If you're a furniture builder who likes the vacuum clamping set-ups we looked at, but don't have the four- and five-figure budgets to add them to your own shop, there are lower-cost alternatives. Schmalz is a Germany-based global company that's been in the vacuum technology game for some 30 years, and they manufacture everything from high-end vacuum clamping tables used in CNC operations to small desktop units. Their Multi-Clamp VC-M is the entry-level product, aimed at the lone tradesperson who wants to bolt it to their own workbench in place of a vise.
The benefits of vacuum-clamping versus a vise or mechanical clamping are manifold: You don't need to take any protective measures to shield the piece from the vise's jaws or the clamp surfaces, you can get at five sides of a piece at once, and the articulating nature of the clamp means you can quickly reposition the piece—for example, to go from sanding the face to one of the edges—without having to unclamp and reclamp. And the second-tier version of the VC-M can not only be tilted, but rotated and swiveled as well.(more...)
Photojojo is a small & passionate team that thinks photography is for everyone. Their mission is to help people take more photos and have more fun using the best tools out there. What they've found is that many of those tools don't even exist yet, so for their next chapter, they're dreaming up, designing and making their own! The best part is they need your industrial and product design skills to help them do it.
By joining their San Francisco team, you'll be creating the most talked-about photography products of the next decade because you have a substantial background in product design and you LOVE photography. Your self-starting nature and industrious prototyping ways make you the perfect addition to this company, so don't waste any time - Apply Right Now.
Every workbench needs a vise—or at least they did, until the advent of vacuum clamping. After seeing Guido Einemann's homegrown table at Holz-Handwerk, we spotted a multitude of more big-dog versions made by Barth Maschinenbau, a Bavarian engineering company whose goal is "to optimize the work processes in both craft and industrial businesses" for furniture- and cabinet-making.(more...)
Editor: Here in Part 5, Accidental Designer gets a taste of the Big Time with a little help from Hollywood; pisses off several hundred propmasters; and finds himself faced with a serious production challenge.
Tradeshows are expensive to get into, but they can be an important part of growing your furniture business. You never know who's going to walk into your booth and change your life.
I'd started selling my tall, padded folding chairs at movie industry trade shows, and there would be a line leading to my booth. The chairs were apparently perfect for Hollywood sets. The orders were still individually small, five chairs here, ten chairs there, some orders as small as one. But I didn't care how small they were and I'd still deliver the units myself. In fact, I'd stopped driving the Ford Ranger pickup and bought a used 15-passenger van from a Korean church; I'd ripped out all of the seats to turn it into a cargo van.
Anyways, one of the people that came into my booth was a makeup artist with a small order. I delivered the three chairs myself to the Warner Brothers lot in Hollywood.
Well, turns out that person was one of three makeup artists for The Drew Carey Show. This was the '90s, and the peak of that show's success. And I found myself hauling those chairs onto that set.
I'm setting one of them up, and who should walk past but Drew Carey himself.
"Hey," he says, pointing at the chair, "whatcha got there?"
I told him that I designed, built and sold these chairs, and started pointing out the various features. Drew seemed interested. "You mind if I—" he gestured, then sat down in the chair himself to try it out. He wriggled around a bit to get comfortable.
"These are so cool!" he exclaimed. He jumped up out of the chair. "Give me one of these for everybody on the set!" He then hustled off to do something else.
I looked around, trying to figure out how many people were on this set. I'm naively thinking it's a couple dozen, and I'm standing there counting people with my fingers when one of Drew's headset-wearing assistants hustles over to me with a clipboard. She places an order with me for 120 chairs.(more...)
Inhabitants of the small town of Disentis, in the Swiss canton of Grisons, still mainly communicate in the Romansh language—a Roman dialect that has survived here over centuries. This is mainly because this part of Switzerland had remained rather untouched, due to being a little cut off from the rest of the world (even for Swiss standards). In fact, the name Desentis derives from Desertinas (deserted), but yet it's the birth place of the most innovative skis that the world has seen for many decades: the ZAI skis.
They're the brain child of passionate skier and "son of the mountains" Simon Jacomet, whose main objective for designing these skis was to "create a tool which enables people to ski easier and have more fun—to forget about the skis and just be creative themselves in the snow." Educated in the local Disentis ministry by abbots, he developed this rather Zen design approach of "constructing a ski that is doing the skiing itself."(more...)
Tonight the Hand-Eye Supply Curiosity Club features Matt Wagner of Hellion Gallery, presenting "This Is My Day Job." Tonight's talk starts at 6pm at the Hand-Eye Supply store in Portland, OR. Come early and check out our space or check in with us online for the live broadcast!(more...)
The 29-story Cira Centre building in Philadelphia has received a makeover of monstrous proportions for this year's Philly Tech Week. Frank Lee, a professor at Drexel University, designed a building-sized Tetris game. The arcade favorite took over two sides of the structure, of which were in competition to see who could better fit the falling pieces together. Just as in real life, the game was played using joysticks that were integrated to the building's LED lights through 4G. Check out this video to see it in action:(more...)
Shots from the German catalogue. Read it and weep, Yanks
To an American, the old-world European way of doing business can be frustrating to encounter. You have these companies making incredibly refined, sophisticated products, yet their websites are from the '90s, they often lack high-res video demos on their YouTube channels, and many do not bother distributing in the 'States.
At the Holz-Handwerk show I snapped up the very last 808050P Ratcheting Screwdriver at the Bahco booth, as it's not currently for sale here in the 'States (even though the Bahco brand is owned by U.S-based Snap-On!). At press time there was no demo video of this new product on their website, so I just shot a rather lousy one at my workbench. Check it out:(more...)
After years of running the definitive online guide to NY Design Week we are now taking it to the next level by taking a step back. Hey, don't freak-out though, our #1 design week web coverage is still going to be in effect, in fact, get ready for it by visiting and bookmarking our mobile site from your phone or tablet here.
This year though we are making an audacious addition—we are moving beyond listings and blog posts to a full lineup of coverage, profiles and opinion, and we are going to be doing it in *PRINT* in the C77 Design Daily. That's right: we are going to be covering the NYCxDesign events LIVE and producing a daily newspaper, reported, designed and printed in NYC. Then we'll be burning rubber—by car, bike and foot—to distribute the tabloid which will include our top picks form ICFF, WantedDesign, Soho and more! NYCxDesign attendees will be encouraged to collect the daily tabloid at their favorite design venues.
If you want to see YOUR NAME IN PRINT, and to draw in the DESIGN-CRAZED citizenry of the greater NYC metro area to your show or event, or if you simply want to get on our editorial team's radar, you need to fill out this form immediately.
More details will be coming in the next weeks as our plans finalize, so stay tuned! In the meanwhile things are still fluid, so if you want to be a part of our Mean Green Street Team—on the scene, cool team, doin' design-y things—hit us up at: mail [at] core77 [dot] com.(more...)
Tupperware is one of the most trusted brand names in housewares, and for more than 60 years, quality and integrity have driven their growing offering of products and brands. To maintain this trajectory of product development and customer satisfaction, they are looking for talented, enthusiastic, and motivated students or entry level designers with creative minds and strong 3D modeling skills to join their team in Orlando, FL.
If you are hired for this paid intern opportunity, you will be an integral part of the Tupperware team, involved in every part of the process including design research, concept sketching and ideation, model making, CAD modeling, and rendering. The internship will make you a better designer with killer skills and give you a solid understanding of what it takes to bring premium products into production. Sound like a good deal? Don't let it pass you by. Apply Now.
There can't be a more perfect setting for a mystical, digital playland than M.C. Escher's dizzying artwork. Monument Valley an iPad app by ustwo has the player interacting with surreal architecture and solving sculptural puzzles in an attempt to help a damsel in distress—Princess Ida, in this case. (Because what game would be complete without a princess in need?)
While most of our other time-consuming guilty pleasure apps focus more on timed completions than pretty scenery (I'm looking at you, Bejeweled/Fruit Ninja), the scenes found in Monument Valley encourage a bit of dilly-dallying. As one of the designers rightly puts it: "Every screenshot can be printed and hung on a wall." Check out a behind-the-scenes walk-through with the game's designers:(more...)
What are you doing all day on June 19th? Nothing? Wrong. Clear your schedule to make room for the very first Core77 Conference! We're putting together a day-long shindig in Brooklyn featuring some of the most forward-thinking people in the design world talking about how and why they do what they do.
We're finalizing the details now, including a full lineup of speakers, special guests and swag. We've booked a venue with a great vibe, large enough to hold a crowd but small enough so it's easy to meet everyone. Of course, as with any Core77 gathering there will be plenty of food, drinks and music throughout the day and into the evening.
If you're not in the neighborhood, start making your travel plans now so you don't miss out. Tickets go on sale shortly, so keep your eyes here for upcoming announcements.(more...)
A bioengineer at Stanford has been busy at work creating an alternative to the expensive microscopes used to diagnose blood-borne sicknesses like Malaria. What Manu Prakash came up with isn't just a microscope—it's a mini tool made of laser-cut cardstock parts and a lens that's destined for mass-produced design stardom. According to Stanford's release on the invention, the origami-based microscope can be thrown off a building, stomped on and even submerged in water with no harm done to its functionality, making it perfect for use in harsh climates.
Cardstock, lens and adhesive included, this bookmark-size design comes in at around 50 cents and takes 20 minutes to put together. See what the designer has to say about the creation of Foldscope and its open-source potential:(more...)
Swiss manufacturer Peka's no-nonsense tagline, "Fitting and accessories for the kitchen, bathroom and living area" belies a slick line of well-conceived product designed to use every square centimeter of space. The brand has eschewed the particle-board shelves we've become accustomed to on Planet Big Box and opted for laser-cut steel, providing the rigidity and durability required for their designs, which all move through space on various axes; they also allow for magnetic, user-configured dividers and cleanable mats.
Their mechanisms also take your post-usage shoves and turn that into a gentle self-closing motion. Check out their Libell line:
While Peka already has a reputation in Europe, for North American designers looking to spec their stuff, you'd have to go through Richelieu, their Quebec-based distributor.
Spotted at Holz-Handwerk.(more...)
Image courtesy of Moneythink
By T.J. Cook, CEO, CauseLabs
When it comes to getting projects right, I've found it helps to assume we've got it wrong. Our hunches are off. Our assumptions are off-base. We then just might get it right when it comes to designing something people really want to use.
Our team here at CauseLabs didn't know what we didn't know when we started rapidly prototyping a mobile application for Moneythink, the established and growing financial capability mentorship program for urban, low-income 11th and 12th graders in the United States.
Ironically, projects that never identify incorrect assumptions are the ones most liable to be off course. Using IDEO.org's human-centered design process and on-the-ground field data, we uncovered what we didn't know, and our mobile app development changed for the better. Because IDEO.org talked with dozens of teens, the team quickly came to understand their mindsets and subsequent needs. That information, the kind that only comes from talking directly to users, helped us recognize what was wrong with our initial assumptions and pointed us toward better solutions.
To step back, the goal with Moneythink Mobile is to reinforce good financial habits, encourage smart financial choices and build on Moneythink's proven financial near-peer mentorship model pairing college-student mentors with high school students for financial education. The idea for Moneythink Mobile came about in 2013 when CEO Ted Gonder made two important observations of Moneythink students. First, nearly all had smartphones. Second, the students made nearly all financial decisions outside of school, and therefore outside of the Moneythink program. Moneythink then started to explore the building and funding of a mobile tool that would give students a chance to show they had taken what they learned in class to heart by practicing the skills in their lives.
Image courtesy of IDEO.org
Jump ahead to this month and the nine-week pilot of Moneythink Mobile is well underway, with 70 students from eight classrooms in four inner-city Chicago schools testing the technology. The app includes challenges designed to help students build awareness of their spending and saving moments, create small financial goals, and engage in budgeting behavior while earning points redeemable for rewards along the way. Students update their peers on their progress in a social feed, sharing their financial decisions and commenting on those of others. After the Moneythink Mobile pilot, we will evaluate student engagement to optimize the app to meet students' lifestyles, capabilities and interests. We anticipate full launch of the app in fall 2014.
Before we got to our pilot, however, we took part in IDEO.org's design process and our own rapid prototyping method to de-construct our assumptions to better steer our design. Here are a few:(more...)
The day has finally come—the entry period for the 2014 Core77 Design Awards closes tonight at midnight. Make sure to get your work submitted before then for a chance to be recognized across the many Core77 platforms. We won't be accepting any entries after midnight tonight. For all of the information regarding the Design Awards rules and regulations (as well as a complete list of our jury teams and category descriptions), visit the website. We're still offering a pre-release, flocked black-edge edition of our book, "Designing Here/Now" for $10 with any entry.
From Writing & Commentary and Soft Goods to Speculative and Transportation, there's a category for every type of designer. Share your work with us now to get involved in the most inclusive design awards program around.(more...)
"Shape" is a fun animated exploration of what design can mean and how it shapes our experiences. It's the heart of a project by PIVOT Dublin that has grown over the last few years to include an informative website, educational program and outreach campaign. All of the elements aim to educate the youths (and the public at large) about creative work and history around design. Gently soundtracked and wordless—the better to communicate universally—it invites you to think about what you'd change to make your world work better. And, of course, it's beautifully executed.
Happy Friday, you're almost there. Let this adorable short ring in the weekend.
Don't get me wrong—crock pots are fantastic. Throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pot in the morning and coming home to a fragrant apartment and ready-to-eat dinner is magical. It's almost worth the nagging anxiety goes hand-in-hand with leaving an electrical appliance on all day with no one to watch it. Almost.
NUKE, a new concept from Savannah College of Art and Design student Talia Brigneti, takes a little bit of the magic out of the common crock pot and gives users peace of mind by means of a smartphone app and an integrated pot system.(more...)
With an elegant silhouette that doesn't scream "DIY," the Zeta Aluminium lamp is a welcome addition to the realm of hardware-free, flat-pack, assemble-it-yourself housewares. Designed by the Florence, Italy-based ZPSTUDIO, the lamp uses a narrow template design to wring maximum utility out of a minimal amount of material—resulting in low cost and little environmental impact.
Zeta Aluminium is actually the second iteration of this project. The original Zeta, released in 2011, was created from sheets of laser-cut poplar. ZPSTUIO'S founders, Eva Parigi and Matteo Zetti, sold the prototype to another design company, but they have now taken back the patent to redevelop the concept into Zeta Aluminium. "We wanted to further extend the early idea to achieve a more advanced, tech-like version," Parigi says.
Zeta Aluminium shares the same principles and silhouette of its predecessor, but instead of wood it uses Dibond, an industrial aluminum composite made of two pre-painted sheets of 0.012-inch-thick aluminum that sandwich a polyethylene core. This is a big upgrade from poplar: Dibond is lighter weight and more durable, and it will not warp or bow the way a sheet of wood might. Plus, the polyethylene core adds an additional layer of friction to hold the pieces together.
Assembling the original poplar version of the Zeta lamp(more...)
The phrase "balloon chair" could mean any number of things, really, so h220430's take fits the bill as well as any of the possibilities (according to their website, the company takes its name from its birthday). If I understand the description correctly, the chair is mounted to the wall, as is its canopy of airless FRP (i.e. non-deflating) balloons, but this scarcely detracts from its visual effect. According to the Tokyo-based design studio, "if you sit in this chair, you'll be able to think positive thoughts even if you are feeling down."
And while the "Balloon Chair" might evoke a certain Disney/Pixar film for many of us, it was actually inspired by Albert Lamorisse's classic featurette Le Ballon Rouge from over half a century prior. The critically acclaimed 1956 fantasy is viewable in full on YouTube, and if you haven't seen it (as I had not), I highly recommend it:
The "Balloon Chair" will be on view in Milan next week, at the Ventura Hive group exhibition, where we'll find out exactly how h220430 achieved the floating effect.(more...)