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Folium Water Repellant Bicycle Saddle by Brook Kennedy

Home > Winners > Design #64311 >Interview
Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Brook Kennedy (BK) for A' Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Brook Kennedy by clicking here. Access more information about the award winning design Folium here.



Interview with Brook Kennedy at Thursday 26th of April 2018

FS: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
BK: Finding useful inspiration in the natural world to help address daily problems and frustrations.

FS: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
BK: I wanted to create an attractive, versatile bicycle seat that would work with most bicycles and which would take some of the hardship out of bicycling in the rain.

FS: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
BK: I am currently in the prototyping phase of the material. I have samples and a foam rubber seat prototype which I will wrap with the material to test. It is not the right color or visual surface pattern- this will come next.

FS: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
BK: About six months in isolated sections of time. For a few years I have studied the relationship of biological scientific discovery and its application in product design, especially lotus leaves which have been widely studies in academia for their water repellent abilities. Only more recently has manufacturing technology advanced to recreate natural phenomenon.

FS: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
BK: In many respects, this was an effort to prove the concept that biological knowledge can be adapted to daily design problems- bioinspiration and biomimetics is not just academic research and science fiction.

FS: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
BK: Once I have reached the next stage of development I will work with my partners to develop a crowd funding campaign to make it available to the market place. alternatively, I would license it to a bicycle products manufacturer.

FS: What made you design this particular type of work?
BK: I believe it fell into the "unexpected design" category because it came from an experimental type of product develop method. The type of material that enables the design could be applied to many other consumer products and could be the basic for a brand.

FS: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
BK: Not really, except perhaps Brooks cycle seats, which I greatly admire. The main influence came from

FS: Who is the target customer for his design?
BK: Anyone who cycles daily, where it also rains a lot- Portland, Oregon, USA and London are two prime examples.

FS: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
BK: The design has a specific story, not based on styling or other criteria.

FS: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
BK: Since the seat concept was inspired by Lotus leaves I looked for a name relating to leaves- Latin is often a good source of names in my experience. Folium means 'leaf' in Latin.

FS: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
BK: Foam modeling, sketching, CNC machining, along with Rhino, Keyshot and Photoshop.

FS: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
BK: That the seat repels water and channels it away.

FS: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
BK: I collaborated with a company in Spencer, Massachusetts, USA to develop the water repellent material.

FS: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
BK: The roll-to-roll technology micro-engraved bioinspired seat material is the key.

FS: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
BK: From a problem definition side, I observed and photographed bicyclists struggling with rain settling on their bicycle seats or even soaking in. I have had this experience myself many times. I photographed wet bicycle seats in the USA, Europe and Asia with after rain showers. I photographed over 50 bicycle seats that used cheap plastic grocery bags or covers to keep the seats dry. In many cities in the USA covers would likely be stolen.

FS: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
BK: It took several iterations and discussions to begin developing the bike seat material. It is ongoing.

FS: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
BK: I really believe in some ways this concept is unique and one these "why didn't anyone think of this before" kinds of designs. Whether it would win or not, it would introduce the idea to the public and through jurors. It had already won an award prior so I thought it would have a chance.

FS: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
BK: It is always a learning experience to get honest feedback from peers and other designers. As designers, we cannot always predict everything or be right all the time. A reality check from the early jury responses was very helpful both in terms of the communication of the concept to the quality of the images.

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
BK: Nothing else I can think of. Thank you for the opportunity.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A' Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.

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