Designer, entrepreneur and Core77 Design Awards Runner-Up Dario Antonioni of L.A.-based design firm Orange22 recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce a bench called "Botanist Minimal," an extension of the established Botanist series (itself a spinoff of Orange22).
Of course, there's more to it than meets the eye:The minimalistic design is based on a reduction based design process where we examined a typical bench and rigorously reduced it into its essential elements. In the case of Botanist Minimal, only two basic components are meaningful to produce a functional bench. Those components are 1) a bent wood top which transitions into the structural legs and 2) a center rib for additional stability and rigidity. The end result is beautiful with the two basic elements working harmoniously together.
It's certainly an elegant piece of design work—I'd sit on it and even consider putting it in my home—and I agree that "designing something that's minimal doesn't make it easy to manufacture," but why use Kickstarter? Dario makes his case after the jump...
Kickstarter is an amazingly powerful tool not only to reach out to a global test audience to validate the popularity of a design but also to raise funds without ever leaving the studio. Creative types should be making stuff, not worried about business plans, loan documents and venture capitalist funding. This helps us do what we do faster with less distractions.
That's certainly an accurate characterization of Kickstarter, but I can't shake the feeling that the Kickstarter campaign feels a bit more like a marketing move than the intended use of the crowdfunding platform... especially considering that the Botanist series itself was funded by revenue from Orange22. In other words, it doesn't necessarily feel like the backers have a stake in the final product; rather, they're getting a substantial discount on an article of furniture (the upper echelon of support will put a bench on your doorstep for $299, marked down from $799).
At risk of video overload, I'll include Kickstarter co-founder Yancy Strickler's excellent talk from PSFK Conference, in which he discusses the aforementioned "stakes" at length:
Of course, Strickler and his team saw fit to approve "Botanist Minimal," so it's a moot point. I'm fairly confident that it will reach its modest $20,000 goal... and who knows, maybe Antonioni is actually pioneering a new model of e-commerce via Kickstarter.
In fact, the "Botanist Minimal" Kickstarter campaign could be construed as an extension of Antonioni's analogy to music as a creative community that takes advantage of common platforms for sharing ideas (the link to the video is broken; view it in full below).