Seymourpowell shows off the versatility that makes product design great

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If ‘variety is the spice of life’, then Seymourpowell is a having a veritable vindaloo of a time as this month it announces its Lynx/Axe can redesign and an outdoor sports jacket.

Taking on such contrasting products as a bathroom staple and a piece of lifesaving equipment shows the prowess of the UK design house on the world stage.

The new extreme environment smart jacket system, Life Tech, for outdoor sportswear brand Kolon Sport applies relevant wearable technologies designed to save lives in the harshest of conditions – including a wearable wind turbine generator.

Directly influenced by extensive research and interviews with extreme survival experts, Seymourpowell worked closely with a long list of outdoor survival types including a professor of human thermodynamics, an ex-UK special forces operative and even a polar explorer.

The various technological details of the design include: a tri-layered system made up of an outer waterproof and windproof, breathable Gore PRO outer shell jacket; a thermal inner layer with a Heatex System (the world’s first conductive polymer heating system); and a stretch fabric base layer with electronic device and battery stowage with proximity to core body heat.


Away from the materials science, technical design features include a wearable wind turbine generator; oversized zip pulls for use with gloves; easy access shoulder and back straps for manhandling a companion in distress; and a wearable first aid and survival kit.

The wind turbine mounted onto the sleeve of the jacket can be angled to generate power throughout the day whilst the wearer is on the move. It can also be removed and attached to the exterior of a tent to continue generating power overnight. The turbine can charge auxiliary devices such as GPS & smartphones for essential navigation and communication.

The Heatex System provides up to seven hours of potentially life saving heat up to a temperature of 40-50°C around vital organs. In addition, the Racoon Fur liner on the hood of the jacket works effectively to retain heat in the facial zone.

Back in the less devastating, but no-less chilly environment of a winter’s bathroom, Seymourpowell’s update of their existing twist-to-spray deodorant can for Unilever’s Lynx/Axe brand includes what the design agency is calling further ‘mechanical ballet’.

When not in use, the button on the can is flush with the top, and the action is locked (so it won’t go off inadvertently in your bag). Twisting the top engages a sophisticated movement, which lifts the button up and then inclines it backwards into the ready to use position.

As the button rises, it reveals a flash of colour specific to the variant, which along with the uniquely round to square-formed can sets new standards in aerosol shaping technology – can and actuator flow seamlessly together while providing a broad canvas for the fragrance variant graphics to communicate.

Designing for environments as different as a domestic bathroom and an extreme mountain scenario are takes a whole bucket of skills, and the results are equally slick, purposeful and eye-catching despite their blatantly unconnected uses.

It’s reminders like this that as the world of product design encompasses so many industries, lifestyles and commodities, there’s never a dull moment.

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