Schneider Electric Malaysia‘s recent “World’s Smallest Masterpiece Competition” which was held in conjunction with the introduction of its revolutionary Avatar ON switches was a success, garnering over a thousand entries. Two participants from the professional and non-professional categories emerged as winners – thanks to their unique and visually impactful designs which will be featured and produced as Schneider Electric’s exclusive Avatar ON collection.
Creative Home X caught up with industrial designer Mohamed Shahril, champion of the Professional Category and student Chio Pei Leng from INTI Centre of Art and Design, champion of the Non-Professional category as well as Mr Liu Kung Peng from Schneider Electric to learn more about these winning designs.
Creative Home (CH): First of all, congratulations to all of you! This has been a real eye opener to witness so many beautiful and creative designs. Let’s start with Mr. Liu Kung Peng from Schneider Electric. Can you tell us what you think about the competition?
Mr Liu (LKP): We are very motivated and happy that we received over a thousand entries. We are excited that such a simple contest could garner so much attention. It also met our objectives of encouraging young talents to get involved with the design process of switches. All it in all, we had very good response for the competition.
CH: With over a thousand entries, it must be tough to choose the winners. How did your team go about doing that?
LKP: We have three criteria: one, it is about originality. Two, it is about the visual impact of the design and three, we look at the marketability of the design as well. The switches should blend in with current trend yet stand out at the same time.
CH: How do these design criteria reflect the Avatar On brand?
LKP: Unlike normal switches which are often just a piece of white square, Avatar On switches are unique. For the first time, we are embarking on a product that can actaully show colour. You can also change it if you want – it is customizable. We also have product with accessories attached to it, for example a phone charger, key card holder and so on. With all these features, we are constantly making Avatar On a very interesting product. Avatar On is definitely more than just a switch.
CH: Shahril, congratulations on emerging as the champion of the Professional Category. Can you share with us more about your design. How did you come up with the idea?
Mohamad Sharil (MS): I was there during Schneider Electric’s Avatar On launch event. This gave me the opportunity to harness the insights of the Schneider team which helped me to understand their process and requirements. From here, I began to develop the concept of the design.
The concept behind my design is from a democratic design point of view. It is about giving people, customers the freedom to choose. As a product designer, I believe that the product should combine practicality and artistry. I also asked myself: how can I design something that can appeal to a larger audience in the market?
So I came up with something that is more than just the design of a switch; it should have a unique concept as well. For the switches, I created a 3D effect on a 2D surface. From afar it looks like it has a tactile quality but it is actually a flat surface. This product can also be expanded to different series.
CH: Mr.Liu, what did you and the Schneider Electric team think about Shahril’s design?
LKP: We chose this design because of the concept and colour theme. It is neutral yet it stands out. We like the 2D to 3D design approach. You can put these switches in different rooms and they still carry the same theme.
CH: Pei Ling, it must be a great experience to be the champion of the Non-Professional category especially when there were so many entries. What was the inspiration behind your design?
Chio Pei Leng: My idea came from the functionality of switches – how they basically function to switch on and off. Here, I played with the concept of positive and negative art. The result was a black and white colour theme which also represented a yin and yang concept.
CH: Mr. Liu, what did you and the Schneider Electric team like about Pei Ling’s design?
LKP: We like the originality of the concept. She sold us on the yin and yang concept, the on and off design idea. We think it will be very sellable and there is also a very strong visual impact to it. It stands out yet it is not loud.
CH: I understand that Schneider Electric will be producing these designs and incorporating them into Schneider Electric’s exclusive Avatar ON collection. Are these designs already in production?
LKP: Yes, they are currently in production. They should be ready before Christmas. We are looking into selling them through our online platform.
CH: Looking into the future, would Schneider Electric be having more competitions like these?
LKP: Yes, we are looking into it. We will keep our audience posted via our website. So stay tuned.