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


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] 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)


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.


Posted by Kat Bauman  |  18 Apr 2014  |  Comments (1)


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.


Posted by Ray  |  18 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


The Dutch made a strong showing throughout Milan this year, including in Zona Tortona where a loose collective headed up by Frederik Roijé is returning alongside Tuttobene and Moooi to represent of a range of Dutch design from independent studios to major brands. The factually titled "Dutch at Savona 33" features four brands that fall somewhere in between: Roijé's eponymous studio; New Duivendrecht, the brand he co-founded with Victor Le Noble; DUM, returning this year; and Quodes, whom they've added to their ranks this year.

NewDuivenDrecht-1.jpgMore on New Duivendrecht below

Along with the "Smokestack," which debuted last year and has reportedly been selling briskly (or at least as well as a COR-TEN steel chimney might sell), Roijé launched several new products, including the "Texture Tray," which was inspired by hatching/crosshatching, and the "Treasure Table" (below).



Meanwhile, the "Cloud Cabinet" is intended to complement the "Storylines" and "Guidelines" series of book shelves and magazine racks.



Posted by erika rae  |  17 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


While some may call a clear, blue sky art enough, French artist Thomas Lamadieu might say otherwise. In fact, he might call it a blank canvas. His ongoing series, Skyart, takes the blank spaces between buildings and turns them into illustrated wonderlands filled with bearded inhabitants and imaginary animals.



His illustrations started out as line drawings lacking any intense detail (see below) and have grown more cartoonish with his recent pieces. It would (almost) be easy to mistake some of his earlier work for messes of telephone lines or flocks of birds in abnormal formations.



Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  17 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


Timers might not sound like an organizing product—but as a professional organizer, I recommend them to my clients all the time. They're great for overcoming procrastination; end-users can set the timer for 15 minutes and do some dreaded task for just that amount of time. Or they might set the timer for 20 minutes and make sure, when it goes off, that they are still on task. And, of course, timers are useful when cooking and baking, or performing any task where keeping track of time is critical.

Yes, many of us carry timers around with us on our smartphones—but not all end-users have smart phones. And for some, the timer on a smartphone is harder to use than a physical timer. And do we want our smartphones exposed to liquids, grease and chemicals?


Both this timer and the one above come from Zone Denmark. The spinning top timers catch your eye, but the other timer has the advantage of being magnetic, so you can stick it on a refrigerator door (unless the fridge is stainless steel). However, the websites for these timers leave me wondering about many crucial design issues, such as these: How long can the timer be set for? What does the timer sound like when it goes off? Does it tick as it counts down?


This basic egg timer comes from Kuchenprofi, and a number of other companies have products that look similar. This one's an hour-long timer, which is pretty common. The company says it has a long, loud ring, which is important. With the simple design, wiping it clean would be a snap. And it uses a mechanical movement, so no batteries are required.


Here's another mechanical timer with a simple design: the minitimer, designed by Richard Sapper for Terraillon. You'll find this one in MoMA's collection; it's at the Brooklyn Museum, too. With this design, the remaining time is visible both from the side and the top.

Matthaeus Krenn had a red one, and he explained how to set the timer: "Twist the two red halves in oposite directions to load a spring on the inside. Then twist back to set the timer to the desired duration." Sounds easy, right? But I wondered how this would work for someone with arthritis.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  17 Apr 2014  |  Comments (3)


Can a single jacket be all things to all people? Of course not, but perhaps a single jacket design could be all things to all fisherman. A Japanese company called Mountain Research has developed this "Phishing Hoody," which at its core is simply a hooded vest:


But by adding removeable sleeves and a variety of extensions, the user can make the jacket longer or shorter, and choose pocket styles based on the gear they'll be carrying that day.



Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  17 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


Had the Industrial Revolution never happened, there'd still be doctors, lawyers, farmers and merchants—but there darn sure wouldn't be any industrial designers. It's a bit of a shame that the event that enabled our very profession caused such widespread pollution, but we didn't understand the environmental effects back then, and even if we did it wouldn't have stopped men like Carnegie and Loewy.

Now that we are grasping the environmental effects of pollution, what we're learning is staggering. A new study published this week posits that pollution from Asia's industrial boom is affecting the weather in North America. The study, performed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and reported by Live Science, finds that "Pollution from China's coal-burning power plants is pumping up winter storms over the northwest Pacific Ocean and changing North America's weather."

"The increasing pollution in Asian countries is not just a local problem, it can affect other parts of the world," [lead study author and atmospheric scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Yuan] Wang told Live Science. ...Wang and his co-authors examined how the tiny pollution particles in Asia play a role in cloud formation and the storms that spin up each winter east of Japan, in a cyclone breeding ground north of 30 degrees latitude. Monsoon winds carry aerosols from Asia to this storm nursery in the winter.
...The new study finds that sulfate aerosols are among the most important drivers of Pacific storms, by encouraging more moisture to condense in clouds, Wang said.


Posted by core jr  |  17 Apr 2014  |  Comments (2)


Hosted by Don Lehman, Core77's podcast series is designed for all those times you're sketching, working in the shop, or just looking for inspiration from inspiring people. We'll have conversations with interesting creatives and regular guests. The viewpoint of Afterschool will come from industrial design, but the focus will be on all types of creativity: graphic design, storytelling, architecture, cooking, illustration, branding, materials, business, research... anything that could enrich your thought process, we'll talk about.

You've probably seen Craighton's work around before. He's the guy who did that lamp made of an orange extension cord, or that pencil sharpener built into a mason jar to help quantify how creative you've been, or countless sketchnotes from design conferences and events.

Craighton is in the middle of a pretty formidable transition with his work. He's combining most of it under a new brand which he is calling Manual as well as launching a new product called the Manual Coffeemaker or MCM. If you haven't seen it before, it's this beautiful glass terrarium-like, pour over coffee maker, that is more of a kitchen appliance than a tool. The MCM is in the middle of it's Kickstarter funding right now, which is scheduled to end this Friday, April 18. As of this recording it's not yet fully funded, but it's inching closer and closer. So I thought it would be the perfect time to talk to Craighton about what this experience is like. What goes on in the head of a designer who puts their passion project out their for public approval?

Get the Afterschool Podcast, Episode #19 – Craighton Berman, Founder of Manual: Available at the iTunes store or direct download via Soundcloud below.


Posted by erika rae  |  17 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

PSFKConference-Lead2.jpgAll photos by Catalina Kulczar-Marin

Like with any other conference aimed at sparking innovation and creativity, you're going to leave the event with too much information to process. (Moan and groan about buzzwords all you want, but at the end of the day "inspired" is the only way to describe it.) Which, of course, were my feelings concerning PSFK 2014, a one-day conference titled "Connecting the Unexpected." On April 11, the staff of PSFK hosted an auditorium full of marketers, designers, entrepreneurs and other creative types at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. For the sake of Internet brevity and my own sanity, I'll break up a few of my favorite take-aways in accordance with the three speaker categories: Keynote, Spotlight and Refresh. I hope that you might find some of it—yup—inspiring.


PSFKConference-Kushner.jpgMarc Kushner of Architizer

The day got off to a great start. The first presenter—and possibly the most interesting to me—was Marc Kushner, CEO and co-founder of Architizer. While his message was strong on its own, it might have been the easy delivery and candid approach he took to presenting it. Nothing seemed over-rehearsed and instead of cramming a career's worth of work into 20 minutes (speakers were allotted 10- and 20-minute presentation times), he walked us all through one design his firm HWKN took on: "Wendy," the 2012 winner of the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program. He addressed the topic of creating things with personality and pushed his message even further through presenting the thought process behind one of his own successful designs. (His words: "They tweeted at her. They added her on Facebook.")

By taking us through the design process by means of various sketches and photographs of the finished product, Kushner successfully (at least in my instance) reminded us all that architecture is an interactive part of society. My favorite words from the entire event came from Kushner: "Math is intimidating. Architecture shouldn't be intimidating."

PSFKConference-KeynoteComp3.jpgLeft to right: Keith Yamashita, founder of SYPartners; Kevin Alloca, trend tracker at YouTube; and Björn Jeffrey, founder of Toca Boca

Keith Yamashita also served up a noteworthy performance and controlled his presentation (which you can view here) from his phone, which was pretty nifty. His focus was the importance of teamwork in discovering with a successful solution—design-specific or not—and took us through a few steps, or lessons: "Start from a pure place—with equal parts empathy and aspiration," "never delegate understanding," "virtually all acts of greatness are the work of an ensemble" and "greatness is a choice," to name a few.

Brooklyn Boulders's "Cultural Chameleon" Jesse Levin shared his stories of volunteering in disaster areas and drew similarities with the atmosphere and team he has built in Brooklyn. Hiring music acts and housing graffiti artists in exchange for wall decorations are only a few things he has utilized to create a collaborative space—not to mention he's created a co-working space inside of the Brooklyn Boulders gym, complete with standing desks and pull-up bars (no joke). While he wasn't speaking about design per se, the notion that taking creative leaps keeps ideas fresh applies to any domain.




Braun Product Histories. In recognition of Braun's long history of and dedication to good design, Core77 presents this archive of product histories, photos and more to highlight Braun's success in creating meaningful products that people enjoy using.
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