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What’s going on

What’s going on

The latest news and products from FLEX.

14 Sep 2017

Design Game tool for developing sanitation solutions

From September 26th – 28th one of our creative directors Ronald Lewerissa will join the User Centered Design conference in Seattle, organized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A wide variety of stakeholders in sanitation from all over the world gather to develop innovative sanitation solutions for people in need.

Ronald will apply his skills in User Centered Design (UCD) to invent sanitation solutions for the Base of Pyramid (BoP). One of the UCD tools that will get specific attention will be our Design Game. In two brief sessions, participants will get a better understanding of how the Design Game works as an insight research tool. They will experience its quality to ‘sense’ what people aren’t saying, generating valuable information.

Our expert in the field of sanitation was closely involved in designing a smart sanitation solution for Unesco-IHE. The emergency Sanitation Operating System (eSOS) toilet we developed is a connected solution for sanitation in emergency response situations under extremely harsh conditions. It provides basic hygiene to those needing it the most and at the same time collects essential data and translates them into relevant management tools.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the world’s largest private foundations. They are dedicated improving the quality of life for individuals around the world and describe themselves as “impatient optimists working to reduce inequity.”

Soon we will post an update on the outcome of the event.

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Ask Ronald for more information

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03 Oct 2017

Introducing three talented interns

We enjoy having three new interns at our studio for this semester. It’s again an international mix of talented design students that share our enthusiasm and passion for design. All from a different background, they share that design is not a goal, but a tool to create value for consumers.

For Spanish Angeles, her internship at our design consultancy is part of her final master’s degree year Integrated Product Design at TU Delft. What amazes her about being a designer is that we need to become experts every time we start a new project. She’s curious by nature and feels triggered by people, understanding their needs to create meaningful products. Surrounded by nice and helpful colleagues, she’s convinced that her internship with us will help her to develop as a designer.

21-year-old Pavel is studying Industrial Design Engineering at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. With a fascination for Belgian beers, movies, traveling, and design, he hopes that someday he’ll bring something into this world that will leave a positive mark on it. He is convinced that high quality and reliability is the key to users’ satisfaction. His choice for our consultancy was easy according to Pavel: 25 years of experience in developing great products for multinationals and start-ups.

Andreas is a third-year student Industrial Product Design at HAN University of Applied Sciences. Design for him is about creating new experiences. He gets inspired by everything around him; by people, by nature, by art. From the start of his internship, he has been involved in multiple design projects for different clients. He likes being treated as a young designer rather than an intern, learning a lot every day, inspired by his colleagues.

During their six months internship, they get the chance to work in an inspiring and professional environment and learn about various aspects of the design process. Good luck to you all!

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Also interested in an internship? contact Iris or check our job page.

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26 Sep 2017

Life is like a box of boxers

The right pair of undies can make your day! That’s why the five young entrepreneurs of A-dam underwear produce handmade, premium quality underwear with perfect fits and made of certified organic cotton only. We love their great sense of humor and enjoyed creating new packaging that’s full of smart solutions and perfectly reflects their brand.

The large window in the white box displays the boxer’s design. The eye-catching red tab invites consumers to slide the carton tray out to check fabric, waistband, and size and close again without damaging it. When taking out your new pair of undies, you’re in for a graphic surprise! Moreover, the small round window at the back reveals the boxers USP’s one by one. The rotating metal hook on top not only helps to create a premium look & feel but has a significant impact on logistic efficiency. On top of it all, we realized a cost-price reduction in comparison to their old packaging solution.

Our designers Abke and Marcel met the A-dam guys at the Packaging Innovations fair in November 2016. Quickly afterward we brainstormed about new packaging concepts that should solve the issues they encountered with the existing one. In close collaboration with their team, we tackled its challenges in transport, stock, and logistics. In just six months we created a new structural packaging design for A-dam Underwear.

A-dam underwear was founded in 2014 and is a boxer brand that does things differently. They use certified organic cotton only. The products are made by hand by people with fair wages and regular working hours. The products are available in more than 100 shops in 6 countries and in their own webshop, which is worth checking out for its design.

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Contact Abke to learn more about this project

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25 Sep 2017

Silver Pentaward for Seepje

We’re proud that the international Pentaward jury awarded the packaging for Seepje with a Silver Pentaward 2017 in the category Other Markets – Household maintenance. The 11th official Pentawards ceremony took place on Saturday 23rd at the prestigious W Hotel in Barcelona, Spain. We developed the new packaging for the wonderful young laundry enthusiasts of fairtrade brand Seepje.

We designed sustainable packaging for Seepje’s new range of liquid laundry detergents. The key ingredient of these detergents is an extract of the peels of the Sapindus Mukurossi fruits from Nepal. These peelings contain a natural kind of soap, which is released when exposed to water. Generous Minds helped Seepje with its strategy and asked us to develop an iconic bottle that would help Seepje to scale up for retailers like Albert Heijn. We came up with the iconic shape of a soap block, of course, a wink to clean. It ensures a secure grip for users and reduces the use of material compared to regular detergent handles. The soap block shape, pastel colors and soft touch refer to softness. At the bottom of the bottle, you can read that they are made out of recycled plastic milk bottles. The labels consist of waste products of sugar cane production and are easily detachable, to help consumers separate waste. Seepje is collaborating with farmers in Nepal, who take care of harvesting and processing these peelings in a socially responsible way.  Seepje aims to ‘wash the world cleaner and more beautiful.’ Earlier this year the Seepje packaging won a NL Packaging Award 2017.

The Pentawards is recognized as the most prestigious worldwide competition exclusively devoted to packaging design. For this 11th edition, they received more than 2000 entries from five continents and 54 countries. The jury selected the winners based on the creative quality and the marketing relevance of the works presented.

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Ask Ronald all about this packaging solution

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19 Sep 2017

Kick-start for First Breath

Recently the aai.care team started a Kickstarter campaign for their indoor air quality monitor First Breath. They aim to reach their € 50.000,- goal that is needed to produce and market their product. We translated their initial ideas into friendly, practical, yet sophisticated design. The monitor and its connecting app inform parents about the indoor air quality, enabling them to create a healthy environment for their loved ones at any time. First Breath was nominated for a Kind + Jugend Innovation Award 2017.

The babies’ lungs are susceptible to air pollution. A healthy indoor air environment is essential to their growth and development. First Breath is an indoor air quality monitor that scans the air and displays what the baby is breathing. Sometimes parents are not even aware of the harm they’re causing with cleaning products, cooking or poor ventilation. First Breath instantly shows the type of pollution, alarming the parents to take necessary action. The matching app educates the parents about pollution and coaches them to improve conditions in the baby’s room.

Our challenge was to create contemporary design for a high-tech product, that shouldn’t look technical at all and fit seamlessly in any baby room. We choose an iconic house-shape design that refers to ‘indoors.’ The monitor’s lighting ring quickly shows when a pollutant reaches its threshold level by changing colors.  The wooden base ensures a warm, friendly appearance.  We also designed the user interface of the First Breath app, which connects the monitor with the baby’s parents. In close collaboration with our client, we worked from prototype to prototype (made by FLEX/prototyping) to optimize the product. The team proudly presents the result at the Kind + Jugend fair 2017 in Cologne, Germany from September 20th – 23rd 2017, where it has been nominated for an innovation award.

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. It helps creators find the resources and support they need to bring their ideas to life. Over 10 million people from all over the world already backed a Kickstarter project.

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Contact Mark if you’d like to know more about our design solutions for high-tech products

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05 Sep 2017

Creative Director Mark Assies gives guest lecture at Amsterdam University

Mark gives guest lecture at Amsterdam University

Design & Innovation (part of the Engineering program) at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences introduces the new course: Packaging Design. Our Creative Director Mark shares his valuable expertise with the design students at their very first packaging design college on September 5th.

‘Packaging Design is so much more than just creating a nice package.’ Packaging remains a powerful tool and cost-effective way to tell a brand’s story. Smart structural packaging design helps brands grow. Our designers continually monitor trends in consumer behavior, taste, and packaging and collaborate with our clients to develop packaging that stands out. With a few relevant case stories, Mark covers important packaging themes such as brand language, visibility, online sales, cost reduction and sustainability.

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Check with Mark for our smart packaging solutions

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21 Aug 2017

Senior Designer Abke speaker at Summerclass BNO

On August 25th students, graduates and young designers are welcome to join the Summerclass All About Packaging #3, organized by BNO (the Association of Dutch Designers). This year’s focus will be sustainability in packaging. One of our Senior Designers and project manager Abke Geels will inspire the young audience with ‘Holy cow, I used to be an English milk bottle,’ sharing the ins and outs of a sustainable packaging we developed for laundry brand Seepje.

Young entrepreneurs Jasper and Marvin, founders of Seepje, asked us to create a sustainable packaging solution for their range of detergents that stands out on the shelf. We came up with the iconic shape of soap, of course, a wink to clean. This typical shape ensures a secure grip for the user and reduces material use compared to regular detergent handles. The shape, pastel colors and the soft touch all refer to softness. As you can read on the bottom of the bottle, they are made out of recycled plastic milk bottles. Generous Minds created the labels that consist of waste products of sugar cane production. Sustainable use of materials! To help users recycle, even more, we choose for labels that are easily detachable, enabling consumers to separate materials. Seepje is collaborating with farmers in Nepal, who take care of harvesting and processing the ingredients in a socially responsible way.

It’s the third-year in a row that BNO is organizing Summerclass All About Packaging. Senior designers and experts hope to inspire the young audience by their best practices in packaging design and information. Enthusiasts will gather at the BNO office in Amsterdam on August 25th, 2017. Learn from the best and book your ticket now.

04 Aug 2017

Designing Red Bull’s ‘Petrol Store of the Future’

It’s safe to predict the automotive industry will change dramatically in the coming years as electric cars take over the market. This will have major implications for all the stakeholders in the industry. What will happen to the pertrol stations for instance, as people will mainly charge their car at home and at work? Red Bull – who’s been closely cooperating with the petrol sector for years – decided to gather a team of experts to find answers to this question.

Together with TNS, Instinct Laboratory, Wyne Strategy and Red Bull’s Out of Home team, we developed a toolkit for petrol station entrepreneurs to help them drive traffic to their location, after the main reason to visit – fuelling – has ceased to exist.

In this toolkit, the petrol station owners find concepts on the cross section of retail design, experience design and service design. Concepts that build on the specific characteristics of locations, as every location is unique when it comes to its surroundings, demographic profile, nearby retail, traffic situation and governmental plans.

These concepts were developed in the co-creation workshops we organized. In these sessions, we combined location characteristics with the extensive trend research done by TNS and Instinct Laboratory to come up with a large number of ideas. We thought about new categories that can be added to existing shops, but also about complete new destinations that offer people relevant reasons to visit a specific location.

The result: 15 modular concepts that re-invent stations’ value. Inspiring module examples: Module Runner’s Block – that facilitates running straight after work, DropOn/DropOff – a concierge service for all your small errands, Power Meeting – a room for super-efficient meetings, Dug out – to gather with your team mates before a game.

Red Bull aims to implement the first Future Station concepts still this year.

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An article about this project was published in ‘Petrol’, a magazine for the petrol industry. You can download the article here.

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04 Jul 2017

Our house extension concept ‘Matchbox’ wins

Together with the experts from De Mar, KAW, and Reimarkt, we faced housing corporation Stadlanders challenge ‘The Housing Transition Hackathon’ and won the first prize! The jury praised our ‘Matchbox’ house extension concept for its smart solutions. They especially appreciated the circular approach, enabling the re-use of the box. The high residual value makes it an affordable extension.

Stadlander, a Dutch housing corporation based in Brabant, organized this challenge to tackle two major social issues: reduce energy consumption to zero in combination with an increase in living standard. Their Brief: design an affordable and flexible extension on ground floor level that doesn’t interfere with the renovation solutions for less than €9.999,-.

Our experienced team, with expertise in design, architecture and building technology, faced the challenge. We developed a simple box that’s made of smart materials and solutions that can be connected to average houses easily and disassembled at a later stage. The residents can transform the extra available space as they wish; one room or a bedroom in combination with a bathroom or kitchen on ground floor level. In close collaboration, we carefully chose materials and worked on connections and other details.

Matchbox is another example of a successful concept when joining forces with experts from different fields. ‘Connecting the dots between people, technology, and business.’

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Check with Ronald for more information about this exciting concept.

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19 Jun 2017

UNA Grill enthusiastically received on Kickstarter

UNA Grill, the unique tabletop grill we created for our client UNA Grill B.V. is on Kickstarter and received ultimately well. This on-line crowdfunding community featured the project as a ‘Project We Love’ and already in the first two hours reached its fundraising goal. Due to its smart yet simple design, UNA Grill can be used anytime, anywhere. Check on Kickstarter and get your own!

UNA Grill revolutionizes outdoor grilling and creates an exciting social experience. This portable charcoal tabletop grill with a fresh and elegant design is made to enjoy outdoor dining year-round. Its compact design can be the center of your meal anytime, anywhere; a summer meal with friends on a garden terrace, an intimate barbecue for two on a city balcony or a picnic at the park. We created plain design full of smart solutions.

The cover comes in five fresh colors. It ensures an easy, compact storage and doubles as a secure foot for the grill, just by clicking it underneath. The leather handle makes it quite easy to carry along. The grill even has two heights above the charcoal, and when reversed it has a dedicated setup for skewers. After grilling UNA is easy to clean in a dishwasher and ready for a new adventure. It is a must-have to enjoy outdoor living!

Kickstarter is a global community, build around creatives and creative projects. It helps creators find the resources and support they need to bring their ideas to live. Over 10 million people from all over the world already backed a Kickstarter project.

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Contact John if you’d like to know more about this case or our guidance for start-ups

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13 Jun 2017

Enjoying a great FLEX team event

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Last Friday, June 9th, we enjoyed our yearly team activity and faced educative and sportive challenges, which led to hilarious situations, lots of fun and great team building. We ended our day at one of the Rotterdam’s hotspots, a rooftop on ‘the Markhal,’ watching the most beautiful sunset.

We started in the morning, with four different teams building our own Arduino-powered line follower robots. Holding some key ingredients, we found out that it’s quite a challenge to write a program that sends your robot precisely in the right direction. Of course, for us, the robot’s design was just as important! Before lunch, we had our final.

In the afternoon many of us practiced archery for the first time. After the instructor had taught us the basics with real bows and arrows, all hell broke loose when four teams fought each other in an arrow battle with soft top arrows. Great fun and good team spirit!

We ended our day on a rooftop at one of Rotterdam’s hotspots, enjoying a great view over the city and Italian specialties.

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