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Posted by Sam Dunne  |   1 Dec 2014  |  Comments (2)


I dare say a fair majority of us here share a healthy designerly appreciation for bags and luggage, and, in all likelihood, are partial, on occasion, to the practicalities of a trusty tote. Knowing that, and the realities of carrying around the sorts of oddities and objects that a life creating demands, I'm might also pressume that you share my pain for difficulties of carrying things flat—be it ferrying a fragile prototype across town at speed by bike or safely transporting some home-made food to a friends, or perhaps some sort of picnic scenario.

If any of this does sound familiar, then perhaps you'll be able to share (or at least forgive) my bourgeoisie delight on stumbling upon something as clever (dare I say innovative!! Too far? Too far.) and well-crafted as the Aplàt—the tote bag for holding things flat. Meaning "for dishes" in French (and perhaps a signifier for the demographic this $44 piece of fabric is no doubt aimed at) Aplàt is the brainchild of San Francisco-based designer Shujan Bertrand, where the bags are also made by hand locally.





Posted by Ray  |  15 Oct 2014  |  Comments (6)


First-world problems: As a frequent air traveler, I was confident that I had my pack-and-go routine dialed in, and it was only by the time that I was halfway to JFK—40 minutes behind schedule, due to e-mail exigencies—that I realized that I'd forgotten the power supply for my MacBook Pro. It wasn't so much the prospect of not having juice on the 13-hour flight but the fact that I was so hasty as to overlook the essential technological tether, at once a fuel supply and a fetter, and that I'd have a narrow window to get ahold of one in Beijing. I made it to the gate with time to spare; once I'd determined that none of the shops in Terminal 1 sold the 60W MagSafe Power Adapter (or a third-party surrogate), I looked up the closest pingguo store to the airport and planned to head straight there from PEK. CA982 was due to land at 6:20pm local time, which would give me about 3.5 hours to make it to the wraparound glass emporium that evening.

16 hours later, I was carefully unboxing a white plastic briquette at a nearby restaurant (with wattage taken care of, I sought food and wi-fi); chagrined that I had to buy one at all, I had it in mind to use it for that week and return it on the way home—my way of leaving no trace. Alas, it was all for nought: I only made it a few days before I ended up peeling off the last bits of protective plastic from the immaculate shell. Overpriced though it may have been, I figured that it never hurts to have a spare, and, insofar as my trip was predicated on being able to use my laptop, it was a justifiable acquisition.

An insipid anecdote, perhaps, about an unremarkable object—which is precisely why it may well represent the final frontier of third-party accessorization. As MeezyCube notes in their Kickstarter pitch video, there are cases galore for the iPhone, iPad and MacBook... so why not the MagSafe adapter as well?

A joke about the "Meh-zyCube" would be too... meezy.

If I didn't know any better, I'd think that this is an outright parody of case creep: It's a grating conceit beyond the fact that I suspect that a sizable proportion of Macbook owners don't bother with the fold-out 'wings' for wrapping the cable; even the dubious durability of the cord can be solved with Sugru. What disturbs me about the MeezyCube is that it's yet another gyre-worthy plastic thing that no one really needs.

First-world problems indeed.

Posted by Kat Bauman  |  12 Sep 2014  |  Comments (10)


What we have here is a sleek and squint-worthy concept project. Award-winning Artist-slash-Industrial Designer Philippe Starck recently partnered with the bike company Moustache to design a series of electric bikes. Not content to stop after attaching fur to a battery-powered snow bike, Starck struck out to reimagine the humble helmet too. Teaming up with bike accessory giant Giro, who have been in the game for a few decades, the result is the elegantly named "The Giro by S+ARCKBIKE Helmet Concept." It's an intentionally layered, architectural-feeling take on one of the least sexy parts of riding a bike.


The helmet was designed with the positive social and environmental impacts of cycling in mind. Its features include a thin aluminum outer skin, a cork body, aluminum and leather harness system. The materials chosen reflect Starck's interest in both "new ergonomics" and renewable resources. They tout the unusual use of "sophisticated, unconventional" cork as a good choice for its anti-microbial and water-resistant properties (properties not shared by the leather components), and the fact that it's a green resource. (For a peek into the [relatively] green production of cork check out our photo gallery or this video on Portuguese production.) Also, cork theoretically has good "impact energy management"—y'know, the entire point of wearing a helmet.


Posted by Kat Bauman  |  17 Jul 2014  |  Comments (5)


Instead of trying to make technology invisible, maybe it should just look better. Hidden in plain sight doesn't cut it for David Okum's Oon power cord. Okum has a background in both philosophy and furniture design, and I'd like to think they both show in his inventive product. Instead of streamlined white tech or blocky beige, Oon sits somewhere between childish bead-stringing and high fashion macro textiles, and juices your devices all the while.

OonCord2.jpgIt easily powers a whole stack of magazines


Posted by Carly Ayres  |  16 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)


Look up at the sky on even the clearest, most perfect summer night here in New York City and you might realize that something is missing. Sure, the moon hovers brightly above the skyline, but the stars are getting harder and harder to find. Just check out this Yahoo Answers thread from a girl growing up in Queens: The stars are gone and it's all your fault.

Maybe it's not entirely your fault, but the folks at Slow Factory want you to take a minute and take note of the light pollution taking place in some of the world's largest cities. With their latest series, "From Above," the silk scarf company aims to draw attention to the light pollution caused by manmade luminescence, the electric twinkle from dusk until dawn outshining the distant cosmological beacons of yore. The scarves feature satellite images of the U.S.A., New York, Paris and London at night, printed on silk to show the illuminated urban sprawl in all its glory.

Founded by Celine Semaan Vernon, Slow Factory is a company based in Brooklyn that prints satellite images taken by NASA onto silk scarves. After her family left their home in Beirut, Lebanon, Vernon was always on the move and found the stars to be a source of guidance and comfort. "Another reason why I began Slow Factory is because as I have grown up, I can see fewer and fewer stars in the sky," shares Vernon. "Considering that we traveled a lot and that I never really felt grounded or connected to a home, I felt the need to look at telescope and satellite images of the stars."


Posted by Kat Bauman  |   3 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


Halfway between picnicware and a dog toy you'll find something sonically surprising. Ssssspeaker is brought to us by the creative minds of Kiev-based Aiia—not to be confused with Danish headphone company AIAIAI or Icelandic band Amiina—whose adorable website gives me an interactive headache. (They helpfully point out that listening to music can reduce headaches by 20%. Coincidence? You decide.) The Ssssspeaker harnesses the power of the ol' iPhone-in-a-cup trick and ramps it up with a backlit 3W speaker and malleable silicone horn. It's even got a tab to help open and close that doubles as an anti-roll kickstand.

This cute little speaker is Red Dot-nominated and looks fairly practical. Given that silicone and amplification aren't an obvious pair, I'm going to assume that its greatest strength comes from the design's flexibility and mobility. Suggested uses include impromptu office parties and depression alleviation. I also propose: beach party, car camping, covert library sing-a-long, and backup tracks for dramatic romantic serenades—I bet it would be much easier to hold over your head for three minutes than a boombox.

Ssspeaker2.jpg"Let a magic sound fill the room!"


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


So maybe the hoverboards aren't happening, but it's ok: downloadable shoes are here! And not the brittle conceptual heels of high fashion, but totally dope [read: unbelievably ugly] sneaks. The trick is printing with Filaflex, a pretty cool material from Recreus that gives a lot more flex than standard options.


While they may look like chiseled plastic, they're surprisingly bendable—effectively combining the 3D printing community's penchants for terrible fashion and the needlessly DIY.


Posted by Kat Bauman  |  28 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)


This vase is a radio. This radio is an elegant vase. Both are beautiful lies, because it is yet another heartbreakingly unavailable prototype and you can't actually put flowers into it. Designed by Celia Torvisco and Raphael Pluvinage, the Hibou Radio is a smooth and tactile radio with a subtle and conductive paint job.


The ceramic base is screen printed with palladium in carefully arranged patterns, allowing you to control power, volume and channel with gentle finger swipes. While the materials and techniques involved are pointedly oldschool, the tactile interactivity feels like modern tech objects anyway. If you don't naturally want to touch this thing I don't know who you are anymore.


Posted by Kat Bauman  |  13 Feb 2014  |  Comments (1)


Last week Portland got hit by what the locals fearfully called a "snowpocalypse" and which was in fact eight inches of snow and a day of freezing sleet. In solidarity with places plagued by real winter or surprising bouts of icy climate change, I present an excellent solution to your outdoor woes: DIY crampons.

Crampons, for those of you too urbane to scale mountains in your free time, are the pronged device strapped to your feet to provide traction over ice or difficult ground. It's what you wish you had every time you accidentally skate down the sidewalk while your life flashes before your eyes. They've been used in some form since ye old Roman days, and really picked up steam in the 18th century when the idea of climbing dangerous ice covered peaks caught on as an enjoyable hobby for bored aristocrats.




Posted by Kat Bauman  |  19 Dec 2013  |  Comments (0)


Headquartered in the ironic flannel capital of the world and sourced from the beautiful shrinking forests of the Northwest, Campfire Cologne offers big smell in a little box. For the urban-dwelling tree-lover, this distinctive scent might just unlock memories of faraway mountains with a certain Promethean je ne sais quoi. The two-part formula is not for the weak of heart: add one part Campfire Cologne and one part flame, and let mother nature imbue the wearer with all-natural ruggedness. Now available in a dual-branded Poler edition.


Posted by An Xiao Mina  |  18 Nov 2013  |  Comments (1)


Driving, as we all know, requires complete and total attention. When operating a complex machine shuttling along at 60 miles per hour, it's not only necessary for the driver to be totally and fully alert, but it's also necessary for public safety. According to one articled posted on New York State's SafeNY site, "The state of drowsiness itself is a significant impairment while driving and has been shown in several studies to be as dangerous as driving drunk. In driving performance testing, 17 hours of sustained wakefulness was equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.05%."

But drowsiness is just one of many issues that can affect driving. The ignition interlock device is designed for drunk driving, but what about everything else? A baby crying in the backseat. A chatty seatmate. A funny joke on the radio. A ringing phone (even if you don't stop to pick it up). In most of our lives these days, we live with plenty of distractions, and those distractions don't go away when we start driving

An article in Wired pointed me to a new system that's intended to deal with these distractions: the Attention Powered Car. A collaboration between the EEG company Emotiv and Western Australia's Royal Automobile Club, the car slows down when it detects distraction.


Posted by An Xiao Mina  |   1 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)


One great thing about smartphones is that they present a readily-accessible map and GPS for directions. As long as you have access to a network, it's much harder to get lost while wandering around a new city or an unfamiliar part of your town. But that's also a downside: Smartphones are screen-based creations, and even though new smartphone maps applications feature voice directions, those don't make as much sense on a bicycle.

The Hammerhead, an attachable device for you bike handles, addresses this problem by providing directions not with sound or direct visuals but simple flashes of light in your peripheral vision. With $51,000 raised on Dragon Innovation, the Hammerhead device works with an app of crowdsourced biking directions. This latter part will be good news for cyclists out there looking for the optimal route from point A to point B, which isn't always the same as when you're driving or walking. Data is communicated from your phone to the device via Bluetooth.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  17 Dec 2012  |  Comments (0)


After graduating from Pratt with a degree in Industrial Design, Matthew Burnett landed gigs designing watches for Diesel, DKNY, Izod and Marc Jacobs. Eventually he broke off to set up his own watch operation, Steel Cake, with a buddy. "The only manufacturers I knew of at the time were overseas," Burnett writes, "so that's where we decided to start manufacturing."


Burnett discovered that his professional experience aside, a small start-up simply didn't have the juice of a Marc Jacobs. "[We] wouldn't receive the same red carpet treatment I was used to when designing for larger companies," he explains. "The time difference made it so that we had to set alarms to wake up in the middle of the night for correspondence." Add to that "high-production minimums, low-production quality liability, and long product shipping timetables" and the venture became untenable.

He started over by founding The Brooklyn Bakery, a vintage revival accessory line encompassing watches, jewelry, wallets, phone/tablet/laptop sleeves, and even pet accessories. And the key back-end difference between this venture and his first is using local manufacturing.



Burnett explains:

Finding a manufacturer in the US was a long process, but once I found the right factory, the opportunities seemed endless. I could now make quick visits to the facility and oversee the manufacturing of my product line. I befriended many of the factory owners I dealt with as they were willing to take the time to help me manufacture the best possible products. If they couldn't produce what I had in mind, they would reach out to their local community to see who could. It was these personal connections that helped me build a dependable network of manufacturers.



Posted by Kai Perez  |   9 Oct 2012  |  Comments (1)

Baptiste_mathieu.jpg Bell & Ross Diving Bell Watch Concept Sketch

Smartphones have settled into a permanent residence in our hands and our pockets. Watches similarly, have historically held a well-established place on our wrists in part to their continual development. One designer contributing to this is Baptiste Mathieu, who interned for world-renowned Bell & Ross Watch Company. Mathieu's shows us an edited and streamlined version of the design process. We are shown everything from the initial sketches, to wax and metal prototypes. We were sad to see Apple didn't produce their much anticipated Nano Watch but to fill that void take an analog approach and look through the rest of Mathieus' portfolio



The design process can at times look gritty and rough until a final clean product is produced. Throughout all these photos there is an ever present consistency to each shot. The sketches are clean and the prototypes edge onto reality, or it could be the beauty of the Bell & Ross watches. Having received a degree in Industrial Design from the International School of Design of France, Mathieu's design process is clearly indicative of his thorough schooling.


baptiste_mathieu5.jpg1:1 Scale wax model: case ideation


Posted by LinYee Yuan  |   4 Oct 2012  |  Comments (0)


Tucked away in a nondiscript hutong in Beijing's historic Dongcheng District is WUHAO, Isabelle Pascal's design platform. WUHAO, number five, is a curated retail experience mixing fashion, furniture, tableware and accessories. Beyond taking in the unique stone and traditional garden setting, stepping through the door of this traditional courthouse is a journey into the exceptionally enthusiastic vision of Pascal and her team. After visiting China in 2002, Pascal was "immediately captivated by the country's energy" and relocated to Beijing in 2009 to develop the framework for WUHAO. Today, she represents a number of emerging Chinese designers—including Core77 faves Naihan Li and Pinwu Studio—and has become a global champion for their innovative design.

The newest designer in Pascal's stable is 21-year-old Mian Wu, a recent Central Academy of Fine Art (CAFA) graduate. Her graduation project, Start from a Ring, is the centerpiece of WUHAO's fall experience. Wu's project examines the process of mass jewelry production and challenges ideas of perfection vs. defective.



In industrial jewelry manufacturing, a silicon mold and wax injection machine produce mass standard wax copies which will then, in turn, be cast using metal into jewelry. The process produces wax defects (see above)—typically these are just reconstituted and injected again. Wu creates beauty from these iterations.



Posted by LinYee Yuan  |  28 Sep 2012  |  Comments (0)


When Lin Lin, co-founder of the Chinese design consultancy Jellymon says something, people usually listen. Her tiny frame conceals a ebullient personality and creative energy that has propelled Jellymon's unique graphic branding vocabulary into an insider's language of what's fun and cool in youth-oriented China.

At this year's Beijing Design Week, Lin Lin took over five rooms in a Dashilar Hutong to present her latest creative projects to the public—accessories and furniture, a new food endeavor and a sneaker branding concept.

BJDW12_LinLin_Spoonfull_XO.JPGTriple X Ohhh! Sauce from Jellymon's Spoonfull of Sugar Cafe

GFG is a personal project from Lin Lin that is an exercise of her passion for product design. The debut collection includes a range of accessories, furniture and tableware. I love the punchout DIY nipple tassles (after the jump) that are packaged in a beautifully designed paper envelope, perfect for gifting. A small group of linked, overlapping "Top Me" rings are an obvious nod to Vivienne Westwood's Knuckledusters but display a delicacy and femininity in the details.



Posted by core jr  |  14 Sep 2012  |  Comments (1)

powerloop.jpegA secure loop that doubles as a charging cable.

We all know that it takes more than 24-hours to create a fully realized product, but in what might be the world's fastest product launch, Quirky teamed up with Fab to host a 24-hour iPhone 5 Accessory Design-a-Thon. Although some of these ideas could use an extra 24-hours or more, the suite of accessories will go from concept to market in less than a week with the winning designs available to consumers beginning on Wednesday, September 19th on


Things kicked off last night as 53 potential products (culled from an initial batch of 1,750 ideas from the Quirky community) went through a rapid-fire evaluation at Quirky's New York City offices. Panelists included Ben Kaufman (Quirky Founder and CEO), members of the Quirky team, Lukas Thomas and Devin Guinn (both buyers from Fab).


With the clock ticking, the panelists quickly narrowed the accessory options down to 18 products and set varying design teams to hammer down the design details and packaging options to ready the products for manufacturing. By 2AM, the teams presented their sketches to the broader Quirky community via livestream to narrow the feature set and details for the final products. See the Quirky blog for more info about the 24-hour Design-a-Thon! We've always been a cheerleader of prototyping fast and early so to go from concept to the factory in 24-hours is pretty remarkable. If only all our products were manufacturer-ready after the first prototype!


As of press time, the design teams were busy prepping the final CAD files for manufacturing. Here's a snapshot of some of the accessories we're most excited about seeing in their fully realized state (click the image to go to the product page):


Posted by Core77 Design Awards  |   9 Sep 2012  |  Comments (0)

Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting award-winning projects and ideas from this year's Core77 Design Awards 2012! For full details on the project, jury commenting and more information about the awards program, go to



  • Rooster
  • Designer: Henry Wu & Yanika Tinaphongs
  • Location: California College of the Arts
  • Category: Soft Goods
  • Award: Student Runner-Up

Rooster is the wearable amplifier bag suitable for street performers seeking the sleek, comfortable touch of sound. The speaker flap could be opened or closed by coated nylon depending on the user's preference, and the bag strap is also the guitar strap as well.


How did you learn that you had been recognized by the jury?
Through the live broadcast, we realized we were the runner-up winners in the softgood category despite the fact that one of us is abroad. A few moments later, we also received congratulating notes from our friends through our social networks and text messages.

What's the latest news or development with your project?
From what we already have, we are planning to modify the appearance of the amplifier frame, giving it a more unique look and enhacing the brand identity compared to other amplifiers in the market. Moreover, we aim to expand our color schemes through the colorful fabric linings, providing dfferent themes such as punk-rock, pop, even bossa according to the lining color.

We have also considered puting it on Kickstarter, striving for good feedback. There are certain parts to consider before we can do that so keep an eye out!

What is one quick anecdote about your project?
Rooster was an unknown project under the theme "wearable sound." We initially started by strolling around public places , looking for the perfect users. Upon searching, we've met two street performers singing on the downtown street of San Francisco. They're Sam Johnson, and John Vicino. The show was very stunning and fantastic, it captures the attention from people around. However, with all those incompatible and heavy equipment, they're only able to perform in limited spots. We even barely discovered a tip jar since there are too many things laying around unorganized.

Through that, we intended to improve the experience for these performers through our product, making it possible to capture the moment, spread the musical culture, and create engagements between the performers and the audience.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  30 Jul 2012  |  Comments (0)


Imagine you're giving a five-minute presentation on industrial design to a crowd of people who have never heard of it. You're asked to show two different versions of the same product, one exemplifying good design, the other exemplifying lousy design, to help the crowd "get it." What objects would you choose? If it were me I'd mention the story of the Jerrycan versus the Allied fuel containers of World War II.

Those two items were designed in the 1930s. What's going on in the design of military gear today? In America we've got the Natick Soldier Systems Center, an R&D center meets design-and-engineering firm focused on military needs. "If a Soldier wears it, eats it, sleeps under it or has it airdropped to them, it is researched and developed on [our] 78-acre campus," explains a Natick press release.

One of Natick's departments is the Load Carriage Prototype Lab, where equipment designers like Rich Landry (pictured up top) create bags and wearable gear holders. A former Pathfinder for the 82nd Airborne Division, Landry recently re-designed the Army's IFAK, or Individual First Aid Kit, bag. The previous iteration of the IFAK was rushed out in 2003 due to sudden military demand and was thus a mere retrofit design of an ammunition pouch.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   8 Jun 2012  |  Comments (0)


Your jaded correspondent rarely sees a product design that causes an LOL, but this one did it. Giulio Iacchetti's tongue-in-chic take on failing eyesight—he's had horrible vision since the age of ten—yielded his 4occhi ("four eyes") eyeglasses, which saves the user the trouble of having to carry regular glasses and sunglasses, or regulars and reading. (It's a more extreme take on the horizontally-symmetrical glasses we showed you at the link below, but these will raise more eyebrows. While your own eyebrows are framed by the upper lenses.)


Though inspired by the classic bifocals, these glasses leave the wearer free to choose which lenses to use: for distance or close-up, for the sun or night use, for eye relaxation, for the mid-distance. Two pairs in one, to turn upside down for lens selection.

Simple in concept but highly original in construction. The frames for this first, limited-series production are made by hand in Cadore from cellulose acetate, a plant-based plastic (the same once used for manufacturing combs and buttons) derived from cotton and wood fibers.


If you haven't already, be sure to check out our Q&A with Iacchetti from last year.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  21 May 2012  |  Comments (1)


"How come travel wallets have always looked like man-bags that don't even fit in your pocket?" asks Australia-based Bellroy, the company dedicated to designing better ways to carry things. "These over-sized 'purses' force you to keep your passport and tickets in a bag, far from the most secure place when traveling."

Their solution is the purpose-designed Travel Wallet, sized to hold everything flat you'd need to get through the hell of JFK or the bliss of Incheon.


Your passport gets the separate compartment it deserves, there's space to hold four credit cards, and the extra-long lengthwise slot means you can stick your boarding pass in there without creasing the barcode, not to mention hold currency from those countries with the weird doormat-sized bills. There's even an included micro-pen that tucks into the spine, so you can fill out that form where you lie about the fact that you're smuggling infected livestock and genetically-enhanced seedlings while carrying more than US $10,000 in cash.


The Travel Wallet's done up in vegetable-tanned leather, in both a dark "midnight" color and a lighter cocoa, the latter of which will more quickly gather that Indiana-Jones-like patina.

Posted by Core77 Design Awards  |   3 Apr 2012  |  Comments (0)


How are technological advancements shaping or informing the design of Soft Goods? Michael DiTullo, our Jury Captain for this field and Creative Director at frog in San Francisco, shares his observations and predictions on the paths that soft goods designers and manufacturers are taking plus tells us why he picked his jury.

Core77: Tell us a bit about your jury and why you chose these individuals.

Michael DiTullo: All four of us, Greg McNamara, M. Coleman Horn, Chris Gadway and myself, are very experienced in bringing a variety of soft goods, footwear and accessories to production for large corporate brands as well as start-up lifestyle brands. I looked for partners on my jury who are excellent designers, have a firm understanding of brand, a deep passion for craft and experience in factory development.

What qualities will you be considering when evaluating each entry?

We will be looking for products that really represent the full package. Winning entries will have a desirable and unique brand position. They will be meticulously crafted and executed. They will be striking and iconic in their own right. On top of all of that, they will have brought an innovative twist to the industry. One of the amazing things about working in soft goods is that you are building on literally centuries of craft. To be able to pioneer a new technique or put a twist on an old one is an achievement. We are going to be looking for that twist.

What are you most excited about discovering while judging the entries?

There are a couple of global trends occurring right now in soft goods, which, on their surface, seem very disparate. The first is a return to old world craft. We are seeing products made again in the old world traditions with painstakingly hand tanned and tooled leathers, cut and stitched by hand. In some cases, these products are being made in places like the United States. It is exciting to see a broader acceptance of this type of work again!

On the flip side, we continue to see the mass implementation of high tech innovations like laser cutting, stitch less seam welding, and the integration of molded hard and semi-rigid components within soft goods. It is exciting that both of these trends exist at the same time, and are both at their core rooted in craftsmanship. I'm looking forward to see where the bulk of this year's entries land, and if a few of them even blend those trends.

Where do you see the future of the Soft Goods field heading?

An exciting future lies ahead. Some of the most exciting possible innovations have to do with advances outside of the soft good industry. Just-in-time manufacturing technologies and order management are leading to more and more factory side customization that is initiated and determined by the end user. The ever-cheapening and dispersal of processing power is leading to digital components integrating into soft-goods. A digital component in a shoe was almost unimaginable a decade ago, and now every Nike running shoe is compatible with Nike+. The opportunity to integrate technologies that relate to quantifying our actions the way the Philips fitBit does or acting like an input to our other devices, such as some of the Burton coats that have stitched in smartphone controls is amazing.

The challenge for designers in this category will be coming up to speed with all of these new technologies while remaining versed in the techniques of the industry to create soft goods that are innovative and desirable.

Learn more about the Soft Goods category and jury. The deadline for entries is Tuesday April 10.

Posted by Ray  |  13 Feb 2012  |  Comments (1)


Portland, OR-based design studio New isn't, um, new to the portable audio game: their portfolio includes work for the likes of Logitech and UltimateEars, among other high-profile clients. However, the "Zooka" bluetooth speaker marks Patrick Triato & co.'s first foray into the exciting (and, at times, lucrative) world of Kickstarted product design.



The "Zooka" is specifically designed for the iPad, which dictates its size (it attaches to the tablet lengthwise) and shape: the ellipsoid tube or 'bar' of speaker has a slot where, again, it can be attached to an Apple device (viewed from the side, it looks like a slightly squished Pac-Man). The speakers themselves—a solid five times louder than the iPad's tinny onboard drivers—are located on either end of the bar, which has an additional cutaway at dead center to accommodate a MacBook Pro without blocking the iSight camera.


Instead of imitating Apple's sleek aluminum aesthetic, New has wisely opted to use medical-grade silicone for "Zooka." The soft-touch exterior offers both superior durability and ergonomics, while its minimalist, monochromatic form factor complements the glass+metal of the devices themselves.


Posted by Ray  |   8 Feb 2012  |  Comments (3)


Yesterday's Apple-themed iPhone cases were clearly a hit, but it would be a bit of a stretch to say that they're a huge step forward in case design. As a counterpoint, I was intrigued to see Andrea Ponti's "Aqualife," a 'one-size-fits-all' waterproof case "designed for all top smartphone models."

Water-resistant up to one meter deep and equipped with a clip-lock system. Its polycarbonate, see-through bottom allows you to take pictures and make videos under water. The clear silicone display window is designed for you to use all the touch functions under water and thanks to a valve you can plug in the waterproof earbuds included in the pack through the case directly into the device.


If the design seems to suffer from the universal plight of universal cases—it's definitely on the big side at 25% taller than an iPhone and a full 40% wider—it's worth noting that the "Aqualife" also doubles as a wallet.



Posted by Ray  |  21 Dec 2011  |  Comments (4)


As the calendar year draws to a close, ultracontemporary watchmakers ZIIIRO are pleased to announce the release of two new models: the "Ion" and the Proton." The former watch design (left) marks a radical departure from the chic / sleek aesthetic of their debut from a year ago and Spring 2011 releases, though ironically this is precisely because it features what is essentially a classic analog display.


Still, the "Ion" is entirely in keeping with ZIIIRO's minimalist design philosophy, the face stripped down to a disc with a pair of disparately-weighted radial lines (i.e. the hands of a clock). "The Ion offers a touch of simplicity with its minimalistic dial and two-hand analog movement. Comes together with an understated transparent bracelet strap, this combination reveals a truly elegant timepiece."


The "Proton" is simply an update on the display that they developed for the "Aurora" and "Celeste" models.


Both the "Ion" and the "Proton" are available in three colors: transparent, transparent-smoke and milky-white, and "both models are fully interchangeable with all watches from the bracelet series (Gravity, Aurora, Orbit, Ion and Proton)." They're currently available for pre-order from ZIIIRO's online shop, set to ship on December 23rd.


Posted by Ray  |   2 Dec 2011  |  Comments (7)

Per the "Curly Cable" Kickstarter page: "This project is dedicated to all the very intense iPad & iPhone users."

...and by "very intense," Dev Design 2.0 means those users who like to be AC-powered and somewhat mobile at the same time. Tech mavens need look no further than the "Curly Cable," an extendable coil USB 2.0 cable for iDevices, which stretches from 8” (20cm) to 70” (180cm). (For reference, stock cables are about 40” (100cm) long.)


It ain't rocket science—just a straightforward (so to speak) solution to a common problem—and the designers aren't rocket scientists. Rather, Luca Mainini, Manuel Marino and Davide di Malta are a trio of Italians in New York City who are looking to launch their product design company with their ultra-practical iAccessory, which is available on Kickstarter for a pledge of $15.

Unfortunately, the "Curly Cable" won't be shipping until February 2012: even though they've already raised over 2.5× the $1,500 that they'd been seeking, there's still nearly two months to go in the campaign...