Furniture Brief Vs. Industrial Design Brief

Hello everyone, I am doing a project for a school where we were tasked to find an existing product, use the same or similar internals, and design a new outside for it or “re-skin” the product. I chose to do a lamp because I really want a furniture-esq product in my portfolio as I am passionate about furniture. I know a lamp isnt exactly furniture per-se, but I feel it fits in the general realm and I want to apply a furniture type brief to the project. My question is, what does a furniture design style brief look like? I attached a link below of competitive products that are in the same ballpark of what I am interested in. How can I make a project like this stand out in my industrial design portfolio?

Thanks in advance!

P.S. The objective is to not only design the product, but fabricate it as well, so I will have a good amount of building for the project which I believe will look good for a student portfolio project.

If you want more of a furniture piece in your portfolio choosing a lamp isn’t a bad idea.
They can be fairly manageable project but still refined and impressive.

On the other hand, I wonder if it is too broad and if you should chose a specific lamp to “re-skin”.
To me it sounds a little bit more as if the assignment is looking for a “before-after” type of result. With lamps this is really difficult.

I would say that building a strong story and POV will be important here so it doesn’t feel like “just another paper lamp” by a student but that it has true purpose beyond its esthetics. What are the reasons for a re-skin?

A lamp that is in the line up you posted and is a good example of a successful re-skinish kind of project is Grcic’s Mayday lamp.
He created a high-end product with a very exclusive manufacturer (Flos) but had a truly utilitarian approach and language to the design.
In the promo material, you see the lamp being used in a variety of workshops such as autoshops and garages.

I happen to actually use it both when I am working on my bikes in the basement and when I am reading in my bed. I find the synergy inspiring and it tells a great story in its versatility without feeling insincere.

So my advice would be to find a use-case and storyline you can ground your project with and then the form and function will make sense.

Thanks bespter! The project is for a digital modeling II class, so its more about modeling, and then self-manufacturing the design (laser cutting, 3d printing, CNC cutting, manual wood working, welding, etc.) . I agree I need to find a use-case and storyline, im just unsure of how radical it needs to be. I do love the Mayday Lamp, and doing something like that would be quite fun. I really love the blog Aesthetics of Joy, and I often try to think of ways I can bring splashes of happiness or joy into design, I wonder if theres an opportunity to make an interactive lamp that has an element of surprise or happines/joy. Or do you think setting a specific use case and then using joy as an element would be better? For instance maybe my target user is myself (I actually do need a living room lamp) but what about that is interesting?

Edit: I just looked at your portfolio, very inspiring projects! I really love your lighting project, Can you tell me a little bit more about that project and how you came upon the theme of “potential Energy” Do you think I could do something similar with “Joy” or maybe “Ecstatic”

What does a brief look like? As in a document that kicks off a project? A brief is an amazingly non magical thing yet can be very useful in determining if you achieve your goals at the end of the project. A brief can be almost anything that specifies those end goals in a clear concise manner but here is what I like to have in a brief:

  1. What is it? (IE its a lamp)
  2. Who is it for? (IE lovers of mid century modern design who do not want a vintage piece are are willing to spend 5x what a normal lamp costs because their income is X, they live here, like these other things…)
  3. What is the unique selling or value proposition? Sometimes called a USP
  4. What technologies does it use? IE LED, touch, gesture, CNC machining, 3d printing
  5. what should the retail cost be, the BOM cost, and where will it be sold for what margin?
  6. competition: who else is in the space, with what product, with what features, at what prices?
  7. why will your be better then those?

You don’t have to have the answers to all of these but you should be able to get to some at least notional answers from which you can start putting together some mood boards, color and material research, and maybe a more thought through persona. Build out what their entire room, or home should look like. Maybe do some interviews with people who fit the persona and photo document their homes… I’m getting carried away… you could also just design some lamps.