Member Since 2011
Name: Dan Black, Black+Blum
Product: Hot-Pot BBQ
When Dan Black and Martin Blum founder their design firm, the wittily named Black+Blum, their intention was to “design functional products that would charm and entertain.” A case in point is their delightful Hot-Pot BBQ, a barbecue grill disguised as a lovely terra cotta planter.
Can you describe your creative process?
Martin or I will come up with an initial idea but then it will be a completely joint input—we realize that the end design is always better that way. The inspiration for the idea can come from anywhere. We always try to look for ideas in areas that are often overlooked by designers. Once we have the idea, we will start sketching the concept and then make lots of models to see how it will look. Once we’re happy with the design, we’ll start to try and find someone who can make it for us… and then the design process really starts, as often some things in the original concept will not be possible to produce. It can be quite a challenge to make sure the final design does not lose any of the good stuff that got you excited about in the first place.
What do you love about what you do?
We are not a consultancy, so we are not being told what to design by a client or how long we can spend working on the design. This freedom for a designer makes it a dream job. We are now at a stage where we can design anything we want and make it from anything we want. Having so much freedom can be a little daunting, but we have plenty of ideas and just want to try to get them right before they reach the market.
How would you sum up your aesthetic/design philosophy?
Function with soul. Every time we get asked this question, we always write the reply a slightly different way, although the meaning should always be the same. If you look at our product range, they are all very different. But if you look more closely, you will see the same values of functionality with soul in each. We always look at each product on an individual basis, as we do not want to be known for one style of design. Styles are normally more vulnerable to dating and this is something we want to avoid.
What are you working on next?
We are currently working on a water bottle and shopping trolley… both exciting projects.
What would you like to do other than your current occupation?
I think I’m pretty lucky doing what I do, but I do also enjoy painting and would probably be pursuing this if I wasn’t doing design.