The Boffo Blueprint

Throughout the months of May and June on our social media platforms, Boffo penned a design series inspired by Dieter Rams’ Good Design Principles.  Rams is known as one of the most influential industrial designers of the last 50 years and has had a truly remarkable impact on the design industry and the overall concept of product design as we know it today. Boffo agrees with Rams’ firm belief that good design can only come from understanding people.

Below are Boffo’s take aways and applications of Rams’ 10 Good Design Principles.

1 | Good design is Innovative

Dieter Rams believes that “technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.”

As builders, we are continually exploring new technologies to solve problems, innovate and work in a more collaborative way. We use a high-tech construction software, Procore, to work together with our trade partners to enhance home design. A design aesthetic we wanted for the homes in our Eastpark community was to blur the boundary between indoor and outdoor spaces. Working together through the Procore platform enabled the teams to choose the best material for a continuous ceiling finish to extend the inside area to include the exterior, linking the two spaces while bearing in mind its suitability for use in all weather.

2 | Good design is Useful

Dieter Rams believes that “a product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.”

When designing new homes, we know layouts have to function, where the application of usefulness is in the integration of spaces. For example, in our Mason community in East Vancouver we created an office nook next to the kitchen. Adapting an area that is useful for working from home or for the kids to do homework, adds to the functionality of the home. In the office nook, we fit attractive floating shelves to store books and other essentials. The built-in quartz desk matches the kitchen countertops for a seamless design. With working from home being the new normal for many people, flexible and dedicated working spaces are now more useful than ever.

3 | Good design is Aesthetic

Dieter Rams believes that “the aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.”

As designers of common spaces, we know that the space needs to function and it needs to be visually pleasing to the eye. When we were designing the children’s playground at our Edgemont Walk community in North Vancouver, the visual effect of reclaimed timber logs provided a beautiful alternative to traditional painted steel and plastic playgrounds and allows for imaginative play. The playground’s sculptural design serves as an artistic focal point in the courtyard and complements the surrounding environment and landscaping.

4 | Good design is Understandable

Dieter Rams believes understandable design “clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.”

As builders, we know what it takes to build beautiful homes for real life, meaning we pay attention to every detail, big and small. For example, if we need to provide you with a user manual to understand this light switch activates this light, then something is wrong. The ‘behind the walls’ functionality is paramount.

5 | Good design is Unobtrusive

Dieter Rams believes that “products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.”

As interior designers, when choosing the interior finishes for our multi-family communities, we seek to provide a blank canvas for homeowners to add their personal style. As shown in our Haven community in Port Coquitlam, by providing a guiding colour palette, we were able to get out of the way of our homeowners allowing them to create a home with their personal style.

6 | Good design is Honest

Dieter Rams believes honest design “does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.”

Honesty stands as one of the pillars of Boffo’s company values. We place the utmost importance on being authentic and staying true to our roots as a family company. We are proud to carry on the old-world values of our founder Tarcisio Boffo where the creation of structures and homes, ways and spaces are where neighbours become neighbourly once again. Boffo is committed to bringing back the neighbourhood both as a place to belong to and as a way of belonging. If we do, our community will be stronger and our lives will be richer. That’s our promise to you.

7 | Good design is Long Lasting

Dieter Rams believes long lasting design “avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.”

Since 1963, Boffo Properties have been neighbourhood builders, one structure at a time. Take a promising place and get to know it. Respect it. Find its strengths. Reveal its character. Then make it even more livable, flexible, enjoyable. That’s bringing back the neighbourhood. And, in that place, remember the people. Introduce them. Connect them. We understand great neighbourhoods need more than just great buildings.

8 | Good design is Thorough Down to the Last Detail

Dieter Rams believes that “nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the user.”

As homebuilders, creating a special atmosphere where from the moment you walk in, you feel there’s something exceptional about a Boffo Properties home. We are committed to making details matter and have demonstrated this in our Edgemont Walk community in North Vancouver. We paid attention to details you can see, and also details you may only feel once living in the home. The ability to make homes feel comfortable is a mixture of a couple key environmental factors created by temperature variances and noise levels, so we paid extra attention to the heating source and sound insulation. The benefits provided by radiant in-floor heating and triple pane windows includes fine-tuned control over indoor temperature and an extremely quiet home throughout changing seasons.

9 | Good design is Environmentally friendly

Dieter Rams believes that “design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.”

With this in mind, we designed our Eastpark community in East Vancouver’s Little Mountain neighbourhood. Eastpark achieved LEED Platinum certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in: sustainable site development, innovation in design, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. We are proud to contribute environmentally friendly and healthy homes to the nieghbourhoods we build in.

10 | Good design is As Little Design as Possible

Dieter Rams believes good design is a little design as possible “because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.”

As interior designers, we know space planning should be intentional and thoughtful. By eliminating what doesn’t serve the homeowner we have demonstrated a collection of efficient floorplans at our Cordovan community in East Vancouver. The hallway space was designed with a useful single-wall kitchen that doesn’t detract from the living area. Simple design with only the essentials ensures every nook and cranny is utilized.