Shipping containers have been becoming a lot of things lately—homes, churches, a Subway sandwich shop... the list goes on. We've got another one to add to the list: a larger-than-life kaleidoscope that you can actually walk into. The effect is much the same as a house of mirrors. Designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki are responsible for this psychedelic project, titled "Wink Space." At first glance, the structure comes off as a blinding beacon of mirrors—catch it at the wrong angle you'll be seeing sunspots instead of symmetry—but step inside and you'll find that Shirane and Miyazaki have a few surprises for you.
My favorite quirk has got to be the fact that the entire kaleidoscope is constructed with zippers—meaning various 'windows' can be unzipped and revealed from the inside. The designers call this "the world's first zipper architecture." Staying true to the quick assemblage/breakdown nature of shipping containers, they wanted this sentiment to translate in Wink Space. "A thin and light material was demanded to build the zipper architecture," Shirane and Miyazaki explain. "Therefore I referred to origami, which is a traditional game in Japan that can be made both light and strong only by folding. In other words, this polyhedron is built by folding one plane of 15m×8m."(more...)
A number of my clients now collect compostable materials, either for their own outdoor composting, or for city curbside collection bins. While a home recycling station might include a compost collection section, that's far from the only way to go.
If you're designing a kitchen, you may want to consider having something like the BLANCO SOLON compost system built into the countertop. Shannon Del Vecchio, an interior designer, LEED AP, says that "this useful feature is well on its way to becoming standard issue for new kitchens and renovations in the [San Francisco] Bay Area."
But there are also interesting designs for end-users who don't have the built-in option. The OXO compost bin follows the common approach of not being airtight, to avoid anaerobic conditions and the resultant odors. The lid detaches for easy emptying when the bin is taken outdoors. This bin is designed to be used without a liner; all parts are dishwasher-safe.
One way to control the odor (and the flies) is to freeze the compostable scraps. Scrap Happy from Full Circle, made of flexible silicone, has a wire rim to attach to a drawer, so end users can easily push scraps into the bin. It then goes into the freezer until it's time to use it again—or empty it, by pushing on the bottom. Again, this is a dishwasher-safe product.(more...)
This is a true story. Descriptions of companies, clients, schools, projects, and designers may be altered and anonymized to protect the innocent.
Editor: This True I.D. Story comes to us anonymously, from an up-and-coming designer ready to hit the trade shows. All he needed was a little manufacturing help...
I'd been working on this one [tabletop item] design for a while, I think Core77 even covered it. After a long development time, I finally got it to a point where it was time to industrialize it, get somebody else making it. Before that point I'd just been cranking out prototypes myself, with my little shitty little Craftsman router table—in other words, I was not set up to do any kind of real production.
So I'm looking around for someone who can get the job done and I hear about this one older dude, I'll call him OPG for Old Production Guy. He's a friend of a friend of a friend, within an hour's drive of my shop, and is by reputation a fantastic woodworker. He came highly recommended with years of experience in the furniture industry. The word was that he'd eventually moved on into a tangential field related to woodworking machines, but was now reportedly itching to make stuff again. With all of his experience, he sounded like a good fit, and having worked in the industry, he presumably knew all about the importance of deadlines.
So I pay him a visit, and this dude has a gigantic warehouse with access to like every woodworking machine under the sun. Table saws, bandsaws, router tables, shapers, planers, joiners, and all of these crazy contraptions for performing multiple operations at once. He grabbed some scrap wood and demonstrated the tolerances of some of the machines for me and they were pretty impressive. You could tell by the way he handled the wood and the machines that he'd been doing this his entire life.
I figured with a warehouse full of equipment like that I might be too small-potatoes for him—I just needed a small run of these [objects] that I could bring to a trade show—but after I pulled out my drawings to show him, he seemed excited by my design and eager to make it, and my low numbers didn't faze him. I got the vibe that he just wanted to make sawdust again.
So he asked me to bring out two prototypes, as I had designed both a smaller and larger version and he wanted to see them both. I brought them out there and we had lunch and talked about it while he looked the prototypes over. At the end of the meeting he goes "Okay, why don't I try to make a couple of these and we'll see how it goes? And then we'll go from there."
I was like "Wait, don't you need like a deposit? Or to like, give me a quote?"
"Nah, don't worry about it, we'll just test it out," he says. And I'm like "Oh, sweet!"
So this was my first misstep.(more...)
Using sheets of acetate, some markers and his phone's built-in camera, the artist known as Hombre_Mcsteez creates brilliant animations that overlay his drawings onto the environment. Mcsteez, a.k.a. Marty Cooper, refers to the clips as "Aug(De)Mented Reality," and a more accurate description isn't possible to create:
Cooper regularly updates his Instagram page with both still shots and mini-videos, like this update on the classic videogame Frogger:(more...)
The Transformation of an Idea into Mass Success: Don't Miss the RKS Presentation with Craig Hickman of Kid Pix
How often during a year, or perhaps a month, do you find yourself frustrated or underwhelmed by a tool, system or product you use regularly? Better yet, how often during those moments do you think to yourself, "If only it worked this way instead..." If you've ever dismissed the viability of these ideas because they would be too difficult/costly/complicated/inconvenient to manifest, then the third installment of the RKS Sessions is for you.
On August 5, RKS Sessions presents The Transformation of an Idea into Mass Success, featuring Craig Hickman, creator of the easy-to-use paint program Kid Pix. Hickman saw how frustrated his own son would get trying to use early computer drawing programs and turned his own "why doesn't this work better..." moment into the iconic easy-to-use paint program that encourages children to use computers.
Sign up today to attend this presentation on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM in Santa Monica, CA, where you'll learn how Hickman incubated his idea into mass commercial success.(more...)
Introducing the Pinup 2014 Winners: 3D-Printed Masks, Communal Living Designs, Rescue Ladders & More
We've written about Morpholio's powerful app-based design tools in the past (here and here), but you might not know that they also foster design students through an annual competition called Pinup. This year, I had the privilege of sitting on the jury team—along with a solid lineup of fellow design editors and writers from Fast Company, ArchDaily, Interior Design Magazine, Design Milk, Design*Sponge and more—and I want to share a few of the many impressive submissions that were honored in this year's competition. From a curvaceous 3D-printed mask to a safer ladder, the submissions hailed from across a broad range of design typologies and disciplines
Entrants had a choice of three categories: Emerging Talent (young professional designers), Future Voice (student designers) and Shapes Future (annual themed category, this year featuring 3D printing), but the entry guidelines are intentionally left vague, which added a nice element of surprise to the judging process.
Perhaps my favorite entry came from San Francisco-based designer Jasmine Kwak. Her submission took on the idea of living within a community and how each separate "nuclei" of family units could be brought closer together—physically in day-to-day movements and activities—with her entry "Communal Living." "Traditional colonial housing models are designed for a single nuclear family. Hence, the houses are introverted, meaning all the activities, whether communal or private, happen within the four walls of a house," Kwak explains. "This project proposes that these existing houses to become extroverted by opening up the existing circulation and communal spaces. These spaces now become a semi-open and public space, encouraging any communal activities in a house to happen within the community scale."
With the "Ephemeral Beauty" headpiece, Jiang Yuan has achieved a rare level of grace and refinement for a 3D-printed design.(more...)
Fusing Design and Entrepreneurship on a Global Scale: Chinese Agency BlueFocus to Take Majority Stake in Yves Behar's fuseproject
Oscar Zhao & Yves Béhar: "You had me at nihao."
Late yesterday afternoon, we learned that Beijing's BlueFocus Communication Group will be taking a majority stake in fuseproject, Yves Béhar's design firm. This marks the growing agency's first foray into the States; it first dipped its toes into Western waters in April of last year, with a 20% stake in Huntsworth PR group, followed by taking a majority stake in We Are Social (both based in the UK). Now, the Financial Times reports that "BlueFocus will pay $46.7m in cash for 75 per cent of Fuseproject, to be paid out over several years depending on performance." (Figures on the agency's net worth and remarkable ascendancy are available here.)
Where fuseproject is a household name in the design world, we (like most of you) hadn't heard of BlueFocus prior to yesterday's announcement. Make no mistake, they are by all accounts a juggernaut, not just among native Chinese companies but on the world stage as well. Founded by Oscar Zhao in 1996, BlueFocus currently employs some 2,800 people—it is reportedly the biggest PR agency in the world—and Béhar's 75-person team, will join the ranks of the ~700 others at companies in which BlueFocus has a majority stake. fuseproject will continue to operate independently; while its multidisciplinary portfolio and services (i.e. rebranding Paypal) may well complement and align with BlueFocus's long-term goals, the San Francisco-based company is ostensibly the first industrial design consultancy in the Chinese company's highly diversified holdings.
Contrary to alarming AQI reports, BlueFocus invites blue-sky thinking at their Beijing headquarters (via Baidu maps)(more...)
Are you passionate about designing functional, fashion-forward bags that improve the lives of those who own them?
Are you a quick-thinking, creatively driven, multi-tasking team player who loves tackling many projects at once?
Do you have product design experience that spans a wide variety of products?
The dedicated but easy-going creative team at Skip Hop wants you to help designing and developing the most innovative functional bags to help make parenting easier. This Bag/Product Designer role in Brooklyn, NY requires a specific combination of skills - product design experience plus fashion forward know-how. One without the other won't cut it here, but if you possess both, please don't hesitate to check out the rest of the job description and Apply Now!
If you could combine a cooler with another product, what would it be? A built-in ice crushing blender, a USB charging station, a waterproof bluetooth speaker, or a hidden cutting board? How about all of the above? These are only a few features of the portable icebox that raised close to six million dollars in the first week of its crowdfunding campaign. Now, I don't have a problem with the classic cooler, as inferior as it may seem next to the 'Coolest' cooler—I have many fond memories of get-togethers on the deck of my childhood house sprinkled with a rainbow of coolers filled with frozen treats for the kids and beer for the adults. But you would have to be a little out of your mind to argue that this isn't a significant upgrade to the original design (which dates back to 1954, history buffs).
Check out the video for more information on the frippery and flounce that the Coolest has to offer:
In 2007, a student at the University of Tokyo brought a lump of a grey, sparkly mineral to his professor Tsutomu Miyasaka, with the hope that this material might have potential to make cheap and efficient solar cells. But it only converted 4 percent of the sun energy to electricity. Not that remarkable.
Now, however, things have changed. Seven years later the unremarkable lump of rock called perovskite is beating out most solar cells on the market, getting 20 percent efficiency. The progress has sped up because researchers around the world saw the potential in this mineral.
While the sun is pretty much a limitless source of energy for all of us, the cost to capture it remains the challenge. The typical residential solar roof might get about 15 percent efficiency in sunlight and provides electricity at 50 cents/watt. This is twice the cost of coal.
So it's got to get cheaper in order to pull ahead as our number one energy source. Right now the top-performing cells, made of gallium arsenide get a maximum efficiency of about 30 percent but are prohibitively expensive.
The cheaper options like copper indium gallium selenide (a flexible material) or cadmium telluride (as cheap as silicon) get only about 20 percent efficiency.(more...)
You've gotta love a house that comes with instructions. The newest project from Iranian design group nextoffice scales up the the space-saving technique behind the Murphy bed and enhances it with a bit of Hogwarts-like whimsy. Their work on the three-floor Sharifi-Ha house in Tehran incorporates a series of semi-mobile rooms, which can be oriented to allow for extra space and sunlight.
As any city dweller knows, you don't have a lot of square footage to work with in urban hotspots. This design addresses this issue a stack of three rectangular rooms that can either be aligned flush against the façade of the home or rotated perpendicular to the outer wall—creating weather-friendly options for both a winter and summer living space.(more...)
Last Night on Kimmel, Tomorrow at Comic-Con: A Walking 14-Foot Monster, Courtesy of FX Designers and Stratasys
Every once in a while, a star shows up on Jimmy Kimmel Live and you find that their mother is sitting in the audience. On the show last night something similar happened, albeit with an unusual guest—a bipedal 14-foot monster named "Bodock." Watching proudly from the crowd was Stratasys manager Leslie Frost, tweeting pics and updates.
That's because key parts of the creature, like the chest armor, shoulders, arms and fingers, were enormous ABS parts that came out of a Stratasys 3D printer. "Everything about the giant creature project was ambitious, including size, weight, delivery schedule and performance requirements," says designer Matt Winston. Without large-scale 3D printing and specifically, access to a Fortus 900mc, which has an insane build envelope of 36”×24”×36”, "none of it would have been possible."
Designed by FX house the Stan Winston School and engineered by technical firm Legacy Effects, "Bodock" was created for San Diego Comic-Con, which opens tomorrow. (Kimmel watchers were given a sneak peek a two days early, as the host gleefully revealed to a crowd of unsuspecting kids that Bodock contains the internal plumbing to spray liquid sneezes.) Leading up to the launch, Wired's been tagging along and shooting the development process:(more...)
Regardless of whether you're in the Invasion of Mypace camp, or the Well That's How Business Works camp, Facebook has been playing games with your heart. As we all now ought to know, Facebook has admitted to experimentally filtering feed results to test emotional response and behavior in users. While it's hard to consider experimentation without informed consent to be anything less than blatantly shady, it's also well within their legal rights. Ethical it ain't, but then again deskchair epidemiology has never had the luxury of such self-selecting scale.
But the biggest bummer—other than seeing an upswing in pictures of your exes and their stupid beautiful lives—is that we didn't get to see the results! Not so any longer. Artist Lauren McCarthy created the Mood Manipulator, a browser extension that allows you the gratification of choosing your own digitally devised mood swings.
Now you can choose your own emotional filtering rather than passively interacting with a pre-adjusted feed filtered by unseen researchers without enough scruple to feel weird studying emotional effects in people who have not been notified. These tasteful opt-in controls give you four tonal "channels" with three positions each: Positive, Emotional, Aggressive and Open (in other news four-metric psych news, the Myers-Briggs test is totally meaningless). Just download the extension and toggle your way to psycho-social harmony.
Always with the babies(more...)
I hate to write this, but "You'll never believe what happens next!"
Speaking of anamorphosis, check out French artist Bernard Pras' nutty room-sized sculpture below. Pras practices the cylinder-free variant of anamorphosis, and the results have to be seen to be believed:(more...)
If you haven't heard of Native Shoes yet, these kicks are made from foam-injection molded-EVA, and combine the best of evolving technology and great design. Along with a unique, low-emission manufacturing process, Native shoes are animal bi-product free, waterproof and odor-resistant. How would you like to join their team as Junior Level Footwear Designer in Vancouver, Canada?
The right person for this role will be responsible for executing the development of all seasonal products, while working closely with the Product Line Manager and Creative Director to ensure that Native product design is innovative and brand appropriate. Core functions include footwear design and development, sourcing, tech pack creation, adhering to key calendar dates, and driving communication from design to commercialization. If this sounds like your ideal job, Apply Now.
Charles Edward Stuart, colloquially referred to as Bonnie Prince Charlie, fomented the Jacobite uprising of 1745 in an effort to seize the British throne. Charlie's Scottish troops were defeated in battle a year later and he fled to France. In the brutal English crackdown that ensued, Scottish households found to contain a portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie were in for trouble, so former supporters interested in surviving got rid of them.
But not all of them. One artist used a clever technique to secretly hide a portrait of BPC in plain sight. A seemingly abstract circular pattern was painted on a tray...
Image by Kate Furr-Danner]
...and once a mirrored cylinder was placed in the center, boom, you had Bonnie Prince Charlie staring back at you.(more...)
Gothscreenshots: The Blog That Brought You the Most Depressing Digital Error Screens is Now Dressing You in Them
The fact that Soug Wen uses that adorable little shrugging smiley in her tagline for Gothscreenshots might be my favorite thing of the month—the actual apparel collection coming in as a close second. What's so special about this series of graphic tees and accessories? Well, their patterns are based solely on those hated icons we unfortunately see way too often on our computers. In fact, I think I've seen at least three of them in the time it's taken me to write this post.
For those of you who don't scour the Internet for tech-y humor blogs on a daily basis (guilty), Gothscreenshots was originally a Tumblog focused on capturing the frustrating—and notably depressing—nature of our digital error screens. They've just recently expanded into the world of punny fashion with their line of totes, tees, swimsuits and shift dresses. Insofar as graphic garb comes and goes, GSS captures the way we live now by immortalizing (or at least sartorializing) the blood-pressure-raising iconography of our times. No longer bound to a screen, Gothscreenshots' apparel conjures these digital touchstones when you're flipping through your closet, doing your laundry, or doffing your jacket at the bar.(more...)
One of the first things you learn in the ID shop at design school: Wood glue is for joining wood, welding is great for joining metal, acetone is the thing for fusing plastics together. But when you need to attach one of these materials to another, you've got to switch over to hard fasteners or something more clever, since wood glue won't stick to plastics, et cetera.
While that's occasionally a hassle for building multimaterial objects, record lovers have figured out that wood glue not sticking to plastic provides a huge benefit: You can use wood glue to clean LPs. Because Titebond won't stick to vinyl, but will stick to all the microscopic specks of dust hanging out in the grooves, a layer of wood glue will become like a Biore strip for records. Observe, and be sure to listen to the before and after—the amount of snaps, crackles and pops the glue removes from the audio is astonishing:(more...)
I love seeing this kind of nuts-and-bolts industrial design. Seattle-based designer Eric Brunt observed that what makes snowshoes work is their increased surface area, which enables the wearer to "float" atop the surface. But that increased surface area also means that the wearer has to walk like s/he's in a Monty Python sketch.
What if, Brunt reasoned, the footprint could shrink when lifted, enabling a more natural gait, then grow again when placed back onto the surface?
Brunt mocked up a bunch of "kinematic folding mechanisms" in cardboard to see what was possible:(more...)
A backgrounder for those of you who don't live in Berkeley: Spirulina is a superfood. A superfood, for those who aren't obsessed with nutritional fads, is a food that is off-the-charts rich in vitamins, minerals and other stuff that is obviously yet mysteriously Good For You. Despite their grandiose title, it is a great idea to eat these uncommon comestibles; however, spirulina in particular can be a bit of work to get your hands on. It's traditionally grown in small ponds—historically in a lake system in Chad of all places—and it looks, to those without deep enthusiasm for biology, like pond scum. This is not a sexy or garden-variety foodstuff, but once harvested and dried it's easily added to other foods or taken as a supplement... at a pretty high cost. But what if it wasn't hard to harvest?
Tom Vered of Grow Spirulina has adapted (and sells) a method of home growing spirulina, and he's upped his own ante with a new standalone design, ostensibly to be sold online soon. This 10-liter machine would combine the precise biochemical and mechanical needs of a growing zone with the user-friendliness of an at-home yogurt maker. Besides the thrill of owning a unique appliance, you'd get the added benefits of taking your spirulina fresh and getting way more oomph per scoop. The literature varies on the specific difference, but even as a superfood, spirulina loses a lot of nutritional value when dried.(more...)