If You're Serious About Developing Uniquely Differentiated Products, Sundberg-Ferar Wants to Hire You
Sundberg-Ferar is serious about identifying how to make a product uniquely and compellingly differentiated in the marketplace and everyone on their staff of researchers, designers, engineers and prototypers are dedicated to that goal. They are looking for a mechanical engineer with a minimum of 2 years 'hands-on' experience in consumer product design and a BSME, BSEE or equivalent to join their Detroit, MI team.
The right person for this role will have experience with electronics, electromechanical systems, and control systems. They'll need to know how to apply creativity and engineering expertise to develop innovative products that work. And, when they are hired, they'll enjoy one of the best benefits packages around. Don't wait - Apply Now.
Things That Look Like Other Things: A Rocking Chair and a Bench Inspired by a Bicycle and a Skateboard, Respectively
Seeing as seating and transportation are the proverbial bread and butter of design, the occasional hybridization of two functions in a single form is all but inevitable, manifested in various shapes and sizes. So too can conveyances be reimagined as articles of furniture, as illustrated by these two projects.
First up, the Randonneur Chair by Two Makers is easily the most interesting piece of cycling-inspired furniture we've seen in a long time. Rather less cheeky than Jeremy Petrus's homage to George Nelson and certainly more elegant than the regrettable 'Fixie Table,' the bespoke piece holds its own as a classy rocking chair even as it unmistakably alludes to the bicycle frame as a design object. The Randonneur Chair is characterized by exposed brazing at the joins, as well as lugged construction to the effect of a proper headtube and seatstay cluster, bolt and all); other features include dual bottle cages and the Brooks handlebar tape to accent the drops. While I personally would be curious to see a more subtle version of the chair sans these details, it works equally well with the overt reference points.Inspired by classic hand-built racing and touring bicycles manufactured by the master Constructeurs of the 1940s, the Randonneur Chair is handcrafted from Reynolds 631 tubing, hardwood and bicycle saddle leather. Using bicycle geometries and traditional frame-building techniques, it is both a celebration of cycling and of bespoke British craftsmanship. (more...)
Most new sneaker designs we see these days involve fancy new materials, new production methods and/or experimental soles. But in terms of function, they remain the same as they've been for decades. Inventor Steven Kaufman's Quikiks, on the other hand, have a very unique design feature: They can be donned and removed without the use of your hands.
"There are 50 million people just in the United States," says Kaufman, "with various physical or cognitive challenges that greatly limit their ability to don their own footwear." Kaufman was inspired to design the opening/closing mechanism, which can be applied to a variety of footwear styles, after his son Alex was diagnosed with scoliosis and forced to wear a brace that prevented him from bending over to manipulate his shoes.
"I didn't know anything about shoe making," writes Kaufman. "I just had a vision of how it might be possible." He then put in five long years and produced dozens of prototypes, and now his designs are finally ready for primetime. Here's how he developed them, and how they work:(more...)
The real heart of Design Week is the chance to peek behind the curtains and into the workspaces of creative people around town. Come by the Hand-Eye Supply Open House to check out the back story of how we do what we do, because sharing is vital, and snooping in inspiring!
Community engagement is key to supporting a creative culture, and for HES that engagement is more like an endless honeymoon. Our fortnightly Curiosity Club speaking event highlights the varied talents of local minds and encourages ongoing learning. The HES Quarterly brings together talented people and cool gear every three months. While creative work takes good tools and elbow grease, it also benefits from a strong social network.
Tour the shop and facilities 4–7pm, today. And if you didn't get tickets you can still tune in online at 6pm to catch the talent-packed panel presenting at the Design Week edition of Curiosity Club.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 4–7pm
427 NW Broadway
Portland, OR 97219
Last month's design-education spectacular is over, but please indulge us as we present one more piece of (belated) back-to-school content. As we were compiling those interviews, confessions and FAQs, we thought it would also be fun to ask some established designers to tell us about their own most memorable d-school moments. So we reached out to a bunch of folks and asked them each the same question:What's the craziest, most outrageous or most regrettable product or project you dreamed up during design school?
Here are answers from ten noteworthy contemporary designers.
Initially, I was sure it was this thing I made called the Unimelt 5000, which melted chocolate creatures and turned them into hot chocolate. Inside was some pretty wily electrical work, including a hair dyer, a milk frother, a blender and a garden hose. But then I was looking through some school photos, and there's a laundry list of questionable choices! Others include a coffee table that you had to lube up and spin into an orgasm; a giant waffle standing on syrup drips; a cast rubber chair; and a giant wall-mounted wrecking ball.
I was far too serious in university to develop anything really crazy and outrageous. But when I was teaching at RISD in 1991, I developed concept projects to inspire my students. I would produce pedagogy based on our future digital tools. Here is a mobile phone "tree" that was composed of a small mobile handset and removable touch screens with real-time images so you could leave your last video call image up on the tree to remind you of your family or friends. In 1991 this was only a fantasy that now is a reality.
The first thing I thought of was this project for Nike to design the shoe of the future. I came up with a shoe filled with live bone cells, and the structure of the shoe would form/grow around your foot as you walk. I still think it's kind of a cool idea, but pretty far out-there. As I recall, my teachers were not so thrilled, nor was Nike. Some fellow students found it to be as awesome as I did, while others thought that it's super icky (which it is). No regrets, though!(more...)
As part of the popular Passionswege—the Vienna Design Week platform that links international design talent with industry in the city—rising stars of London design scene PostlerFerguson have been working with craftsmen at 200-year-old producer of fine jewelry, A.E. Kochert, to make these stunning microphone accessories for Viennese DJ and music producer Ken Hayakawa, who uses sound recordings from the streets of Vienna as the basis for much of music.
The piece—designed to hold Hayakawa's weapon of choice, the AKG C1000 microphone—is a great example of the Passionwege's intention to combine the skills of designers with traditional manufacturing. Conceived and digitally modeled by Martin (Postler) and Ian (Ferguson) in the studio in London, the form was later printed into a mold used to cast the object from molten metal, then of course being given an exquisite finish by the team at the Kochert workshop in central Vienna.
As well as being damn stylish and a celebration of Hayakawa's unique composing process, the accessory is intended to give some real functional benefits—the cone shape providing a shield or the microphone whilst also providing a flat surface to rest the recorder. The addition of an equally crafted clip gives the option to keep the cable under control or providing a hook to hang the microphone from.(more...)
When I first started writing for this wonderful blog, the one you are on right now, I started off by writing about co-creative processes in relation to education and learning spaces. One of the offices that contacted me in relation to these articles was STL architects, a Spanish architecture studio based in Chicago. I arranged a Skype call with the two directors of the office, Luis Collado and Jose Luis de la Fuente, and we ended up talking for over an hour as shared our previous projects, work methods, processes and personal experiences.
In this interview you will be able to read about their way of working, the strategies when entering a project and their latest project, developing a 20-year master plan expansion for Wilbur Wright College in Chicago, which started working on in the beginning ofJjune this year.
The Wilbur Wright College is one of seven Chicago City Colleges, designed by Bertrand Goldberg architect studio back in 1986, all of which are currently undergoing a major remodeling. At the moment, the college hosts students from the age of 18 and up. It is divided into three different programs:
- Credit programs
- Continuing education
- Adult education
Course offerings range from African American Studies to Zoology.
The goal for the central authority of the Chicago City Colleges is to create a 20-year master-plan expansion, while the end goal with the expansion plan for STL is to "create spaces that promote learning."
A 20-year master-plan expansion
STL's mission is to create a 20-year master plan expansion for Wright College, which includes taking the university through a major transformation from the inside of the organization to the outdoor lawns. One of these changes is transforming Wright College from being one of seven city colleges—which allow the students the possibility of studying almost anything between heaven and earth—to focusing on IT, making it the IT hub of the Chicago universities.
In order to be able to handle this big change, STL had to dig their teeth into more than just the exterior and interior of the building—they had to study the existing structure of the organization to get a true understanding of how to create, and be a part of, a lasting change.
Based on previous experience, STL had prepared themselves for a rather stubborn, and difficult-to-please client, similar to the ones they had encountered in the past. But to their great surprise, that wasn't the case this time around. The client, which in this case consists of administrators, stakeholders, students and the central authority of City Colleges, completely broke this perception by giving STL loads of encouragement and support.(more...)
In an earlier entry we looked at inflatable airplane slides, which are designed to allow passengers to safely descend from a couple of stories in height. But what about when the distances are greater? For that there are escape chutes.
The central design challenge with an escape chute is how to arrest gravity to modulate the escapees' speed, so that you don't have people breaking their legs at the bottom and/or piling up on top of each other. What's interesting are the different approaches by which companies try to tackle this. The Ingstrom Escape Chute, for example, works by pure friction:(more...)
It's already amazing that two teenaged brothers, aged just 15 and 18 years old, would start a company together. It's more amazing that that company's goal was to reclaim wool. Most amazing of all was when they started this company: In the year 1878.
In 19th-Century Italy, the brothers Calamai began collecting secondhand wool garments, shredding them into strips, and selling them to factories to be re-spun into yarn. But as the boys became men, they began amassing mechanical equipment that they could use to re-process the wool themselves, and eventually opened their own reprocessing factory. Decades before anyone even knew what environmentalism was, the Calamais were pioneering the art and science of reclaiming materials.
Here in 2014 the successful Figli di Michelangelo Calamai is now run by the fourth generation of Calamais, and while factory technology has advanced, they still stick to the old principles: They reclaim the wool from old garments and scraps mechanically, not chemically, and minimize the need to re-dye by carefully sorting colors.(more...)
Our tour around Vienna Design Week last week gave us a chance to finally get a first-hand glimpse of winners of the 6th annual Recycling Designpreis—the touring exhibition of the awarded works having already made their way slowly form Berlin to Hamburg to Dusseldorf this year.
The winners and shortlisted works on display showed some awesome creativity in turning discarded items into surprisingly desirable products—upcycling at its best. Some of the most ingenious pieces even managed to identify a material stream beyond the obvious—fashion student Viktoria Lepeschko made striking outerwear from the skins of old tennis balls and designer Michael Hensel created uncompromisingly industrial furniture from used escalator steps.
Furniture designer Henry Baumann snagged first prize with his clever and intricate use of fruit crates to create a range of benches, stools, lamps and coffee tables.(more...)
Creative Minds: Athena Maroulis on Cultural Heritage, Social Design and a Never-Ending Love of Knowledge
It's interesting how things sometimes end up in your lap—in this case, it was a bag belonging to a friend of a friend that ended up on my kitchen table, and things developed from there. Those of you who already have read a few of my interviews from this interview series know that I have a tendency to stumble upon people and things that catch my interest. Well, the bag on my kitchen table sparked my interest and led me on a quest to find out more about the woman behind the brand. Turns out, she's been staying in Copenhagen for a few months. Lucky me!
Read on to learn how a woman born and raised in Australia ended up starting a bag brand in Guatemala.
Core77: What inspired you to start designing?
Athena Maroulis: I've always loved colors, patterns and dressing up since I was a kid. My mother is an architect and both of my parents have travelled a lot and have an appreciation for art. Our house was full of paintings, art deco furniture (my dad's obsessed), African jewelry, millinery ribbons (my great grandmother was well known hat-maker) and exotic fabrics amongst other things. I think that growing up in this kind of environment makes you conscious of shapes, colors, textures and how things are put together.
Other than that, I have been sewing since I was around 13 and learned how to make garments. From there, I placed top 10 in the state in my final year textiles and design and knew I wanted to have my own fashion business. It seems that design has been in my life from an early age.
Being exposed to items from so many different cultures most have triggered your imagination on many levels. Do you remember any particular piece that you found extra interesting?
It's hard to pinpoint one piece specifically. I have a huge appreciation for structured lines and symmetry and I think it's due to the art deco buffet table, drink cabinet and side board that we had in our home. However, I think my favorite thing (now and forever) has been dressing up, so I've probably spent countless hours fossicking through and trying on the fabulous pieces in my great grandmother's old costume jewellery box. There are the most amazing chintzy, glitzy, rhinestone encrusted statement jewellery pieces in there. I still find them so fascinating and beautiful.(more...)
Back in September 2012, I travelled to Detroit for a few days with Julian Bleecker and Nicolas Nova (two of my partners at the Near Future Laboratory). We invited many of our friends along too, for three days of discussions about the future. These friends included science fiction writers, designers, artists, engineers and makers, and we wanted to talk about a very particular type of future. For those of you who read my previous Core77 piece 'The Future Mundane,' this will come as no surprise. We wanted to talk about a future of middling indifference, of partly broken things, of background characters. A future where self-driving cars weren't a fantasy, but another place to be bored. A future where drones didn't draw gasps of awe, but eye-rolls of indifference. A future where today's 'technology' had become tomorrow's ho-hum.
Over three days, we ran a couple of workshops at the Henry Ford Museum and the university of Michigan discussing future product cycles, emerging behaviors and societies, but we had a very real purpose. Rather than facilitating a think tank, whose output was another written tome, blogpost or article, we wanted to produce a thing. A very real thing. A diegetic prototype. This thing was a catalog.
When we look at catalogs of any sort, they give us a tremendous understanding of the current state of things. In a very succinct way, they describe an entire society, its cultural norms, behaviors and tolerances. What's exciting about catalogs is that they become anthropological references over time. If you have ever picked up a catalog from the seventies for example, you'll instantly be transported to a place and time where the smallest details in shoe buffer design, TV remotes or advertisements tell much more about a society than any dry historical document. (As an aside, visit the Wishbook Archive and prepare to lose an entire afternoon).(more...)
The London Design Festival, now in it's 12th year was back bigger than ever with festivities spreading even further into the metropolis. The usual suspects; designjunction, Designersblock, Tent, and Superbrands were out in full force with more design eye-candy than you can wave a well crafted candlestick at. There was a lot of unexpected treasures to be discovered in peripheries, and once again the organizers did an amazing job with producing and branding the design festival.
London Design Festival 2014:
» Highlights from LDF14 at the VA
» Lee Broom Launches 'Nouveau Rebel'
» The First Law of Kipple
» Dominic Wilcox's Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car and Dezeen x MINI Frontiers
» Highlights from Designjunction
» Highlights from Designersblock
» Highlights from Tent London
» Global Color Research x Giles Miller Studio: 'Ten Years of Color'
» Ernest Wright & Son Scissormakers on Shoreditch Design Triangle
Changing the world is all in a day's work at Apple. If you love innovation, here's your chance to make a career of it. You'll work hard. But the job comes with more than a few perks.
The Production Artist supports the Interface designers who create Apple software. Production is directly responsible for building, speccing, slicing, and resizing all pixel-perfect design assets. They maintain up-to-date files, uniform naming conventions, and ensure design consistency across all assets and products, i.e. Q.A. Production is responsible for delivery and follow through of all design assets and specs to engineering.
If you are passionate about software and visual design, and want to work for one of the greatest companies on earth, here's your chance: Apply Now.
Tonight marks the start of a dense week of design, craft and innovative thinking as we kick off this year's Design Week Portland. This evening's opening party will feature installations by Set Creative and a DH set by local legend Rev Shines of Lifesavas. From October 5th through 11th, the rest of the events are cast far and wide over the city. This year there is an official HQ, located inside a series of geodesic domes in Pioneer Courthouse Square, where information and registration are centralized and where experimental events will take place throughout the week.
Like the design field itself, the festival's highlights are all over the physical and conceptual map. The lineup is thick with speaking events, open studios, demonstrations, curated shows, and panel discussions. The exhibited work ranges from modern architecture and cutting edge advertising to letterpress and ecosystem design.
Stay tuned for live and almost-live coverage of the highlights and question marks of this year's DWP.(more...)
The Principals and Devonte Hynes Present 'Ancient Chaos,' an Immersive Sound Installation, at the Sonos Studio in NYC
Devonté Hynes with "Ancient Chaos"
Normally we'd be skeptical about a pop-up venue by a wireless speaker company, but seeing as Sonos was hosting the likes of John Maeda, The Principals, and New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones—to say nothing of the musical artists—at Neuehouse this week, we'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Billed as a "weeklong exploration of the intersection of music, art and technology," the Sonos Studio includes several multimedia pieces and performances especially commissioned for the pop-up at the event space, including a collaboration between The Principals and Devonté Hynes, a.k.a. Blood Orange. The design studio and musician recently unveiled "Ancient Chaos," a site-specific installation at the venue in Lower Manhattan: a series of articulating, ceiling-mounted panels (made of mylar 'scales') that is complemented by an 11-minute composition by Hynes.
Given an open brief to collaborate, Drew Seskunas of the Principals noted that their introductory meeting two months ago was "really wonderful, kind of abstract... we kept it loose." You wouldn't know it by looking or listening, but Hynes was reportedly inspired by none other than J.S. Bach, specifically a book called The Cello Suites by Eric Siblin; The Principals, for their part, took the opportunity to reimagine the "Cosmic Quilt," which they originally exhibited at NY Design Week 2012. "It was a system that had a lot of potential but wasn't fully realized in the first iteration of it." Where the original piece responded to movement—i.e. differences in light and shadow—the new one responds to the physical sound wave of the music.
Devonté Hynes performing "Ancient Chaos"(more...)
What you see above are the new, no-tools-required connectors Ikea's designers have developed for their new Regissör line of furniture. Rather than using knock-down fasteners, they've created a wooden plug that looks like a cross between a dowel and a honey dipper.
The way that these "honey-dipper dowels" (not what they're officially called, but better than the "wedge dowel" title other blogs are calling it, which makes no sense) work is that the narrower end is pre-installed at the factory, leaving an exposed male end.
The female end of the connection, meanwhile, has been plunge-routed into the surface-to-be-adjoined, keyhole-style:
Because the router bit has the same accordion-like profile of the dowel head, the male end then slides into the routed grooves, maximizing the contact area to create a nice friction fit. You can see this in action in the video below.(more...)
If you've ever assembled a piece of IKEA furniture, you've undoubtedly seen the two items up above, and you understand how they fit together:
For the average consumer that doesn't know what they're called, they're named cam lock nuts and cam screws. You'll hear them referred to colloquially as "knock-down fasteners" (and occasionally "Confirmat fasteners," which I believe is incorrect; if enough of you are interested in why, let me know in the comments and I'll pull another entry together). They've been a mainstay of IKEA's flatpack product line for as long as I can remember, although from a design perspective, it seems clear that their benefits are outweighed by their drawbacks.
The meager benefits of cam lock nuts and screws is that they can be driven with a Philips screwdriver, which most consumers have rattling around in a drawer somewhere, and they provide a relatively quick connection method that's low on labor. And on the manufacturing side, they can be used with butt joints, which is by far the simplest and least expensive thing to cut on a production line.
The drawbacks are far greater. The key flaw is that they're designed to be used with particle board, which does not take fasteners well. Because of this it's easy to drive the screw in at a slight angle. The screw is then forced straight when the end user inserts it into the cam lock nut, and this further weakens the point of connection between the screw threads and the mushy particle board fibers. The resultant connection will not withstand shearing forces well, and multiple cam lock nuts and screws are needed along a single edge to form even a barely tolerable connection. Lastly, cam lock nuts are unattractive, and IKEA designers of course take pains to put them on the insides or undersides of surfaces.
IKEA's global influence alone is enough reason for independent manufacturers to keep producing these inferior pieces of hardware. (You can find them everywhere from Amazon to eBay to Home Depot from a variety of manufacturers.) Thankfully though, the designers at IKEA's HQ have been working on a new connection method with several advantages over cam lock nuts. Stay tuned.(more...)
Years ago I was driving down Interstate 80 when a minivan rocketed past me in the left lane. I was doing about 70 in my Golf, the Dodge Caravan was doing maybe 95. Seconds later my rearview mirror filled with the flashing lights of a New Jersey State Trooper. As I pulled to the side to let him pass, I then realized he was pulling me over.
The cop explained that he had me going 87 on his radar gun, rolled his eyes at my suggestion that he tagged the wrong guy, and wrote me a big, fat ticket. It was obvious to me that the gun picked up the minivan, but as the cop came over the rise in pursuit, he saw my sporty little Golf and figured I was the culprit.
They used to say that if you bought a car in red, you were more likely to be pulled over. And if I was a cop tagging a group of cars and unsure of whom was the speeder, yeah, I'd probably pull over the car with the sportiest design. Backing this up, if a recent U.S. auto insurance study is to be believed, seven out of the top ten Cars That Get the Most Tickets (doesn't say for speeding, so it could be for any traffic infraction) have what we consider sporty designs. What's surprising is how un-sporty the other three are. Admittedly our parsing of this study involves a little guesswork, as only the models, not the specific production years, are mentioned. But here's the top ten, judge for yourself:
Some 28.1% of drivers that own this tiny econobox with a rather dramatic side swoop get ticketed.
9. Toyota FJ Cruiser
A bit too bulky to be considered sporty, we think, though you can't deny it has an aggressive profile. At any rate it's good enough to get 28.4% of its drivers pulled over.
8. Scion tC
This diminutive but fat-fendered coupe, particularly in this color, looks like trouble. It also has 28.8% of its owners reaching for their license and registration.(more...)
Adam Michaels & Anna Rieger of Project Projects on Designing Core77's First Book, 'Designing Here/Now'
Adam Michaels and Anna Rieger of Project Projects looking over Designing Here/Now
Core77 was delighted to work with New York-based studio Project Projects to design the Designing Here/Now, published by Thames and Hudson. Headed by Adam Michaels and Prem Krishnamurthy, Project Projects is a design studio focusing on print, identity, exhibition and interactive work with clients in art and architecture. In addition to client-based work, the studio initiates and produces independent curatorial and publishing projects.
We sat down with Michaels and designer Anna Rieger to talk about the inception of the project and how it took form.
Core77: We were excited to work with Project Projects on one of the most ambitious projects we've ever taken on. Tell us how you began the design process and what challenges you saw at its inception?
Adam Michaels: We, too, were thrilled to be asked by Core77 to collaborate on Designing Here/Now. It's always a pleasure to work on projects in which design itself is the overt subject matter, as we certainly remain obsessed with this stuff. As potential readers, we found the book's vast array of projects (spanning innumerable media and materials) to be an intriguing, valuable source of information.
Anna Rieger: Core77 had never published a book about their awards before, though they've had a well-visited website for years. In considering the book's design, we thought about the web's interactive features (for example, the live video announcements about the awards, and videos helping to show objects' materiality). For the book we tried to emphasize the strengths of the medium, creating a design that would reward sustained attention (still easier with a book than in the midst of the web's many distractions) and contemplation, while allowing for quick, occasional browsing (the book's navigation is always quite clear so the reader would never feel lost).
How did you approach this project given how many categories and discrete elements of content were involved in the final piece?
AM: As book designers, we're drawn to projects with a degree of complexity and scale, in which we determine through typographic, formal, and material means how best to bring clarity to substantial amounts of information. So we were enthusiastic to develop an overall design that balances a consistent, overarching structure (crucial when working at a scale such as that of this 448-page book) with a varied, playful flow through the book's contents from spread to spread.
This flow is first structured by the book's categorical breakdown (also articulated through elements such as running headers); then a relative weighting of projects kicks in (award winners are generally shown at a greater scale); subsequently, the spreads become the result of a process akin to that of assembling a kind of free-form, information-dense jigsaw puzzle. Variables include the details of text per entry; type of image; potential scale of image (resolution issues remain the scourge of this sort of project, involving hundreds of images from nearly as many sources). Each layout is then the result of an attempt to produce an appealing composition—also making sure a given set of projects works well together on the page—after taking this significant range of details into account.
The Project Projects office in New York City(more...)