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Ako Balance Bike Learn Cycling by Corentin Bricout

Home > Winners > Design #76442 >Interview
Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Corentin Bricout (CB) for A' Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Corentin Bricout by clicking here. Access more information about the award winning design AKO Balance Bike here.



Interview with Corentin Bricout at Wednesday 20th of February 2019

FS: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
CB: Cycling can be complex to learn. The goal of the bike is to make the learning process more kids-friendly by making every step visible for them and for their parents. The design was thought to make this experience as smooth and memorable as possible.

FS: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
CB: Our aim has been to divide the learning process and make each step visible, to adapt to the kids evolution. Another real problem with most of the existing kids bikes is the weight. The team focused on making our bike lighter in order to be easy to handle, balance and control. We achieved this goal thanks to the perforated frame as well as single-sided fork and chain stay. The chosen material is recycled plastic, also thought to lighten the bike.

FS: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
CB: The team is very happy and proud to have won this award, it is a beautiful way to celebrate a big team work. The best thing we could expect would be to see this balance bike on the market, and see kids learning with it.

FS: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
CB: We worked on this project for 4 months.

FS: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
CB: The initial brief given to the team was to re-imagine the "first bike" experience for toddlers, with this question : Why walk when you can ride ? After a lot of meetings with kids and observations, it was our decision to design a balance bike and choose this direction. We were supported by our client (Matthieu GERMAIN and Elise LOEUILLE were following our creative process) so we had a direct feedback from the industry about materials, process, competitors, innovations, etc.

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?
CB: The project belongs to Goldcorss Cycles (Rebel). It hasn't been produced yet.

FS: What made you design this particular type of work?
CB: All our inputs from kids behavior, motor skills, needs and wants made us make different choices. This is how we came up with our idea of a new way of learning cycling.

FS: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
CB: We were followed by Matthieu Germain, engineer, and Elise Loeuille, lead designer of Goldcross Cycles. But also by our trainers in ISD. So of course their professional opinions had an impact on our work.

FS: Who is the target customer for his design?
CB: The target users are the kids (2-4 years old), the customers are their parents. That's why we included the parents in our design thinking.

FS: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
CB: We designed this bike with a kid's point of view, trying to understand them as much as possible. The focus was to be adapted to kids, to their size and proportions, to their evolving skills in order to create the best memories out of the whole experience.

FS: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
CB: In the Maori language, the concept of ako means both to teach and to learn. As it was meant to be developed mostly for New Zealand and Australia, we decided to name the bike AKO.

FS: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
CB: In a first time, field researches, meetings families, taking pictures and videos of kids cycling. When it came to the creative phase of the design process, we sketched (hand sketch) a lot and filled the walls of our studio with ideas during 6 weeks. We also tried physical explorations, building quick prototypes to test and validate ideas. Later we used photoshop for renders, illustrator to refine the shape of the frame before jumping into 3D modelling and renders. The final step was the building of our prototype in the workshop.

FS: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
CB: What makes AKO unique is the way kids are using it : everything is adapted to them and thought to be easier and safer.

FS: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
CB: As an engineer, Matthieu Germain was helping us with all our technical questions.

FS: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
CB: Technology such as 3D softwares helped us designing and building the bike.

FS: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
CB: For most of our researches we have been meeting families, asking questions to both kids and parents, observing how kids ride different bikes, etc. and finally, to really understand kids, we tried to ride a 50kg bike in order to understand where and when our design could make a change. This is what drove us to this design.

FS: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
CB: Kids are very complex users, they are fascinating. Understanding them completely was a big challenge, but this is what drove the full project.

FS: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
CB: The team worked hard for this project, with a lot of passion and dedication. We are all proud of this design so we decided to submit it to an international design competition as the best way to end the project.

FS: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
CB: The process was very user-centered, the whole team improved their analysis and research skills. It required also a lot of coordination to cover all the aspects of the process.


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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