Featured image for Bumble and Bumble by Piet Houtenbos

Bumble and Bumble by Piet Houtenbos

by Nadia Payan on 12/21/2008 | 4 Minute Read

An inside look at Bumble and Bumble Limited Edition Hair Trimmings by Piet Houtenbos, who delves into his inspiration for these festive holiday designs.

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On the Bb. Bandball:

 "TheBandball was the beginning.  We were playing around with the idea ofmaking a rubber band ball out of hairbands.  On the outside it lookspretty straight forward.  The interesting part was designing the core,something that surprised you in the center when you finally lost allthe bands.  The huge exchange of gifts this time of year actuallyhelped to inspire all three products and became a driving force in helpingto turn these things into 'something'.  In the spirit of the holidaysthese little pieces needed an added layer of usefulness or surprise toturn them into redeeming gifts, as opposed to, 'Hey, I got you 30 bobbypins.'

 Therealization was that while it was a great looking way to deliver awhole load of bands to someone, one day they would all be lost andyou'd be back to having just a few bands around.  The solution was todesign something that was great at holding 10 or 15 bands.  Give them100 bands but help them out when they only have a few.  So after a fewiteration of what that center core could be exactly, the pink bouncyrubber ball came to be.  I've always liked the look of randomness, likehow flowers fall in a vase.  So the idea came to cut 10 random orbitsinto the core ball which fit the first bunch of bands nicely andvisually mimicked the look of the ball in its fully covered 100 bandstate. 

 I'vealways been amazed watching some women fumble for a loose Metrocard intheir great big purse with the train pulling into the station.  Samegoes for hair elastics.  There's always a few at the bottom of a purse,a couple in the bathroom loose in a dish with other stuff, a few insome other bag, etc.  In this particular case its the afterlife of theproduct, when its almost done - thats when the product becomesimportant and far more useful.  Someone's gotta help alleviate thebottomless purse problem." (I couldn't agree with Piet more here)

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On the Bb. Pinwheel and Bandwheel:

 "ThePinwheel's and Bandwheels were a little different.  Inspiration forthese things are a funny thing.  They're basically very simple objects,and limiting the amount of pins and bands to 30 made it a little harderto turn it into 'something' and also a look a little festive.  I didn'twant to make it too blatantly holiday, I thought it should be festivebut also simple enough to outlast December without being too annoying.So the best inspirations became things like ornaments and snowflakes,not Christmas trees and gnomes, although gnomes are cool, even the wayyou spell gnome is cool.  Gnome, Human Genome.  Okay."  (Come back to us, Piet)
 "Youcome up with a lot of junk trying to put 30 pins together nicely.Finally I put a whole slew of pins on their side, showing theirprofile, they ended up in a beautiful radial pattern that lookedexactly like an intricate snowflake.  It was a totally impracticaldesign and needed way too many pins but it was the spark that began theradial patterns.  The twisted nature of the Pinwheel actually cameabout for a few reasons, some functional, some visual, but in the endthe twist reminds me of candy canes.  So both the Bandwheel and thePinwheel adopted this twisted snowflake ornament kind of look.  Thefunny thing was both the pins and bands left great open areas in thecenter of the disc's, it became a perfect place to brand the pieces.The idea of striking a little branded coin came from that gift idea iwas talking about earlier.  It turned out to be a great little thing tokeep, toss, give to your friend, or try your hardest to redeem atBumble and Bumble for two actual cents.

 Sothat's the physical design of the products and some of the ideas behindthem, but what helped immensely was the collaboration with Bumblethemselves.  To get these things to be really 'Bumble-y' I got to workwith a great team at Bumble.  In particular Gillian Haro picked thecolors and did all the graphics for the beautiful box's, and tags, andposters an much more.  She's a genius, I learned a lot from her, andall of them.  Its a great place, everyone should get to work there."
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Editorial photographThanks so much to Piet, for letting us pick his brain. I happen to think that the Bb. Bandball is both beautiful and practical since I fall into that category of women who lose their bands to the bottomless abyss that is my bag.  I'll have to pick up one of those later.

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