The future of design? Voters pick the next must-have on the net
Innovator wants to change face of shopping and replace mass-produced goods with people-power ideas
Ian Sample, science correspondent
The Guardian Saturday November 24 2007
If Kohei Nishiyama's wishes are granted, he will be financially independent by the age of 40, living as an inventor and being woken each morning by his robot dog. But the 37-year-old Tokyo-based designer and founder of Elephant Design has a more ambitious dream, one he hopes will change the face of British shopping.
He wants to empty the shelves of dreary, mass-marketed and mass-produced objects and replace them with products that we - the people - have helped to develop. Nishiyama calls his idea Design to Order and the principle is simple. Anyone with a unique idea, for anything from a robotic web camera to a magnetic bathroom mirror, posts an image and description on his website. There, people can log on to suggest alterations and improvements to the design. If enough people then vote for the product, he makes a deal with a manufacturer and the product is made.