Image courtesy of Maury Fredricks
Just returned from a trip to attend the Industry Preview Days at the Autoshow in Detroit. It’s about a three-hour drive down I-96 from our home in Grand Haven. Typically, drivers are doing an average of 15 over the prescribed limit and traffic is tight in spots. You can move swiftly across the state and it’s worth the drive to check out the NAIAS, the Autoshow. As designers and engineers, we go to witness and take note of styling and technical trends. For us, it’s a bit of a museum of the past and lens to the future. Ironically, the most innovative vehicles shown may be the death of the show itself.
As I confirmed through multiple conversations at Cobo Hall, the show is dying from the inside. Difficult to change the course of a large ship and the NAIAS is at risk of not being able to adapt to the blurring social and technological landscape. (more…)
image source: google images
Back to the future…
“The Jetsons” was a hit cartoon when I was growing up (produced by Hanna-Barbera,aired in primetime from September 23, 1962, to March 17, 1963). For a half hour every week, the show engulfed my imagination in a future world where people were enabled by robots, automation and streamlined, on demand mobility options. Rosie the maid was a robot and everything seemed so much easier for humans. The family seemed so happy, except when they were complaining about the hard work and minor inconveniences of life. Many things have changed over the years, now decades, and some things will remain the same.
This lifestyle, as it relates to mobility and the way we interact with products, is a reality in the developed countries of this world. CES showcased IoT, smart city, smart home and automotive technologies to improve our lives. That’s the idea anyway.
We are delighted to announce Ben Fredricks’ 8th anniversary with our family company!
Our journey began in 2009 when Ben returned to Michigan from Colorado. It was a calculated risk for all of us. We’ve enjoyed almost every project and learned a lot along the way.
We celebrate our past work together as we look forward to future projects with some of the world’s most demanding companies…
Thanks for everything, Ben! Let’s make it another big day…
Fredricks Design, Inc.
Fredricks Design, Inc. is a full-service design and engineering firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan. The firm specializes in working as an extension of the client studio and engineering team to identify the right problems and accelerate development of solutions from early ideation, feasibility, concept development and production of mock-ups, prototypes and show properties. Fredricks works with key Clients in the automotive interiors and seating industries, advanced rides and show action projects for themed attractions, furniture, and consumer products markets.
City planning for the work space.
We commissioned a research and ideation project to explore the correlation between city planning and the design of work environments. The findings from this study supported our premise that any work environment is a landscape of unique environments and spaces designed to meet different types of activities and work styles. This connection is a powerful concept that can be leveraged on space planning and furniture design. Collaborative partnerships with the customer, A+D firms and product designers from diverse backgrounds will drive new thinking and dramatic improvements in the work place.
The work space continues to evolve and the next several years will be a challenging time for many furniture brands. The overall market is flat and there are simply a lot of companies competing for market share. Ongoing uncertainty in the market will require agility and responsiveness to customer demands for new thinking and solutions.
A recent day trip to Neocon in Chicago highlighted the trends that will shape the furniture market over the next several years and beyond.
Well, it’s now only 48 days until the doors open at Neocon 2017…yikes!
Many of our friends in the furniture business are drag racing to the deadline for installation of show properties and prototypes. Wash, rinse and repeat…it’s the same every year.
The furniture industry is not alone in their lean and compressed approach to new product development. Our work with automotive suppliers and consumer products companies is focused on the development of advanced projects, show properties, mock-ups, and prototypes. These are best-in-class companies with brilliant leadership, professional managers, gifted marketers, and fantastic creative and technical teams. Since the downturn, many of these companies have also accumulated significant stockpiles of cash. They have all the resources to do things well and we still find ourselves with tight timing, almost constant scope changes and team misalignment moving from early ideation to completion of show properties.
These are the top three reasons for this condition with a few suggestions for improved team performance and a better outcome to industry shows… (more…)