The product that I’ll highlight today only exists out of one steel rail and three steel cubes and can be used to store CD’s, DVD’s, Books, … You can hang the boxes in any way you can imagine, this way you will never get bored easily by this flexible peace of furniture. QueB is a simple storage rack that is being ingeniously fixed to the wall, so none of the screws are visible.
QueB is created by 3 young people from Belgium with different backgrounds. They call themselves FARZ and are located in Leuven. QueB is their first step into the world of industrial design. I got the opportunity to talk to Bart Houben, one of the people behind this young design collective to find out what is involved, and if it was difficult to go from an idea to a finished object that is ready to be sold.
I have always been attracted to design, most of all cutting edge industrial design. I think it were the stunning sketches of Hergé in the Tintin comics that inspired me to learn more about how things work and are designed. Later on, for me it was an obvious choice to study industrial design in Antwerp. During my studies I got attracted by graphic design and everything about the world wide web. I stayed up long nights learning about HTML and later CSS. So I guess you can say that my day to day profession is somewhat the sidestep I took after getting my master degree in industrial design.
One steel rail & three steel cubes. That’s all there is to it.
I designed this product along with two great friends; Anton and Piet. Anton is an engineer and Piet is a product designer. We know each other since we were kids. Some years ago we decided to meet each other once a month to do some brainstorm sessions. The ultimate goal of those sessions was to design something we would be able to get on the market, and would love to own ourselves. QueB is the first product we launch, but there are other projects waiting to be executed.
After finishing the renovation of my house I was thinking about decorating it. I made a little sketch of some cubical racks that I could attach to my living room wall. I wanted a flexible sort of rack that I could arrange the way I felt like. I showed this idea to my colleagues and QueB was the product that was distilled out of that idea.
The major obstacle in the design process was making sure no screws were visible on the main bar. I can say we spend 75% of the time getting rid of those screws in the design. There are some systems on the market that try to do the same – mounting something to a wall that can bear a lot of weight, without seeing any structural screws – but none of them were fitted for our product. We came up with about a dozen solutions for this problem and eventually choose the solution of the double bar: the first bar is fixed to the wall with screws and the second bar is hung over the first bar. Now, after all the work, I can say I’m very pleased with the result.
QueB is never dull. You can position it in multiple ways and see how you like it. You can adjust QueB to any kind of interior, change the look for different occasions, and even adapt it to your mood.
We made three prototypes of the boxes and four prototypes of the bar. As I said before, the bar was the hardest part to get right. For the boxes, the main purpose of the prototypes was to choose the material and the thickness (first in 3mm thick aluminum , eventually in 2,5 mm thick steel).
That’s a very difficult question. I admire a massive variety of designs. During my studies in Antwerp, my professors always told me: “You are not here to learn how to design beautiful products, you are here to learn how to design successful products”. They did not mean we could not design beautiful products, but there had to be more than just plain beauty to make a product that is bought by a lot of consumers. Our designs had to be user-friendly, well produced, well balanced and beautiful. They made it clear by using the well known principle ‘form follows function’. A principle that – for me – stands for great design. As a designer, my believe is that at first you seek to make a product as functional as you can to please the need of the user, not forgetting about the pure visual design of it, because those two can hardly be separated. So design should follow out of that strive to excellent function and functionality. Nowadays I think my web designs still breath a bit of that principle. The visual design should follow out of a well thought of information architecture and wireframe. To end with, I would like to sum up a non-exhaustive list of designers I very much admire and love: Hergé, Ferdinand Porsche, Dieter Rams, Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, Stefan Schöning and Drew Wilson along with many others. All those designers make our world just that little bit better and a lot less dull.
I thought it would be nice to get a little insight into the process of crafting a real product. I’m sure they are more people out there that have the idea for a product but have no clue how to bring it to market. Hearing other people talk about their process is always inspiring. I would like to thank Bart for sharing his thoughts with us. QueB is available with black rail and white elements. You can buy it at the online shop of ‘De Invasie’.