Todot Design is the brainchild of four design masterminds from Macao, Hong Kong and Mainland China, who created the company based on the belief that everything starts with a dot. Their philosophy is to “link everything back to its origin and start out from that very first dot to ever better design.”
Bob Lei, Design Director for Todot Design & Planning Ltd., said he hopes that when people think of Macao in future, they will think of Todot Design. “For example, Muji reflects the minimalism of Japanese lifestyle and Ikea is synonymous with Sweden for its clever designs of home pieces. In a similar way, we hope to outlive the artistic genes from within our local culture through our products,” Mr Lei tells Macao Image.
Inventing new products and providing customised designs are the company’s main areas of business. Their goal is to influence society in a positive way through distinctive designs. Todot Design also has two sub-brands: Ultraworks and Faith& Fearless. Ultraworks, founded in 2014, develops watches and stationary products while Faith& Fearless founded in 2016, is focused on fashion and trendy handbags.
After just two years in business, the Ultraworks products began to receive a number of prestigious design awards from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. In 2017, Ultraworks received the Platinum A’ Design Award from Italy. The same year, the Good Design Award from Japan also recognised Ultraworks with the G-mark. Most recently in 2018, China awarded Ultraworks with the Red Star Design Award.
Breaking the mould
The award-winning Ultratime 001 Watch, which features a sleek design with two rotating circular discs representing the “hour” and “minute”, is Ultraworks’ best-selling product.
Drawing inspiration from the speedometer and applying a minimalist design, the Ultratime 001 watch features an irregular arrangement of numerals that move in a counter-clockwise direction, and just one fixed pointer instead of two clockwise pointers found on a traditional watch.
“One can read the time by taking a quick glance at the fixed pointer,” Mr Lei says. There is an old Chinese saying: ‘If you stop moving forward while rowing a boat upstream, you will fall back.’ This phrase motivated Ultraworks to create this revolutionary design of the counter-clockwise discs. Most people today don’t want to step out of their comfort zones and take risks. This cutting-edge design is a reflection of just the opposite: a willingness to move forward and step outside the box.
If you look closely at the face of the watch, you will notice another distinctive detail in the minimalist design of the timepiece. On the circular minute disc, 18 is marked between the number 10 and 25, instead of 15 or 20. The number 18 is a very special number for the designer.
“When I reflect back on when I was 18, that was the most important year of my life,” Mr Lei says. “It was a year full of passion and hope. We hope the number 18 can remind people of the good old days and to move forward in their lives with the same, upbeat spirit.”
Developing a new product requires meticulous planning so that every single detail falls in line seamlessly. From ideas to designs, sampling to production, every stage undergoes a different set of challenges.
For Mr Lei and his team, their company’s development was a positive learning curve from day one, entailing the need to integrate knowledge in different domains. “Creating something from scratch requires a great deal of effort,” notes Mr Lei. “Take watch production as an example. I reached out to a lot of factories from around the world at the start, but only one of them was interested in our design concept. Every product is the result of many trials and thoughtful planning, and through this experience, we can now start to foresee our next move.”
With the success of the Ultratime 001 Watch series, Ultraworks set a new record of 3,000 pieces sold in 2018.
Business opportunities in style
Today’s youth like to make a statement through fashion and are known as “hypebeasts”. Seeing the potential in this young demographic, Todot Design decided to start up their own trendy brand known as Faith& Fearless in September 2016.
“Our brands represent certain core values,” Mr Lei explains. “We hope to inject positive energy into society through our products.”
‘Be true to yourself, dare to be different’, is the concept of the brand.
The designs of each product are playful and fashionable, and are made of edgy materials, such as PVC and nylon with strikingly bold colours. Thanks to an effective pricing and marketing strategy and online promotions, a number of handbags are considered to be very trendy and are well-liked by many young women both inside and outside China.
Mr Lei always keeps an eye on evolving trends and was happy to give Macao Image a window into Todot Design’s future.
“Our next goal for Faith& Fearless is to produce ‘crossover products’ with other brands,” he says. “At the moment, we have confirmed agreements with several artists to incorporate their unique design elements into Faith& Fearless’s products. As for Ultraworks, the focus will be on watches designed exclusively for women. We hope to broaden our selection of women’s watches with a series of timepieces that feature smaller watch surfaces.”