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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  21 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Given that most of you love oddly specific minimalism, you should be familiar with "Ultralight" backpacking. If not, start here. Regardless of your fitness level, the appeal of ultralight is undeniable—it speaks to the core of good design: make it simpler, keep it functional. UL definitions vary in pound-maximums and philosophies, but for most it boils down to the fact that the lighter your gear, the more you are free to do. For the hardcore aficionados, UL is literally a lifestyle, where the weight of everything is known in grams and ounces and enthusiastically hacked away at. For the general practitioner, the aim is to carry as little as possible outdoors without sacrificing safety. General guidelines often suggest that a full pack should weigh less than 10lbs to qualify as UL, and under 25 to make it into the lightweight bracket. (When in doubt, call things "lightweight" rather than UL if you want to avoid the semantic title-mongering of true believers.)

While all detail-oriented hobbies attract a certain percentage of wonks, UL is a growing trend for a reason. Efficiency out on the trail/mountain/river/etc. is a big part of the draw, along with the basic body-mechanical fact that lowering pack weight reduces strain and increases comfort... Comfort you are free to negate by doing something painful like a through hike. How many of us have tried "backpacking" only to find it a gigantic heavy drag? It may seem obvious from a designer's armchair, but simplifying the systems frees the user to focus on other things, like the beauty of the trail. And counter-intuitive though it may be, removing the load bearing structure and cushy padding and webbing and pockets and D-rings on a backpack can actually make it more comfortable. Rather than trying to be every bag for everyman, Ultralight gear is task-specific, minimal, and as a result ergonomically approachable.

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Posted by Coroflot  |  21 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

Work for Crown OkCupid!

This dating site is looking to hook someone up as a designer for their mobile interface, which introduces millions of users to new people. OkCupid—which is located in New York, New York— is the fastest-growing online dating site. This team member will lead the design of mobile features from concept to release; design visual interfaces, user flows, and compelling interactions; translate complex ideas into elegant, intuitive designs; work closely with front-end developers, software engineers, and other designers; and explore and experiment with the future of the OkCupid interface.

To land the job, you'll need one or more years of professional mobile app experience (with high user volume, preferably); a swoon-worthy portfolio of interface designs; proven understanding of interaction design concepts; and an excellent sense of typography, layout, and mobile design principles. If this sounds like the job for you, Apply Now.

Posted by Ray  |  21 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Along with the nearby ECAL exhibition, Studio Formafantasma's "De Natura Fossilium" at Palazzo Clerici was one of the most buzzed-about projects in the Brera District this year—after all, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin consistently present excellent work during at the Fuorisalone, and this year was no exception. The Eindhoven-based pair often look to their Italian heritage for inspiration; this time around, they took inspiration from the November 2013 eruption of Mount Etna, creating a beautiful collection of tablewares, textiles and small furniture items from the byproducts of volcanic activity.

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The project page for "De Natura Fossilium" does a far better job of explaining the work than I ever could, including striking photos by Luisa Zanzani; the "Process" section in particular illustrates the depth of Formafantasma's practice.

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Volcanic glass, procured by remelting Etna's rocks, has been mouth-blown into unique vessels or cast into box-like structures that purposefully allude to the illegal dwellings and assorted buildings that have developed at the foot of the volcano. Drawing on their own vocabulary, these solitary glass boxes and mysterious black buildings have been finished with such archetypal Formafantasma detailing as cotton ribbons and Murano glass plaques.

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In homage to Ettore Sottsass, the great maestro of Italian design and an avid frequenter of the volcanic Aeolian islands, this new body of work takes on a linear, even brutalist form. Geometric volumes have been carved from basalt and combined with fissure-like structural brass elements to produce stools, coffee tables and a clock."

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Posted by erika rae  |  18 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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With Easter right around the corner, it's the perfect time to introduce a quirky gadget made just for eggs. With a name like Golden Goose, you would expect to find it among the pages of a children's fable or scenes of "Game of Thrones" (and really, it is pretty magical), but this appliance is destined for the kitchen.

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The Golden Goose, created by Chicago firm Y Line Product Design, is a surprisingly low tech method to making your own Golden Eggs—which are 1.) actual things, and 2.) scrambled eggs that are made in-shell. Golden Eggs are considered delicacies due to a gap in the "in-shell scrambled egg" appliance market, according to the gadget's Kickstarter campaign.

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By using centrifugal force and a carefully designed egg chamber, the Golden Goose shakes everything up without breaking the egg's shell. After your egg has been sufficiently rattled, you're free to eat them any way you'd like—soft boiled, fried, hard boiled, deviled, pickled; wherever your taste buds take you.

Check out the campaign video to see how it works:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  18 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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3D-print-happy designer Michiel Cornelissen is at it again. To create his clever ZooM lampshade, Cornelissen has adopted the trick we first saw Sklyar Tibbits messing around with, where you print something small and made out of interlocking pieces that can then be stretched out to occupy a greater volume. In this case, gravity does the work for you.

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Created as a programmable object in generative design software, ZooM has a structure created from hundreds of repeating elements that together form a series of interlocking spirals.
3-d printing allows this pentagonal lampshade to be manufactured flat and completely assembled; folded out, it's flexible like a textile, while maintaining its form like a rigid product. The semi-transparent structure shields the bulb's glare, while transmitting light efficiently.

Cornelissen is selling them in two sizes, a 20-cm and 28-cm version. And as cool as it looks in blue, at press time it was only available in black or white.

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Posted by Carly Ayres  |  18 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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While the Layers Cloud Chair might feel (and look) like you're sitting on a cloud, the bulbous lounge is anything but weightless. It's made from 550 pounds of solid wool—and its construction was a woolly beast of its own. Designed by Richard Hutten, the chair made its debut in Milan last week as part of an exhibit by the Danish textile manufacturer Kvadrat, which enlisted 22 international designers to explore the diverse capabilities of its Divina fabric.

"For me, designing is in the first place a thinking and research process," the Rotterdam-based Hutten says. "So I looked into the material. What makes it special? How does it look, feel, smell? How can I use it in an exceptional way?" Divina is a durable wool blend, and Hutten chose to focus on what he considered the main qualities of the material—its soft tactility and its availability in a range of vibrant hues.

As an added challenge, the designer resolved to use Divina as the structure for the object itself. "I wanted to use the Divina material as the sole material for the piece, not only as a cover, which is the normal way it's being used," he says. "These I called 'the rules of the game.' From there, the playing started."

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  18 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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We thought the PermaFLOW transparent sink trap was a pretty brilliant innovation, allowing you to see and clear those pesky under-basin clogs. But from Philippe Starck by way of Hansgrohe comes the Axor Starck V, which brings transparency up where we can see it. Starck calls it "a mixer that represents the absolute minimum: totally transparent, almost invisible, and enclosing a miracle that is the vortex."

While the impetus for the design—reportedly five years in the making—is poetic...

With the beauty and dynamism of its vortex, the mixer bridges the gap between the functional and emotional aspects of water at the washbasin, transforming it from a basic commodity to a valuable resource.
...Besides serving the technical function of making water visible, transparency aesthetically fuses the mixer body with its surroundings, thus, in essence de- materializing it. The openly designed spout contributes to the natural water experience: before the eyes of the user, the upward, swirling motion of water through the mixer's body and its "free-fall" into the washbasin trigger a feeling of joy and happiness.

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Posted by core jr  |  18 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Although NYCxDesign is still three weeks away, we've been lining up some of the content for the C77 Design Daily—after all, it's our very first effort at publishing our content in print and it's not going to write itself.

In the interest of verisimilitude, the Daily will feature an advice column from renowned designer Ayse Birsel. With some twenty years of experience working with leading brands and Fortune 500 companies, Ayse is the co-founder of Birsel + Seck, a New York City-based design studio, and the creator of the acclaimed Design the Life You Love workshop series.

Please submit your questions to mail[at]core77.com with the subject line "Ask Ayse" by Thursday, April 24, for a chance to have Ayse answer your questions in print when we publish the Core77 Design Daily from May 16–19.

And don't forget to submit your events ASAP to ensure that they make it into our event guide!

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  18 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Winter might be coming to Westeros, but here in NYC it's the impending arrival of summer that has me worried. Your correspondent has relocated to new, poorly-insulated digs with a bank of drafty south-facing windows, and I can't afford the BTUs it'll take to keep this place cool.

While seeking inexpensive desk fans I came across this USB LED Fan Clock. Yes, I know most everything that plugs into USB that isn't a thumb drive is total junk, but it caught my eye because it actually delivers two useful functions, even if the time delivery is a bit garish.

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  18 Apr 2014  |  Comments (4)

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This week in nouveau-Cold War news: MIT researchers will present plans for floating nuclear reactors, adapting existing technologies towards a goal put to rest during the Ford Administration. Floating reactors might sound futuristic—or dystopian—but they're not a new idea, having been proposed first in 1971 by Offshore Power Systems (a joint venture by Westinghouse Corporation and Tenneco). That original plan combined several of the features the new MIT design hopes to capitalize on: mass producibility, increased distance from populations and use of the sea as a buffer against damage.

This new design combines modern oil rig sensibilities with light water nuclear reactors in a package that can be mass produced and towed into position five miles offshore. A crucial benefit of oceanic operation is the protection from tsunami and earthquake damage. Deep water insulates well against both seismic waves and the destructive end of tsunami swells, making it an obvious boon for growing, catastrophe-prone energy markets like Japan.

This kind of mass-produced floating reactor fleet was originally scuttled due to economic instability and raging environmental concerns. The 1979 Three Mile Island accident led to over 300,000 people evacuating their homes, and left the public with a powerfully bad taste for the energy source. Subsequent catastrophic failures and willful breaches of safety (see: Chernobyl, Hanford, Fukushima Daiichi) have perpetuated nuclear power's troubled reputation, but nuclear power development is still on the rise.

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