"Rakego's looks remind me a lot of camping"
Products that are competing with ROCA Industry's folding brackets have a poorer design and feel “cheaper.” This according to future industrial designers who in the autumn of 2021 developed a prototype for Rakego that can be used on the outside of a van. Here's an interview with one of them.
Philip Ståhlbrand was a member of group 2 within the design project that ROCA Industry carried out in collaboration with Konstfack, the University of Arts, Design and Crafts in Stockholm. The prototype that he and fellow students Happy Ahlström and Linn Hammarberg developed was a folding seating area on the outside of a van, where the Rakego folding bracket is used to attach the seat in the outer position (read more about the Konstfack project here).
Tell us about your idea for Rakego!
– We chose "motorhomes" as the area we wanted to use ROCA Industry's folding brackets in. We talked to acquaintances and friends who either had a van or motorhome and we realized that the inside of such a vehicle is already equipped with a variety of foldable or folding solutions. Especially in motorhomes, there are a number of smart products so we felt we wanted to work with vans. They are interesting because countless DIY (Do It Yourself) solutions are built on and around the cars. And these solutions are not as space-efficient as in motorhomes, so we felt we had something to add here.
People who ride in such vans actually want to get out to experience nature and not sit inside the vehicle. We have not seen very many solutions that utilized the outside of the van. So that led us to think about a cooking or sitting area on the outside of the car. We wanted to create a foldable solution that is attached, instead of having to be mounted on and off between each movement.
We focused on a Swedish user or customer, but in our research phase we saw that in Japan or the Far East there are very many vans and motorhomes that have details on the outside. Some have a terrace on the roof, others a ladder and so on. So we think our solution could appeal to this market.
Why did you choose Rakego for your prototype?
– We did not have a specific product, our design proposal could have involved any of ROCA's folding brackets. But since Robust can only be folded down and not up, we opted out. We did not want to produce a seat that is already very close to the ground and then risk it dragging in the ground or asphalt when the van is out driving. We needed to find a solution where the folding mechanism works upwards and not downwards. That opportunity is given with Rakego and we could use it in a more creative way.
What was your first impression of the product?
– I had never been in contact with folding brackets before. The products felt exciting because we saw a variety of uses. We limited ourselves with the choice of building a seating area. It is possible to do a lot of things with Rakego, but since we used the function that it folds upwards, we had to struggle quite a lot to produce the movement we wanted.
What do you think of Rakego's design?- Compared to Robust, Rakego feels "light". Not only in terms of weight but also how easy it is to understand the function. We liked that it was very stripped down. But we actually think it could be designed even more stripped down. An industrial sentiment rests on Rakego and it attracts attention. So in an indoor environment you have to be aware of it while if it is used outdoors it does not matter much. And in our case, it really melted in - there are usually a lot of pipes and other utensils on the outside of DIY vans.
How did you experience the product's properties during the project? You must have opened and closed it a lot, right?
– The mechanism itself was not affected by our hundreds of openings and closures. The feeling of unfolding and folding was pleasant, it felt nice when the click sound came. However, we got some damage to the black paint when we slipped with the screwdriver.
Have you carried out "extreme tests" about load or similar?
– Since we used Rakegon's mechanism in the opposite direction, we made calculations of how many kilos it could handle. We also sat on our seating device, with the risk that it would not hold due to the attachment because it was made of wood. But it lasted!
If I were a manufacturer of motorhomes or caravans and looking for a similar product. Why should I choose Rakego?
– Rakego offers variety in folding possibilities. The competing products we have seen are similar to ROCA Industry's Robust but in a worse design. They feel "cheaper", industrial and do not blend in with the outside of a van.
What the target group wants in such a van is camping-alike looks. There is an environment with tents, poles or round pipes. So Rakego fits in very well and can even enhance the camping feeling.