By Anuradha K. R
Photography: courtesy the designers
Pets have always been a pampered lot; and products designed especially for pets – birds, dogs, cats, horses... are finding takers like never before...
Renowned designers are taking the plunge into ubiquitous pet products; highly utilitarian in purpose, hugely appealing in terms of design and truly innovative with respect to the materials that go into their making.
|Kitty at play|
The raison d’être is attributed to enhanced lifestyles and to home makers seeking equal opportunities for their pets. Many a time, the home has only pets and no children, or is a single-child home; even single parent-single child homes, or elderly couples, for whom a pet becomes their centre of focus. In such situations, getting the best for their pet becomes as significant as satisfying their daily needs.
Studio Mango is a developer of high-end pet-care products from Netherlands, which was in the running for the Red Dot Design Award for its ‘Pavlov’s Bowl’. It’s a smart feeding bowl for dogs that has built-in obstacles at the bottom to prevent dogs from eating too fast and a handle that enables easy handling. With an integrated whistle to call and train the dog, Pavlov’s Bowl has all the ingredients to be a retail winner.
Delhi based Paul Sandip’s ‘Bird Bench’ is another masterpiece that presents itself as a bench for him and his birds to dwell on together. Meant to be used on lawns, the Bird Bench is crafted out of wood, ceramic and stainless steel.
Designing products for pets happens to be a challenging task, as designers can’t think of getting direct feedback about their designs from end-users of their products, compelling them to rely largely on observation. While designing Kitty Meow & Barkie pet beds, Paul Hendrikx (product designer at Studio Mango) and his team, observed that pets love to crawl into objects to find a comfortable place. The cushiony hideouts that they designed inside cartoon-faced structures were very well received by pets and critics alike.
Vishwajeet Naik from Pune, India, is a birdwatcher and an environmentalist by passion, and has taken an altogether different route to designing artificial nests for birds. Having taken a conscious decision not to use any fancy material, he relies on used boxes, oil cans and recycled material to build cosy nests for birds, helping them in their breeding season. Although his solutions do not directly address bird-pet owners, his designs provide them with an excellent low-cost option not to mention the natural habitat setting that keeps the birds comfortable.
|Homes from old wooden boxes|
|Homes from old wooden boxes|
An upcoming product designer Trupti Mehta, who has designed for an Italian company as part of her student days sums up ‘designing for pets’ very succinctly: she opines that it is necessary to equate your emotional needs with that of your pet. This then elevates the design quotient and results in pet-friendly upbeat options that become endearing to the pets as well as their masters!