Design adds value to everyday plastic consumer products

Kari Kallonen, Managing Director of Orthex Ab, Finland
Arni Aromaa, industrial designer, M.A., Pentagon Design, Finland

Arni Aromaa's and Kari Kallonen's joint presentation discusses the co-operation between design company pentagon design and marketing company Orthex, both based in Finland. Their explanations reveal how their companies got in touch with each other and how they both gained from this design implementation. Their presentation also gives us a detailed account of the design process leading to the `Rondo' laundry basket.

Co-operation between pentagon design and Orthex

Pentagon design, established in 1996, profiles itself as a design consultancy concentrating on simple consumer goods - `simple' having no pejorative connotations here, while it mainly refers to the nature of their products. Pentagon design devises products which are technically simple to make. In 2000 the design company went into a partnership with marketing and communication company Unique. The idea behind this co-operation is their conviction that many clients will profit from a variety of design services. In this way, pentagon design can offer expertise in four different areas: Product Design, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Marketing Communication. This expertise is also reflected in the profile of pentagon design's employees.

Orthex is a private Finnish company focussed on the fabrication of plastic household products since 1956. Orthex is convinced that plastic is the outstanding material for household products and will remain so in the future. The company has about 200 different items in production and tries to handle the whole process, from raw materials to finished articles for the consumer. In 2002 it had a turnover of 11 million euro, counting for 90% of Finland's domestic market. With a population of 5 million inhabitants in an area larger than France, this is not an extensive but still widespread market. Orthex employs 100 people, has 32 injection moulding machines and produces 3000 tons of plastic per year, 20% of which consists of recycling materials. Orthex has major competitors in both Great Britain and Italy.

After a period of 12 years, in which Orthex operated with an in-house professional industrial designer (who left the company in 1997), the company wanted to buy a design service from an outside designer. Orthex started a co-operation with design bureau Code. Two years later Orthex bought up Bytepak, a small company which didn't cater for the design of their own products but relied on the services of pentagon design. This is how Orthex came into contact with pentagon design. In 2000 they decided to go into a co-operation with pentagon design, a co-operation which has already led to ten new design projects.


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Design Management
VIZO Workshop

“Design makes the Difference”
Brussels, Belgium - 29/30 November 2002

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