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Two Innovative Items Winning German Design Award 2024

We are absolutely thrilled that grado’s Hippo Pouf and Fido Stepstool have been awarded the German Design Award 2024. Massive congratulations to our partner designer, Weng Xinyu, the founder of YUUE Design Studio, with whom we have established a deep collaboration.  

Designer Weng Xinyu pursued a unique educational path, initially studying German language and literature as an undergraduate before transitioning to product design as a graduate student at Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. This interdisciplinary background has provided him with a valuable combination of skills and perspectives. Drawing from his training in literature, Weng possesses keen powers of observation, perception, and empathy. Simultaneously, his education in product design has nurtured his imagination and professionalism in developing innovative and stylish creations. During Earth Day in 2019, Weng partnered with Mobike, a prominent domestic bicycle-sharing company, to repurpose discarded bicycle parts and transform them into furniture items. This unique undertaking showcased Weng’s design concept of championing the sustainable utilization of resources. This experience laid the groundwork for his future designs of Hippo Pouf.

What makes the Hippo Pouf stand out as a truly eco-friendly item, both in its design philosophy and the product itself?

Environmental Inspiration: This hippo is half-exposed, symbolizing the hippos that remain partially submerged in a river during times of drought. Additionally, the grid-like texture of the upholstery mimics the cracked appearance of drought-stricken land. By showcasing these metaphors, the Hippo Pouf helps individuals truly understand and empathize with the impact of drought on other creatures on Earth. Designer Weng Xinyu intricately crafts this pouf, aiming to capture endearing characteristics into a lifelike piece. His intention is to inspire empathy in people, and encourage them to reflect upon their behaviors that may harm the environment and actively participate in ecological protection.

Eco-friendly Manufacturing: Internally, the Hippo Pouf is filled with recycled EPS particles, providing excellent flexibility and conforming to the human body’s curves. The upholstery is carefully cut to minimize waste as much as possible.

Sustainable Utility: As a versatile item, the Hippo Pouf can serve as a stool, cushion, footrest and even a side table. With just one piece, it meets diverse needs, promoting a lifestyle of simplicity and environmental responsibility.  

Indeed, it can be observed that Weng Xinyu’s design philosophy is deeply rooted in empathy for the environment and the people who inhabit it. His care extends beyond just human individuals, as he envisions the role of humans as agents of positive change in improving the environment, including the natural environment and social environment. This underlying belief serves as the driving force behind his designs. Weng combines the perspectives of liberal arts students and engineering students, ensuring that his products are not only well-intentioned but also safe and durable. grado appreciates Weng’s design approach and finds it aligned with our own commitment to corporate responsibility. We actively foster deep collaborations with such designers to create furniture with greater meaning and resonance for individuals. The Fido Stepstool stands as a successful example of this endeavor.

What makes grado’s Fido Stepstool a product that improves the social environment and resonates with people?

Loyal Companionship: The name and design of Fido are inspired by a well-known loyal dog from Italy during World War II. Its owner adopted this stray dog Fido on the streets, caring for him with dedication. When the war broke out and the owner tragically passed away in an air raid, Fido continued to wait at the bus station daily, displaying unwavering loyalty for over a decade until his own passing. Inspired by this loyal Italian dog, the designer aims for the Fido Stepstool to be like a loyal companion, always by your side when you need assistance and providing a sense of security.

Unique Appearance: The Fido Stepstool features a distinctive shape without a designated front or back, resembling a neat sculpture. The wood grain injects a fresh and natural ambiance into any home.

Versatile Functionality: This multifunctional piece serves as a shelf, stool, footstool, cat climbing frame, mobile ladder, workbench, and bedside table. It’s easily movable and provides flexible convenience for various uses.

In the future, grado will continue to pursue original furniture design, supporting designers in creating products that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional, while also shouldering social responsibility through design language and contributing more positive voices to the world.