You'd think the humble screwdriver has reached the zenith of its design refinement. As long as the tip type and size matches the pattern of the screw head, you can't get any more friction than that, right?
Wrong. German tool manufacturer Wera figured out that if they laser-etched diagonal grooves into the tip, the striations left by those grooves would actually bite into the screw, providing even more purchase.
The "Don't you hate when this happens" example the demo video kicks off with is overblown, but the point is taken.
Spotted at Holz-Handwerk.(more...)
Vote for your Favorite Entry for the Dutch Design Competition 2014 & See Them at MAD, Plus a Video Kikkerland's Jan van der Lande
Just over a month ago, we posted a Call for Entries for a Dutch design-inspired gift item that could be produced on a 3D printer, to be produced by Kikkerland. The Royal Netherlands Embassy has since announced the 14 finalists, selected by an expert jury for public voting and (for those of you in NYC) viewing at the Museum of Arts and Design starting tomorrow, April 3, through April 20. Even if you can't make it to MAD to see the 3D-printed prototypes, anyone can cast his or her vote for the winner until April 30. The Amazing Paper Waffle by Heloise Schep; Cheese-Burger BBQ Tongs by Studio Springtime; DutchCandleKing by Philippe Disse; Home Harbor by Tom Dissel; Patat Frites Royal 2.0 by Aart Roelandt; +&- by Tian Tian XU; Ring To It by Friso Dijkstra; SlikStick by Arne Nolles; Time in Delft by Luke Mills; Tulp by Sander Hagelaar; WINDY by Kazunori Takeishi; With Love by Sylvie van der Loo; Stijlish Top by Michiel Cornelissen; and Tulip, set of cutlery by Andres Lhima.
We caught up with jury member Jan van der Lande, CEO of Kikkerland, at the Housewares Show a few weeks ago, where he elaborated on the company's philosophy, including its longtime support of young designers:(more...)
Operating under the motto "We are found in the best joints!" is Hoffman-Schwalbe, a German manufacturer of woodworking machines and a little doohickey called the Hoffman Dovetail Key. The company has cleverly exploited the humble dovetail joint by producing a small, bowtie-like piece in a variety of sizes, and in materials ranging from plastic to metal to wood to rubber.
They then created a line of machines, ranging from handheld to standalone, that are essentially half-dovetail cutters.
Armed with a bag of these Hoffman Dovetail Keys and one of their machines, customers can use the system to join pieces of wood to create everything from picture frames to furniture to structural beams.(more...)
A few years ago, I saw a picture of a desk that captured my eye. I can't remember exactly where I saw it—perhaps it was this very blog—I just remember not being able to stop thinking about it. I searched the Internet to find out who had created this lovely desk and ended up on the website of Manoteca. Now, when I see something that I like, I have to tell the person who is behind it that I like their creation (or what they are wearing, or what they are singing, or what they are drawing, etc.) Call it what you will, OCD if you wish.
So I found the e-mail address for the person behind the brand, and it turned out to be a young woman called Elisa. Since then, we haven't written much, but my curiosity for the person and the visions behind the brand is still there. So, here comes the second article about young ambitious entrepreneurs working within the creative field.
Core77: What led you to start Manoteca?
Elisa Cavani: Before creating Manoteca, I was working as a visual merchandiser for fashion companies, for more or less ten years. I traveled a lot and gained a lot of information. In those ten years, I met very respectable people with so much talent. Yet the structure of big companies crushed them—I saw many people forget the things they believed in and give up any kind of talent. I was scared because I could feel that it was happening to me as well, so I decided to "fire" myself and create something that I had had in my head for so long.
This was the beginning. I moved the furniture in my apartment and for a year I worked, lived and slept in the middle of tools and sawdust. To me, the pieces of my first collection represent the freedom of expression. I loved them so much. I spent my evenings watching them, cleaning them one by one, every single hole and crack in the material. I really treated them as if they were the most valuable things I owned. In fact, they still are.
Did your ten years of experience as a merchandiser have any influence on how you started your brand?
I didn't think so initially, then I thought again and came up with a better answer. The visual merchandisers work with the visual language, they communicate feelings and moods but cannot use words. There is so much of this in Manoteca. There is a maniacal attitude, for which everything have to be perfect, and a meticulous attention to every detail. There is the organization and optimization of the time. There are the administrative and commercial skills, which I unwittingly absorbed and modified in favor of the brand. There is the knowledge of foreign markets that I have followed for a long time, the awareness that every person have different habits and cultural characteristics that you need to know, otherwise it is impossible to communicate. There are errors that I have made in the past, from which I can benefit today. There is a predisposition for solid and professional structure, which hasallowed the project to go around the world.
In retrospect, I should say 'Thank You' to my past.
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Machines have more than proven their self-worth among manufacturers of the modern age. While I may not be old enough to remember a time where computers were large enough to fill a room—much less when a lifetime of manual labor was more common than desk-bound day jobs—I've been reminded time and time again about my parents' take on the good old days. You know, the ones where employees were forced to get really good (and über efficient) at the jobs they held instead of relying on machines to do the quick work. There are still a few gems in the mix of people who continue to smash the tortoise-hare logic of "slow and steady wins the race" into microscopic bits, whether or not there's a machine available to do the work for them. Here are a few videos of people doing just that for your afternoon viewing pleasure:(more...)
Germany's Festool makes amazing power tools, so I expected their booth to be as mobbed as it was at Holz-Handwerk. But there was one repeating demo in particular that seemed to draw inordinate crowds, that being for the machine above, the Conturo KA 65. So what the heck is it, and what does it do that caused such a stir? Well, have a brief look at the (admittedly crappy) video I tried to capture by wriggling in and out of bodies:
Yes, it's a portable edge-banding machine that can do curves (both concave and convex) as well as beveled edges! And unsurprisingly Festool seems to have thought of everything when designing it: For you furniture designer/builders who work with plywood or (shudder) particle board and need to cover those raw edges, you know how frustrating edge banding can be—you can spend $300-plus on a fiddly machine while resigning yourself to only designing pieces that have straight edges. Aligning the two guides can be like performing neurosurgery, and once it's all done you can still screw the whole operation up by making a sloopy end-trim with a pair of snips. But by designing the Conturo to have one point of contact, curves are no prob, and they've designed a handy snipping accessory to snip the waste just right.
The following, professionally-shot video shows the entire process of edge banding using a Conturo from start to finish, including the post-application role of the trim router and a handy little scraper. (By the bye, the UK-based demonstrator refers to edge banding as "lipping." Discuss.)(more...)
We previously looked at the Gorilla Gripper and the Handle on Demand, two portable solutions for hauling heavy sheet goods. From Germany's Zieker Innovationen comes an equally portable, but arguably easier to use solution: Push rather than carry.(more...)
Inga Sempé on Being a Boring Person, Learning From the Flea Market, and Why She Wants to Redesign Scrabble
Name: Inga Sempé
Occupation: Product designer
Current projects: In Milan, I will present a pinboard called Pinorama, designed for the Danish company Hay. It's a metal grid with rectangular holes and cork, so you can pin items in the cork or hook items in the grid, or you can add accessories like shelves and a mirror. It's a kind of "wall furniture" that acts as storage for daily things like keys, papers, pictures. It can be put in an entrance, for instance, or in an office.
Also with Hay, I will also show some archive boxes that are made from cardboard, with a special lid like on letter boxes that allows you to insert your papers without opening the box. There is also a drawer in it, so that when you really want to organize your papers, you just pull the drawer out. The boxes come in different sizes and they are covered with some special patterns that I designed.
Mission: "Mission" sounds really Catholic, and I'm not Catholic. My job is to design objects that are easy to use and nice to see and possible to produce. This is the sum of industrial design. So there is a kind of trinity, with use, beauty and producibility.
A new line of blankets for the Norwegian company Røros Tweed. Photo by Erik Five
Sempé in her Ruché armchair for Ligne Roset, released last year
When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer? I never really decided, but I was always attracted to it. As a child, I was always building objects, and I was always looking at objects and thinking about the people who had conceived them, and imagining all the difficulties they had to find good solutions. But I didn't know about being a "designer" until much later.
Education: I studied in Paris at a small public university for industrial design called ENSCI.
First design job: Working with Marc Newson in Paris for six months. I learned a lot from him, because he has a really strong technical knowledge and spirit. When you're a student, you don't realize the hard realities of producing objects, of making them really exist. With him, I learned that.
Who is your design hero? I'm really against that. I can't have a design hero if I haven't met this person. So, for instance, of course everybody likes Castiglioni or Vico Magistretti, but as long as you don't meet people in real life, maybe they are good designers but bad people. So they couldn't be my heroes.
In fact, I'm not a fan—I don't have the spirit of a fan. I was always interested in objects but not that much in the personality of the people who designed them. I never read books about designers. My knowledge of objects comes from the flea market, where there are no names.(more...)
I bet you didn't realize this, but your front door sucks. Yes, it does. It's made out of steel or wood or even worse, steel disguised to look like wood. It offers little thermal insulation, your neighbors can hear you arguing through it, and burglars can easily kick it in. Even worse, it's just plain ugly.
The 85mm-thick doors by Slovenia-based Inotherm, on the other hand, don't suck at all. They're made out of 3mm-thick sheets of folded aluminum with polyurethane sealed inside to offer a winning blend of both thermal and sound insulation. The escutcheons are made of stainless steel and designed to protect against drilling and turning. And most importantly, they're way better-looking than your lousy door.(more...)
The new app that consolidates the cards and information in one convenient, color-coded resource, taking the mystery out of unknown terminology with straightforward appeal to all levels and genres of design, making it easy for for teams to work together cohesively. Check out the video overview of the app and its features:(more...)
From German machine manufacturer Martin comes the Speed 20/10, a rollable spray station for varnishing. The one-meter by two-meter surface is covered with a roll of ordinary, cheap packaging paper, which varnish won't stick to; so when spraying your piece, there's no need to mask the underside. And it has a couple of other cool tricks, watch the vid:
What you might not be able to see in the vid is that it's foot-pedal controlled; tap one pedal to get those two rollers to pop up, so you can lift your piece away from the sides, or you can hit the other foot pedal to either advance to a clean sheet, or roll smaller pieces off of the surface and into your waiting hands. The action requires an air compressor, being all-pneumatic; they don't want any electricity jumping around, the rep explained, if folks are spraying explosive substances.
Spotted at Holz-Handwerk.(more...)
At the Holz-Handwerk show there are tons of circular saws, tons panel saws and tons of CNC mills. But there's only one Logosol M8 Portable Sawmill. This crazy contraption is something like a chainsaw combined with a tracksaw, and one man (or one Swedish man, anyway) can unload the thing off the roof of his Volvo, carry it into the forest, and start making boards.
You're undoubtedly wondering, from the photos above, how that lone dude got that big-ass log up onto the stand all by himself. It's not just brute strength, there's design involved, as you'll see around 3:08 in the demo video:(more...)
My project-crush for the day goes to the FlyRig. This thing was designed and built by Real Art for the University of Dayton's basketball team hype videos, and despite having interest in neither professional photography or ball sports, I really want one. It's a 360-degree rig with the camera mounted below a rotating 16-foot arm, mounted to the ceiling of their workshop. Modeled after a massive ceiling fan and powered by an electric wheelchair motor, it allows for fast, smooth centripetal pans of the subject. In this case the subject—the University of Dayton Flyers themselves—came out looking great.
Better yet, Real Art documented the making-of the rig in a short case study:(more...)
T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings: Born in London, 1905. Died in Athens, 1976.
Neoclassicism is a fairly dubious tradition. It wouldn't be wrong to associate it with all that is bad about the nature of Western Empire—powerful men looking to underscore their power by lazily and arrogantly appropriating the aesthetics of perceived Greek supremacy. Just look to the Federal and Fascist exploits of our last century. This vilification, of course, does not extend to the bizarre and awesome exploits of a few mid-18th-century architects and artists (Claude Nicholas Ledoux, Govanni Piranesi, etc.), and it excludes the entirety of ancient interests during the Italian Renaissance. But for the most part neoclassicism is almost an architectural plague, an endless cycle of "knocking off the knock-offs" (to quote John Chase).
But there is a disconnect here: what of the Greeks themselves? When one turns to the actual texts and art, whether Apollonian or Dionysian, one is struck less by their military heft than by the simple beauty of the metaphysical question. Our subject, Terence Harold (T.H.) Robsjohn-Gibbings, was supremely aware of this anomaly and set out to skip the entirety of two millennia of Greek revival. Instead, he went to the source itself in an attempt to materialize, as he put it, "the first recreation of a fifth-century setting in some twenty-five hundred years." The work turned out to be extraordinarily and profoundly poetic.
The Klismos Chair, circa 1961. Top image: Robsjohn-Gibbings furniture installed at the House of Dolphins on the Island of Delos (left) and his Diphros stool, circa 1961
Left: an alternate version of the Klismos chair. Right: Robsjohn-Gibbings's first offices, circa 1937(more...)
Hopefully you've had enough time to submit your designs to the Core77 Design Awards after we extended the deadline to midnight on April 6. If the chance to win one of our awesome DIY trophies—which you can use to make giant Design Award chocolate bars—isn't incentive enough, we're offering a limited edition pre-release of our brand new "Designing Here/Now" book. You can get your own copy for $10 with any Core77 Design Awards entry. The flocked black-edge book is currently only available to 2014 entrants and features 448 pages filled with 500 past program honorees.(more...)
With workbenches like Ron Paulk's and Guido Einemann's around, is there any demand for an old-school workbench? Apparently so: Swedish company Sjöbergs does a brisk business in producing the traditional variety, with only slightly-modernized updates, like steel-cored, rubber-wrapped bench dogs (with half-round tops to accommodate angled workpieces), cork jaw protectors for the vise's clamping surface, and precision steel hardware for the vise's guts, ensuring they close perfectly parallel.
Though dated (if the soundtrack doesn't tip you off), the following company video gives you a pretty good look at the bench:(more...)
Nike Free 10th Anniversary: Tobie Hatfield on Listening to the Athletes (and Looking to the Kitchen) for Inspiration
There's a good chance that even those of you who aren't runners are familiar with Nike Free footwear, whether you wear them for other sports or training or as a go-to sneaker for your day-to-day activities. While Tobie Hatfield (Tinker's brother, for the uninitiated) had originally designed the articulated midsole based on the biomechanics of barefoot running, the shoes have been adapted for (and adopted by) anyone who spends time on their feet—in keeping with the Nike credo "if you have a body, then you're an athlete"—which is to say, everyone.
Of course, the concept of Natural Motion is a natural extension (so to speak) of Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman's seminal insight into performance footwear: that it should "provide protection and traction but minimal weight and zero distraction." But like most any design challenge, it's easier said than done. For more on the history and background of the Free—now in its tenth year, Nike recently unveiled the 2014 Collection—we had the chance to chat with Hatfield, Director of Athlete Innovations, on his personal journey, the inspiration behind the Free and what the future holds for Nike.
Core77: Let's start with a bit of your background—tell me a little bit about yourself and how you ended up at Nike.
Tobie Hatfield: Sure—I was a track athlete, grew up in the state of Oregon and knew Coach Bill Bowerman (I didn't know Phil Knight when he was an athlete). When I was a senior in high school, he actually made me my first pair of custom-made track spikes. At first, he X-rayed my feet to actually find out where my bony prominences are, underneath my foot, so he could re-drill the holes and put the spikes in the proper places just for my foot. Little did I know, at that time, he was already starting to teach me about innovation—about working with an athlete, listening to an athlete...
It's something that I look back on, even today, 23+ years later at Nike... but I didn't know I was going to be a footwear engineer, footwear designer, I really wanted to be a track coach—my dad was a track coach for 40+ years. After high school, I went to college, and then I [continued] pole-vaulting for a couple more years. I got into coaching, and I coached at the collegiate level.
During that time, Nike was recruiting me because I spoke Mandarin, because I was married at the time, and my wife is from Taiwan. They were always trying to get people to go overseas, to work with the factories, and knowing that I already spoke one of the languages would make it a bit easier.
But I denied that for a while until my dad came down with cancer—I'd been away from Oregon for about ten years at that time and felt like things were pulling me back to the state... like, well, if I'm going to go back, I might as well go ahead and see what Nike has to offer, so I accepted their offer to have some interviews. At the end of a week of many days of interviews, I was actually offered two jobs, and I took the one where I actually started learning about materials, which is perfect because [at the time] I didn't know much about shoes at all, let alone the ingredients of them.
A brief history of Nike Innovation: Cortez (1972), Nike Sock Racer (1985), Air Huarache (1991), Air Rift (1995), Air Presto (2000)(more...)
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Sounds great, right? The ideal candidate has 3+ years of agency/in-house work under their belt, designing clean, modern, inspiring pixel-perfect interfaces across platforms showcasing impeccable layout and typography skills. He/she also has a strong understanding of the development process. Prototyping experience is a plus. To find out more about this great opportunity, Apply Now.
A gentleman with the unlikely name of Guido Einemann sought to design and build, as Ron Paulk did, the perfect workbench to suit his needs. But unlike Paulk's mobile solution, Einemann wanted something shop-based. A master carpenter & cabinetmaker by trade, Germany-based Einemann needed something that could hold unusual-shaped pieces like staircase stringers, could expand to hold wide pieces, would feature a vise for clamping, could change height while he worked on assembling cabinetry, and could be wheeled around his shop.
Thus he developed Der Montagetisch Einemann, a line of scissor-lift-enabled worksurfaces incorporating a variety of clever features, including vacuum clamping! Check it out:
Here's a closer look at that overhead, powered, tool-holding, cable-and-hose-managing contraption (der Multischwenkausleger, or multi-swiveling boom) and how the vacuum-clamped finishing process works:
Spotted at Holz-Handwerk.(more...)