Interview with designer Alex Ng (AN), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Upsize 3d Puzzle-Pony Alex Multifunctional Rocking Horse.

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Interview with Alex Ng at Tuesday 15th of April 2014: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
AN : Play mat is one of the essential item for baby, infant and toddler. However when baby grows up to a kid, it becomes unnecessary. Therefore, my design idea is to extend its product life to be able to transform the play mat to a secondary functional product, "Rocking Horse". Even though if the user grows up to be a teenager or an adult, it can still be a home decoration with the simple and nice design. In other words, I hope a longer product life could help the world with less abandoned products.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
AN : Safety, function, materials

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
AN : The design is ready to launch in this year; "2014". I am planning to continue to design a series of ridable characters. The idea of turning the play mat to other products is great, especially it is in valuable size. It might be turned into something else in the future other than just a ridable product.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
AN : The project started in April 2013. It took almost a year to the final outcome.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
AN : The design was commissioned. My friend Van Ho and Karl Ho came to me looking for some new product designs that made out of soft materials. This was because their family business is a PU foam manufacturing that seek for new product line.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
AN : The design is being produced by Van Ho and Karl Ho's company.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
AN : I am the only designer of the work.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
AN : For safety reason, Pony Alex is targeting the customers between the age of 3 to 8.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
AN : My friend as well as my team now, they called it Pony Alex because this is my first personal design in product; in the term of manufacturing.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
AN : Pencil sketching for the concept and structure design for sure. Photoshop and illustrator for AW. Rhino for 3D rendering and Solidwork for engineering drawing. All the files were switched around between those softwares to complete the presentation.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
AN : The rocking horse - "Pony Alex" can be assembled from the pieces of play mat. It does not require any hard plastic to hold the pieces, which is new in the market. The structure have been developed well that the joints of every piece can secure itself when weight-force applies on the seat. The heavier the rider is, the better structure will hold. It complies with ASTM F936-11 toy safety standards and passes the weight-loading test. Pony Alex is able to support the weight up to 150 lbs. on the seat.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
AN : Yes, I worked with the technician who advised the suitable hardness of EVA foam.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
AN : The project won the Best of the Fair at Hong Kong Toys and Baby Products Award in January 2014, in the category of Baby Toys & Activity. My team encourages me to submit my design to more competitions.