Those of you who attended the Core77 Conference probably caught Dong-Ping Wong presenting +Pool in a talk entitled "Doing Rad Shit Where Nobody Asked You To Do Rad Shit." For those that didn't, +Pool is the crazy, successfully-funded, currently-in-development project to hatch a floating swimming pool in NYC's East River.
Now comes a project proposal with both similarities and contrasts to +Pool. Entrepreneur Blayne Ross also wants to provide New Yorkers with some river-based respite from the summer heat, but Ross' scheme is targeting the Hudson River rather than the East, and using IndieGogo rather than Kickstarter. City Beach NYC, as the project is called, is a proposal to turn a barge into a floating beach.
The plan calls to cover the barge in 1,200 cubic yards of sand, creating an artificial beach. The barge would be further kitted out with beach chairs, restaurants, a children's science lab exhibition and a waterfall.
Unfortunately, there's a huge catch...
Ed. Note: This post has been updated with the correct name of the artist. His name is Ren Yue, not Ren Ri.
Much like urban gardening, beekeeping seems to have inspired renewed interest among hobbyists around the world. Sure, it's got a certain appeal for DIYers who have graduated from pickling and homebrewing, but its also got the ecological upshot as a response to the precipitous decline in the global bee population (we've previously seen a design solution that addresses the issue scientifically known as Colony Collapse Disorder, which was the subject of a recent Op-Ed in the Times). Ren Yue is a Beijing-based bee enthusiast who falls into that beekeeper population, but he's also an artist—and it's safe to say that he's not your average honey harvester.
Ren started studying honeybees back in 2008. After a couple of years spent learning the art of beekeeping and observing how the hives function, he developed a strategy that turns the hive's beeswax into semi-calculated sculptures. Ren lets nature run its course for a large part of the second installment of the series, titled "Yuansu II," but does provide a few prefabricated touches of his own—plastic vessels to house the hives and a weekly 'rotation' schedule for the constructions.
By housing the queen bee in the center of each structure, Ren was able to 'engineer' the architecture of the hive: Worker bees naturally began to build out from her location in all directions, leaving a waxy hexagonal structure in their wake. He rotated the plastic cases every seven days—a biblical reference—to give the queen and her workers a new center of gravity to work from, resulting in an undulating final form. Ren never planned which way to turn the sculptures—a roll of the dice made that decision, introducing a nice touch of spontaneity to a highly ordered process of nature.(more...)
Much like urban gardening, beekeeping seems to have inspired renewed interest among hobbyists around the world. Sure, it's got a certain appeal for DIYers who have graduated from pickling and homebrewing, but its also got the ecological upshot as a response to the precipitous decline in the global bee population (we've previously seen a design solution that addresses the issue scientifically known as Colony Collapse Disorder, which was the subject of a recent Op-Ed in the Times). Ren Ri is a Beijing-based bee enthusiast who falls into that beekeeper population, but he's also an artist—and it's safe to say that he's not your average honey harvester.
Ri started studying honeybees back in 2008. After a couple of years spent learning the art of beekeeping and observing how the hives function, he developed a strategy that turns the hive's beeswax into semi-calculated sculptures. Ri lets nature run its course for a large part of the second installment of the series, titled "Yuansu II," but does provide a few prefabricated touches of his own—plastic vessels to house the hives and a weekly 'rotation' schedule for the constructions.
By housing the queen bee in the center of each structure, Ri was able to 'engineer' the architecture of the hive: Worker bees naturally began to build out from her location in all directions, leaving a waxy hexagonal structure in their wake. He rotated the plastic cases every seven days—a biblical reference—to give the queen and her workers a new center of gravity to work from, resulting in an undulating final form. Ri never planned which way to turn the sculptures—a roll of the dice made that decision, introducing a nice touch of spontaneity to a highly ordered process of nature.(more...)
IKEA Creative Director Mia Lundstrom on Tracking Societal Trends and Designing the Concept of Home Furnishing
Name: Mia Lundström
Occupation: Creative director, IKEA Sweden
Location: Älmhult, Sweeden
Current projects: I'm working with long-term home-furnishing priorities, in terms of how people live their everyday lives—their needs and their frustrations and the opportunities and so on. That's a quite big project that goes on all the time, but it needs to be updated and we need to have a product range for it and we need to make sure that the people developing and designing IKEA concepts really, truly understand the latest trends in society, so that we can cater toward them in a good way.
I'm also working quite a lot on some questions around the meeting with the customers in our stores. We want to create a much more vital interaction; we feel that we have been a little bit slow on the uptake with our showrooms and the impression of home-furnishing—that IKEA is a creative company and that we are in tune with society and trends and all that.
Mission: To create a better everyday life for the many people
When did you decide to pursue a career in design? Well, I'm not working with product design specifically—I'm working with, in a sense, designing the concept of home furnishing. And I've always been very interested in this. I started in the retail sector and one thing sort of led to another.
Education: I would say life and experience is my main education. Other than that, I went to Swedish primary and high school and took a couple of courses at art and design school. But no university; I have gone to IKEA university.
First design job: To design the bedroom department of a store in Stockholm
Who is your design hero? There are many. Estrid Ericson and Josef Frank are, of course, two of my favorites. I also admire some of the Danish and Finnish designers like Arne Jacobsen and Alvar Aalto. Among contemporary designers, I like Paola Navone and Ilse Crawford. There are a lot of women in my favorites, and I think that we sometimes have too few women in design. I could name many, many more.
Also from the PS 2014 collection: a wardrobe by matali crasset (left) and a storage table by Rich Brilliant Willing. (Read more about their contributions here.)(more...)
Tonight at Hand-Eye Supply's Curiosity Club, we're getting real positive about less loved photographic techniques. Jacklyn Hudak of Huzz Art Shop presents Failure Is Inevitable: The Unpopularity Of Alternative Photography, a talk about what historical and alternative photographic processes are and why almost nobody uses them. Jaclyn will be speaking about a few different alternative processes, with a more in depth look at gum bichromate; a colorful but fickle process that she uses on a regular basis. Being mostly self taught, she's made countless mistakes over the years and will share why she embraces failure.
Jaclyn Hudak is a Portland-based graphic designer and artist who often uses historical photographic processes to make work. She has a degree in Photography and Graphic Design from Texas State University and has been working with alternative photographic processes for over six years.(more...)
I come not to praise the Paleos, but to understand them.
Our story starts with the premise (which we will not unpack here, for reasons of brevity and taste) that running barefoot, or as close as possible to barefoot, is a more healthy means of locomoting. Under this premise, being immediately in tune with one's physical terrain is beneficial to the body and mind, requiring greater intentionality and physical dexterity in order to cover rough ground without injury. For those who cringe at the idea of walking barefoot to the mailbox, this might be a lost point, but the "natural running" school of thought has seen major conversion over the last ten years. While the overall claims seem understandable, there are some basic logistical difficulties with barefoot running. Namely, that the bottoms of feet are pretty smooth. This means that wet/uneven/slick surfaces can be dangerously low traction, and hard textured surfaces like rocky paths and concrete can chew you up after a while.(more...)
It should come as no surprise that the marriage of art and technology has had some difficulty finding a place in the institutional white cube exhibition spaces of most contemporary galleries and museums—after all, many practitioners reject the traditional art-object format on principle. Indeed, the incorporation of technology in art has vastly expanded the realm of creative possibilities, both aesthetically and with respect to distribution—auction house Phillips recently held the second edition of its forward-looking "Paddles On!" digital art auction—yet the modes by which it is bought, sold or displayed continue to shift and evolve.
What Kind of Footprint Will You Leave as a Footwear Design Intern With Timberland in Stratham, New Hampshire?
Working for Timberland is challenging. And rewarding. And fun. Plus a lot of other things you'd associate with a company that's all about the great outdoors. Working at Timberland is really about bringing 4 simple ideas alive: People, Value, Purpose and Passion. This is what makes them a global leader in the design, engineering and marketing of premium-quality footwear, apparel and accessories for consumers who value the outdoors and their time in it.
How would you like to gain valuable experience as an Intern working with a senior level Designer to present footwear concepts per seasonal product briefs for Timberland? All you need is a great attitude, a bit of experience, excellent computer skills and a desire to learn at one of the most recognized footwear brands around. If this sounds like a dream opportunity, Apply Now.
No Brazilian can be happy with their national team suffering two crushing defeats in a row, and now the country is dotted with brand-new stadiums that can only serve as a painful reminder. But now that the World Cup is over, perhaps those stadiums, so expensive and controversial to build, can be put to more enduring use.
Architects Axel de Stampe and Sylvain Macaux have put forth a proposal called Casa Futebol, whereby the twelve stadiums would be reappropriated for housing. The concept calls for the design of prefabricated apartment modules of 105 square meters that could be inserted into the periphery of each stadium's shape, along with "colonizing the outside facade" to give them a different look.(more...)
There are at least two items in my apartment that I can count on including in my will someday and I'd bet the same goes for most people if they take a stock of their most prized possessions. Alien & Monkey express the opposite sentiment with a handful of their ephemeral designs. As writer/illustrator Daishu Ma and industrial designer Marc Nicolau explain on their website, "These products can be used for a long period of time and, due to the elements, crumble back to sand dust at the end of its life cycle." Making sand stick together in mind-bending ways is nothing new. We're just accustomed to seeing it in some form of sand art or architecture—not necessarily as functioning products.
Most notably, the Barcelona-based design duo has introduced a crumbling sand package design that has been making waves on the blogosphere. Tiny objects can be hidden within the solid walls of the package and are supported by loose sand inside of the chamber. A cut across the object directs the opener to the best spot to crack open the brick.(more...)
The PocketScan's Kickstarter campaign is just about done, having blown by its goal and first two stretch goals, but its larger than life development might just be starting. Billed as "the world's smallest wireless scanner," this little widget wants to freehand scan anything you can imagine, from the predictable photo-preserving and media digitizing to uploading functional spreadsheets, text recognition and even language translation. It will sport Microsoft Office integration and Bluetooth compatibility with Windows, Mac and iPad operating systems, and now iPhone and Android too. It promises to deliver higher resolution than 400 dpi, with an internal lighting system that keeps colors accurate and without glare even in low-light rooms.
In recent years we've seen some neat re-thinks of basic cookware, from a self-stirring pot to Mike Whitehead's CNC-milled cast iron skillet. Now a rocket scientist from the UK, Dr. Tom Povey, has designed a line of pots and saucepans that boast astonishing efficiency.
Oxford professor Povey knows all about influencing temperature changes, as his day job in the Osney Thermo-Fluids Laboratory involves thermodynamics and jet engines. And whilst engaged in his hobby of mountain climbing, Povey ran into the problem of trying to boil water at high altitude, which takes longer than it does at sea level, burning more of the precious fuel you've hauled up the mountain. After realizing that much of the heat in conventional cooking is wasted, he set about designing a more efficient pot with this assistance of some fellow lab brainiacs.
"The problem with the current shape of [existing cookware] means a lot of the heat is dissipated into the air," Povey told The Telegraph. "So, it is an aerodynamic and heat transfer problem and we applied the science used in rocket and jet engines to create a shape of a pan that is more energy efficient."
Povey's radical-looking cast-aluminum Flare line, which UK kitchenware brand Lakeland began selling last week, employs something you see on turbines: Fins. These carry the heat from the base to the sides more efficiently, reportedly cooking food some 44% faster than a conventional pan. And a conventional pan requires 40% more energy to achieve the same results as you'd get with a Flare pan, making it ideal both for camping—less gas to carry—as well as appealing to kitchenbound consumers for both the energy savings and the evenness of the cooking.(more...)
Industrial designer and professor Lance Gordon Rake previously shared the story behind the Semester bamboo bicycle, developed with Pamela Dorr and various collaborators in Hale County, Alabama. Now, less than a year later, HERObike is pleased to present its second project on Kickstarter, the Beacon Alley Skateboard, which represents Rake's further research into bamboo as a versatile, renewable raw material for the socially conscious organization. Once again, he was willing to share the story and process behind the project.
Since the beginning, I have been working with John Bielenberg at Future Partners and the graphic design partnership Public Library to develop the products and the business. Ultimately, all we ever wanted to do was create some nice jobs making well-designed products using the resources and people of rural Alabama. The bamboo was there. Traditional craft skills were there. We used design to put these things together in a way that could make a sustainable small enterprise that might serve as a model for developing rural communities all over the world.
The MakeLab shop in Greensboro Alabama has become a kind of research center for bamboo fiber composites. Many of the materials that are in a Semester bike—bamboo, fiberglass, carbon fiber—are also in a Beacon Alley Skateboard. The skateboard is a product with a very demanding user group who expect incredibly high performance at a fair price. The Semester bike is in a demanding, competitive category as well. And if your product doesn't look good, it's a non-starter.
The past 11 months have been a bit crazy: We had a successful Kickstarter campaign that finished last August and we managed to deliver all 45 bikes and frames by our promised date in February. Since then, our little shop has been building about ten Semesters per month, in addition to our standard "Gilligan" bamboo bike and our Gilligan kits for the DIY crowd. We are developing international markets for Semester—we've already shipped them to seven countries and this seems to be an area of rapid expansion. Right now, I am working on ways to dramatically lower costs so we can make a bike that delivers the look and ride quality of bamboo for less than half of the current price.(more...)
REI a team of creative, passionate people who love the outdoors and they bring their love of the outdoors into work every day to create amazing products and brand experiences exclusively for their customers. By joining the REI Private Brands team, you have the opportunity to make a difference, be challenged to create excellence and enrich the creative community.
What will you be doing as the Senior Innovation Prototyper with the REI team in Kent, WA? You'll be responsible for developmental support of technology concepts intended for product or product manufacturing ranging from moderate to extreme levels of difficulty and complexity. If you too are passionate about the outdoors, love challenging the status quo, live as a champion for change and can influence others to change, this job is for you - Apply Now.
Last year we looked at the unusual train designs of Eiji Mitooka, a Japanese industrial designer who specializes in railway carriages. Mitooka's awesomely retro Seven Stars luxury train was the coolest in his portfolio, and apparently the high-profile project has been a success, as Japan's JR East railway company has commissioned yet another luxury touring train: The Cruise Train, which forgoes the retro look of its predecessor and resembles an Italian boutique hotel on rails.
Designed by Ken Okuyama of Pininfarina fame, the Cruise Train is unabashedly modern where the Seven Stars is classic. The Cruise Train's dining room looks like something you'd see in Tokyo's ritzy Ginza neighborhood, while the observation deck resembles something out of Gattaca. And if the standard suites, which feature sofa-chairs that apparently fold out into beds, seem huge by train standards...(more...)
As the line between fine art and design becomes increasingly blurred, Ian Stell stands somewhere in the middle, crafting furniture that is just as much a feat of engineering as it is a work of art. I first stumbled upon the Brooklyn-based Stell when he presented a few pieces from his Pantograph Series at the Sight Unseen Offsite show during New York Design Week, and was so enraptured that I decided to dig a bit deeper in this column.
The Pantograph Series takes its name from the drawing tool, a mechanical copying device developed in 1603 for the scaling and copying of text and pictures. (Fun fact: Thomas Jefferson was known for making copies of his letters via a type of pantograph called the polygraph, which copied but didn't enlarge the original.) Stell became interested in the device last year while completing his MFA thesis in furniture from the Rhode Island School of Design. "I found something really fascinating about it, in that the core mechanism is a hinged parallelogram that can transmit motion in a very controlled way," Stell says. "The possibilities of how that can be used are limitless."
Stell was curious if the horizontal movement of the hinged parallelogram could also be transmitted vertically—specifically, down the leg of a table. Taking a leap of faith, he began to test his theory by prototyping, and soon found himself drilling a multitude of holes into bits of wood and hinging them together with pins.
Stell's Big Pivot is one of three new tables that transform when pulled—in this case, from a desk or dining table (top image) to a console (above).
Big Pivot is made of more than 1,500 pieces of ebonized white oak.(more...)
Open-source soft robot bodies! The Glaucus is an adorable ambling robotic quadruped with no rigid guts or internal framework. Like most soft robots, it is moved by alternating pressure within different chambers in the robot's body, flexing the soft material in specific areas and causing it to move in desired patterns. This little guy was named and loosely modeled after the Blue Sea Slug (Glaucus atlanticus), with a walking pattern much like a salamander. He's the product of several years of development by the Super-Releaser team, which has been investigating ways to create a seamless soft body with the desired interior chambers.(more...)
Earlier this week in La Jolla, California, what appeared to be a massive oil spill in the water began creeping towards the beach. However, closer inspection revealed that the inky cloud was not a batch of Exxon-Mobil's finest at all, but an enormous school of fish. Specifically, anchovies.(more...)
I remember being introduced to the concept of robotics in a rousing late-night viewing of A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Understandably, that initial impression had me tensing up as I passed every blonde-haired, blue-eyed pre-teen. Luckily, I grew out of it, considering that robots are everywhere nowadays—running races with kids, swimming in our oceans and even creating data-fueled art. Now, French design duo Ultra Ordinaire have developed a toy that also fits the bill, a kind of three-dimensional coloring-book template with an element of littleBits-like interactivity.
In a world where things drone operators say in the moment of a crash go viral, the inner workings of robots remains relatively opaque to kids (and some of us adults too). According to designer Nathalie Bruyére, Play Communs is a kit that's more about "designing a simple interface to bring kids closer to the technologic [sic] world" than designing a robot. Along with her fellow designer Pierre Duffau, she "was inspired by very simple construction toys such as Kapla's or LEGOs, but also by Bruno Munari's drawings and books."
The kit consists of a clear Plexiglass body with two LED lights; a servo motor; an electric transformer; a pre-soldered, preset card; a cardboard model and the instructions for the assembly with tips on how to personalize the character. The motors animate the arms, body and head of the character. "People are often wary of robots as they don't get the way they are working," Bruyére says. "The robot is therefore transparent to make it understandable. Usually such toy systems are hidden in boxes, closed and opaque when in reality, they are very simple and easy to handle."(more...)
If you're a manufacturer of writing utensils, but touchscreens are becoming all the rage, what do you design to avoid obsoletion? The obvious answer is a pen with capacitive ability, hence Bic released their Cristal Stylus last year, a regular ballpoint pen with an added nub on the butt end for working that iPad.
This year Bic is going a step further by designing not a device, but a font. Or more specifically, they're letting you all collectively design it. Bic's Universal Typeface Experiment asks users to hit up their website on your smartphone or tablet and draw letters in boxes, which they then average out to create something like a universal finger-written font.
What's interesting is that whether or not you participate, the site lets you look at the results, which you can sort by gender, age, country, handedness, and even industry. Unfortunately it doesn't drill down deep enough to specify industrial design, though their catch-all "Creative Industry" field had, at press time, some 183,089 characters contributed (second only to "Students," who've donated 296,884 of their hard-earned letters).(more...)