Every year, students in Industrial Design at the University of Montreal embark on a conception project. As part of their “Idéation” class, also called “HEC project”, the students have six weeks to identify an everyday issue and answer it with an object.
Throughout the process, their teacher Jean-François Jacques and tutors Annie Legroulx, Claude Maufette and Michel Morelli provide support to the teams. These professionals all come from the Industrial Design professional industry in Montreal. All object subsequently created are then sold during the traditional HEC sale, each team providing twelve copies of their product. This year, each projects were presented to a jury, in a manner similar to the “Dragon’s Den” show. The members of the jury were Julie Payette, president and co-founder of V2com, and Pierre Laramée, whom comes from the publicity domain and is a specialist of the utility product. Each team were allowed a minute in order to present their project to the dragon, the product themselves also requiring a strong visual presence.
At the close of the 2015 sale, the HEC first prize was awarded to the UBLO project, thanks to its simplicity and originality of its shape. Create by Laurence Gauthier, Florence Girard-Laperrière and Mariko Samejima, UBLO is a clothing hook which aims to avoid the distortion of clothes. What then helps it stand out among other hooks? In one word, its shape. The body of UBLO is made of a loop, with its upper part mimicking the natural shape of the collar. Its story is simple. It begins with some very simple paper strips, which were twisted, bent and folded all in pursuit of a shape. Many ideas came to light during this process, may it be a single, multi-hook strip or a singular unit. The main shape quickly came to be, the paper seemingly taking its shape naturally once put upon the wall. The team settled on plastic as its main material, working with its particularity to provide an organic shape to their product. The angle of UBLO allows it to maintain in place many type of clothing, from heavy winter coats to light silk. On the bottom part, one will find a small cavity made to host small object like keys or simply hang umbrellas and other such items. The color boasted by UBLO is quite subtle and enables it to fit in a wide array of décor.
UBLO is made of PVC plastic. This provides it with solidity and an ease of production in large quantities. The production of UBLO starts with a PVC tube of a 6 inch diameter. The material is then cut in loops of 1 ½ inch of thickness. These will next be processed in order to eliminate all imperfections and thermoformed thanks to a template. This last tool assures a consistency among the product. UBLO is then simply fixed to the wall with two screws, situated on either side of the product. This whole process was accomplished with the help of Robert Mc Nabb, the current technician of the plastic lab of the University of Montreal. The UBLO team give him their thanks.
The aspiring designer now hope to see a future to their product.