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  • Writer's pictureKaisern Chen

My Design Works

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

A random selection of my industrial design works in no particular order.

Spring Lounge Chair January 2008

Margarita rests on the "Spring Chair", March 2008 at SOTA 50 Bangkok

It took me some thoughts before deciding I will start this blog with the Spring Chair I designed back at the beginning of 2008. "Spring" is the project name of a series of home furnishing objects for SOTA Studio Collection consisted of occasional tables and this lounge chair, which I like the most. Eventually, "Spring" became the name of this lounge chair launched at October BIG+BIH Fair, 2008.

I started the project on occasional tables using a single sheet of SUS316 stainless steel sheet as structure as well as functional surfaces and went on finishing the project with this lounge chair. The concept was rather straightforward to use the material character of the 1.5mm SUS316 stainless steel sheet and the design of the welding points - on three structural points - the "foot," "seat" and the "brace" - so the chair will flex as the person shifts pose on the chair, hence the name "Spring Chair". The designated gauge 1.5mm SUS 316 stainless steel is for the needed strength as well as to control its flexes, in combination with how and where the sheet is welded, and for reasonably safe edges.

The Spring Chair has a seating angle of 11.2 degrees and stretch of 731mm, width 600mm, and comfortable 290mm leg rest. Total display length is 933mm, so even a 179cm Lithuanian model Margarita rests comfortably on the first production chair. It is still available as a made to order functional art.

Breeze Ice Bucket and Wine Cooler March 2008

"Breeze" Ice Bucket & Wine Cooler Ø 200mm X h 230mm including the clear acrylic lid

Initially, a design intended for Umbra but I decided to keep it as a SOTA Collection. I designed the sand cast glass ice bucket by borrowing the realistic look of ice cubes fused in the process of casting. Sharp edges removed by gas flame to give the ice bucket and wine cooler a polished and slightly melted appearance.

The key visual communication of the ice bucket is straightforward and transparent, and hopefully it remains as a decorative sculpture even not in use, sort of an identity that I tried to establish as an industrial designer.

Pinna Wine Racks/Display March 2004

I started a series of wine rack/display designs in August 2004 with a 12-bottle wine rack made from a single solid Mango wood piece - the original Pinna 12 Wine Rack, which became one of the early Studio SOTA collections with remarkable commercial success internationally.

Additional models were added and introduced in the April BIG+BIH Show in Bangkok in 2005 with the release of Pinna 18 and Pinna L (24), which made the Pinna series of wine racks a continued success with the expanded international market. From a design standpoint, the Pinna 18 and Pinna L is a compromise to the spirit of the original Pinna, which is slim, balanced, and well proportioned.

The development background for the original Pinna 12 was accidental instead of marketing or inspirational-driven. The design started when a wood manufacturer, a friend of mine, and a subcontractor for some of SOTA wood products visited me, saying he needed to find good use of a unique mango wood raw material inventory, preferably in good sales value.

The early production of Pinna 12 & Pinna 18 at SOTA Office August 2004

Pinna Wine Rack/Display brochure April 2006

Pinna Wine Rack/Display brochure April 2006

That particular wood raw material came in an average size that is good for producing objects with a diameter of approximately 200mm and a length of close to 2,000mm. My manufacturer friend is more proficient in woodworking than needing a large lamination station for production, such as furniture. It is an option to make the wood into smaller wood accessories, as the manufacturer has in regular production, but at a low margin and waste of potential value of that particular stock.

I cannot remember why I came up with the idea of a wine rack at that instant. Probably the previous night, I was at a dinner with some fine wine, regarded as a luxury item for ordinary dinners in Thailand and collection items for many affordable consumers. A niche item associated with luxury may be the clue.

I did some quick visual calculations in my mind over the meeting table, grabbed a piece of A4 paper from the Xerox machine, and quickly sketched a design. Gauging the average wine bottle dimension and finished a hand draft and asked my manufacturer friend if it was manufacturable, with a positive response. I then asked my assistant engineer to draft the sketch into a CAD drawing, which became the original Pinna 12. A week later, the first sample of the original Pinna 12 was sent to my office and made its first official launch at the October BIG+BIH Far in Bangkok a few weeks later.

The original Pinna 12 Draft March 2004

The original Pinna 12 is a design based on the maximum use of material with dedicated manufacturing skills and finishing craftsmanship, which successfully contributed to good commercial rewards and made my manufacturer friend a happy man.

The later Pinna 18 and Pinna L (24-bottle version) lost the original design sharpness, which is purely a design study based on available material and heavily weighted on a result as beautiful as possible. The additional designs aimed to expand the market by increasing the number of wine bottles each unit could store. I made a design compromise to comply with the marketing strategy. The new designs did not improve anything the original Pinna 12 achieved, albeit making the Pinna a collection of products than just a designer piece.

The 2006 Pinna M (6-bottle and 3-bottle version) is my favorite that finally completed the Pinna collection, including a Pinna E introduced simultaneously. The Pinna M has a symmetrical design with the best proportion, like a sports sedan. The Pinna M no longer emphasizes the maximum use of material but is a step closer to making the Pinna M a functional art piece, which one of the importers calls them.

Pinna M6 display units at the BIG+BIH Fair October 2005 Bangkok, Thailand

The display units at the BIG+BIH Fair October 2005 Bangkok, Thailand

The Pinna M, due to its more compact size and less demanding size of raw material, expanded its production to Hainan, China, using local Acacia wood, also manufactured by a very good friend of mine, Topy Wood.

The Pinna Wine Rack range of wine racks/displays is the first product I designed to sell for hundreds of US dollars/Euros. Sometimes over a thousand US Dollars/Euros for some limited run production, and on rare occasions, fitted on private jets.

Special edition of Pinna M3 with non-slip coating for private jet installation January 2008

In 2015, a decade after the original Pinna M, I designed the Pinna MS6 - a limited production run of the original solid wood wine rack/display in 1.2mm oxide finished steel, giving the design a more contemporary appearance. An even smaller production run of MS3 (3-bottle version) and sold directly to collectors.

Pinna MS 6 & Pinna MS 3 Black oxide August 2015

The whole collection of Pinna Wine Racks/Display April 2008

Pinna Wine Rack/Display Safe transit package

It is useless to design a product, regardless of its price and quality, if it cannot reach its destination in its original condition, disregarding the handling and means of transportation. I designed the compact package for the Pinna Wine Rack for its first delivery, which has remained standard since.

The package design uses a combination of recycled material from the double-walled corrugated carton paper, rigid paper rails glued to the carton paper's side in shipping, molded paper cushion, PE protective sheet, and a clear mounting template with soy-ink printed instruction. It is still my favorite design for safe transit and years ahead of the competition.

The original Pinna 12 safe-transit package August 2004

Madison Teakettles March 2013

The Madison series of teakettles was a range of stovetop teakettle designs requested by Kamestein/LifetimeBrands in 2012. I spent many months imagining what the kettle should look like with a unique function that could be worthy of a potential utility patent for maximum protection. But I did not start any CAD work until a few weeks before meeting with my client in Long Island City, New York, in March 2013.

My wife, Kanjana Chaiwatanachai, was also working on the project with me to add a female opinion from a styling, color, and finishing viewpoint that will be critical to the new kettle I envisioned. My wife is an experienced industrial designer and the key management for a team of designers and engineers working on stovetop kettles since 2000. We did numerous teakettle design developments each year and oversaw tens of millions of stainless steel and enamel steel teakettles manufactured and shipped under our management.

My original approach was to work out a feminine profile for the flagship model, which would feature a new auto pouring mechanism that would be the first in the market of such kind. I started the visual approach to design the teakettle as a lady's leather handbag and a new handle that will hide all the working mechanisms to make a teakettle a fashion statement while avoiding being techy. Our project code name during the development phase was "Iconic" reflecting our client's brief - the Kamenstein wants the new kettles to be.

The teakettle design was not complete until the night before the day of the meeting. My wife and I are already in New York City, staying at the Madison Green - a high-rise apartment situated on the corner of 22nd Street and Broadway, adjacent to Madison Square park. The lovely apartment is owned and kindly lent to us by our friend, mentor, and one of the most established names in modern teakettles Samuel Lebowitz, with whom we have cooperated for over a decade and 20-30 million pieces of teakettle manufactured under the cooperation for Wilton Industries, who owns Copco brand. That night when I finally finished the kettle CAD data and presentation material, I told my wife the teakettle should be named "Madison".

The original Madison "LUXE" March 2013

The presentation meeting next day went very well, and Peter Kamenstein, the president of the Kamenstein brand of Lifetimes, loved it and approved the design direction, and we made a schedule to meet some weeks later In Hong Kong to review a prototype mechanism I promised to build to show them the proof of the concept. Weeks later, in Hong Kong, a hand-made sample exhibiting the gliding handle grip concept presented, and we were on a mission to design the range of teakettle that will include:

Madison Luxe - the flagship

Madison Metro - a slightly more masculine version of Luxe with a simplified gliding mechanism

Madison Rapide - an in-expensive version with a traditional flipper to appeal to the middle-end bracket of the market

Madison Vivace - for the mass, the low-cost model.

The Madison Teakettles range December 2013

We spent the next three months finishing all the design and mechanical detail, while the gliding mechanism international patent was filed and later granted - WO 2015/137935 A1 WIPO (PCT).

The gliding mechanism relies on the gravity of the teakettle mass, so the whistling spout opens automatically when pouring and closes when the teakettle returns to stationery. The Madison project was one of my favorite designs, in which not only the gliding mechanism is applied but also the first to use a stainless sling to replace the traditional trigger mechanism. The kettles from the early 2014 production I keep still work well today.

Madison "LUXE" construction January 2014

A titanium version of the Madison Luxe - Madison "TITAN": using heavier gauge 1.0mm cold-rolled steel plated with titanium with hybrid non-stick interior coating. Carbon fiber kettle top, charcoal vegetable tanned leather trims and handle wrapping the bent titanium tubing handle.

Madison "TITAN" October 2018

The original Lock-n-Roll for Copco August 2006

After many years of cooperation with Copco (a Wilton Industries division, it later became a brand under LifetimeBrands), the hydration project became one of the original designs I did that went into production, which I did 17 years ago (August 2006), still strong in sales.

The original Copco Lock-n-Roll I designed in 2006 and is still in production today (October 2022). The "Ocean" color was the one I use since 2009 and went through thousands of hours on my station-bike in my gym, still in perfect working condition, albeit a few cracks from accidental drops over the years.

Simple, effective, timeless quick lock and lease hybrid straw design.

The original concept was simple - to design a beverage carrier that is spill-proof and leak-proof with a quick-lock feature. The idea came from my morning duty to water my home garden, usually with a water hose, and from time to time, I bent the hose to stop the watering when my sons ran by. That idea became the foundation of a quick lock-and-release feature using the material property of silicon - one of the materials I utilized a lot in my designs during that time. And Copco trade-mark the design as Lock-n-Roll, and millions of pieces have sold after million of pieces since then.

Simple, mass-production & cost friendly original design. Easy for cleaning.

Design adaptation to maximize product developments and sales.

18oz Thermal Bottle for Cat Studio June 2016

The 18oz thermal bottle design is a result of several business meetings with Cat Studio, which lead to the decision to develop a thermal bottle. It is a portable item carries the branding, for the growing line of Cat Studio products famous for their geography, Collegian art and licensed graphics.

18oz Thermal Bottles for the 2017 American Cup & The Masters

The geometry of the thermal cup needs to allow an extensive line of thermal decals applicable to the new thermal stainless steel bottle with a soft carrying strap, making the cap a removable but inseparable part of the bottle.

Original drawing of the 18oz Thermal Bottle for Cat Studio June 2016

The 18oz thermal bottle produce from 2 layers of SUS 304L stainless steel with a radiation-reflective copper liner sandwiched in between, vacuumed, allowing maximum thermal retention. The bottle started production in late 2016 and is still in production as of this writing (October 2022).

18oz Thermal Bottle with Chicago Art - I love Chicago, the city that brought me many things in life. And an early edition of white bottle with "Aspen" art,, who does not fall in love with Aspen?

The "Germany" bottle - a collection of countries in Geographic Arts, in regular bare brushed stainless steel, "Snow" and "Midnight" finish.

"Buttoms Up!" non-slip pad has been the standard from the first production ; a feature extended to all vacuum thermal products.

24oz Thermal Bottle for Cat Studio July 2017

The 24oz Thermal Tumbler for using the same size of decal art, non-skip "BUTTOMS UP!" with a new clear Triton lid with either a soft silicon locking tab or a locking slide with magnetic switch add to the Cat Studio thermal product following the success of the 18oz thermal bottle.

24oz Thermal Tumbler for CAD Studio - original design in July 2017 with a simple clear Triton lid which later upgraded to one with spill-proof mechanism

24oz Thermal Tumbler "SNOW" with the original silicon locking tab which is 100% leak proof, and the standard stainless steel tumbler using the spill-proof magnetic slider

The original silicon soft locking tab design that is 100% leak-proof that is still my preferred version (patented). Perfect for city commute when the number is in the backpack or handbag.

The second version of Cat Studio clear Triton lid using a magnetic switch (patented), more conveniently use as a common car cup.

24oz Thermal Tumbler with the updated lid with a magnetic switch of my original design. As the program continue to grow, we have the " United States Air Force" and "Kentucky Derby" art.

The New York collection : regular 24oz Thermal Tumbler, 18oz "Snow" bottle and a limited run 18oz "Flame"

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