Louie Rigano | About Time Clock | USA

This cleverly designed clock uses three colors to tell the time.

Each moment becomes something of a Venn diagram.

Joel Seigle | Brick Door Stop | USA

Silicone end caps transform loose bricks into slick doorstops.

Liu Yang | Storage Stools | China

This stool doubles as a moving box, and it features what appears to be a collapsible design.

Taylor McKenzie-Veal | Flint Table | USA

This table operates at two different heights (transforming from coffee table to kitchen table in moments).

Linda Facci | Easy Life Accessories | USA. Admittedly, I have no idea how these work.

Bettie Cott and Lauren Reed | Cott & Reed Free Standing Wardrobe | Canada

It’s a freestanding wardrobe and small set of stools and tables.

The hanger management is a bit clever.

And it appears to fit in a flat-pack.

Takeshi Sawada | Animal Stools | Japan. Adorable animal-inspired stools.

Andrew Sack | Skatewax Candles | USA. Candles modeled after skateboard wheels.

Andrew Sack | Mates Modular Furniture | USA

These pieces come together to make various configurations of table.

Co.Design

First Look: The 9 Winners Of Fab’s Latest Design Competition

Could you be next?

A stool that folds up and doubles as a bag. Candles that look like skateboard wheels. A table that changes height on a whim. These are just some of the winners of Fab’s second crowdsourced design competition—which tasked hundreds of designers with pitching a Shark Tank-like panel of experts at NYC’s ICFF—experts that included Eames Demetrios (grandson of Charles and Ray Eames) and Ben Watson of Herman Miller (a judge in Co.Design’s Innovation By Design competition).

“Many brought their prototypes, and each of them brought a story,” explains Fab co-founder and CEO Bradford Shellhammer. “It’s pretty cool to see designers in this setting: Not only must they clearly explain their design, they also have to do a little selling. And when designers turn into salespeople, sometimes magic happens when they perfectly articulate their invention. “

It’s all part of Fab’s greater strategy to become an end-to-end product retailer, producing stylish goods to compete with retail stores like Target and Walmart. If there’s a defining trait of these winners, it might be “quirky” or even “whimsical.” One winner is a cute, extremely Japanese animal stool by Takeshi Sawada, while another winner is a playfully artsy clock by Louie Rigano that, rather than featuring traditional hour, minute, and second arms, spins swatches of red, yellow, and blue into a sort of Venn diagram of primary colors.

Of course, this tone is right in line with what Fab is looking for. And in that regard, these design competitions have proven successful for them. For the most part, the products that Fab is discovering aren’t quite solution-oriented enough to become hits on Kickstarter, but there’s a certain clever, or even humorous, angle that makes them tempting impulse purchases or gifts. Indeed, each has a sort of high-brow stocking stuffer appeal—though not always literally. Lauren Reed and Bettie Cott won with the Free Standing Wardrobe intended more to hold the entirety of your clothing than to fit into a large sock.

Yet while Fab plans to run these competitions in London, Milan, and New York every year—maybe even adding Copenhagen, Paris, Stockholm, and Berlin to the list soon—Shellhammer stresses that Fab is constantly crowdsourcing great designs at the trade shows, enlisting new designers into licensing agreements all the time.

"The fact of the matter is this: Fab allows submissions like this to happen every day. I get designers’ emails all the time, and I respond to each one,” Shellhammer writes. “But that’s not as fun as being in a room with some famous designers and 200 others pitching their work…you lose something pitching your design online and via email.”

But if you are interested in the full-out Shark Tank experience, Fab’s next competition will occur during the London Design Festival on September 19. If you’re interested, you can preregister now by emailing designforus@fab.com.

Add New Comment

6 Comments

  • Laura Melzi

    I will buy the animal stools! And also the clock is too smart! 
    But I'm wondering what about previous winners of first Fab contest? The contest at MOST salone del mobile in Milan, April 2013? Maybe Mark you can find out this secret for us! 

  • faccidesigns

    Hi Mark, this is Linda Facci, (Easy Life Accessories) one of the 9 winners of the competition - Those funky webbed gloves are gardening gloves. They make your life and gardening projects easier by being able to scoop more dirt from the ground or from a bag. And the clasp enables you to hook them on your belt loop for easy access.

  • Chris Pearsell-Ross

    The Wardrobe piece was actually a collaboration with Lauren Reed - the two have worked together on a few projects and have been showing this piece under the name Cott & Reed.

  • atozwriter

    If there is a God, the animal stools are for sale and I will someday be able to afford all three.

  • Doc Huard

    The "About Time' clock is not a new idea. Back around 1975 or so, Kirsch Hamilton created the Prisma, which used rotating discs of plastic between two polaroid plates to create a changing clock face. The colors were dynamic rather than static, but otherwise the similarity is ah.. striking... to say the least.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • Beau Hall

    And here I thought it was impossible to improve a clock. Those three lines and a circle, it just made it too obvious what time it was.

    "Hey what time do you want to leave?"

    "Mauve."