Archives: MAY 2013

NY Design Week WRAP UP

A BIG THANKS to everyone who came by the INTRO NY | neo-utility POP UP SHOP during NY Design Week. The exhibition organized by smallpond in collaboration with designjunction was a tremendous success-showcasing design brands from around the world. For those who could not attend, make sure to check out some of the press below from Core77, Dezeen, DWR Blog, Design Milk, and Tom Dixon.

All items from the neo-utility POP UP SHOP are available on

The Salvadorian behind KAKKOii – Japanese for COOL

I had the chance to catch up with Antonio Arévalo for a few minutes over Skype. The designer responsible for the new brand KAKKOii, and our latest hit, the WOW Speaker, has a lot to say about his approach to design and what’s in store for the brand. The future looks bright for this small studio that’s making noise across the globe – guaranteed not to be a one hit wonder.


The WOW Speaker seems like a departure from your previous designs, can you discuss why you chose to do a speaker?

As a designer, one of my major ambitions has been to create a product that can be enjoyed by the masses without jeopardizing its design integrity—to create a quality product, with aesthetics, good finishes, etc. It only felt right to do something that sits around an icon, really. I saw the potential to make something that has the scalability, with the next challenge to make a desirable product.


Speaker Icon

Where did your inspiration come from?

One of my signatures, or what I try to achieve as a designer, is to create something iconic. It felt natural when we started playing with ideas, that that we should stick to the silhouette of the speaker icon on the computer. If you look at the side view of the WOW Speaker, that shape comes from the icon on your computer or on your phone, so that is kind of where it comes from.

Obviously we then had to make that icon three dimensional—we looked at different ways to keep it quite flat but as soon as we started playing with the shape, we saw the potential for making a cone. One of the criteria when making the speaker was to make a small (compact) object, but allow it to give a really LOUD sound – small in size, LOUD in sound. When we looked at the shape of the cone, it just started to fit into place naturally, which was a good sign for us.

Another part of the hidden rules that I play with, is that while the object has to be iconic, it shouldn’t be that obvious either. If it’s too obvious it may end up being a one liner. What I have found with the WOW Speaker, is that its inspiration is not that obvious until I explain to people where the shape comes from—but once I explain it, it really makes perfect sense. The power of design is greater once you explain the rational.


Illustration by Alex Spain  

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