Dezeen Magazine

Anna Gudmundsdottir turns design process back to front for Beyond Local homeware

Lund University graduate Anna Gudmundsdottir created this homeware collection "backwards" by starting with the manufacturers' input rather than the design.

The Beyond Local range, which was created as part of Gudmundsdottir's masters studies at Lund University's School of Industrial Design in Sweden, was made in partnership with seven local factories.

Instead of first taking sketches to manufacturers, the Icelandic designer met with them to discuss processes and materials.

Products were based on finding out what factories could do best and what forms would be more efficient to produce – turning limitations into design opportunities.

"The objects are designed 'backwards'," said Gudmundsdottir. "In contradiction to normal praxis, where objects are designed and then brought as a sketch to the manufacturer, the design process behind these objects started at the place of manufacture."

Tubular forms were based on standard diameters and radii already in use, rather than pursuing larger shapes that would have cost more and taken longer.

The collection includes a scrubbing brush with an oversized looped handle, and a half-moon shaped dustpan and brush that sits on a shiny, conical pedestal. Gudmundsdottir also created a kitchen towel holder on a marble-patterned coloured base, and a washing up brush with a ball-shaped hand.

"The collection itself consists of seemingly everyday objects that exemplify the sorts of products we as consumers normally deem as disposable," said the designer, who worked with a brush and rubber factory, as well as a tube bending company.

"This is also a product category that is often overlooked by designers," she continued. "These homeware objects are not only designed for function but also for decoration, and have, contrary to their mass-produced counterparts, strong character and a story of origin."

The entire Beyond Local range was shown in an exhibition, alongside portraits of the partners and material samples. The project was partly based on Gudmundsdottir's work with the SPOK initiative, which raises awareness of local manufacturers in the south of Sweden.

Brooklyn design brand Good Thing has also given everyday tools an update, with a collection of home accessories in pastel colours.