2011 Melbourne Design Awards

Key Dates

Image Credit : Photography by Penelope Clay


Project Overview

The Ellipse tissue dispenser provides an elegant, functional and unique solution to the standard tissue box. Floating a naked stack of tissues on an elegant bamboo tray, a stainless steel weight allows individual tissues to be drawn easily and without disruption.

Project Commissioner


Project Creator

Rowen Wagner Design


Designed by Rowen Wagner
Produced by Workshopped

Project Brief

Tissue boxes are often clad with floral, puppy and underwater printed scenes of debatable appeal. Consumers find themselves selecting the pack least damaging to their interior at the expense of a premium price.
The brief presented an opportunity to showcase the simple beauty of the humble tissue rather than hide it's uninviting pack. A sense of elegance, value and beauty was required to bring tissues out of hiding and out of their box.

Project Innovation / Need

The Ellipse tissue dispenser is an alternative to the colourful tissue box. Seemingly floating tissues are held in place by a polished marine-grade stainless steel elliptical ring. The bamboo tray ensures the tissues are kept elevated from the counter surface, while bamboos natural anti-bacterial properties assist in maintaining a hygenic stack of fresh tissues.

Design Challenge

The simplistic design proposed a complex range of challenges against material and function. The form of the elliptical ring was delicately adjusted across over 30 prototypes to achieve the best weight, balance and inner profile for securing the tissue stack whilst allowing an individual tissue to easily pass through. 316 grade stainless steel is cast and hand polished to a mirror finish to assist in this function.
Bamboo proved best against plastics or formed leather due to it's natural anti-bacterial properties. Minimising tolerances in casting shrinkage, material loss in polishing and machining allows the metal form to securely nestle into the tray when not in use.


The product is produced from Certified Sustainable Bamboo, 100% recyclable stainless steel and is packaged using Recycled Kraft Stock card. The white ink used on the packaging is lead free.
Users take comfort knowing that no matter the brand or cost of their favoured tissue, Ellipse will ensure they are beautifully presented right down to the last one. Material choice warrants years of service - bamboo is resistant to bacteria development and users can re-oil the surface over time to maintain it's surface and shine. The 316 grade stainless steel will not tarnish or rust.
Ellipse is an elegant and practical addition to the countertop to be used over and over again.

This award recognises a component or overall product. Consideration given to aspects that relate to human usage, aesthetics, selection of components and materials, and the resolution of assembly, manufacturing and the overall function.
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