Designer: Daye Kim
Location: Oakland, CA
Category: Soft Goods
Award: Student Winner
Whaletale is a compact fashionable traveling mat that provides comfortable and relaxing waiting experience at airports for family travelers. It is a traveling accessory that attaches onto any carry-on luggage that unfolds into a semi-private space providing a comfortable seating for a parent and sanitary play environment for children.
How did you learn that you had been recognized by the jury?
I was in the middle of crazy Monday afternoon at Alite designs where I currently work as a summer design intern. A friend of mine called me with an hyped up voice saying congratulations and that I won the award on Core77! Since the project submission in the spring, I hadn't kept up with upcoming dates. I would have missed the live recognition otherwise. My coworkers and I listened to the live awards video together and in celebration, we went and got ice cream!
What's the latest news or development with your project?
Now that all the moms and even single travelers I know are asking me when and where they could buy Whaletale, I want to start thinking about developing this project into an available product and share the goodness with all travelers.
What is one quick anecdote about your project?
In the beginning of this project, with hopes of finding design opportunity in a broad topic of 'traveling,' I went to SFO international airport. There was an amusing scene, in front of the set of my opportunity-seeking eyes. I saw families with little kids waiting at the airports, and almost none of them were using the terminal chairs. Instead, they were lounging on the floor with their crawling toddlers and already tired preschoolers. Why? Then my viewfinder captured a mom with twin girls on a blanket surrounded by several luggage, and they explained everything. The mom sat with her legs spread out letting her twins play in the physical fence-like boundary she created with her body. All she wanted was a comfortable, clean, and secure space for her family in a public space. I had a belief that this family represented all the family travelers and the common struggles among this group.
What was an "a-ha" moment from this project?
Every conversation I had with traveling families at airports—SFO and OAK—was my source of inspiration. Live stories about small and big problems and hassles of family travelers gave me insights and led me to have the real understanding along with excitement to help them out with design. I had those idea sparks above my head in every single talk, not a single wasteful one. Seeing families traveling and parents' care in making the trip more fun and comfortable, reminded me of the whales and how they have strongest social ties between mother and calf as they travel together. That's how the name of this product was born.
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