Legendary product designer Karim Rashid and inventor of the iconic bobble water bottle Richard Smiedt want to bump up your device-charging game. The designing duo have teamed up once again to birth their new "design-driven cure for an everyday technology hassle", which they revealed to the world this morning. Called simply 'bump', the soapbar-esque gadget encapsulates a portable device charger, wall charger and USB charging cable in a tidy donut-like package that is as pleasing to the eye and touch as it is useful. We sat down with Smiedt and Rashid at Rashid's Midtown Manhattan studio yesterday to learn all about the design philosophy behind bump and its features. Read on to check out our short video introducing bump and what makes it unique.
“The bobble was an amazing experience and journey where we were able to take an everyday water bottle and make it not only iconic in terms of its appearance, but something that changed the way that everybody accessorized an on-the-go lifestyle,” Smiedt told us. “[Karim and I] sat together about eight or nine months ago and we started to talk about what was next and we were both frustrated by the lack of choices in terms of design for the everyday accessories that go with your phone. We looked into the space quite holistically and said what could we bring to the space…in terms of design and style, and trying to take forms and do them in a way that hasn’t been done before was the right challenge so we set out to do that.”
“Really the concept behind all of this is that these peripherals tend to be either A. non-designed, or even when they’re designed they’re not necessarily inspiring or friendly objects. So the idea of the soft form grew out of the idea to push technology in a form that is really almost non-existent, which I’ve actually been trying to do for 20 years, with many products,” said Rashid. “So it’s to make a product that is kind of an extension of the human body. That really, we are amorphous, and we are soft, and we are asymmetrical, and we are organic. But we tend to create a Cartesian world, a world that’s all about grid. We’re always fighting nature, in a way. So when you pick up and object like this, it’s so intuitive to feel…good with an object like this because this is just an extension of nature, really. And with that, we used impressing technology so it’s a good charger, it’s an aggressive charger.”
Richard Smiedt and Karim Rashid give each other a fist bump to celebrate the launch of their bump device-charging solution.
So now we know the rationale and design story behind bump, but what exactly is it? bump is an all-in-one device charging solution that, at its core, is a beautifully-designed wall charger. But it also functions as a portable power bank so that you can charge up your phone or tablet on-the-go, and comes with a high-quality, tangle-free, 1-meter-long, 2.4A-rated charging cable. The whole kit wraps up tidily inside of the soft and flexible silicone rubber carrying case.
“We started to look at everything that was in our bags and how cluttered they were and how many tangled cords and mess you had,” said Smiedt. “What a stressful existence that was. We came up with this really smart and ingenious idea of taking an all-in-one approach so you actually have everything that you need: You have your wall plug, you have your charger, you have your cable, which again is bespoke in the same design language as we have everything [else], and comes into this really cool little cable holder which is beautiful, soft-touch and again, in these great organic shapes, and it all wraps up into this lovely little set so it becomes this all in one solution which you can just carry around with you. No tangle, no mess, no stress. Just everything you need all there in one pop.”
One of the coolest things about bump is that you can leave the cord (which is typically the most anxiety-inducing component of any charging scenario) neatly tucked away inside of its case when you only need to charge the power bank.
In terms of sustainability, Smiedt and Rashid say they prioritized quality materials and durable construction over the use of recycled materials in order to create a product that lasts. Their hope is that consumers will keep one bump over the lifecycle of many phones. However, it will be up to phone and tablet manufacturers to stop the wasteful bundling of new chargers with their devices, or at least to allow consumers to choose whether or not they need yet another charger. The duo is also working on a program that would allow people to send in older bumps for recycling in exchange for discounts on newer ones.
Pregnant with possibility, bump is just the first product in a full line other “democratic accessories” that Smiedt and Rashid will be developing in the future.
bump is available as of this morning for pre-order for $65 at the Needabump website and will be launching at retail later in the year.