Our co-founder and lead designer, Dan Black, was born in Yorkshire in 1974. His father and grandfather before him had a factory that made shoes and bags. He always had a fascination for design and grew up discussing products around the kitchen table.
He studied Industrial Design at Northumbria University, where previous graduates include Jony Ive (ex head of design at Apple). As part of his degree, he interned at the prestigious consultancies of IDEO (London) and Frog Design (California). He graduated in 1996 with a First Class Honours Degree. For the first year after graduating, he worked for Studio Brown in Bath. Then in 1998, he founded Black+Blum with his Swiss friend and fellow Northumbria University design graduate, Martin Blum. The name Blum comes from the Swiss/Deutch pronunciation (sounding like ‘bloom’) and means ‘flower’.
Although Black+Blum started as a consultancy creating products for other companies, our passion lay in developing and selling our own designs. We launched our first range of lighting in 2000 - these were simple figurative and playful designs that were hugely successful and so the range quickly grew.
In 2002, we entered the homeware market with the launch of our award-winning and iconic ‘James’ the doorman doorstop, bookend and magnetic keyring bottle-opener. Other award-winning designs swiftly followed with the ‘Flik’ waiter’s friend corkscrew, ‘Heavy Weight’ and ‘On a Roll’ tape dispensers and ‘Loo Read’ loo roll holder and magazine rack. Each design was unique, sometimes with elements of humour and personality, but always truly functional… or ‘fun-ctional’ as we called them.
We also explored many different sculptural tabletop designs such as candelabras, fruit bowls and flower vases with our hand formed ‘Loop’ range.
As our company and experience grew, we were able to invest in launching more complex and larger designs. These included ‘Propello’, a silent running rubber bladed desk fan, and ‘Venti’, a larger remote control oscillating floor fan. There was also ‘Hot Pot’, a barbecue that looked like a plant pot when not in use, which allowed you to season your food with the herbs you grow on top.
We also explored designs for the kitchen with innovative space saving products such as ‘High & Dry’ dishrack, which folded flat, ‘Flow’ wall mounted wine rack and ‘Forminimal’ knife and utensil holder with chopping board.
In 2010, we launched our first lunch box ‘Box Appetit’. It took inspiration from Japan, a country that had developed the designs of Bento lunch boxes into an art form. At the time, the West was making do with boring, waxy plastic food containers. ‘Box Appetit’ was the first adult lunchbox that catered for Western cuisine and presented food beautifully - greatly improving the user's eating experience. This was swiftly followed by our ‘Lunch Pot’ and ‘Bento Box’.
In 2011, Black+Blum took further inspiration from Japan, and introduced our first filter water bottle ‘Eau Good’. The filtration power of active charcoal has been used by the Japanese for centuries, so we leveraged this idea into a bottle that both reduced single-use plastic and made tap water taste great. It was an instant hit and has become iconic for the brand.
It was from the success and popularity of the ‘Box Appetit’ and ‘Eau Good’ - which so clearly helped solve a growing problem in the world of single-use waste created from food & drink on-the-go - that an idea was born. So in 2014, when Dan took over the reins, armed with his deep love of product design and motivation to do good, he created a range of high-quality sustainability-driven products which has now gained global recognition.
Every product we release is developed in-house and is unique to us. Every single detail is considered for lifelong use and reuse. We have won over 25 international design awards. We are incredibly passionate about creating genuinely functional and innovative products that offer something better than what is available.
We were the first company to launch an adult lunch box that organised the contents beautifully and catered for Western foods, a natural charcoal filter on-the-go bottle, a food thermos that incorporated a non-folding spoon, an all stainless steel leak proof lunch box, and a lightweight leak proof glass lunch box. In this very crowded and competitive on-the-go market, our aim is to create the best quality products that you don’t need to buy again.
Today, our products are sold in over 60 countries and in over 1000 stores from museum/design shops such as MoMA NY, to supermarkets such as Wholefoods. We are personally used by some of the most well-known food experts, nutritionists and clean living advocates globally and we continue to create innovative designs that encourage people to live sustainability, be healthier and make meal times brighter.
Buy once, buy well.