Located in Higashiosaka (East Osaka City), the Ohara Electric Wire Co. is a small family-run operation that manufactures heavy duty, high quality, high-voltage extension cords for manufacturing environments.
Mostly located behind gigantic humming machines, Ohara's products are the type of thing most factory workers wouldn't even see, let alone consumers. But their latest line of extension cords have won a Good Design Award in the Best 100 category and look as if they'd be bestsellers at Muji.
Gen Suzuki, an RCA-educated product designer who worked for IDEO prior to setting up his own firm, designed the extension cords after visiting the Ohara's facility and getting to know the family. Suzuki realized that "Electric wires are an important infrastructure that supports society, but they are extremely anonymous;" impressed with the Oharas' commitment to craftsmanship, Suzuki felt he could let their spirit provide "an aura to anonymous mass-produced products."
"The three types of extension cords, cross type, straight type, and rainproof type, are all straight to the function and have no unnecessary details.
"The diameter of a high-quality VCT cable that can handle high voltages is large, but it is moist and soft, so it is easy to handle.
"The electrodes and body are integrally molded so that they can withstand use at home, stores, construction sites, and outdoors, so they are durable.
"The design, which is made of a single material from the main body to the cord, is straightforward, quiet, and somehow adorable."
The project between Suzuki and the Oharas is part of an initiative called Higashiosaka FACTOR, whereby the region's industrial companies are paired with designers who can help them expand beyond industrial clients.
A desktop CNC milling machine can be a practical addition to your prototyping or small-scale fabrication operations.
3D modeling has been a part of the profession of industrial design since before computers were even conceived.
With so many online learning platforms out there, it can be hard as a designer to decipher where to go...
We are building this list as a resource for designers who are looking for a starting point in picking a...
In the 1990s 3D printing was adopted by forward-looking design studios for prototyping – it was not widespread though for...
Community driven, engineering oriented, detailed and aesthetic, 3D printing oriented, royalty-free, paid, free.
Technology can be a great help when it comes to organizing your research on an ongoing project or in new...
Don't have an account? Join Now
Create a Core77 Account
Already have an account? Sign In
Please enter your email and we will send an email to reset your password.
What are those rings attached to the cable?