How I designed a nutcracker

How I designed a nutcracker

As some of you may know, I recently started a collaboration with the independent design portal Hiro They edit and distribute online self-produced objects by designers who have a minimal and dry style in common.

This collaboration has already given birth to Tongue, the modular steel bottle holder to hang on the walls.
Find out more about it here.

A photo of Tongue in its linear composition, find out more about the product here.

A few days before the Milan Design Week  Hiro told me to design a gadget/gift to give away during the days of the furniture fair. They would have exhibited in the Tortona area. Something small, fast to produce which should have left a positive feeling, something valuable.

This is the location in Zona Tortona. From left: Daminano e Moreno from Hiro, Nazzareno Ruspolini (designer) and Davide Anzalone (designer)


The first step was to understand which kind of object I should have created. I started thinking about a key-ring or a bottle opener, but those were still objects too far from the feeling I wanted to give. However I didn’t want just a decorative object (key-ring) and I didn’t like the idea that it could be confused with something coming from a beverage company (bottle opener).

After a while I came to the conclusion that the right thing to create was a nutcracker: it has the lightness of a gift and retains in itself a value of utility, considering also that people who wander the design week is particularly attached to the world of home accessories and would have appreciated that kind of object.

At that point the planning began and I had no intention of working with joints or strange mechanical expedients to operate the nutcracker.
What I did, instead, was to look for the most primitive methods to break the nut.

Some research of various types of nutcracker

You should know that Hiro is not just a shop. Actually it was born as an offshoot of a company that works metals (very well actually) and the screw system seemed to me a natural connection.

Starting from the typology, I tried to simplify the production processes as much as possible to let the object’s production to be clearly glimpsed and let people appreciate the finishes, without distractions. I find simple objects very honest in their function and better explainer of themselves, without decoration.

The trick was to take a tube large enough to hold a nut inside it, cut it and pierce it, then pur a screw in the newly created hole. Its purpose is to be screwed and its pressure breaks the nut.

My scheme to explain the concept

After the events in Milan, the product was very popular and we realized that it deserved to enter in the Hiro’s catalogue.

It’s called Scelk and now it is available on Hiro for online purchase.

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