Posted by erika rae
| 17 Apr 2014
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
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.
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.
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
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
All 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.
Marc 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."
Left 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.
Posted by Ray
| 17 Apr 2014
It's never a perfect analogy, but it can be interesting when it comes close enough: Attempting to translate one creative discipline into another is, to mutilate the metaphors, more difficult than turning water into wine—rather, the old saying regarding "dancing about architecture" comes to mind. For Milan Design Week 2014, the Centrum Designu Gdynia ambitiously sought to distill a dozen products by Polish Pomeranian designers into culinary delights. Although the concept itself was executed to varying degrees of success, "Taste of an Object" offered a nice twist on the tried-and-true local design showcase.
Taking inspiration from Richard E. Cytowic's The Man Who Tasted Shapes (MIT Press 2003), the Gdynia Design Centre worked with razy2 design group to develop an exhibition in which "an object goes beyond the limits of how it's typically perceived."
"Flavors have shape," he started, frowning into the depths of the roasting pan. "I wanted the taste of this chicken to be pointed shape, but it came out all round." He looked up at me, still blushing. "Well I mean it's nearly spherical," he emphasized, trying to keep the volume down. "I can't serve this if it doesn't have points."
..."When I taste something with intense flavor, the feeling sweeps down to my arm into my fingertips. I feel it—its weight, its texture, whether it's warm or cold, everything. I feel it like I'm actually grasping something." He held his palms up. "Of course, there's nothing really there," he said, staring at his hands. "But it's not illusion because I feel it."
So goes the excerpt of Cytowic's book, a seed of source material that is planted in the geopolitical context of the Pomerania region of northern Poland, across the Baltic Sea from Sweden. Described as "a region of a turbulent history linked with and age-long fight for independence," Pomerania is also an incubator, "a base for brave yet developing, unique projects."
Mouthwatering though they may be, chef Rafal Walesa's gastronomic concoctions are only obliquely related to the products—but that's precisely the point. After all, one can only imagine that literal interpretations of, say, a radiator (there are actually three heating-related products in the show) or an urn might not be nearly as appetizing as the photogenic treats that were on view. (Note: The captioned images below alternate between food and product, with the dishes followed by the design that inspired them.)
Chocolate sponge cake is perhaps the ultimate comfort food
"Welna & Powietrze" armchair by Malafor (Agata Kulik-Pomorska & Pawel Pomorski)
Hard candy is intended to symbolize cast aluminum, while its lemon tea flavor conjures the contrast of heat on a cold winter day
"Pillou" radiator by None Grupa (Marta Szaban & Antoni Krzempek) for Terma
Red wine jelly offers a twist on a drink for a solemn occasion
"Tear Drop" by Aeon Form (Aleksander Bielawski, Robert Kowalczyk & Dominik Sedzicki)
Posted by erika rae
| 16 Apr 2014
You may not see much of your well-worn childhood flip books past the age of 10—or maybe even younger thanks to the intrigue of more developed, tech-savvy toys. Juan Fontanive has something to say about that. His series of motorized flip books feature lifted images from Audubon guides that loop through colorful images of birds and illustrations of butterflies. The tiny sculptures-gone-film-art are made up of mixture of miniature gears, sprockets, clips, nuts, bolts and wormwheels. The result is an oddly soothing, page-flipping loop. Check out his newest compilations in action:
A group of MIT scientists have created a new material that can be both a mirror and a window, and no it's not a one-way mirror.
This new material can filter light depending on the direction of the light beams. In the image above light that hits from one angle goes straight through (white beam) but light that hits the material at different angle is reflected back (red beam). For designers it might make for interesting new tricks for walls or new forms of windows.
To filter light one must alter either it's frequency or polarization. In terms of frequency, stained glass windows are a good example, where the glass lets specific wavelengths pass through.
Polarized glasses, like the 3D glasses you wear at the movies, are able to let light through that oscillates in a specific way. But the idea of filtering light based on the direction it comes from has always been tough.
A Core77 reader wrote in to ask about the provenance of this enormous horse made from wood cut-offs, which we spotted at Holz-Handwerk.
Called the "Workhorse of Peace and Hope," it was made by Italian furniture outfit Riva to symbolize the dedication and perseverance of Italian craftsmanship.
And speaking of wooden animals, here's something I never expected to see being sold by Restoration Hardware: A line of Hand-Carved Game Trophies made out of basswood.