Bumble and Bumble Holiday Designs

Nadia Payan, 2009


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


Bumble and Bumble’s Limited Edition Hair Trimmings products are bringing holiday cheer to hair of all types. Designed by Piet Houtenbos, the Bb. Pinwheel, Bb. Bandwheel, and Bb. Bandball are reminiscent of ornaments, snowflakes and overall holiday cheer. Houtenbos delivered a spectacular blend of feminine color, thoughtfulness and festivity with these designs – all in line with the Bumble and Bumble Brand.  I asked Piet about his process and how these products came to be.


NADIA PAYAN: What were your inspirations behind the different products' packaging's shape, look and feel?

PIET HOUTENBOS: The Bandball was the beginning.  We were playing around with the idea of making a rubber band ball out of hairbands.  On the outside it looks pretty straight forward.  The interesting part was designing the core, something that surprised you in the center when you finally lost all the bands.  The huge exchange of gifts this time of year actually helped to inspire all 3 products and became a driving force in helping to turn these things into 'something'.  In the spirit of the holidays these little pieces needed an added layer of usefulness or surprise to turn them into redeeming gifts, as opposed to, "Hey, I got you 30 bobby pins."

The realization was that while it was a great looking way to deliver a whole load of bands to someone, one day they would all be lost and you'd be back to having just a few bands around.  The solution was to design something that was great at holding 10 or 15 bands.  Give them 100 bands but help them out when they only have a few.  So after a few iteration of what that center core could be exactly, the pink bouncy rubber ball came to be.  I've always liked the look of randomness, like how flowers fall in a vase.  So the idea came to cut 10 random orbits into the core ball which fit the first bunch of bands nicely and visually mimicked the look of the ball in its fully covered 100 band state.  

I've always been amazed watching some women fumble for a loose metrocard in their great big purse with the train pulling into the station.  Same goes 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 in some other bag, etc.  In this particular case its the afterlife of the product, when its almost done - thats when the product becomes important and far more useful.  Someone's gotta help alleviate the bottomless purse problem.

NP: I couldn't agree with you more Piet.  How about the Pinwheel and Bandwheel?

PH: The Pinwheel's and Bandwheels were a little different.  Inspiration for these 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 harder to turn it into 'something' and also a look a little festive.  I didn't want to make it too blatantly holiday, I thought it should be festive but 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 way you spell gnome is cool.  Gnome, Human Genome.  Okay.  

You come 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 their profile, they ended up in a beautiful radial pattern that looked exactly like an intricate snowflake.  It was a totally impractical design and needed way too many pins but it was the spark that began the radial patterns.  The twisted nature of the Pinwheel actually came about for a few reasons, some functional, some visual, but in the end the twist reminds me of candy canes.  So both the Bandwheel and the Pinwheel adopted this twisted snowflake ornament kind of look.  The funny thing was both the pins and bands left great open areas in the center 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 i was talking about earlier.  It turned out to be a great little thing to keep, toss, give to your friend, or try your hardest to redeem at Bumble and Bumble for two actual cents.

So thats the physical design of the products and some of the ideas behind them, but what helped immensely was the collaboration with Bumble themselves.  To get these things to be really 'Bumble-y' I got to work with a great team at Bumble.  In particular Gillian Haro picked the colors and did all the graphics for the beautiful box's, and tags, and posters an much more.  She's a genius, I learned a lot from her, and all of them.  Its a great place, everyone should get to work there.

NP: Thanks so much for letting us pick your 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.