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SowdenDesign has designed and engineered mechanical and electronic products since the 1970's and our designs have consistently been at the forefront of emerging technology.
With dozens of international awards and a unique background as pioneers of the postmodern design movement, we're recognized as one of the world's leaders in product design.
SowdenDesign was founded in 1981, in Milan, by George J. Sowden and has grown over the years with important partnership relationships: Simon Morgan, Hiroshi Ono, Davy Kho and Franco Mele, and great collaborations with associates: Christian Hartmann, Stephen England, Cynthia Viale, Giovanni Amenduni, Christopher Coombes, Guillaume Delvigne and Tomas Ortiz Ferrer.
With members from Japan, France, Britain, Germany, Argentina, Holland, Italy, Australia and US, our eclectic mix of viewpoints and personalities is the cornerstone of the creative synergy that makes SowdenDesign a dynamic environment.
about our process
This is the idea stage where the product takes shape. We organise meetings in which we encourage brainstorming between all the people involved. We try to arrive quickly at general definitions of the product, explore solutions to the brief and demonstrate immediately their workability. Constantly referring to the client ensures that results are co-ordinated with the product specification. We work with sketches and rough models to communicate the design direction. As new ideas are developed they are incorporated in the development process.
We consider it extremely important to present aesthetic solutions in the initial stages of the development process so that the client has an immediate idea of the way we are thinking. At this stage we are actively working with Pro/Designer creating 3D computer models. The use of Pro/Photorender makes it possible to create realistic images. At this stage we are thinking about the importance of finishes and materials. Communication between various groups ensures that the direction is clear and that everyone is in a position to understand the feel we are giving to the product.
Working closely with our prototyping workshop, we construct 3D models to show to the client. These models are milled or in some cases constructed with rapid prototyping methods but in any case, always mathematically controlled. Showing the client models in the early stages helps them to understand clearly the design intention and allows for an easy flow of the development process. With the use of PTC software we have been able to develop a way of working which considerably reduces the time involved in building 3D models.
With the client’s approval, we enter the 2nd development cycle. The initial information of sizes and components can now be upgraded to complete 3D engineering so that the development and the design of the product becomes an integrated process. At this stage we are working with Pro/D and Pro/E as though it is one single software. For some clients we will transform mechanical 2D information into 3D drawings. We are also able to prepare 2D or 3D mechanical drawings for pc boards and keyboard rubber mats, to give just two typical examples.
All the information regarding the inside and outside of the product has now been collected and worked on as a single entity. We exchange files with our clients so everyone has updated information. When the information is consolidated at the end of the first phase of mechanical drawings, we give mathematical data to our outside suppliers for the construction of a first working prototype. As the pieces become available we work together with the client to assemble and check. At this stage the client has a prototype at his disposal for the first cycle of testing.
Updated mathematical data is used to produce another set of body parts. From these we organise soft tooling for the construction of a small quantity of preproduction prototypes. These pre-production models initiate the final stage before launching the construction of tooling. They are useful for the revision of all mathematical data. In some cases these models are used for field testing.
3D FOR TOOLING
The final stage. Studio Sowden organises the revision of all information for tool construction. All files are accompanied by 2D reference drawings which most of our toolmakers prefer to have. We work with a number of constructors who have Pro/E. And in particular those equipped also with Pro/Mould give us reduction in time and increased precision. Particularly important is the assistance we can give with the choice of the tool constructors especially when careful attention has to be given to finishes and quality.