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Posted by Coroflot  |  24 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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How often during a year, or perhaps a month, do you find yourself frustrated or underwhelmed by a tool, system or product you use regularly? Better yet, how often during those moments do you think to yourself, "If only it worked this way instead..." If you've ever dismissed the viability of these ideas because they would be too difficult/costly/complicated/inconvenient to manifest, then the third installment of the RKS Sessions is for you.

On August 5, RKS Sessions presents The Transformation of an Idea into Mass Success, featuring Craig Hickman, creator of the easy-to-use paint program Kid Pix. Hickman saw how frustrated his own son would get trying to use early computer drawing programs and turned his own "why doesn't this work better..." moment into the iconic easy-to-use paint program that encourages children to use computers.

Sign up today to attend this presentation on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM in Santa Monica, CA, where you'll learn how Hickman incubated his idea into mass commercial success.

Posted by erika rae  |  24 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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We've written about Morpholio's powerful app-based design tools in the past (here and here), but you might not know that they also foster design students through an annual competition called Pinup. This year, I had the privilege of sitting on the jury team—along with a solid lineup of fellow design editors and writers from Fast Company, ArchDaily, Interior Design Magazine, Design Milk, Design*Sponge and more—and I want to share a few of the many impressive submissions that were honored in this year's competition. From a curvaceous 3D-printed mask to a safer ladder, the submissions hailed from across a broad range of design typologies and disciplines

Entrants had a choice of three categories: Emerging Talent (young professional designers), Future Voice (student designers) and Shapes Future (annual themed category, this year featuring 3D printing), but the entry guidelines are intentionally left vague, which added a nice element of surprise to the judging process.

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Perhaps my favorite entry came from San Francisco-based designer Jasmine Kwak. Her submission took on the idea of living within a community and how each separate "nuclei" of family units could be brought closer together—physically in day-to-day movements and activities—with her entry "Communal Living." "Traditional colonial housing models are designed for a single nuclear family. Hence, the houses are introverted, meaning all the activities, whether communal or private, happen within the four walls of a house," Kwak explains. "This project proposes that these existing houses to become extroverted by opening up the existing circulation and communal spaces. These spaces now become a semi-open and public space, encouraging any communal activities in a house to happen within the community scale."

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With the "Ephemeral Beauty" headpiece, Jiang Yuan has achieved a rare level of grace and refinement for a 3D-printed design.

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Posted by core jr  |  24 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

OscarZhaoYvesBehar.jpgOscar Zhao & Yves Béhar: "You had me at nihao."

Late yesterday afternoon, we learned that Beijing's BlueFocus Communication Group will be taking a majority stake in fuseproject, Yves Béhar's design firm. This marks the growing agency's first foray into the States; it first dipped its toes into Western waters in April of last year, with a 20% stake in Huntsworth PR group, followed by taking a majority stake in We Are Social (both based in the UK). Now, the Financial Times reports that "BlueFocus will pay $46.7m in cash for 75 per cent of Fuseproject, to be paid out over several years depending on performance." (Figures on the agency's net worth and remarkable ascendancy are available here.)

If fuseproject, of Jawbone, Sodastream and Ouya fame, is a household name in the design world, we (like most of you) hadn't heard of BlueFocus prior to yesterday's announcement. Make no mistake, they are by all accounts a juggernaut, not just among native Chinese companies but on the world stage as well. Founded by Oscar Zhao in 1996, BlueFocus currently employs some 2,800 people—it is reportedly the biggest PR agency in the world—and Béhar's 75-person team, will join the ranks of the ~700 others at companies in which BlueFocus has a majority stake. fuseproject will continue to operate independently; while its multidisciplinary portfolio and services (i.e. rebranding Paypal) may well complement and align with BlueFocus's long-term goals, the San Francisco-based company is ostensibly the first industrial design consultancy in the Chinese company's highly diversified holdings.

BlueFocus.jpgContrary to alarming AQI reports, BlueFocus invites blue-sky thinking at their Beijing headquarters (via Baidu maps)

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Posted by Coroflot  |  24 Jul 2014

Work for Skip Hop!

Are you passionate about designing functional, fashion-forward bags that improve the lives of those who own them?
Are you a quick-thinking, creatively driven, multi-tasking team player who loves tackling many projects at once?
Do you have product design experience that spans a wide variety of products?

The dedicated but easy-going creative team at Skip Hop wants you to help designing and developing the most innovative functional bags to help make parenting easier. This Bag/Product Designer role in Brooklyn, NY requires a specific combination of skills - product design experience plus fashion forward know-how. One without the other won't cut it here, but if you possess both, please don't hesitate to check out the rest of the job description and Apply Now!

Posted by erika rae  |  23 Jul 2014  |  Comments (1)

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If you could combine a cooler with another product, what would it be? A built-in ice crushing blender, a USB charging station, a waterproof bluetooth speaker, or a hidden cutting board? How about all of the above? These are only a few features of the portable icebox that raised close to six million dollars in the first week of its crowdfunding campaign. Now, I don't have a problem with the classic cooler, as inferior as it may seem next to the 'Coolest' cooler—I have many fond memories of get-togethers on the deck of my childhood house sprinkled with a rainbow of coolers filled with frozen treats for the kids and beer for the adults. But you would have to be a little out of your mind to argue that this isn't a significant upgrade to the original design (which dates back to 1954, history buffs).

Check out the video for more information on the frippery and flounce that the Coolest has to offer:

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Posted by Christie Nicholson  |  23 Jul 2014  |  Comments (5)

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In 2007, a student at the University of Tokyo brought a lump of a grey, sparkly mineral to his professor Tsutomu Miyasaka, with the hope that this material might have potential to make cheap and efficient solar cells. But it only converted 4 percent of the sun energy to electricity. Not that remarkable.

Now, however, things have changed. Seven years later the unremarkable lump of rock called perovskite is beating out most solar cells on the market, getting 20 percent efficiency. The progress has sped up because researchers around the world saw the potential in this mineral.

While the sun is pretty much a limitless source of energy for all of us, the cost to capture it remains the challenge. The typical residential solar roof might get about 15 percent efficiency in sunlight and provides electricity at 50 cents/watt. This is twice the cost of coal.

So it's got to get cheaper in order to pull ahead as our number one energy source. Right now the top-performing cells, made of gallium arsenide get a maximum efficiency of about 30 percent but are prohibitively expensive.

The cheaper options like copper indium gallium selenide (a flexible material) or cadmium telluride (as cheap as silicon) get only about 20 percent efficiency.

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Posted by erika rae  |  23 Jul 2014  |  Comments (1)

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You've gotta love a house that comes with instructions. The newest project from Iranian design group nextoffice scales up the the space-saving technique behind the Murphy bed and enhances it with a bit of Hogwarts-like whimsy. Their work on the three-floor Sharifi-Ha house in Tehran incorporates a series of semi-mobile rooms, which can be oriented to allow for extra space and sunlight.

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As any city dweller knows, you don't have a lot of square footage to work with in urban hotspots. This design addresses this issue a stack of three rectangular rooms that can either be aligned flush against the façade of the home or rotated perpendicular to the outer wall—creating weather-friendly options for both a winter and summer living space.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  23 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Every once in a while, a star shows up on Jimmy Kimmel Live and you find that their mother is sitting in the audience. On the show last night something similar happened, albeit with an unusual guest—a bipedal 14-foot monster named "Bodock." Watching proudly from the crowd was Stratasys manager Leslie Frost, tweeting pics and updates.

That's because key parts of the creature, like the chest armor, shoulders, arms and fingers, were enormous ABS parts that came out of a Stratasys 3D printer. "Everything about the giant creature project was ambitious, including size, weight, delivery schedule and performance requirements," says designer Matt Winston. Without large-scale 3D printing and specifically, access to a Fortus 900mc, which has an insane build envelope of 36”×24”×36”, "none of it would have been possible."

Designed by FX house the Stan Winston School and engineered by technical firm Legacy Effects, "Bodock" was created for San Diego Comic-Con, which opens tomorrow. (Kimmel watchers were given a sneak peek a two days early, as the host gleefully revealed to a crowd of unsuspecting kids that Bodock contains the internal plumbing to spray liquid sneezes.) Leading up to the launch, Wired's been tagging along and shooting the development process:

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  23 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Regardless of whether you're in the Invasion of Mypace camp, or the Well That's How Business Works camp, Facebook has been playing games with your heart. As we all now ought to know, Facebook has admitted to experimentally filtering feed results to test emotional response and behavior in users. While it's hard to consider experimentation without informed consent to be anything less than blatantly shady, it's also well within their legal rights. Ethical it ain't, but then again deskchair epidemiology has never had the luxury of such self-selecting scale.

But the biggest bummer—other than seeing an upswing in pictures of your exes and their stupid beautiful lives—is that we didn't get to see the results! Not so any longer. Artist Lauren McCarthy created the Mood Manipulator, a browser extension that allows you the gratification of choosing your own digitally devised mood swings.

Now you can choose your own emotional filtering rather than passively interacting with a pre-adjusted feed filtered by unseen researchers without enough scruple to feel weird studying emotional effects in people who have not been notified. These tasteful opt-in controls give you four tonal "channels" with three positions each: Positive, Emotional, Aggressive and Open (in other news four-metric psych news, the Myers-Briggs test is totally meaningless). Just download the extension and toggle your way to psycho-social harmony.

MoodManip2.jpgAlways with the babies

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  23 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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I hate to write this, but "You'll never believe what happens next!"

Speaking of anamorphosis, check out French artist Bernard Pras' nutty room-sized sculpture below. Pras practices the cylinder-free variant of anamorphosis, and the results have to be seen to be believed:

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