STAND: From the Academy of Art to the Art of Manufacturing


The designer Kaspars Jursons first thought about a urinal that is linked to a sink when he was in his 3rd year of studies at the Latvian Academy of Art, putting together his annual project in the field of industrial design. “I was working on my presentation and using images of sinks and urinals, and all of a sudden I thought about merging them,” Kaspars recalls. He first doubted whether anyone would be interested in using the product, but then he decided that the item, which he called STAND, had two key advantages, linked to both water (the urinal is rinsed when the person washes his hands) and space (it takes up relatively little room). These two aspects alone were enough to ensure demand for the product.


“After I wrote my bachelor’s thesis in 2010, I was told that I should try to manufacture the product. This was a bit scary because I had no clear sense of how to begin the process and how it would all happen,” says Kaspars. It took two years to prepare for industrial levels of manufacturing, because he had to deal with distribution, copyright and other issues, but the first 30 products were finally manufactured in partnership with the PAA company in Latvia. The art academy student had indeed found a new market niche.


PAA regularly works with students to support their ideas, though the partnership only works if the idea is substantive enough. An actual product is only possible if both parties are fully committed and involved. Kaspars’ idea has been turned into a stable manufacturing line at PAA, and interest from various parts of the world will soon exceed current manufacturing capacity.


Kaspars recalls that there was hardly any fuss after he produced the first prototype. STAND only came to notice during the summer of 2013, when the publication DesignTAXI published an article about the product. Then came interviews in the Daily Mail, on NPR and ABC Radio, and in other media outlets around the world. People were suddenly extremely interested in the STAND. “There were many comments across two fronts,” Kaspars recalls. “Some said that it was awful and the worst invention in history, while others said that it was cool.” Over the course of two months, Kaspars received countless e-mails from around the world; indeed, STAND had become famous.