Kondo Niwashi

CLIENT:                     Unitec

PROJECT DATE:       2008


Kondo Niwashi is the result of an undergraduate second year project based on ergonomics research.  We had previously completed paper on ergonomics and design research methodology that introduced us to user testing and usability issues.

Following this paper we had to integrate this newfound knowledge into a finished gardening project. The entire class really enjoyed this exercise and there were some excellent designs produced.

My own design was a remake of the Japanese all purpose gardening tool: the niwashi.

Originally I was fixated on emulating the finish of the Venetian Riva powerboats – two tone laminated timber with chrome accents.  I made a special lamination which spars, which I bleached to keep the same timber density, and sent the blade away to be chromed.  However one of my tutors, the excellent Martin Boult, insisted that I was missing the design language that a gardening implement should contain – so I built a parallel finish: using green heatshrink to mimic rubber molding and a ‘blued’ steel to indicate purpose.  Martin was right – it is the better design.  The ergonomics of the design are really good as I evidenced by really working in the garden without pain for hours.

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