A week has now past since Design Week here in Stockholm, life has returned back to normal, designers have gone back to work and Stockholmsmässan is probably a vast empty space again.

I wanted to wait a while before writing this, mostly because it’s incredibly difficult in such a vast fair to avoid becoming either distracted only by shiny things or the cynical designer who sees nothing. So after one weeks digestion time…it’s time, but I feel exactly the same! Sure I’m quite attuned to not letting the inner magpie become entirely distracted by shiny things and free kanelbullar, and I tried not to become despondent with ‘nice’ design. So here’s my collected wanderings through a massive huge shiny magpie’s playground.

First up, something which almost shouldn’t need to be designed it’s so simple. A wall bracket to hold your bike. It feels incredibly current in so many ways to our object, personalized world. Obviously built for the bike obsessed fixie riders, but there’s nothing to stop me from taking pride in my wheels. Why would anyone throw their bike on the sad heap of rusty bikes in the street if they could hang it on the wall?

Would we cycle more if we had to walk past our bike on the way out the house? I like to think so.

Bike Grab, Thomas Deeprose Scotland.

This next is a personal niggle and something I’ve seen hinted at in a few experimental design projects, about empowering curiosity and understanding through products. But here Lund University master student Ola Nystedt has taken the idea curiosity and self accomplishment to a marketable product. The very cross over from experimental to potential product from different designers in different institutions and countries says so much to me about the current collaborative state of design and designers wholeheartedly embracing the economy of borrowed ideas.

12 part kettle and 13 part toaster, Ola Nystedt Sweden.

The Lund Universtity stand was an almost missed gem, when populated with students I strode by without stopping there, but in the calm of the end of day 1 it was a great example of industrial design for changing times. Ideas that are taking into account a bigger system, and asking key questions about social and political  positioning. It would have been refreshing to see Jonas Lagerdstedt’s waste-water heated bench taken to the core of the system, and the root of the problem it tries to solve by asking, why do we wait for the bus at all? But it’s a cute solution for a problem, and picks up nicely on optimizing systems for human comfort with a healthy note of ‘why not?’.

Heat me bench, Jonas Lagerstedt Sweden.

I guess this is what excites me about design. We can push the boundaries outwards and encompass the greater system until we are ultimately designing the new systems, but we can also do just one thing really well. We are a collective world of niches. Hopefully the emergent design generation is building from the best of both. But amongst all of the fuss, deal making and smart products when I passed by this stand, I turned a wry smile. They, I thought are are doing something. They do one thing really really well, it’s a brave thing to do and as design rides this tumultuous wave and we are anxious to start doing, let’s not forget that humble aspirations are no bad thing – we must ask, what value can we offer and in the words of L. Hansberry, lets “never be afraid to sit a while and think”.