Figure 1: Digital CAD used to communicate form and design aesthetic. All images Courtesy of Younghoon Hwang, UNIST, Korea
From thumbnail sketches to low fidelity models and prototypes to test rigs, CAD concept renderings, illustrations, mock-ups and visualizations, designers embody their design intentions using a variety of Tools of Design Representation (TDRs) during conceptual design in an attempt to provide creative solutions to often ill-defined design problems. The industrial designer employs TDRs with two objectives in mind. First, they provide a means to describe, explain and communicate design intentions to others. Second, they are used to reflect upon and develop one's own design intent towards emergent—but still conceptual—solutions. As such, TDR use is a critical component of conceptual design practices. In a previous Core77 article (CAD vs. Sketching, Why Ask?), I responded to what I see as a limiting and somewhat circular debate on the role and use of CAD tools during conceptual design, drawing attention to the fact tools are only tools insofar as they are used as such to achieve a purpose. That is, the effectiveness of TDRs (CAD and sketching included) is dependent upon both context of use and, critically, the designers' own skills, knowledge and judgment in their application.
In light of the dizzying array of digital, conventional and hybrid tools now available to the designer, this article builds on some of the issues previously touched upon. I aim to move beyond anecdotal accounts of this or that best tool, way of working, method or media in this or that context or working environment towards the fundamentals of TDR use during conceptual design practice. What kinds of fundamental designerly knowledge, skills and practices underpin effective and productive engagement with and use of TDRs during conceptual design? I believe that knowledge of these fundamentals is required both to develop more effective digital design tools and to contribute to design pedagogy alongside the more traditional studio teaching environment of practical skills acquisition.
Fortuitously, design research over the past 30 years provides us with important insights into the act of designing and the kinds of thinking it involves. Donald Schon's seminal work (The Reflective Practitioner, 1991) on the notion of design as a reflective practice has been influential in providing a means to understand design activity and tool use. Briefly, considered through the lens of reflection-in-action, design activity is characterized by reflection (considering what has just been done, such as reflecting upon a sketch) and action (revising a sketch or CAD model in light of reflective understanding). Within this iterative process of reflection and action, the representation or embodiment of design intent is critically important. The designer must externalize design intentions through TDR use—sketches, drawings, notes, CAD models, physical prototypes, etc., of varying levels of fidelity—in order to reflect upon, test, and develop design ideas.
Important in influencing the nature of this reflection-action is the distinct character of the design problem. Design problems, unlike problems in the sciences, may often be ill-defined or wicked. The primary feature of these ill-defined problems is that there is and cannot be a single correct solution to the original problem but that there are many possible outcomes. In fact, there may potentially be an infinite number of possible solutions and a limitless number of ways to proceed towards a final design solution.
Harold Nelson and Erik Stolterman (The Design Way: Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World, 2012) describe this engagement with the design problem as a search for an ultimate particular. The designer must come to a solution that is itself new or particular in relation to any other solution that may have come before, one that must provide a best or ultimate possible result given the designer's emergent understanding of the design problem.
Figure 2: Sketch illustration to reflectively explore design intent(more...)
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Reporting to the Principle Researcher, the right person for this role will handle responsibilities including: research, conceptualize, develop and communicate new product design ideas for the Concept Team. They must also have an expansive research tool box and use persuasive communication methods to communicate user needs. If this sounds like you, Apply Now.
Our initial report may have echoed Airbnb's hyperbolic enthusiasm about their new identity, and despite criticism that has metastasized in relevant corners of the web—an equal and opposite reaction, if you will—here is a more nuanced take on Airbnb's new logo, Bélo.
Let's start with an experiment: Grab a piece of paper and try drawing the damn thing freehand. In fact, give it a couple tries. And no cheating—don't try and make it look more butt-like or yonic than it needs to be. Maybe it doesn't look as good as the now-infamous image of the marque drawn on fogged-up window ('fingered,' as one GIF crudely suggested), but it wouldn't be mistaken for genitalia. No one in their right mind would draw a body part like that. (This is why the Tumblr consists not of peoples' drawings of the logo itself but embellished versions of it.) It's arguably just as easy to draw a cock-and-balls, but that's not what it is.
For my part, I didn't see the intended allusions (a person or the location marker) at first; nor did I see any kind genitalia—just a fairly unremarkable logo. The point being that it's a highly abstracted symbol, to the degree that the (perhaps regrettable) choice of 'vibrant salmon' inextricably influences one's first impression as much as its mildly suggestive shape. As a graphic representation, it certainly invites free association, but as a glyph, Bélo is one degree removed from the letter "A," itself a grapheme, which is doubly abstracted: A signifier of linguistic import.
But it's not just a matter of semantics. Armin Vit (who, as always, provides unparalleled analysis), notes that "it's a deceivingly simple icon that is easy to reproduce, recognize, and propagate." In this regard, it succeeds where few marques do. Just look at the logos within your field of vision or the icons for the apps on your phone. Could you draw any of them, freehand, with a single stroke? Only the likes of Nike, adidas (ok, three lines) and maybe a few others come close. Now, in fairness, 'drawability' is not a criteria for logos these days... but maybe it should be (this is why teenagers of my generation inscribed so many desktops with Stussy and Wu-Tang iconography: ease of approximation). After all, this is true of the most enduring symbols of our time, from Basquiat's iconic three-pointed crown to the @ sign (notably 'acquired' by MoMA) to the anarchy symbol... to a Christian Cross.(more...)
This Week in Experimental Sculpture: Jolan Van der Wiel's Magnetic Clay & Kepler's Dream, Realized via 3D Printing
Like many designspotters, we first took note of Jólan Van der Wiel at the Transnatural exhibition in Milan in 2012, one of two exhibitions that included his "Gravity Stools" (we saw him in Ventura Lambrate as well). He's been busy since then, transposing his magnetic modus operandi to couture—with fellow Amsterdammer/futurist Iris van Herpen, of course— and now, with a project called "Architecture Meets Magnetism," into ceramics.
By developing a formula for clay slip with iron fillings, the Gerrit Rietveld Academy grad (and now teacher) arrived at a material that he calls 'dragonstone.' Wired's Liz Stinson likens them to Tim Burton machinations, but I'm seeing some Giger-worthy gnarliness in the extruded stalagmite carapaces. The designer, for his part, was inpsired by Gaudí: In Dezeen, van der Wiel expresses admiration for the Spanish architect's use of "gravity to calculate the final shape of [La Sagrada Familia]." "I thought, 'What if he had to power the turn off the gravitational field for a while?' Then he could have made the building straight up."The project is part of ongoing research into the applications of magnetic forces, which Van der Wiel conducted at the European Ceramic Workcentre in Den Bosch. After discovering that clay could be shaped by magnetism, he is now exploring applications for the technique in architecture. "The idea of creating buildings with magnetic field has always fascinated me," said Van der Wiel. "I'm drawn to the idea that the force would make the final design of the building—architects would only have to think about the rough shape and a natural force would do the rest." "This would create a totally different architectural field," he added. "These are the very first models showing how future buildings and objects could look when they are shaped by natural forces." (more...)
Gratingly early on the morning of July 15, artist Azuma Makoto meticulously prepared a lush floral display that would soon hurtle to pieces from around 90,000 feet above earth with Baumgartner-esque aplomb. The huge unnamed bouquet and "Shiki 1," a gnarled White Pine bonsai, departed earth from Black Rock Desert—of Burning Man fame—outside of Gerlach, NV. Much like that other Black Rock spectacle of poetic excess, these plants were part of a creative urge to push the bounds of living systems into an inhospitable zone. This is the EXOBIOTANICA project, the Red Bull-esque dream of Makoto, a Japanese artist who specializes in floral installations and reasonably spooky interpretations of bonsai traditional floral arrangement.
Aided by JP Aerospace, a volunteer-run organization that builds and shoots things into orbit, and Makoto's 10-person team, Exobiotanica succeeded in lifting these delicate plants into the stratosphere. They used massive helium balloons and high-tech styrofoam-and-metal-frame carriers, with plastic parachutes that deployed once the balloons lost pressure and fell to a thicker atmosphere. The contraptions, named Away 100 and Away 101, were recorded from the ground and accompanied by "six Go Pro video cameras tied in a ball." Which was probably a little more involved than it sounds.(more...)
Walking through a vast museum filled with paintings and sculptures, you might be surprised learn that what you're seeing is, on average, only 2–4 percent of the museum's entire collection. The other 96–98 percent is tucked away in climate-controlled storage rooms deep beneath the museum or at off-site locations. Recently, the Dutch art historian and designer Maaike Roozenburg unveiled the first results of a project intended to give these hidden objects a new life, putting them in museumgoers' hands and helping people get back in touch with their heritage.
Roozenburg has spent years exploring museum archives, and about four years ago she started examining the possibilities of 3D scanning technology as a way to put out-of-reach museum objects back in the hands of everyday people. "These objects are meant to be used, not just exist in a museum," she explains. "I want to bring their existence, their soul, back. That's where my work as a designer comes in. I really wanted to make these objects accessible."
A 17th-century teacup and saucer (left) and its 3D replica
The final porcelain replicas are enriched with an Augmented Reality overlay that can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet.
During one of her research trips to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, in Rotterdam, Roozenburg fell in love with a set of 17th-century glasses. "I just wanted to have them," she says. "They looked very modern somehow and I wanted to use them in my home." Unfortunately, the glasses were among the most fragile objects in the museum's collection, and not allowed to be touched.(more...)
This week social media has been flooded with the following vid, featuring twentysomething athlete Kacy Catanzaro. On Monday night's episode of American Ninja Warrior, the gymnast from Jersey became the first woman in history to clear the obstacle course and qualify for the final round, performing seemingly impossible tasks: The 5’0”, 100-pound Catanzaro doesn't have the height and wingspan to easily reach from one obstacle to the next, so she compensated by swinging back and forth, then tossing herself through the air on sheer arm strength and momentum.
Training for a competition like ANW is an unusual affair. If you're training for a marathon you can hit a treadmill or the road, if you're prepping for a run on Jeopardy you can hit the books. But obstacle courses, particularly ones filled with the fiendishly unusual challenges first devised on Japan's ANW progenitor program Sasuke, aren't exactly on every corner. And even Parkour experts can find themselves stymied on the ANW obstacles, which shift, rotate, tilt and sway it ways that static objects like mailboxes and bannisters do not.
So how do you get the obstacle course experience to train for a show like this? Here are six ways:(more...)
In part one of this two-part series, we introduced Natalia Ivanova, educator and founder of the Hal X parkour training center in Copenhagen; as a passionate traceuse, or parkour practitioner, she has long incorporated physical education into her work with children. Here is a more detailed outline of her method.
Getting the kids involved and excited about a new project is normally never an issue—they are more than happy to get out of their routines and try something new. Seeing as this is the case with most projects, the challenge is to make the project become a part of the everyday culture, to ensure that the students continue to practice after the official project is over and Natalia and her crew leave the school. Unfortunately, she has yet to come up with an answer... so No, no formula to be found here. At least not yet.
(When working with co-creative processes at various schools, my colleague Heidi and I encountered the exactly same problem. No matter what approach we tried, we never really managed to implement the way of thinking and working we used when collaborating with the students and teachers in such a way that it became a part of their everyday culture.)
Breaking Down Borders
No matter how much we try to ignore it and think or act otherwise, the fact remains that we live in a system where the gaps between the various social classes are visible to the naked eye. Just as with other sports, parkour is a means of breaking down these imagined barriers and connecting people from various cultures and social groups
Parkour transcends these social borders by creating a common ground—wall, ledge or bench—for participants.(more...)
The Apple Industrial Design team is looking for all levels of CAD sculptor/Digital 3D modelers to create high quality CAD models used in the industrial design process and development of new products. The CAD sculptor is responsible for interpreting and defining the design intent of the industrial designer using Alias software while working with mechanical engineering, manufacturing and tooling requirements.
An ideal candidate will have a strong interest and enthusiasm in a 3D modeling career. Proficiency in Alias or Rhino is preferred, as is the ability to manually manipulate and refine surfaces beyond basic use of software tools. Candidates may also be familiar with rendering and visualization software packages, CAD file format translations, and design for manufacturing of injection molding or CNC machining. Do you have what it takes? Apply Now.
Something you see a lot of in New York is workers assembling or disassembling a metal scaffold, but you almost never see them made out of new-looking pipes. The banged-up metal is a testament to how much use they see over their lifetimes. In contrast, you'll also see workers assembling and disassembling temporary facades out of 2x4s and CDX, but the difference is, the wood all goes into a garbage dumpster at the end, riddled as they are with screws and screw holes. They don't live to see another day, unlike the metal scaffolding.
Beijing-based architecture firm Penda has made a similar observation by looking at Native American tipis. When it's time to move on, the nomadic owners untied the rope bindings for the pole structure, bundled it together for transport, then put it up somewhere else. The lack of penetrating fasteners means the poles can be re-used indefinitely.
Thus Penda's "One With the Birds" project, which takes the local-to-China material of bamboo and binds it together with rope in a triangular matrix pattern that can then be built out.
In my work as a professional organizer, I find that almost all of my clients are concerned about recycling, and I applaud them for this. But this means we need more than a single receptacle for trash. While multiple waste baskets or trash cans will work, designers have created some more elegant answers.
The Ginebra bin from Made Design, designed by Pascual Salvador, would work well for an end user whose municipality uses single-stream recycling and who just wants to separate recyclables from non-recyclables. The lid on the bin is an optional feature; sometimes lids help, other times they just get in the way. There's a metal base to collect any spilled liquids.
The Trio recycling bin from Materia has three sections: one for paper, one for cans and bottles, and one for trash. While the paper slot is obvious, and the circle cues designers (and many end-users) into the proper slot for bottles and cans, the triangle shape for trash is befuddling—and may undermine the bin's usefulness.
Each section of the Trio has its own liner, so each can be emptied independently of the others, as needed. The clover shape means this is not a bin that tucks away nicely in a corner; rather, it would be good for larger spaces where the end users want to call attention to the recycling.
In the kitchen, end users may want to separate compostable material from other trash, and that's what the Bratatia twin bin is intended for. There's a larger bin for regular waste, and a smaller bin for compostables, with color coding to reinforce which bin is for each kind of waste. The bin is available in two sizes, since end users have different needs regarding space restrictions and the amount of trash they create.(more...)
Instead of trying to make technology invisible, maybe it should just look better. Hidden in plain sight doesn't cut it for David Okum's Oon power cord. Okum has a background in both philosophy and furniture design, and I'd like to think they both show in his inventive product. Instead of streamlined white tech or blocky beige, Oon sits somewhere between childish bead-stringing and high fashion macro textiles, and juices your devices all the while.
It easily powers a whole stack of magazines(more...)
They've only just arrived but the Trusco Toolboxes have stored our hearts away. We searched high and low for these rare and glamorous tool keepers and they're finally here, just in time for summer projects! Don't be dazzled by the luxurious hue, their practical Japanese design shines through the blue. At heart these are sweet storage options that feel like high quality tools themselves. They're made from steel, well formed for strength, and reinforced in the right places for a long life of being accidentally kicked while your hands are full.
The two larger toolboxes have double lids and plenty of reconfigurable up-top storage. The cantilevered two-level has style for days, with a distinctive shape, neat metal dividers, super smooth action and pronounced strength forming (Citröen H Van, anyone?). The biggest box of all sports plenty of room, a removable upper organizer, and a sleek shape inspired by a traditional hip roof profile. The baby of the family is a tough little number, a simple standalone organizer box, formed for strength and stackability with an incredibly satisfying friction-fit snap top. It fits inside either of its bigger compatriots to protect your drill bits, sandpaper scraps, bobbins, widgets, lock picking tools, or exceptionally pretty pebbles.
Keep them in your garage, your trunk, your bedroom, or your studio, but don't keep them out of sight. Whether your work is big or small, these cool blue toolboxes are here to keep you gathered. Check them out online now!(more...)
Two, as logic and cliché suggest, is better than one. Hence, the Y-splitter, a not-quite-indispensable dongle that doubles any connection point. Long a tool for A/V-savvy folks, the 3.5mm (2F-1M) version often sits alongside earbuds and cases in the shelf of your local Apple store. Now comes a Kickstarter project for a product that is intended to join those ranks: the Why? cable turns one USB port into a pair of Lightning connectors (given the titular pun, we'll spare you a terrible joke about striking twice).
There are mixed reports regarding how many people/households have more than one Apple mobile device (for one thing, metrics typically include other hardware, including desktops and laptops), but it's something of a self-selecting market in the first place: Anyone who owns both an iPhone and an iPad is anecdotally more likely to buy additional accessories anyhow.
img src="http://s3files.core77.com/blog/images/2014/07/WhyCable-Prototype.jpg" width="880" height="587" alt="WhyCable-Prototype.jpg"/ -->(more...)
In our quest to uncover the designers behind AMC's new reclining seats, we did come across an unusual, oft-overlooked subgenre of furniture design: Auditorium and lecture hall seating. And in Europe at least, schools and institutions are apparently willing to shell out for the designey stuff, where aesthetics carry a premium. Case in point: The Genya system, designed by Dante Bonuccelli and produced by Italian manufacturer Lamm.
The simple, geometric form belies the workings hidden within: The backrest suspension is supplied through elastic straps, and when the seat is pulled open, gas shocks inside also lower the armrests in synchronicity.(more...)
For those of you who conduct interviews with a voice recorder, you know that the transcription is typically a slow step. If you're lucky, the interviewee speaks slowly or spends a long time thinking before answering, and the transcription process only takes two or three rounds. This was not the case when it came to Natalia Ivanova: On the contrary, the words flow as quickly from her tongue as the movements that flow from her limbs. She has a fluidity and energy in her way of thinking that comes across in everything she does.
Ivanova is the founder of Hal X, a small indoor training hall for parkour in Copenhagen, and the coordinator of especially designed courses, where parkour is a force for positive change for youths.
Originally hailing from Russia, Ivanova speaks fondly about the memories she has of jumping from garage roof to garage roof in the oppressive heat during summers back home. She remembers how fun it was to run as fast as she possibly could, in bare feet on the burning hot rooftops. Jumping over the gaps between the buildings, she knew that one misstep could mean an unpleasant tumble into rubble that might contain rusty scraps of metal, crushed glass and used needles.
Needless to say, this love for exploring urban spaces and challenging herself with her surroundings has been the defining element of through life. As a child, the hijinks and hyperactivity were just called "fun"; now it's called "parkour," and it has spread around the globe with the help of aficionados and YouTube like wildfire.
However, you may not realize that—beyond the physics-defying wow factor of the sport—parkour can serve as a positive alternative to destructive social cultures. In contrast to several other street activities, the philosophy behind Parkour is not only to challenge yourself and push boundaries, but to develop the best version of yourself. You have to have a totally clear mind if you want to be able to get the most out of your practice. That means little or no alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. If you are under any kind of influence, you risk not being able to judge distances properly and having a serious accident. "Alcohol and other substances are off the table since your mind has be clear and focused for practice."
Observers who aren't familiar with the sport and the philosophies behind it might see nothing more than loose-limbed young folks jumping from building to building, doing double backflips and hanging from rails, which might lead one to the conclusion that these people are more than a little bit crazy. But as with any sport, parkour practitioners—known as traceurs or traceuses—must train extensively, with utmost dedication, and exercise discipline on every level of their life in order to do what they do. You will never see a traceur leave empty bottles or discarded sandwich papers smeared in mayonnaise behind—they don't want to mess up their surroundings, their space for practice.(more...)
Since 1870, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been on a mission to "...collect, preserve, study, exhibit, and stimulate appreciation for and advance knowledge of works of art that collectively represent the broadest spectrum of human achievement at the highest level of quality, all in the service of the public and in accordance with the highest professional standards." With your help as an Exhibition Designer, they will continue to execute their mission and serve the people of New York, and the world.
They're looking for someone who will collaborate with Design Managers to bring alternative or enhanced design potential to large scale shows, support designers in rendering, presentation model making skills and visual research. This takes three to five years of experience in exhibition design or industrial design as well as full knowledge of construction techniques, fabrication skills, materials, and project management. Apply Now.
Look up at the sky on even the clearest, most perfect summer night here in New York City and you might realize that something is missing. Sure, the moon hovers brightly above the skyline, but the stars are getting harder and harder to find. Just check out this Yahoo Answers thread from a girl growing up in Queens: The stars are gone and it's all your fault.
Maybe it's not entirely your fault, but the folks at Slow Factory want you to take a minute and take note of the light pollution taking place in some of the world's largest cities. With their latest series, "From Above," the silk scarf company aims to draw attention to the light pollution caused by manmade luminescence, the electric twinkle from dusk until dawn outshining the distant cosmological beacons of yore. The scarves feature satellite images of the U.S.A., New York, Paris and London at night, printed on silk to show the illuminated urban sprawl in all its glory.
Founded by Celine Semaan Vernon, Slow Factory is a company based in Brooklyn that prints satellite images taken by NASA onto silk scarves. After her family left their home in Beirut, Lebanon, Vernon was always on the move and found the stars to be a source of guidance and comfort. "Another reason why I began Slow Factory is because as I have grown up, I can see fewer and fewer stars in the sky," shares Vernon. "Considering that we traveled a lot and that I never really felt grounded or connected to a home, I felt the need to look at telescope and satellite images of the stars."(more...)
An installation at Kingwood Medical in Houston, Texas
For those of us who live on the top floors of the pre-war walk-up buildings that line the streets of certain New York neighborhoods, a skylight can be a perk—not enough to make up for the five flights of stairs, perhaps, but at very least a welcome source of light. But the upshot of a skylight isn't just illumination: Not only has it been scientifically proven that natural light boosts productivity levels, it's also good for morale and mental health. Unfortunately, most office buildings weren't designed with white collar vitamin D deficiency in mind. This is where Sky Factory comes into play with their "embedded" skylights.
The impact of Revelation SkyCeiling in an office space
Sky Factory is based in Fairfield, Iowa—and take it from an Iowa native, no one knows the big blue better than the those of us who live against a backdrop of never-ending corn fields. The cerulean ceiling projections are designed to produce psychophysiological relaxation responses. In other words, the simulated natural light may well get you through that moment of midday work panic or waiting room purgatory.
Measuring in at 8’×8’, the company's recently launched Revelation SkyCeiling features their biggest panels to date. The light is comprised of four layers: a fluorescent lighting system, an acrylic tile featuring a photographic reproduction of the sky, "elevators" that gives the system structural depth into the ceiling, and a customized ceiling grid to top it all off (see the exploded view of a similar product here). While diaphanous clouds and a blue sky are a given, scenes can also include sunlit trees, which fauna-deprived New Yorkers might appreciate more than anything.
The COSEM Auber reception lounge in Paris, France(more...)
If I had to guess, I'd say that a smooth surface is better than a rough one for cutting wind resistance. And I'd be wrong. There's a reason golf balls have dimples: The dimples decrease the drag caused by wind, by a significant amount. In the middle ages Dutch men used to hit spherical pebbles with a stick to play what became golf. Later in the 1600s they started using wooden balls. And it was in the late 1800s when players noticed that that beaten up balls went further than the smoother, newer versions.
Now researchers have created a material that—when triggered by wind—can automatically morph into a dimpled surface similar to that of a golf ball. It sort of also resembles pruning of finger tips after soaking in water (in fact, the inspiration for this new material came from dried prunes.) See the video below from the MIT team led by Pedro Reis, who developed the "Smorph" (Smart Morphable Surface).
The Smorph operates on fairly basic mechanics. In fact, the useful function comes from a common mechanical failure that most engineers need to prevent at all costs: Buckling. The prototype is a hollow silicon ball covered in a thin and stiff layer of polystyrene. When the pressure lowers within the hollow ball the exterior automatically shrinks, and this creates the dimples. The key thing is to have a pattern of dimples—and not something random.(more...)