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Francis McDonald

BA Product Design

I am a tactile-focused designer who strives to improve daily life with functional design solutions. My design philosophy is centered around creating simple, intuitive and elegant solutions to small-scale problems. Like Yanagi, I think that good design should be subtle and blend seamlessly into people's lives. It should leave a lasting positive impact on their subconscious, manifesting as greenery or in some naturalistic integration with the design language of a product.


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Solo' is a stool designed for guitarists. Harnessing the solitary nature of many musicians to create a 'Solo' expertise when practicing by using a product fine tuned to this activity and the variability of its use. Using Cultural significance from different countries to instil a slow lifestyle ideology in the product whilst at the same time promoting the pure function of better practice for all. The harmony of these two things are the soul of the product.

Adopting cultural ideas from across the world such as Seiza and stack sitting, I have tried to create a stool for guitarists that not only increases posture but also focus and quality of practice. Many of these variables, according to physiologists, depend on the angle of the pelvis, allowing the pelvic angle to change on the chair not only creates good postural habits but also creates an initiative to keep moving and not stay centralised in one position, key for anyone attempting to create better changes to the strengthen their hips, spine and holistic alignment.

Rei - Natural Light

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Rei' is a light made from wood and mycelium. With 6% of the rural population increasing and many people finding that urban life can be overwhelming, people are often urgent to find time to get out of the city and be closer to nature.

I wanted to design a statement lamp that evoked trends from traditional woodcraft as well as modern simplicity in its form and function, with the use of sustainable materials for product and process. To bring some of the natural world into the home without disturbing the internal environment, the design aimed to create a closer connection with nature in the domestic environment and to celebrate its sustainability.

The light moves up and down with ease by removing the dowel holding the branch in place, making sure to hold the branch so it does not fall. The user then angles the branch piece that extends from the stem, this allows branch slides down the stem to the next hole where the dowel can be slotted. The movement of the light was inspired by epiphytal plants and fungus that I found in the woods, growing up and down the stem of a tree searching slowly for food water and light.

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