Industrial Facility
 
 

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Project
Core 7 and Core 4 USB Hubs

 

Client

LaCie

 

Production

2008 —

 

The Core 7 and Core 4 USB Hubs represented the second project for LaCie - the first was the Little Disk program of external hard drives that set the course for a very different design attitude applied to computer peripherals. 

It made clear that a hard drive could be viewed not as a product but a piece of media, in the same vein as a DVD or Cassette, and so remove all superfluous details, flashing lights and power cords. Even though the launch in 2007 was derided as mere boxes with no design credentials, it became one of the most succcessful product ranges ever developed for LaCie. Like the Little Disk Program, these USB Hubs were viewed similarly to extension sockets used on the floor, allowing several USB's to be plugged in, when the computer has limited sockets.

The Core 7 Hub can be used on the desk or wall mounted. At the rear, two compartments house regular and mini-USB cables, along with 6 USB sockets. The 7th is on top, allowing for fast in and out of data sticks. The Core 4 Hub is a mobile device that provides 4 USB inputs.

 

Awards

Red Dot Award, 2008

 

Exhibitions
Less and More, the work of Dieter Rams, Design Museum London, 2011

Some Recent Projects, Design Museum London, 2008

 

International Sales

LaCie France

 
 
 

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Project
Little Disk Hard Drives

 

Client
LaCie, France

 

Production
2007 — 2012

 

From the outset, the design for these drives was to shift away from typical product design vernacular, and more towards the solidity of a ‘Media cassette’, liberating it of all unnecessary details, and making it feel more trustworthy. The project covered over 10 product variations, ranging from 1.3” to 2.5” drives, and capacity’s from 30GB to 1TB, leading to a holistic design language that lasted through 5 years of production. The products appeared as highly toleranced small boxes, with no joints or hinges. Each hard drive came in varying sizes and capacities. When the lid was removed, it revealed an integrated USB cable, sockets and a back-up synchronisation button – eliminating the cumbersome world of extra leads, adapters, and voltage plugs. These technical advances along with a rational design helped to create trust in a product that is storing valuable data.

One of the biggest challenges was to make the products as compact as possible, whilst also retaining the concept that each box has all that you need to function. This was achieved by a long process of back and forth development with the engineers - LaCie gave us the freedom to re-configure componentry to achieve maximum compactness and appropriate forms.  The result was that the drives not only became some of the smallest on the market, but each also incorporated a USB cable.

 

For the 1.3” drive – the smallest of the drives - a particular hurdle was how to incorporate the USB plug that could work both for PC and Mac, where the USB socket is reversed. The solution was to allow the plug to be pulled out from its drive and rotated 180 degrees. All of the variations were made from ABS Plastic, using high pressure tooling that allowed a polished finish of high quality. From the outset, it was important that the products involved no paint in their finishing, resulting in easier recycling of parts, and a more authentic wearing of use over time.

The LaCie Little Disk was ground-breaking by way of its normality. It was a technical advancement that did not impose itself on the way we use products or store data.

Design should fit seamlessly with how we work now and into the future. Data storage is not about celebrating fancy details or styling but rather a concept of ‘toolness’, where each product is appropriate for its use and life. The project became famous as a stalwart for photographers and journalists. At its peek, it became one of LaCie’s most successful programs, with sales approaching over 20,000 units per month.

 

Some might say the products were too simple –  but over time, they created a greater sense of value and relevance for their application.

Awards
Japan Creative Prize, 2008

Red Dot Award, 2008

IF Hannover Award, 2008

Homes and Gardens Technology Award, 2008


Exhibitions
Turn, Twist and Branch Off, Aram Store, London, 2011

Some Recent Projects, Design Museum London, 2008

Thinking Objects, Aram Gallery, 2009
 

International Sales
LaCie France