Next of Kin Creatives had a very specific set of users in mind when it designed the “nokgear” — a sleek retooling of the brawny chainsaw. Internally, they called the target group the “functional luxe tribe” — “users who would purchase luxurious (expensive) outdoor equipment so that they can pose, look good and feel good when camping (or not).” You know, the guy with the tricked-out navigational watch whose sense of adventure stops short of using a Porta-Potty.
When the chainsaw concept first hit the blogosphere, its perceived functional drawbacks met with an outpouring of derision. One Core77 reader exclaimed, “This is the worst of design. It looks seductively sexy but in actual use the various features would be somewhere between awkward and downright deadly.” Another decried: “This sums up everything that’s wrong with industrial design.” Ouch.
Now, to be fair, we’ve never actually handled a chainsaw. But reimagining a product that has long escaped aesthetic scrutiny seems to us to be a useful exercise — even if the result, at first, is nothing more than restyling. That’s not to say that the concept as it stands should make it to market, and Rodney Loh, the founder of the Singapore-based firm, agrees: “It will have to go through a process of validation and refinement,” he tells Co.Design. “But with the obvious design elements set in place, the eventual design (if it gets product) will definitely address the shortcomings and yet preserve the story we started out creating.” So there may one day be a chainsaw worthy of being sold at the MoMA Design Store.