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Posted by Ray  |  19 Aug 2014  |  Comments (1)


Nike has recently launched its "Genealogy of Innovation" campaign, and the promo video by Golden Wolf is an impressive piece of footwear-centric eye candy, featuring some 200 shoes in all, including signature styles by the Hatfield brothers, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Mark Parker et al. Check it out:



Posted by Ray  |   6 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)


We've seen plenty of furniture with secret features, but none quite like Sebastian Errazuriz's "Explosion Cabinet." Instead of the usual hidden compartments, the Brooklyn-based artist and designer opts for a latent form as opposed to a discreet function. As with past projects such as the spiny shelf and articulating armoire, the new cabinet has a lot of moving parts.



Posted by Ray  |  31 Jul 2014  |  Comments (15)


Bike Grouch Alert: So it's come to this.

That there is Lucid Design's "Kit Bike," which, like an IKEA shelving unit, can be assembled from and disassembled into 21 parts for ease of transport. I didn't mind Paolo de Giusti's asymmetrical concept bike and I can appreciate the over-the-top hipster chic of Van Hulsteijns, but this is exactly the kind of thing that the general public will eat up with nary a thought about whether it would actually work. After all, it turned up in a couple of reputable design blogs, one of which notes that:

The bike frame is made from hollow aluminum tubes that twist together and can be secured with a key. Since the frame attaches only on one side of the wheels, the bike can be assembled and disassembled while it leans against a wall. When it's not in use, the parts and wheels can each be stowed in sections in a custom-designed bag.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, that's because it is.

Don't get me wrong—I personally would love to have a bicycle that I could snap together like a tent (a well-designed one, of course), but then again, I don't know if I would trust the contraption to hold up on the road. I'm no engineer, but the very thought of applying torque to that rear wheel—note that the hub is connected only at a single, non-driveside dropout—makes me feel like I'm breaking something. Meanwhile, if the grossly oversimplified componentry and lack of brakes can be written off, the fact that the drivetrain is on the wrong side suggests that the Bangalore, India-based firm lacks a basic understanding of a bicycle in itself.


Posted by Ray  |  30 Jul 2014  |  Comments (1)


The airport security line is the kind of universally despised ordeal that extraterrestrials, should they exist, would dread; even a seasoned traveler will bristle at the thought of the rigmarole of boarding pass / I.D., uncooperative scanners, doffing footwear, unwieldy bins, more scanners. At best, it's a mildly demeaning nuisance, but what are you going to do about it?

Well, it turns out that the TSA wants to know—they recently announced an Ideation Challenge soliciting proposals for expediting the process, specifically for TSA Pre✓ passengers but ostensibly for us plebs as well. "America's Next Generation Checkpoint Queue Design Model" may not roll off the tongue, but, hey, that's what we're up against (...and, as we saw a couple of weeks ago, this is what the TSA is up against).

TSA is looking for the Next Generation Checkpoint Queue Design Model to apply a scientific and simulation modeling approach to meet the dynamic security screening environment. The new queue design should include, but not limited to the following queue lanes:
· TSA Pre✓™
· Standard
· Premier Passengers (1st class, business class, frequent fliers, etc.)
· Employee and Flight Crews
· PWD (wheelchair access)
The Challenge is to provide a simulation modeling concept that can form the basis to plan, develop requirements, and design a queue appropriately. The concept will be used to develop a model to be applied in decision analysis and to take in considerations of site specific requirements, peak and non-peak hours, flight schedules and TSA staffing schedules. Solvers are expected to provide the concept and provide evidence that it works as described in the requirements.

As in the MTA's 2012 "App Quest" competition, the Transportation Security Authority is offering a total of $15,000 as, um, Innocentive. (I know it's a portmanteau of 'innovation' and 'incentive,' but I can't help but read it as 'innocent'—see also Rapiscan; cf. Dr. Tobias Funke's business cards.)



Posted by Ray  |  18 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)


Our initial report may have echoed Airbnb's hyperbolic enthusiasm about their new identity, and despite criticism that has metastasized in relevant corners of the web—an equal and opposite reaction, if you will—here is a more nuanced take on Airbnb's new logo, Bélo.

Let's start with an experiment: Grab a piece of paper and try drawing the damn thing freehand. In fact, give it a couple tries. And no cheating—don't try and make it look more butt-like or yonic than it needs to be. Maybe it doesn't look as good as the now-infamous image of the marque drawn on fogged-up window ('fingered,' as one GIF crudely suggested), but it wouldn't be mistaken for genitalia. No one in their right mind would draw a body part like that. (This is why the Tumblr consists not of peoples' drawings of the logo itself but embellished versions of it.) It's arguably just as easy to draw a cock-and-balls, but that's not what it is.

For my part, I didn't see the intended allusions (the person or the location marker) at first; nor did I see any kind genitalia—just a fairly unremarkable logo. The point being that it's a highly abstracted symbol, to the degree that the somewhat regrettable choice of 'vibrant salmon' inextricably influences one's first impression as much as its mildly suggestive shape. As a graphic representation, it certainly invites free association (actually my first thought was rocket ship), but as a glyph, Bélo is one degree removed from the letter "A," itself a grapheme, which is doubly abstracted: A signifier of linguistic import.

But it's not just a matter of semantics. Armin Vit (who, as always, provides unparalleled analysis) notes that "it's a deceivingly simple icon that is easy to reproduce, recognize, and propagate." In this regard, it succeeds where few marques do. Just look at the logos within your field of vision or the icons for the apps on your phone. Could you draw any of them, freehand, with a single stroke? Only the likes of Nike, Chevy and maybe a few others come close. Now, in fairness, 'drawability' is not a criteria for logos these days... but maybe it should be (this is why teenagers of my generation inscribed so many desktops with Stussy and Wu-Tang iconography: ease of approximation). After all, this is true of the most enduring symbols of our time, from Basquiat's iconic three-pointed crown to the @ sign (notably 'acquired' by MoMA) to the anarchy symbol... to a Christian Cross.