Friday, March 22, 2013

Designing for Pets

By Anuradha K. R
Photography: courtesy the designers

Paul Hendrikx's Studio Mango's pet product - Pet Planter
Pet Planter
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.

Paul Hendrikx's Studio Mango's pet product - Play Bowl as a play object
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.

Paul Hendrikx's Studio Mango's pet product - Pavlov's Bowl
Pavlov's Bowl

Paul Hendrikx's Studio Mango's pet product - Play Bowl
Play Bowl

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.

Paul Hendrikx's Studio Mango's pet product - Kitty Meow
Kitty Meow

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.

Paul Sandip's Bird Bench
Bird Bench

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. 

Paul Hendrikx's Studio Mango's pet product - Barkie's Bed
Barkie Bed

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.  

Vishwajeet Naik's natural habitat for birds
Homes from old wooden boxes

Vishwajeet Naik's homes for birds 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!
Trupti Mehta's dog muzzle for United Pets, Italy
Dog Muzzle

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