unliked – the UNLIKE DESIGN CO. blog

remembering kaplicky

Posted in Web by unliked on August 22, 2016



Reading or listening to interviews are a great way of peering into the great minds of design and architecture. Some words and phrases have a habit of sticking around for years if not decades. I found this little gem in The Observer (2002) – an interview with Jan Kaplicky. The name first registered in my mind only upon his sudden passing in 2009. Upto a few years before that, he was a partner at his firm Future Systems – famous for the design of the Marni store, the Media Centre at Lords, the Selfridges Birmingham department store and much more.

In this piece, he speaks in a reassuring and inspiring tone, much like the old Milanese architects who saw no boundaries between buildings and objects – from spoons to cities as one of them said. Personally, I like to believe that categorisation within the creative profession is as fragile an idea as the boundaries of creativity itself. Given the first chance, it shall be broken.

We’re anatomically designed to stretch beyond our immediate footprint. The mind as head and processor stays at a relatively stable centre, but the arms reach out to touch and connect as the legs walk and run exploring new surfaces. Tim Brown of IDEO calls it ‘T-shaped’ skills. Paul Rand did contradict, though I doubt he will in a present day scenario. He said – “a student whose mind is cluttered with matters that have nothing directly to do with design… is a bewildered student.”

That said, here is the interview with Jan Kaplicky:

“The world is full of beautiful things, and you have to be observant as an architect – if not, you are in trouble. Creativity is everywhere. I don’t collect beautiful pieces of design, but I do collect airmail stickers, which I find fascinating: how they differ over the years and the energy that goes into them.


zlin for alessi


I come into the office every day. I like to arrive at 8am, as this is a very peaceful period when I can think about things before the usual routine starts and other people arrive. The weekends are even better, because there are no distractions.

The initial idea for a job comes to me literally just like that sometimes, and if that first idea is good then you are on the right track. It’s not a sign of creativity to have 65 ideas for one problem, that’s just a waste of energy.

I also don’t think you need to go anywhere particular to be creative; people just use that as an excuse. But I do think a lot of creativity depends on your relationships with other people, your personal relationships, your partner or whatever. Your personal happiness or unhappiness comes out in your work, it’s a reflection of your emotional state and you can’t separate the two.


ferrari museum detail


Architecture is generally presented by one name, but it’s a fantasy and very 19th-century to claim it is a one-man product. A lot depends on the people you have around you and how good they are. There are the structural engineers, environmental engineers, modelmakers, photographers – as well as the guy in Italy who polished the steel for the tower we’re presenting at the Venice Biennale this year – if he doesn’t do a good job, then you have a badly polished piece of steel.

The biggest mistake is underestimating the small product. It doesn’t matter if you’re designing a coffee cup or a 25,000sqm building – the principles of design are the same, it’s just a matter of scale. I think perhaps my favourite creation is the Media Centre. It is something which was revolutionary in many areas – a real technical achievement – but above all, the people operating inside it have said: ‘We love it,’ and that’s great.”

September 22, 2002 / Kate Mikhail / The Observer

Photos: Selfridges Store, Tony Hisgett / Zlin Cutlery for Alessi, Dezeen / Detail from Ferrari Museum, Dezeen.


new products in the shop

Posted in 1, Designed, indiandesign, towithfrom, Web by unliked on January 2, 2015


Our TOWITHFROM webshop has received a new stock of products – this above is a set of Toss soft cases, available in three vibrant colour combinations. Order at this link. It might also be a good idea to follow the TWF Instagram feed and Facebook page to be the first to know of the special stuff (you know what that means).

Photograph © Unlike Design Co. / TOWITHFROM



go rubberband

Posted in indiandesign, Spotted, Web by unliked on April 28, 2014



Boosting our much needed sense of national design pride this month, Indian design brand Rubberband expands its retail wings to Colette in Paris, The Lollipop Shop at London, the Cooper Hewitt Shop at New York and several locations in Switzerland. In focus is Rubberband’s collaboration with graphic artist Anthony Burrill – a set of notebooks in signature Rubberband style complemented with typographic messages by Anthony Burrill. If you haven’t switched to Rubberband yet, now would be a great time to start. #doeverythingyoulove

All photographs courtesy Rubberband and © Rubberband Products

TOWITHFROM – significant little things

Posted in 1, towithfrom, Web by unliked on March 17, 2014


TOWITHFROM – our webstore long-in-waiting, has been online for a bit now. We call it a shop of significant little things – things similar to those we ourselves have found, discovered, loved and collected in zillions of boxes that share an ever reducing space with us.

The Japanese have a term for it – Zakka, which translates as ‘many-things’. Objects that exude a strong yet soft, cultural character and enhance personal lives and environments through their presence, and possession. A nostalgia of sorts. We could maybe describe it on a parallel with joys such as stamp, shell or coin collecting, the excitement of flea markets and thrift stores or even a profession such as archaeology.





An important line of products we are developing at TOWITHFROM are the ‘Made of India’ range. We design and develop these together with Indian craftspeople and they feature their own special TOWITHFROM label – a sign that the product carries a flavour of India that we would like to portray in signature TWF style.





As of now, shipping within India is free for products priced above INR 700 and INR 50 otherwise. As an introductory offer, we include a free two-colour 2014 calendar with all purchases. Click here to visit the TOWITHFROM store.

For regular updates, like the TOWITHFROM Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

pierced by parra

Posted in 1, Web by unliked on May 19, 2012

Designer vinyl toy major Kidrobot releases this limited edition Parra designed figure in a few weeks time. Going by the way this looks, it might just be the most desired figure out there after the KAWS’ Pinnochio last year. Its not shown here, but the packaging is the only thing that could do with some desire factor. Maybe Kidrobot could learn a bit from Mindstyle when it come to presenting these objects of absolute frenzied desire!

Image courtesy: Highsnobiety

ode to a jar of bonne maman

Posted in 1, General, Web by unliked on February 8, 2011

the jar of jam lasted a little over three months. having served its bestowed life as a container of fruit preserve, it then became a part of our own. not a bottle, not a container, but a living memory of those three months and its hurried breakfasts – a silent yet active listener of our talks of unrealised ambitions and plans, of highway escapades and late night films, of books and distant flea markets…

Image Courtesy: Fiona Sami

of air and sophie and xavier veilhan

Posted in 1, Web by unliked on April 16, 2010

Air is one of my favourite bands of all time and when I first looked at the cover for their album ‘Pocket Symphony’, it excited me to see that it featured miniature figurines of Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin, the band themselves. The figurines seemed to be made in stereolithography, a process I was also exploring at the time in my design of jewellery.

It was only later I came across the work of Xavier Veilhan and realised that it was indeed stereolithography. I also learnt that Xavier Veilhan was no ordinary man. He created many such objects and figures of various scales using a variety of processes. My favourite pick from his work is Sophie, the yellow lady who now spends her time on two levels of the Parisian restaurant Germain. The interiors are by India Mahdavi and you can see the making of Sophie at Xavier’s website here.

barbapapas meet graniph

Posted in 1, Watched, Web by unliked on April 5, 2010

I grew up with Barbapapas. Barbapapa is the name of the lead character and of a series of books written by the french duo of Annette Tison and Talus Taylor in the seventies. The freeshaping Barbapapa, his beloved Barbamama and their seven very interesting children (my favourite is the furry black Barbabeau!) are together known as the Barbapapas. In their cartoon version, they were my Sunday morning lifeline on Indian television back in the 80’s. All I ever wished for back then was to be like Barbapapa, assuming any shape I wished to suit my small missions across the garden, the neighbour’s backyard and whatever terrain defied my small frame. So when I learnt of graniph’s new collaboration with Barbapapas, celebrating 40 years of world saving blob-ism, I screamed in sheer barbapapesque joy!

Sadly, graniph’s range of 12 designs is only available in Japan, and so I guess I shall just head over to e-bay and wait a while.  Anything for Barbapapas!


Posted in 1, Web by unliked on March 21, 2010

Bonobo releases a new album next week. Bonobo is Simon Green, a musician from the UK. Ive always enjoyed his music for more than the rhythm; each piece makes me feel and somehow imagine how I might express myself in music if I were to step onto a virgin beach and a forest beyond on a new continent that I had just discovered. I especially like a track named Noctuary, which is such a beautiful word, from his album ‘Dial M for Monkey’. Black Sands should be equal in pleasure! Download a free single from the new album here.

the drawing dutchman

Posted in 1, Web by unliked on March 9, 2010

I came upon Parra’s work through one of my favourite magazines – Its Nice That. His drawings and type style are so very enjoyable and fluent; and the colours seem to be the exact language I want my walls to scream in. The amazing dutchman offers an interesting insight into his life in this interview. Oh and if you preorder the print version of Its Nice That – No.3 like right NOW, they’re throwing in a Parra print for free!

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