Meet Michael Hoppe, our 2014 BIA Professional Winner
Following the excitement of the recent BIA celebrations at Melbourne Indesign, we thought we’d get to know this year’s winners and the story behind their impressive designs. We start with professional winner Michael Hoppe, a Sydney-based industrial designer and founder of Hop Design.
Michael refers to industrial design as “a calling”, one he came upon while debating whether to study science or art as a teen. In the end, the decision was easy: “I found out there was this thing called industrial design. It was an epiphany.”
During his 25 years in the industry, Michael has designed a plethora of devices, from trains and TVs to scientific equipment, sports gear and kitchen appliances.
When it came to his submission to this year’s BIA, he drew on this experience and a number of intriguing influences for inspiration, from Greek mythology to drum kits. The result was his cohesive bathroom furniture piece that combined mirrors, sink, drawers, seat and storage in a space saving solution for small bathroom spaces.
Michael’s BIA winning design
Michael explains that the motive behind his work was improving the everyday bathroom experience.
“Many of the bathrooms we see marketed are palatial – bigger than lounge rooms. But the reality is somewhat different. For many, houses – and their bathrooms – are getting more compact and it was important that my design reflected this.”
To Michael, his final piece unquestionably achieved this goal, unfurling for a number of practical uses while retaining the ability to retreat into one simple unit.
“As I added functionality, it transformed,” Michael said. “That was the key – turning one thing into many. I was looking to create something clean and simple that transforms into elements with different uses that can then be simply packed up again.”
Along with a $10,00 cash prize, Michael received a BIA-first, with his design prototyped by Australian vanity unit manufacturers Omvivo. He described the process as both challenging and rewarding.
“It’s such a big step from render to something real. Working with Omvivo has been really valuable and brings the product that step closer to reality.”
See how Omvivo worked with Michael to create his prototype
As well as working as an industrial designer, Michael also lectures at the University of New South Wales and University of Technology Sydney where he works to share his experience and enthusiasm with the next generation of BIA entrants.