By Lood Welgemoed – Boogertman + Partners. Three seemingly unrelated events have recently captured my imagination.


Firstly, the much publicised launch of Apple’s watch. The day before it was launched, I was having a chat with our IT guy about what the point would be of wearable technology such as this if you still needed a phone in your pocket for it to “talk” to. Perhaps if the watch came with its own SIM card and worked independently, then it would have some sense, but even so, who wants to look like a 007 wannabe each time he answers the phone?

Then I saw the ten-minute launch video, and like probably millions of  people I immediately coveted this most gorgeous of creations, even already deciding which face and strap option would suit me best. Yes, it still needs a phone and it can actually do even less than some of the currently available smart watches, but it is pure Apple through and through, down to the very core and pips. What a triumph in marketing!

The second “event” was my young son’s birthday party with a Lego theme. It is amazing to see how many websites carry Lego party ideas and resources. In preparing for the party, I realised again how the Lego brand has survived for decades by constantly reinventing itself, but even now the basic building block and figurine are exactly as when I was a child and as recognisable as it was then.

I am astounded when looking on the packaging to see where the set was made, to find that it comes from four different countries. Obviously Denmark, but also Hungary, Czech Republic and, wait for it . . . Mexico. Despite all this, I have never opened a box and found any parts missing, or not fitting perfectly (unlike the Chinese copycat bricks). Everything is truly awesome!

Finally, I saw a post on an international architectural blog about the Leadenhall Building by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. As always they manage to dissect the skyscraper typology into its base components, and then re-assembling these in an original and functional way. The services are, typically Rogers, hung from the outside of the building in repetitive modular “pods” housing lifts, on floor plant rooms and ablutions.

Every millimetre of these units are of course designed intricately as one would go about designing a product. The office plate is then uncluttered and unambiguous, allowing it to reduce in size on each floor without compromising floor plate efficiency and space planning. Utterly brilliant.

What then is the common denominator in these three distinct examples of design? For me it’s the singularity in thought that goes into it, the uncompromising faithfulness to the cause. The “cause” in this case is simplicity, functionality and legibility, all of which combined equate to value. But perhaps most interesting of these three examples, is the fact that beauty can still be achieved not as the end goal, but naturally flowing out of the drive to excel in each of the former aspects.

Boogertman + Partners
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