Like others in the design profession, industrial designer Joey Ruiter approaches the design process as a path that leads him around the obvious to a place that reveals the unexpected. In his case, however, the design process rarely starts with a pen and paper; it starts by taking an existing machine and stripping it down to its bare parts and starting over with no regard to the accepted norm.
Having worked with everybody from office furniture makers and powerboat manufacturers to fashion designers, Ruiter’s unique approach to design exists somewhere between deconstruction and reconstruction – regardless of the product category.
“When you can get rid of all the cheese, fluff, and doodads, you can create icons,” he explains. “Great products of yesterday and today simply do what they are supposed to do. It’s not mysterious. And you wonder why it hasn’t been there the whole time.”
Recently, Ruiter – who has over 25 patents to his name – turned his attention to repurposing a 1980s Chrysler 90cc Sno-Runner into a custom fabricated winter travel vehicle modeled after the classic café racer motorcycle:
“Stripping machines down to their core essence and rebuilding them leads me to new discoveries, thoughts and inspiration. I love to spend time browsing in antique shops. You can learn a lot from past technologies that changed our cultural outlook. These are ideas that changed our lives like the micro-computer does now. What if you could find a new way to use things or see things that are already familiar? It creates another chapter, just when you thought you were at the end of the story.”