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Posted by erika rae  |  22 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Fire and heavy electronic beats may not be the first things you'd associate with a children's classroom lesson. The team at science/tech blog Veritasium met with a group of "physics and chemistry demonstrators" that combined all three in an audio visualizer they tour around to help demonstrate the shape and intensity of various sound waves. Turns out it's just as cool for adults as it is for the kiddos.

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By creating a pyro board of Ruben's Tubes—essentially rows of Bunsen burners (see above)—that moonlights as a sound board, it's easy to see the flames jump as the different soundwaves pass over it.

In Veritasium's video, the first half address how the entire thing works and the second half consists of music and lots of fire (if you're just in it for the flames, make sure to stick around past the first half). Check it out:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Apr 2014  |  Comments (1)

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You don't think of big-name designers doing furniture for schools, but Danish furniture brand Hay scored Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec to do their line for the University of Copenhagen. The resultant Copenhague line is a handsome blend of wooden desks, tables, chairs, and stools, some stackable. And in a nod to modern needs, the tables and desks featuring bent plywood provide a slot where the dual surfaces meet, intended for power cables to be routed through.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Apr 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Editor: After going Hollywood in Part 5, here in Part 6 Accidental Designer finds a casual suggestion from his wife is about to change their lives. As one door closes, another door (this one on a shipping container) opens....


I was down in my basement workshop, failing.

I had been trying to produce a lightweight and affordable bamboo folding chair for Hollywood sets. After hundreds of hours and countless prototypes, this problem just had me beat—and I knew it. I mopped my brow and called up the stairs to ask my wife if we had any sandwiches left.

My wife is a mean cook and she goes through cutting boards like nobody's business. It doesn't matter what they're made of, she just plain wears them out. "I need a new cutting board, this one's through," she called down the stairs. "Can you scrape up some of that bamboo and make me one?"

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I looked around at all of the bamboo scrap I had and thought, well, here's a problem I can solve. I glued up a bunch of scrap pieces, more than I needed just for the sake of doing something, and by the next day I'd made her a cutting board and a few back-ups.

Following that, to clean up my shop area, use up a bunch of scrap and exercise my brain, I threw myself into gluing up cut-offs and began experimenting with different styles of cutting boards. After failing with chair prototype after prototype, it felt good to successfully make something—anything.

I had consistently-shaped scraps in several different sizes, and so I designed the cutting boards around the shape of the scraps. By the end of my clean-up project I had several dozen good-looking cutting boards. I felt like my table saw and router respected me again.

I didn't think much of this until a few weeks later, when I was loading up my truck to hit a craft show in Arizona. I was bringing the $2,000 bamboo chair even though I knew it wouldn't sell, and also bringing some consumer-grade chairs I knew I could sell, just because I needed the cash. The extra bamboo cutting boards I'd made were sitting in the corner. I figured they'd be Christmas presents for relatives, which would save my wife and I some cash since we were getting close to broke.

Still, I grabbed a bunch of the cutting boards and threw them in the truck. I didn't think I'd sell any, but figured I'd use them to gauge interest.

Maybe you can guess what happened next.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Apr 2014  |  Comments (1)

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And now for a bit of local news. Pearl Paint, NYC's famed art supply superstore and one of the original supply sources on Core77 version 1.0, has closed after more than 80 years in business.

This signifies the demise, for industrial design students at Pratt Institute in particular, of Canal Street as a destination for supplies; in the '90s we'd travel to Industrial Plastics on Canal & Greene, Space Surplus Metals around the corner on Church, and cap it off with a trip to Pearl for everything the prior two stores didn't have. Now all three outfits are gone.

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Posted by erika rae  |  22 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

PlantingSystem-Lead.jpgAll photos by Omar Nadalini

Nurturing a houseplant isn't exactly a well-designed process for casual growers. You plant the seeds, water the sprouts once in a while and hope that something nice-looking makes an appearance after a while. Most of the time, it's hard to tell what's going on between the act of planting and the end goal of appreciating a full-grown arrangement. The Phytophiler Flower Pot System by Dossofiorito has something to say about that. The System (which was presented at this year's Salone Satellite) includes your everyday terracotta flower pots with a few add-ons—magnifying glasses, rotating bases, mirrors, etc.—to enhance the growing process.

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The Phytophiler becomes a centerpiece of a different caliber once it's all set up. The add-ons can be rearranged, added and removed depending on what parts the grower wants to focus on. When assembled, it throws off an Inspector Gadget vibe—but in a homey, non-catastrophic kind of way.

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  22 Apr 2014  |  Comments (2)

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This is the second of a mini series on lightweight backpacking and the designers who love it. We previously spoke with Mike St. Pierre of Hyperlite Mountain Gear.

Whether you think ultralight backpacking sounds like hell or vacation, it provides a special dilemma for design minds. Ultralight gear has to be minimal, ergonomic, versatile and very very light. To get a higher-level industry take on the lightweight challenge I spoke with Mike Pfotenhauer, founder, owner and and chief designer of Osprey Packs. Osprey is over four decades old and renowned for innovative, ergonomic and, yes, lightweight pack design. Still independently owned and operated, they're a leading name in multiple fields of backpacking. When I caught up with Mike he had just gotten back from Southern California—a region he's required as a Northerner to speak poorly of—where he'd had a nice time hiking around Big Sur. (Don't tell him I told you.)

You guys have been doing pack design for a very long time. What sparks new ideas now?

For us a new design is often a compilation of older ideas that finally make sense. We build many iterations when developing a new product. Often it requires a minimum of 15 or 20 different versions before we can finalize a new product. All of this experimentation is never wasted. Our prototype archives are loaded with innovative concepts that are just waiting for the right opportunity. We have a lot of ideas stored. In fact, I just told everybody we have to dig out today! We have so many prototypes we're tripping over them! It's insane, we're drowning, we could get lost in them!

Do you still have a hand in the design process?

I'm definitely still involved in the design process. We have a design office in Mill Valley, and up until two years ago I did almost all of it. Now I have two design assistants and a production manager, and the design team in Vietnam, who turn the designs into prototypes and so on. We get a lot of input from distributors and vendors too. We travel to Vietnam where we have 35 people in the development office. With web conferencing we keep the product on a 24-hour development path. They build samples and ship them here or we go over them online, and go over them again and again and again... until the curtain. It's been worked to death by then. So that's three designers—two less than half my age, which is interesting. Young minds to keep me thinking young.

You guys just put out a new Exos. What's your take on going ultralight from a design perspective?

I really appreciate limitations. With any lightweight gear you have that rule—you want to keep it simple. It's also nice from a sustainability angle. Less process, less material. I do gravitate towards lightweight, towards minimalism. I like the challenge to strip things away. We're pretty known for that—gear that's lighter but durable. Not too light, though. We have an extensive warranty program and we don't want stuff coming back. Or getting thrown away!

How do you determine desired weight and work towards it?

Comfort, efficiency and load transfer are the concerns at the top of our list. Once we've accomplished those we do what we can to strip weight where it won't be detrimental. Because we develop our prototypes entirely in-house we know the product intimately and every gram that's not pulling its weight is discarded. With the Exos we knew that a highly tensioned back panel would be far lighter and more comfortable and ventilated than one with plastic or foam. We stripped dense foams out of the hipbelt and shoulder straps and created more ventilation by using layers of 3D mesh.

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Posted by Ray  |  22 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Spazio Rossana Orlandi is perenially among the must-see exhibitions during the Salone, and its namesake design patron is perhaps the definition of a doyenne. This year, her multi-chambered, multi-level space hosted an eclectic mix of students, small studios and well-established designers, several of whom happened to be exhibiting kitchenwares and other vessels.

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Konstfack's "Talking Table" was a showcase of experimental tablewares that explore the nuances, dynamics and social norms of dining. Students from the Industrial Design and Jewelry & Corpus programs (some of whom we'd met at ICFF last year) presented consistently thoughtful and well-crafted design objects, from the 'ghost' place setting (smartphone not included) to the napkin for two, a comment on Eastern vs. Western dining traditions.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  21 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Yes, this thing is every bit as crazy as it sounds. Matthias Wandel, the man behind Woodgears, recently built a tall wooden scaffold to be able to change the lightbulbs in his secondary hangar-like shop. But to climb up, change a bulb, climb down, move the scaffold to the next bulb, climb back up, etc. would be a slow process, so Wandel decided he'd motorize the entire contraption. As if that weren't daunting enough, he designed it to be driven and controlled from up top--using a simple drill and some woodworking ingenuity.

As for how he did it, and how this thing works, you simply have to see it to believe it:


Posted by erika rae  |  21 Apr 2014  |  Comments (1)

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In the late 1950's, a swiveling star was born—or rather, designed. Furniture designer and architect Gianfranco Frattini created a revolving bookcase that not only gave books a home, but was fit for displaying other decorative belongings, as well. Now Poltrona Frau has taken Frattini's lead and recreated the much-loved bookcase with few modifications—hey, timeless design is considered such for a reason—naming it "Albero," which means "tree" in Italian. After discovering the ROOM Collection last week, all kinds of customizable furniture systems have been catching my eye—this one included.

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Frau's reintroduction of the design is a reminder that vintage furniture doesn't have to be overused (or used at all), kitschy or "retro." The bookcase's customization and easy use that made it so popular in the first place continues to ring true in today's world where tiny urban apartments and homes are far too common.

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Posted by Moa Dickmark  |  21 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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For the third interview of Creative Minds, I would like to introduce Giorgio Giussani. I've been following him and his love for analog photography for quite a few years. His way of experimenting with analog cameras and traditional films is refreshing in these days of photoshop and Instagram. Born and raised in Italy, Giorgio lived and studied in London for ten years, traveled the world and is now based in the tropical island of La Reunion.

You can follow him and his adventures with the camera on Flickr, Facebook and Twitter

Core77: You have been in the creative field for a long time, what was it that first awoke your interest?

Giorgio Giussani: I believe people are born creative. Personally, I have always loved "making" things from when I was a kid. I grew interested in graphic design and photography later on, probably around when I was a teenager. I still remember having an old Kodak compact film camera that I loved using. Somewhere along the way, I abandoned the use of film cameras, until nine years ago, when I stumbled upon a bright red Holga camera in a market in Stockholm. I've been using film ever since—I believe that it was that Holga camera that more awoke my interest for analog photography.

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You say you used to make things when you were young, can you give us some examples?

A little bit of everything. I remember taking kids magazines and drawing a copy of the cover on a piece of paper. This was definitely one of the things I loved the most. Sometimes I was simply tracing over the magazine to copy a character or a picture; other times I was just trying to make my own characters... Not always successfully, but remember that it definitely was fun!

I've always loved bright colours and today you can see how this translates into my photography... I experimented with paint and colored pencils but never took this any further. You can definitely say that making things with my hands has been a constant pattern ever since I was young.

Does this streak of creativity run in your family?

I am the only creative one in my immediate family, at least when it comes to a 9-to-5 job. I believe that each individual is creative, but some show it and nurture it, others do not. Some members of my family can be creative on some tasks—my mom when she is cooking, for example—but they don't make creativity their way of life. Perhaps some people have a need to always be creative, to experiment with their creativity, while others can be creative on occasional tasks but without having this constant urge to create.

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