Cube by Palette
Launching in the UK at 100% Design, Cube began as a university project four years ago, which the three Palette co-founders – all engineers – have since developed into a globally distributed product. “We wanted to change the way people interact with colour,” explains Djordje Dikic, CEO and co-founder of the Melbourne-based brand. Cube is a portable colour digitiser; that is, a handheld box that the user places on a surface to capture its exact colour. It works by blocking out surrounding light, then shining red, green and blue light on to the surface to take a true reading, making it much more accurate than a photo. This can be transferred straight to Photoshop as a swatch, or matched to a number of paint and colour libraries like Dulux and RAL.
The technology behind it already exists, but according to Dikic, it isn’t fulfilling its potential. “Other companies that do it are outdated and very expensive, two or three times the price of ours [£149.95] and they don’t connect to smart phones or Photoshop – things we expect to be normal now.”
The trio raised funds via Kickstarter to develop Cube, aimed at creative professionals, and has since partnered with distributors in the US, Germany, Australia, Scandinavia, Japan and now the UK, where it is working with Colour Confidence. The team now aims to partner with more paint and colour companies, and break into the cosmetics market, where Cube could be used to match skin tone to make-up.
In late February 2014, the founders of Warsaw-based furniture company Tylko made a last-minute decision that was to propel it to success. They decided to visit Launch, the San Francisco start-up festival that kick-started Skype and Dropbox, and a week later found themselves on stage speaking about their new technology for customising mass-produced furniture. The team not only won a prize, but also gained international investors, and caught the attention of Yves Behar, who has since become the firm’s design adviser.
“We’re about digitising the furniture industry,” says co-founder Micha Piasecki, speaking to onoffice at Tylko’s Designjunction launch. “All our pieces are mass customisable, and we’re working with well-known designers like Yves, but the designs are co-created by the end user.”
Tylko’s range so far includes the Hub table, designed by Behar, the Ivy bookshelf and the Totem salt and pepper mill. Each can be customised to intricate detail, including size (in centimetre increments), colour, material, the shape and angle of the table legs and the configuration of shelves. One of Piasecki’s colleagues has calculated that, with options for shape, size and finish, there are 42m possible outcomes for the Totem mill.
“What’s pretty unique is the context mode,” continues Piasecki, demonstrating the app’s augmented reality function. Many brands use this technology, which allows the user to view a piece of furniture to scale in situ in their room via a tablet or smartphone – but within Tylko’s app, the user can change the size, style and materials while viewing it in context. The price is also automatically updated as you customise, taking into account material costs and manufacturing time. Once ordered, the piece is made on demand. “We’re trying to merge the world of craftsmanship and mass customisation with very contemporary technology.”
onoffice spoke to the founders of two start-up companies exhibiting for the first time at the London Design Festival, whose products aim to apply technology to the creative process in innovative ways