Literal Metaphor of the Week: An Artist & an Architect Inhabit a Human-Sized Hamster Wheel of Their Own Design
Sure, it sounds like a self-effacing metaphor gone off the tracks. No, there's no punchline, and yes, it's pretty cool. Ward Shelley and Alex Schweder are currently living and working 24 hours a day in their "architect performed building" shaped like a 25-foot hamster wheel. The two artists, who have been collaborating on large-scale installations since 2007, will inhabit "Orbit" until March 9 and o view through April 5 at The Boiler in Brooklyn.
With all necessary furniture fixed around (and often through) the huge wheel, one person maintains life on the inside while the other occupies the upper/outer part of the ring. They use tandem movement around the wheel in order to change task, whether sleeping, working or staying physically active.(more...)
Do you have what it takes to make your own wine? Most likely not. But with this fancy gadget and a lower-than-average amount of skepticism, you might. Drink like Jesus did with the Miracle Machine: just add water, grape concentrate, yeast and a vaguely described "finishing powder" to impart that truly barrel-aged flavor without true barrel-aging.
The modestly named Miracle Machine is a household appliance with the capability of fermenting and age-flavoring fine wine within three days, for as little as $2 per bottle in materials. It's got a fairly elegant exterior, plastic but something you wouldn't resent for taking up counter space. The accompanying app lets you choose the type of wine you want to make and provides status information so that those of us too impatient for bread-baking can hold out long enough to reap the alcoholic bounty. Check out the project video:(more...)
From concrete planters cast from fruit to whittled toothbrush shanks, Pratt Institute graduates Chen Chen and Kai Williams (CCKW) have been exploring industrial processes and materials to create furniture, products and art since 2011. "Our design philosophy is very bottom-up," Chen says. "We experiment with materials and allow them to inform us of what products to make from them."
One of the first results of this design philosophy was a set of Cold Cut Coasters, inspired by the way in which deli meats are sliced at the point of purchase. Chen and Williams wanted to replicate that effect with a product where they could pre-make a "loaf" and slice it depending on how much a customer wanted.
"Eventually, we came to the realization that this was not going to be possible," Chen says. "But in trying for that goal, we came up with a way to make composite materials with intricate patterns by soaking fabric in resin and then wrapping it around solid materials like wood. This process brought an element of chance into each composition we made, as we had no idea what the slices were going to look like until they were cut." That material exploration also laid the groundwork for what would become a series of four rugs made in collaboration with Tai Ping Carpets and released during Art Basel Miami Beach last December.
Detail views of Coast Occult Dress (top)
The Oldest Stucco Star is another one of the four rugs Chen Chen and Kai Williams designed for Tai Ping Carpets(more...)
Show master CEO Ralph Wiegmann with award winners from South Korea
Last weekend, we had the opportunity to attend the iF design awards 2014 night, which took place at the impressive BMW Welt museum in Munich. Some 2,000 guests involved in design, business, culture, politics and press enjoyed a relaxed get-together while show master Ralph Wiegmann (iF CEO) hosted the ceremony, personally handing out no less than 75 iF gold trophies, which deserves some respect, to three categories of winners: product, communication and packaging.
In January, some 50 jury experts from all over the world came together for three days in Hannover to select the winners of the iF design awards 2014.
Read on to see our top five picks:
iF product design awards
To select the 1,220 winning entries (including 50 coveted iF gold awards), an international jury of experts came together at the Hanover exhibition center to review no less than 3,249 (!) entries from 48 countries. Here are three of our favorite product winners, from big to small:
The BMW i3 is the first large-scale production car with an all-electric engine manufactured by BMW Group is tailored to the requirements of sustainable and emission-free mobility. With its revolutionary architecture and CRP passenger compartment, the BMW i3 weighs only 1,195 kg. Learn more about the innovative new vehicle in our feature story on the BMW i3, including an exclusive interview with Head of Design Adrian van Hooydonk. BMW Group München, Germany
Of all the product designs people are willing to wait in line for, it's been demonstrated that iPhones, iPads and game consoles get a big "yes." But will people stand in line for something more mundane, like a cup?
They will if it was "designed" by Dominique Ansel, the NYC pastry chef famous for his queue-creating Cronuts. Following an announcement via Instagram by Ansel, Eater.com reports that the Frenchman recently tried his first Oreo; after learning that it was meant to be eaten with milk—"[not] a natural combination in French culture"—Ansel pushed the alien concept further, crafting a milk-holding cup from a cookie.
His resultant Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Shots are going to be unveiled this Sunday at SXSW. And if his Cronut sales are any indication, the lines for these things will probably start somewhere north by northeast.(more...)
Toy Designer Wang I Chao Shares His Thoughts on Playtime and Designing Conceptual Toys That Spark Creativity
Wang I Chao creates much more than toys. The Taiwan-born, New York-based designer chooses to focus more on the creative potential of the user than the features of his toys. That's not to say his creations are boring by any means—on the contrary, his abstract inspirations bring a greater element of imagination to the experience. We chatted with him about three of his designs that caught our eye: "Shadow Monsters," "The Red Nose Circus" and "Belly Button Chair." Learn what he has to say about the playtime, making toys for kids and adults and how The Little Prince inspired his designs.
Core77: What's the most important aspect, in your opinion, to making the well-designed toy?
I Chao: I think a well-designed toy should be fun and inspirational. For me, the most important aspect of a toy is its ability to spark creativity. We can't learn this type of thing through a textbook, so it's best we play and find our creative sides naturally.
How do you see your own designs fitting into the modern world of toys and playtime?
It's my goal to design toys that enable our artistic talents. I regard my design as a framework to guide and contain users' inspirations. The framework uses storytelling to invite users into the games and at the same time, it sparks their creativity and imagination by encouraging them to make their own tale.
Aesthetics is an important and subtle influence in artistic inspirations too. When considering this, I pay great attention to the quality of my sculptural forms, and also engage them with character. The toys are not just designed for children, but also for grown-ups who enjoy novelty as well as aesthetically beautiful objects. From playability, story, to sculpture quality, I wish to design artsy toys that can be appreciated by users of all ages.(more...)
As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we are once again pleased to be partnering with the International Home + Housewares Show. With over 60,000 homegoods professionals showing off the newest housewares, it's easy to overlook the lineup of speakers the event has to offer. Fear not—the International Housewares Association has put together a series of blogposts featuring the event's keynotes—including speakers from Kickstarter, Food Network and Catalyze Chicago, the new community for hardware entrepreneurs, among many others. Make sure to read up and plan out your must-sees before you head to the big show.
Watch this space starting next weekend for our coverage, live and direct from the exhibition hall at McCormick Place.
The show will be split up into four separate genres: Clean, Contain + Sustain; Dine + Design; Discover Design; Wired + Well and Global. Here's some of our footage from last year to give you a better feel for the event:
Read the rest of our 2013 coverage and keep an eye out for this year's features here. -->(more...)
Design Indaba Conference 2014: Two Radically Different Versions of the ABCs (from Experimental Jetset and Alt Group's Dean Poole)
As these things go, Day One of the 2014 Design Indaba Conference was a bit behind schedule from the get-go. Experimental Jetset acknowledged as much in their regimented presentation that morning: after introducing themselves by way of banter, Marieke Stolk, Erwin Brinkers and Danny van den Dungen explained that they'd be spending the rest of their 40-minutes time slot by sharing their influences from A to Z, spending one minute on each topic. Taking the notion of a timed talk to its logical extreme, the Dutch trio went so far as to include 60-second countdown timers on each slide—a nod, perhaps, to their cerebral approach to graphic design.
L: Stolk's parents were founding members of the Provo anarchist movement (’65–’67); R: Invitation for Wim Crouwel: Architectures Typographiques
Of course, it didn't play out that way: Stolk clocked in "Anarchy" in exactly 60 seconds, but from "The Beatles" on, it was clear that the concept was a tad overambitious. (On the other hand, when it seemed that one of them would finish earlier than the 60 seconds on a couple of the letters, he or she would knowingly stretch the explanation.) Still, anyone familiar with their work could have guessed what "H" would be: they've been typecast (in a manner of speaking) as strict Helveticists since their memorable turn in Gary Hustwit's 2007 documentary on the ubiquitous typeface. Adherents to this day, van den Dungen duly noted that "We signed our own death sentence... in Helvetica."
Dean Poole, on the other hand, gushed about letterforms as archetypes; the self-effacing New Zealander's presentation which followed lunch on the third and final day of the conference, was rife on wordplay and visual puns, his understated punchlines deadpanned to a tee. Indeed, language and its mode of mechanical representation figure heavily into his work (where Sagmeister turns things into typography, Poole does the opposite) as the founder of Auckland-based studio Alt Group. Hence his rather more rapid 'characterization' of the letters of the alphabet—set in Futura, if I remember correctly—as ideograms, which, when juxtaposed with the Amsterdammers' ABCs, results in a series of non sequiturs:
I didn't catch Dean's versions of "P" and "U" and I haven't been able to get in touch with him; leave a comment if you happen to know what they are...(more...)
It's been over a year since we've seen interactive restaurant tables in the news, but here comes a new one from Pizza Hut. Yes, the American fast food joint is hoping that if their deep-dish pizzas aren't enough to get you inside, perhaps their fee-yancy touchscreen table will be. Have a look:
What's interesting about this, from a business perspective, is that Pizza Hut is owned by Yum! Brands, which also owns KFC and Taco Bell. While the last interactive restaurant table we looked at was integrated into a one-off restaurant, Yum! Brands (God I hate typing that stupid exclamation point in their name) has some 40,000 restaurants in over 125 countries.
As for the actual interface design (which was done by creative firm Chaotic Moon), it still seems a bit cutesy to me; I'm not confident that people will want to do a two-finger drag to choose a pie size, for instance—I suspect they'd rather just hit an S, M or L button. But the visual representation of how large something is will probably prove popular. And once the balance between what the technology can do and what people actually want has been worked out, if Y!B decides to move ahead with this concept, we could see mass uptake in a relatively short time period, on account of their size. Presumably they've got the juice to require individual franchisees to integrate these units, handily spreading the costs out.
We all take the floors we tread on for granted. Not only are they more reliable than a best friend when it comes to catching you after ill-fated falls, but they also introduce an entire expanse of possibilities in terms of data collection. If you've done your reading, you may remember a group at the Georgia Institute of Technology we covered that's working to harvest energy from footsteps through a collapsable, charged contraption located underneath the floor. This time we've got something a little different, but just as awesome.
German-based Future-Shape has introduced the 2mm thick SensFloor, a large textile underlay that fits underneath flexible floor coverings like tiles and parquet. The conductive mat can track the movement of several people moving on top of it at once, as well as those in wheelchairs.(more...)
Hooks are one of my favorite organizing products—and my clients love them, too. It's just easier to throw a coat over a hook than it is to put it on a hanger—and easy is good, since it increases the chance that the coat (or whatever) isn't going to just get tossed on the floor. So hooks are worth considering for your own work spaces, as well as for end-users who may find them handy.
When I say "hook," you may think of classic hook designs, such as this double hook and robe hook—which are both perfectly good and useful, but there's no need to stop there. The opportunities for innovation within this basic form are nearly endless.
Or consider this CNC router-cut wall hook from Grain, made from a block of ash.
Some hooks are designed for easy installation, without the need for sheetrock anchors, etc. (More on installation issues later.) Unihook from Pat Kim installs with a single nail—but due to its clever design, which spreads the load downwards along the wall from that one nail, it can hold an amazing 10 kilograms of weight (about 22 pounds).(more...)
That crusty industrial building may not look like much, but it's special for two reasons. One, it's located in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, a city with little history of industry, meaning buildings like that are not commonplace. And two, it's going to become a creative incubation hub to the tune of some CAD $30 million in funding.
The Bayview Yards Innovation Centre, as it's called, is nearly 46,000 square feet of raw space that will house a rentable digital media and animation lab, meeting and presentation spaces, design studios and a makerspace dedicated to "industrial design, prototyping, fabricating and additive and subtractive manufacturing."
The aforementioned $30 mil in funding, half of which is from the city and half from the province, isn't a mere gesture of largesse; the bread is intended to provide "a big boost to the creative sector that has been waiting to emerge in this city for decades." The local talent-drain problem is well known, with creative types easily lured to cities like Toronto or New York; by giving, say, the industrial design grads at Ottawa's Carleton University a cool place to make stuff, the government bodies reckon they can hang on to their citizens while creating jobs and wealth.(more...)
On Tuesday, you got to know a bit more about MIOS and what the designers behind the project have been up to since winning. Continuing the 2014 Design Awards spirit, we bring you an in-depth look at Liminal Spaces, a 2012 Interiors & Exhibitions Student winner. Entering and winning earned them the validation and confidence to keep moving forward with their work. If you'd like to earn the same, get busy and submit your entry, because there's only two weeks left to enter the 2014 program.
Core77: How has Liminal Spaces grown since winning a Core77 Design Award? How has your professional life advanced since winning?
Liminal Spaces: Since winning the award, the next major hurdle for the three of us was graduating from the Royal College of Art—which we all managed successfully! We haven't continued to develop Liminal Spaces, but the thinking behind the project has been extremely influential for all of us in shaping our work.
Professionally Alicja, amongst other things, has been working with Bare Conductive and developing her own work.
Hal and Ben, working with Textile designer Kirsty Emery, have set up their own research and development studio Searu which is focused on the potential of digitized manufacturing. They are proud to count Google Creative Lab amongst their clients and are currently developing their own novel manufacturing system they hope to launch by the end of the year—watch this space!(more...)
For those of us who were a bit groggy from that killer combination of jetlag and one nightcap too many, the first speaker on Day Two of the 2014 Design Indaba Conference was a trip, as though he'd clicked the metaphorical spurs of his boots to transport us not to Kansas but a nearby state. Indeed, DJ (née Doyle Jr.) Stout's talk was vaguely dream-like, featuring sobering statistics about the 2011 Texas wildfires, footage of a cattle drive, a Pecos League baseball team... and, of course, cowboy poetry. Somehow, it was the last bit that tied it all together—and to Stout's personal and professional history: A third-generation Texan, he made his name at Texas Monthly—you can see some of his work in their archive—and has been a partner at Pentagram since 2000. Stout has been based in Austin for most of the 30+ years that he's been working as a designer and he's met some interesting people along the way, including musician Graham Reynolds, who kept him company on stage, performing original piano compositions during the moving video interludes.
If Stout's presentation was as earnest as they come, the final speaker of the conference was rather more tongue-in-cheek with his delivery of what might be described as a well-practiced presentation to a full house last Friday. Stefan Sagmeister should need no introduction (at least not according to MC Michael Bierut) and—even if a refresher would have been nice—he did not provide one, instead commenting on an infinitesimally subtle heat pattern on the projector screen before launching into his popular 'Happy Talk.' Sagmeister has apparently been evangelizing (for lack of a better term) on the topic for at least a few years now, and I heard mixed feedback from conference-circuit veterans who knew better than to expect anything new. He acknowledged as much with a wink and a nod during the climactic sing-along portion of the talk, leading the audience in belting out the line "seen it all on TED.com."
DJ Stout - L: Poster for the Dallas Society of Visual Communications; R: Promotional poster for Sappi
In short, the presentations were polar opposites. Stout shared an honest exploration of heritage and the pride of place; Sagmeister's pseudo-science project is both the product of and the premise for his various modes of self-expression. Stout is certainly more worldly than he let on in his presentation—he lightened the mood with a few one-liners throughout—but the fact that he spoke in his natural voice, which lacks a discernible Texan accent, only underscored the candidness of his talk. Sagmeister, on the other hand, limited the scope of his presentation to the work in the Happy Show—clever, often quotable, and always beautiful, but somewhat lacking in substance: a dose of visual culture for the here and now.
Sagmeister & Walsh, the Happy Show(more...)
OXX is an exciting new brand in the outdoor industry and they're pioneering a new category of consumer electronics for the outdoor market. The company was recently founded by an entrepreneur and is backed by venture capital, this Grand Rapids, MI company is preparing to launch the first of several new OXX product lines into the market this year. How would you like to join this brand new company as their Industrial Designer?
This isn't a corporate job with the corporate BS. This is an opportunity to develop great products, get them into the market and be part of building a great business. If you're a talented product designer who has the skills to develop world class products and the ambition to be part of a quickly growing business, Apply Right Now.
Reporting by Stephany Zoo
This year's Design Shanghai was absolutely packed with visitors, to say the least, as the mixed international and local Chinese audience managed to fill the vast Shanghai Exhibition Centre. Compared to many other design fairs and exhibitions, Design Shanghai was extremely well advertised to the Shanghai public—the lines for general entrance and the Collectibles were astronomically long, but this was quite a welcome sight, showing the general public's growing interest in design and design culture.
Design Shanghai featured exhibits featuring over 40,000 designers. Because the event is planned by predominantly foreign organizers, there were unfortunately not as many homegrown designers, but there were a couple of gems we still managed to pick out.
In terms of emerging designers, the CIID Awards were the highlight, recognizing 120 interior designers with the "Outstanding Young Interior Designers of China" Award based on several criteria: performance during 2011 and 2012 in terms of impact, design programs, work experience and participation in competitions. The organization did a fantastic job of identifying and curating a diverse range of interior designers, from those who sparkle a room with traditional elements to designers with who create with entire futuristic ensembles.
Powerhouse design duo Neri&Hu and rebel designer Naihan Li both had fantastic exhibits with their latest products. Naihan prominently featured her Skyscraper Candles, which has expanded in the number of countries and cities. Neri&Hu collaborated with Jaguar, the exhibition's key sponsor, and Wallpaper Magazine to re-engineer the distinctively British picnic basket with a Chinese perspective and carbon fiber.(more...)
Now that the digital era is upon us, the trope of mechanical reproduction has become a condition of contemporary culture, and machines in themselves are embedded at an even deeper level. Meanwhile, artists and designers increasingly incorporate maker/hacker/DIY approaches into their multi-disciplinary practice; together, these trends point to generative design as the logical progression of production. If digital fabrication offers a horizon of possiibilities beyond art-school experimentation—we've seen at least a couple of permutational projects of late—so too do everyday machines hold a kind of primitive potential of their own. From an alarm clock to a electric razor to a Walkman, Echo Yang's 2013 Thesis Project, "Autonomous Machines," at the Design Academy Eindhoven explored the creative capacity of commonplace household items.When working with digital tools, the value of generative design is in its ability to deal with complexity; as with analog tools, the value will be in an object or a behavior possessing internal algorithm itself. It does not deal with complexity because its internal algorithm has already handled it. I see the mechanical system inside the machines as a unique language. Machines are produced, as they are demanded and required in particular circumstance or era, they act as a witness to history. By making use of the specific mechanical movement of particular machine, I attempt to transform them into a drawing machines in the simplest way. Base on this process, only few machines can work really well and produce beautiful outcomes. This design proposal is not meant for creating a new tool to achieve a particular purpose. Instead, by showing how machines speak in their own language, based on their internal logics, the proposal is about bringing more awareness to the algorithm inside the ordinary objects around us. It is an inspirational way that helps broaden the notion of information design.
In other words, even the simplest machine contains an internal logic that can be expressed visually, even if its signature is abstracted from its mechanism. It's something like a cross between Rickard Dahlstrand's 3D-printer tunes and Eske Rex's Drawingmachine: The process is systematic only to the degree that the motors generate cyclical movements, but the results vary greatly.(more...)
Over the last five years brain research has rapidly developed technologies for influencing and changing our thoughts, perceptions and feelings. The new field of optogenetics, for example, has proven that light delivered via fiber optics into the brain can change the behavior of individual neurons and may one day help those suffering from Parkinson's, depression or other brain disorders. And most recently, researchers have used brain stimulation to increase one's appreciation and enjoyment of art.
Neuroscientists at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy had subjects study and rate 70 abstract paintings and drawings, and 80 realistic paintings and photographs. Then they received transcranial direct-current stimulation to specific parts of their brain. This technique sends small electrical impulses to the brain via electrodes placed on top of the head (no drilling needed!) I know it sounds medieval but it's quite modern, non-invasive and delivers zero feeling, no pain, no tickle, nothing. In fact the subjects had no awareness of the electrical impulses. Scientists aimed the current at what is called the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a brain area responsible for emotional processing.(more...)
You heard it here first: "3D printing is having its 'Macintosh moment.'" So says the team behind a new full-length documentary on the subject, directors Luis Lopez and Clay Tweel and producer Steven Klein. Hollywood Reporter fills in the blank: Pettis is the Steve Jobs of the movement, a shorthand for an upstart who will bring us a product that we never knew we needed through sheer force of will. (Meanwhile, the colossal quarter that he has rendered for the website and poster features his face instead of one of our founding fathers, casting Jobs as none other than God.)
Print the Legend will premiere at SXSW Film Festival this weekend with a handful of screenings in Austin, and if the forthcoming dates are TBD, at least the press materials include a selective history of 3D printing. Between the trailer and milestones listed below, it looks like there's definitely a narrative arc to the documentary...(more...)