportunities for reusing old materials has become part of my daily observations as a designer.”

So, check out Michael’s design and vote for it if you want to see it on the shelves! If you want to have a profile on our blog, vote more, comment more, and submit more pieces! We’d love to see you join the conversation and get involved in the community.

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Lumio: The Book that Turns into a Lamp

At first glance, Lumio is just a book with wooden covers, which in it of itself would be a pretty cool book, But, to give consumers an even greater experience, it turns out to be a lamp… which is just awesome. There is no on/off button but rather the light is automatically switched on when the ‘book’ is opened – the brightness depends on the angle of how much it’s opened.



If you’re a follower of KickStarter or honestly any design blog on the internet, you have probably come across Lumio. On KickStarter, it was a product that aimed for $60,000 but, in the end, received a total of well over $500,000, which is a simple testament of how beautiful and fun this product is. The most exciting aspect about Lumio is that its applications are almost limitless. Aesthetically, it is beautiful and elegant enough to be place in any sort of environment either it be an industrial modern living room or a teenager’s cluttered desk. Physically, it’s small enough to be put into any backpack or handbag but large enough to be noticeable. Functionally, it can stick to almost any metal or stand by itself. You could bring it on a late night date through the park, a romantic dinner on the patio, to a dark closet, etc.






Here are the specifications and materials of Lumio according to its page on KickStarter!

  • Dimensions: 8.5” tall x 7” wide x 1.25” thick
  • Weight: approx. 1 lb
  • Cover material: FSC certified wood in 3 finish options – Dark Walnut, Warm Cherry and Blonde Maple
  • Cover magnet: Super strong Neodymium magnets built into the cover
  • Lamp body material: 100% recyclable, water resistant Tyvek
  • Light source / brightness: High output LED / 500 lumen (slightly brighter than 40w bulb)
  • Light temperature: 2700K (warm white)
  • Battery specs: Rechargeable Lithium Ion
  • Battery life: 8 hours battery life with constant use
  • Power: [UPDATE] Universal USB charger (included)

The only problem I see with Lumio now is its price, which is currently at $160. I can see many college students and young adults craving for this product but just not buying it simply because it’s outside of their budget… for a lamp.

Relating to our submissions here on Unbranded, Lumio is reminiscent of two products that have come in the past. I’ll let you decide if you can see what I’m talking about. The first is Justin Fraga’s table called Templeton and the second is Beau Hale‘s design called the Thistle Pendant Lamp. Check them out and vote for them if you like their designs!

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