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'Leave a powerful impression'Nikolai Carels creates industrial designs and/or offers advice in the field, notably to industry and retail chains. To achieve good products and ideas, Carels says its important to listen and look around you. Having a good understanding of yourself, the customer and the market and to think differently in order to acquire inspiration for creative and innovative ideas. Function and aesthetics must always come together. Furthermore, it is important to guide products from the design to production stages. "The product has to work, be attractive and have a good balance of price and quality. The product must capture the imagination and leave a powerful impression". Examples of designs that meet these conditions and that are viewed as successes include the Lapin, the Cutting Board, the watering can and the Douwe Egbert tableware..
Life cycleWhile still a student at the Rietveld Academy, Nicolai Carels won the first HEMA-design competition with the Lapin kettle in 1989-1990, which is still part of the collection today. With its cozy rounded shape and the cap sticking out above the handle, it is reminiscent of a rabbit, a cuddly toy par excellence. The use of wood for the handle underscores the friendly character, making the "Lapin" a real consumer product. "So the winning kettle, 'Le Lapin' exemplifies an almost perfect design." Carels was the first winner of the HEMA contest who saw his design carried into production. That is to say, Carel understood very well what kind of kettle HEMA had in mind. Not a Memphis-like - thank God there were no post-modern kettles among the seven best - but a simple spherical tank with a curved wooden handle that secures the spout. This (standard) curved shape was supplied by HEMA; they only needed to assemble a different handle and the spout. That's the secret of an affordable and consistent product range. The jury praised it as "a mature product", immediately saying it was "the most commercial entry '' - (J. Huisman Volkskrant May 26, 1990).
Simple and affordable productsBefore Carels became a freelance designer, he gained his first experience during various internships. With his studio NCPD (Nikolai Carels Product Design), Carels, who graduated in 1992, deliberately focuses on the market of simple, affordable consumer products. A watering can, a candle holder and more recently, a flowerpot: all with a similar 'low-profile' design. His design studio creates a variety of its own products and products for various clients.
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