Now in its fourth year, Noho Design District has taken on a few different permutations over the years, encompassing various pop-up exhibitions from a tiny Japanese butcher shop to a four-story lumber company headquarters (which happen to be on the same block, no less), reflecting both the changes within the neighborhood and the landscape of American design as a whole. Once again, our friends Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov of Sight Unseen have masterminded a neighborhood-wide celebration of young and emerging designers. In addition to partnering with several co-conspirators such as Future Perfect and American Design Club, they've also curated the flagship Noho Next group exhibition, featuring 13 handpicked studios that comprise a showcase of design talent.
The exhibition took place over the weekend at Subculture, the event space in the basement of the 45 Bleecker Street Theater, which hosted Tom Dixon's London Underground exhibition last year. (I don't know if I'm dating myself with the reference, but I remember going to the Crosby Connection sandwich shop when they occupied the cafe a few years back...). Although it happens to be closing as I write this, hopefully our documentation can serve as future reference.
Fabrican is a sprayable fabric that actually contains fibers, and after curing it can be washed and re-worn. It first created an internet stir in 2006, but for reasons only the internet gods know, Fabrican is now resurfacing on social media and often being mistakenly presented as new.
Don't get us wrong, Fabrican is amazing. But it is not new, and serves as a reminder of just how long it can take to bring a good idea to market, and how dogged inventors need to be. Manel Torres first conceived of Fabrican way back in 1995, when he was an RCA student studying fashion design, after watching a friend get sprayed with Silly String. Torres began to collaborate with chemical engineers, and by 2000 he'd filed a patent and set up R&D facilities at Imperial College London.
Three years later Torres formed Fabrican Ltd., and another three years went by before the blogosphere picked up on the stuff. Here in 2013, seven years later, there are still no announcements for commercialization; the "News" section of Fabrican's website saw its last update in 2010.
Has Torres given up? Doesn't look like it, as he's delivered several Fabrican-based TED Talks as recently as last year. We can only speculate as to what's preventing the appearance of Fabrican on store shelves, which is what we'd really like to see; while Torres is proposing industrial solutions targeted at the medical, automotive and fashion design industries, we think selling the stuff in cans and letting you guys figure out what to do with it would be a good way to go.
Hit the jump for some videos (one NSFW, if you work in Puritan America) showing the stuff in action.
As we saw with NEMO Equipment's gear, clever design can enable air to play a significant structural role with camping gear. In NEMO's case, that air is provided by a pump.
Portland-based inventor Ryan Frayne is also experimenting with air, but he's zeroed in on a particular element of the user experience: How to get the air into the product. To that end, Frayne has focused on designing a special valve, and the results are pretty impressive. Frayne's Windcatcher design amplifies your exhalation, using physics I don't understand to multiply your air volume by a factor of 10 or 15—with the added benefit that you don't even have to put your mouth on the thing. Observe:
Frayne's Air Pad seems like a good entry-level product design, but we feel it's his valve that will be the killer app. An easy, pump-less way to inflate things could play a major role in everything from disaster relief to life-saving devices.
Although this year marks their first ICFF, PELLE Designs actually dates back to 2008 or so, when co-founder Jean Pelle developed the first Bubble Chandelier. She met her future business partner (and husband) Oliver about ten years ago at the Yale School of Architecture, and each went on to work for major firms before setting out on their own.
The "Quadrat" series of tables takes its name from the German word for "square"; Oliver left his native Germany to study architecture in the States
Thus, their debut collection consists of iterations on the designs: the Bubble Chandelier is now UL listed, and they've just introduced a long version (not pictured) for a total of nine different shapes and sizes (they've also taken an interesting step in making all of the items available to order through an online store).
Jean noted that they make and hand-carve the Soap Stones in their Red Hook studio
It's been over a year since Ford has incorporated foot-activated tailgates into their cars, and we're hoping by now some of you have direct experience with them. (The bulk of Core77 editorial staff is a bike-riding, subway-catching, sneaker-treading lot.) Ford designers' simple observation that many people approach their trunk with both hands full, and their incorporation of a feature that pops the trunk open by waving your foot under the bumper, is a welcome one. But for those of you actually living with one of these cars, how is it in practice?
For those of you who've not yet heard of this, the way it works is a sensor on the car detects when someone with the key fob on their person is in proximity. It then enables a laser sensor under the rear bumper to read when a foot breaks the beam, and that opens or closes the trunk. Observe:
But if we look at this less-slickly edited video...
There are only a handful of brand logos that are as recognizable as the classic green and white Starbucks emblem. From their vast array of coffee and tea accessories, right down to the little green splash sticks, each element of their packaging successfully honors their products.
You now have the opportunity have your designs influence this quintessential branding as the next Senior Packaging designer at Starbucks.
You'll need eight years of packaging design experience and a passion for improving the customer experience through creative and brand research, all while providing across the board quality through thoughtful design solutions.
Starbucks is looking forward to hearing from you. Apply Now
Stockholm's Konstfack is among the university design departments that occupy the removed North Building of the Javits Center this ICFF, a more manageable—albeit somewhat sparsely populated—exhibition hall in contrast to the main floor of ICFF. Despite—or perhaps because of—the largely theoretical curriculum of graduate programs in Industrial Design, the 11 first-year Master's candidates at Konstfack undertook a self-initiated project to actually make objects, which they first exhibited during Stockholm Design Week back in February. According to the Negative Space website:
What is a negative space? Can it be framed by something other than matter? Can a negative space be made tangible?
Ten explorations on the possible meanings of negative space showcasing new and intriguing perspectives. By shifting focus from matter to the space that it occupies, the designers have found new ways of working by investigating the relationship between objects and the surrounding space. Presented here are a series of individual interpretations of negative space, culminating in a fascinating interplay between form, memory, movement, light and time.
Insofar as the theme itself is intangible, the students took a broad range of approaches; even in the case of light, which might be considered an easy metaphor for space, the inspiration and execution varied significantly. Nevertheless, the overall aesthetic of the work is quite minimal, in keeping with both the theme and Scandinavian design language in general.
Unfortunately, the logistics of overseas travel and the tradeshow setting made for a somewhat attenuated exhibition—i.e. the convention center simply isn't the ideal context for exhibiting the highly conceptual work. (I find that the Javits Center, for all its cavernous, harshly-lit real estate, is something of a 'negative space,' if you'll excuse the pun.) In any case, the students were excited to be in New York—a first for many of them—and they were eager to share their work.
Daphne Zuilhof's "Spin" stool inspired friendly jealousy amongst her peers for it's packability. It takes it name not from the English verb but for the Dutch word for 'spider,' where its collapsible legs delimit a volume that is a usable space.
Although we've already covered Reclaim x2 fairly extensively at this point, it's easy to overlook details such as, say, the actual texture of the felt chair or the concept behind Emilie Baltz's dyadic infusions. If it wasn't clear from the photos of the Bonus Table 571—which it by no means should have been—it was made with enzymes. Bushwick-based design duo Colleen & Eric (whom we'd previously covered at ICFF in 2011) collaborated with bioengineer Loe Hubbard and sound designer Ben Cameron on the small side table, which features a cryptic Rorschach design on its surface. They explain:
Pure tones tuned to the natural resonant frequency of the wood result in vibrations, determined by the tabletop's size shape and density. The vibrations reveal a geometric pattern inherent to the wood.
The resonant pattern is etched away by an enzyme cocktail tailored to the molecular structure of the wood. This process is similar to acid-etching a metal plate, such as in printmaking. The difference is that this is based on a live process; using enzymes derived from forest floor microbes.
Shane Chen is a Washington-based inventor obsessed with moving the human body. His company, Inventist, has been developing strange-looking personal transportation devices for nearly a decade. We took a brief look at his Solowheel a few years ago, and it finally went on sale just last year. Check it out:
For those looking to burn some calories, Inventist's Orbit Wheel is user-powered:
This week we spotted objects and installations poised for a big reveal. At first look, their structure was familiar, elements not particularly out of place. But with a quick visual adjustment or test of expectations, something altogether different—a trompe l'oeil—appears.
Even though our furniture often serves several functions, the art on our walls typically exists just for our eyes. But during Milan's SaloneSatellite exhibition for emerging designers, Japan's YOY Design Studio packed more features into the frame. YOY's canvases, made of wood, aluminum, and elastic fabric, and then screen-printed with images of couches and chairs, actually support sitting. The secondary use is startling, so it might require a little explanation before asking that guests take a seat.
Last month, the Swiss artist Felice Varini adorned the exterior of the Grand Palais in Paris with a work made from a very specific point of view. From the street, the vibrant orange stretched triangles look haphazardly splashed against the building. But observe them from the hall, and the applied scraps of color align, creating something that looks more like a projection than a perfectly planned effect.