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Phaedra Riley

The Core77 Design Blog

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Posted by Phaedra Riley  |   1 Oct 2012  |  Comments (0)


Last year, I went to the first "Technology You Can Touch" mixer—a networking event hosted by NYC Tech Connect to put entrepreneurial engineers and inventors in biotech, materials and other hard sciences in touch with funding opportunities available around New York City. Last week, I went back to catch up on how the community has developed.

There were entrepreneur product demos set up for the duration of the mixer, but the presentation portion of the event actually started out with representatives from various venture funds and accelerator groups giving short pitches about their programs. And while crowd-funding may be all the rage and digital start-ups get a lot of press, there are still millions of investor dollars and accelerator programs available for people innovating with materials, tools, systems, robotics or even retrofitting radiators (to hint at a few). Students, in particular, should make sure to look into what incubators, accelerators or scholarships your institution and communities offer. There are numerous firms out there actively looking for businesses to help get off the ground. We heard from:


  • NYC Investment Fund a private fund with a civic mission and one of the founding partners of NYC Tech Connect. They provide a free entrepreneurial advisor with whom you can book advisor time and are running a digital health accelerator.
  • NYU Innovation Venture Fund a seed-stage venture capital fund available to NYU students and projects.
  • NYC Seed a seed-stage fund for technology entrepreneurs that's currently accepting applications for a 3-month enterprise accelerator starting in January.
  • Golden Seeds an investment firm dedicated to serving and encouraging gender diversity in their funding of life science, consumer products or Internet technology companies. They also offer open office hours and encourage entrepreneurs to come by and learn what investors are looking for.
  • ARC Angel Fund investors in seed and early-stage businesses in NYC and the surrounding Northeast to Mid-Atlantic region.
  • Lux Capital seeking early stage tech companies with big, "contrary," industry-changing ideas in energy, technology and healthcare—from innovative nuclear cleanup methods to Shapeways.
  • NYC ACRE (Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy) focuses on clean and renewable energy businesses, as well as trying to grow a supportive community in the field. One of their tenant companies, Enertiv, demo-ed at this event.
  • NYU-Poly provides a list of the incubators it started around the city.
  • And finally, the NY Hardware Start-up Meetup is getting off the ground with its focus on the community of people who want to build businesses with physical products.

While these are obviously NYC-centric organizations, they're just a small sample of the resources out there supporting designers and entrepreneurs who are making physical objects. Six such entrepreneurs were also on hand demo-ing their projects.

tyct_bitponics.jpgphoto via Bitponics.com


Awarded the Open Hardware Summit 2011 scholarship and with a successfully funded Kickstarter, Bitponics works with your hydroponic system by providing a simple plug-and-play device for sensors that assess the state of your garden and programmable power outlets. But Bitponics' real strength lies in the online component which combining your sensor data with the greater Bitponics Community data to provide recommendations based on your specific conditions. Bitponics is in production (and it looks like we're finally going to get to crowdsource plants).


Posted by Phaedra Riley  |   6 Sep 2011  |  Comments (1)

Announcing the newly redesigned Core77 Design Directory—Where Business Finds Design

In 2003 Core77 partnered with Businessweek and launched DesignDirectory.com—a searchable directory listing professional design services firms across a wide array of fields. The Design Directory quickly became host to thousands of listings for firms who want the best of both worlds: effective branding and positioning in the design world, and unprecedented exposure to the business world, and a destination for those needing design services and inspiration. Building on Design Directory's initial success, we spent the early part of this year completely redesigning and rebuilding the website and features, and are proud to announce the new & improved Core77 Design Directory v2!


New features include:

  • Improved Search & Results—the new search bar focuses on broad but highly relevant search criteria to get firms in front of visitors faster, then easily filters or switch settings. Results are larger and image-based to showcase work.

  • Better Browsing—new projects and logos of our Premium members are featured on the homepage, plus clickable popular specialties and locations.

  • Projects Showcase Firms' Work—with larger images, more details, and supporting documents like case studies and white papers, projects are a one-stop destination about a firm's work.

  • Custom URLs, Better SEO & Analytics—easily find firms via their customize URLs, and Premium listings can integrate their Google Analytics accounts for increased tracking.

  • Monthly Billing—no more annual contracts, upgrade and downgrade at any time.

All of this on top of the existing:

  • Great Exposure for Firms—visits are up nearly 20% over last year, and we'll be expanding Design Directory's presence Core77.com by featuring our firms' projects. Additionally our strategic partnership with Bloomberg Businessweek drives traffic to the site.

  • Searchable Profiles—featuring projects and easy-to-find company contact info, plus highly optimized for both Design Directory and Internet search engines. They even include Twitter feeds!

  • Multiple Plans—to fit a firm's needs. At $85/mo Premium listings fall higher in the search results and are featured prominently on the Design Directory & Core77 homepages. Basic listings are free. And for firms that want even more exposure, we have a PremiumPlus add-on package.

  • Apply to Join—to ensure the quality of the listings so visitors find accurate, up-to-date information about firms, the Design Directory uses an application method for membership.

We're very excited with the new Design Directory look and features! Find a firm, list your firm, and send us your feedback—we can't wait to find out what you think!

Posted by Phaedra Riley  |  25 Aug 2011  |  Comments (0)

With hurricane Irene poised to come barreling up the mid-Atlantic region this weekend (and the potential for evacuation in New York City), we were inspired to take a look at hurricane and other coastal evacuation maps as provided by states along the eastern seaboard.

evacNYC.jpgNYC Office of Emergency Management

The range of information, iconography, detail and even the use (or absence) of legends is strikingly varied. But I was also surprised at how easy or difficult it was to find useful hurricane, storm surge or evacuation information on the state level. While its understandable that local communities, cities and counties in coastal areas that regularly have to deal with tropical storms would be better at providing relevant information, it was still unsettling how hard it could be to dig up simple maps on official state websites—and sometimes I couldn't even find those.

Another unexpected trend I noticed was that north of the Mason-Dixon line there was a lot more reliance on links to FEMA and Army Corps of Engineers resources for emergency information (universities and flood insurance providers also tend to provide lots of info). For these maps I intentionally stuck with what I could find on state (and if necessary county or city) government websites with less than 5 minutes of searching.

All images link back to their original websites or PDFs. Stay safe this weekend (and maybe stock up on some fresh water & batteries)!


Posted by Phaedra Riley  |  16 Aug 2011  |  Comments (2)



  • Min Height: 22"
  • Max Height: 48"
  • Max Load: 250 lbs
  • Electric (also available Incremental Leg, Hand Crank, Torsion Paddle, Standard Actuator)

The Haworth Planes Height-Adjustable Table has a simple, utilitarian design with a customizable desktop. The significant advantage to this height-adjustable table design from the Haworth Design Studio is that the crossbeam has been moved up directly underneath the table top, which improves its accessibility and range of motion with no reduction of stability at full height extension. The trade-off for this stability seems to be weight—even the smaller version of this sturdy desk (23" x 58") is heavy enough to need two people to move it. However, the table has a very wide sit-to-stand range (22" - 48"), and the raised crossbeam and two-leg design with low-profile feet improve accessibility for wheelchairs and users of different sizes and needs to the point where it exceeds ANSI/HFES 100-2007 requirements. Plus it has a motor and gear set that can handle a load up to 250 lbs, so it's going to need some weight behind it.

haworth-c77-maxmin.jpgMaximum & minimum table heights, with a 15" laptop and 6 lb chihuahua for scale

The worktop can be laminate or wood veneer and is available in standard or Green core. Our table has the linen laminate top with the standard 3mm edgeband. The motor and mechanics are hidden within the legs, which keeps the lines cleaner. But there was a lack of anything more than clips for cable management under the table, which I found surprising.


The Programmable Actuator is once again utilitarian, but clear and easy to understand and can be mounted on the left or right side. There are buttons to save up to four different heights, and even if they're all used up, you can still use the digital height readout (in inches) with the up/down buttons to memorize your preferred heights.


Overall the table gives the impression of being a high-quality piece of office equipment. But while the table top can be customized, the black and metallic finish on the legs seems intended to fade into the background.


Posted by Phaedra Riley  |  17 May 2011  |  Comments (1)

Thanks to everyone who made it out to celebrate our "Sweet 16" NY Design Week party at the Phaidon Store last night—especially those that stopped by our Hand-Eye Supply stand and modeled the safety glasses for us!! You made our night!

Barbara modeling the Spectacle Smoke Lens safety glasses, Universal Herringbone Eyelet Apron, and the Core77 Sweet Sixteen koozie.





More party safety shots!