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Meet Gustav, the toolbox that turns into a desk (and Red Dot Awards winner)

Desks are messy places - and moving desks is a hassle. Wish something could be done? Say hello to Gustav, the New Zealand-designed solution that may just make you embrace change.

A New Zealand firm has been awarded one of the world’s most prestigious design prizes: the Red Dot Design Award.

Design outfit Tuesday On The Beach’s project “Gustav” was awarded the Red Dot in the Product Design category. Needless to say, co-founder and design lead Christian Pistauer is pretty thrilled. “The Red Dot Design Award is a huge recognition for Gustav’s design excellence,” he says.

Co-founder and brand lead Judit Maireder says something similar. “This is a great milestone for us. Gustav establishes an entirely new product category. Winning Red Dot award is a testament for New Zealand as a country of pioneers and pioneering design.”

Professor Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of the Red Dot Award, also sings Gustav’s praises. “Success in the competition is proof of the good design quality of the products and once again shows that companies are on the right path. This demonstrates that the designers have understood their clients and their needs.”

Essentially, Gustav is a portable office-toolbox for people in “agile” offices where hotdesking is common. Designed for people in flexible work environments, it holds all the work essentials and doubles as a laptop stand. Lightweight, Gustav allows workers to carry their workspace with them wherever they go, or store it in a locker or shelf in their shared office space. The minimalist design invites users to personalise it and to make any space their own.

“One of the downsides of agile working is the difficulty a lack of fixed space can have on people’s emotions,” says Pistauer. “That’s why we invented Gustav: not only does it support workers in their day-to-day work but helps users to transition to agile ways of working.”

Maireder says Gustav solves a common problem of hotdesking – quickly and easily moving all your stuff. “I have seen it firsthand: people converted from being resistant to activity-based working to become strong advocates for it, by using Gustav. That way the product doesn’t only support people’s practical and aesthetical needs, but underlying emotional needs.”

Maireder and Pistauer have been working on Gustav for the past four years. As Pistauer says: “As an architect and workplace strategist, I was desperate to find a good tool to solve the needs of people in new dynamic office environments - storage, laptop stand and mobility. I couldn’t find anything that really solved this problem, so we started to design one ourselves. 

With my experience as a workplace strategist and Judit’s background as brand and digital strategist, we knew we have the right skills to bring Gustav to market ourselves.”

Pistauer is an architect and leading workplace strategist, working with global corporations in APAC and Europe. “New Zealand is world-leading in workplace strategy and design, so it is the ideal place to develop and test new, innovative products in the space,” he says

Originally from Austria, Maireder and Pistauer have been living in New Zealand for nearly seven years. “The spirit of New Zealand as a country of pioneers was quite contagious for both of us. If there is a need for something that doesn’t exist, Kiwis simply roll up their sleeves and find a way to solve the problem,” says Maireder. “Winning the RED DOT Award is a massive achievement and recognition for the product and design. We always had the aspiration to develop the best product in market for people’s needs in this transformation."

Adds Pistauer:  “Over four years, we developed 21 prototypes. It involved extended testing to make sure we really have it right. Winning the Red Dot Award shows that all the hard work paid off.

“After having launched only six months ago, this is a great milestone for us. We have already seen good traction in New Zealand, as well as Australia and Europe, but we hope that this award will help us to lead this space on a global level.” 

The Red Dot Award: Product Design dates back to 1955, and determines the best products created each year. In 2018, designers and manufacturers from 59 countries submitted more than 6,300 objects to the competition. True to the motto “In search of good design and innovation,” a jury comprising roughly 40 members assessed the products individually. The strict judging criteria – which includes level of innovation, functionality, formal quality, ergonomics and durability – provides a frame of reference which the jurors then complement with their own expertise.

Companies and organisations that already use Gustav include ASB, BizDojo, AMP, Johnson & Johnson, and more.

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