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Sam Dunne

The Core77 Design Blog

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  25 Nov 2014  |  Comments (1)

OpenToysNov2014_vegetables.jpg

It's about this time of year that you start to see stall owners gearing up for Christmas in the local high street markets in East London—every inch of wall and ceiling space weighed down with yet more shining dancing Psy action figures, Angry Bird backpacks and fluorescent loom-band kits. Although you have to admire some of the inventiveness (in design as well as IP-dodging), walking past these sellers never fails to give me a niggling feeling of waste in the depths of my stomach—what will have become of all this plastic and electronics by this time next year?

Samuel N. Bernier, Creative Director of leFabShop (and 2012 Core77 Design Award honoree and longtime DIYer/hacker extraordinaire) had the idea for Open Toys when he realized he could create toys from scraps of wood and cork he found in the workshop when combined with simple parts made on a 3D printer. Having gone on to design a small selection of pieces that could be used to make cars, planes, boats and helicopters, Samuel was later inspired whilst gardening to replace wood and cork (difficult to drill without tools) with fruits and vegetables.

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Being pronounced as some as a "Mr. Potato Head for the era of digital fabrication," it's certainly interesting to see how the bulk of disposable toys plastic can be designed out whilst perhaps also encouraging a little creativity in our digitally addicted toddlers. The question remains however—should we be playing with our food?

Posted by Sam Dunne  |  20 Nov 2014  |  Comments (0)

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During the holiday season, there's something about being a creative industry professional that makes you a prime target for delegation of certain tasks requiring an appreciation for the visual and delicate hand-eye coordination. But every year it's the same humiliation, OCD irritability and disappointment of small children everywhere when we reach the annual realization that sick Adobe technique, awesome CAD modelling skills or even decades of workshop experience doesn't always translate to graceful arrangement of tinsel or prim and proper present wrapping.

Icing biscuits—of course a prime and reoccurring example of this phenomenon of holiday ham-fistedness (what is it about coloured liquid sugar that can look so appalling despite being spread with the upmost care!)—has fallen into the sights of home-making bloggers and entrepreneurs this year with (an industry already well into it's cycle) videos and new products aimed at the icing-incompetent.

In a lengthy video tutorial, Amber of SweetAmbs—YouTube cookie decoration sorceress—gives an highly informative if insanely detail breakdown of the process to iced cookie perfection. It seems we've been destined to failure with attempts to spread on the sugar coating—only a piping technique will suffice, not forgetting a dry time of 8 hours for the base layer. Jokes aside, you got to give her credit for her use of a scribe manipulating the sugar to form the delicate patterns.

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  19 Nov 2014  |  Comments (1)

StudioMobile-JFB_HERO.jpgPhotos by Matteo de Mayda

Architects Antonio Girardi and Cristiana Favretto of StudioMobile in Treviso, Italy, have created what has been dubbed a "floating agricultural greenhouse" that produces food, almost miraculously, without consuming land, fresh water or energy.

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Built with simple technologies and with low cost and recycled materials, the "Jellyfish Barge" has been conceived for communities vulnerable to water and food scarcity. The structure reportedly harvests up to 150 liters of fresh water per day from the seven solar stills arranged along its edge, the design employs a technologically simple hydroponics system—which can also draw 15% of its needs from sea water to ensure greater water efficiency.

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  17 Nov 2014  |  Comments (1)

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For anyone who knows the serenity of woodworking, this video hailing from northern Japan of mastercraftsman Yasuo Ozakazaki at work in his shop, could be the most relaxing thing you're likely to see today.

Kokeshi dolls are a traditional of Japanese handcraft—a simple limbless doll made from two pieces of wood, and apparently the inspiration behind the design of 'Mii' characters for the Nintendo Wii. (The figures have also risen to prominence in the global design world in recent weeks with the news that the Boureullec brothers have reinterpreted the doll's design as part of an initiative to get local craftspeople back on their feet, following the devastation caused by the Fukushima disaster.)

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  17 Nov 2014  |  Comments (0)

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If we are to believe the 'Ad-land' hype, the border between design and advertising are blurring—Cannes Lions 'creative communications' awards now featuring of course a 'Product Design' category amongst their accolades and marketing in some organizations finding increasing foothold in the innovation processes (something we heard a stark warning about recently).

If this unholy alliance is the destiny of design and designers—I'm imagining all manner of manufactured demand horrors—what are we to make of the videos coming out of advertising agencies in recent weeks? Firstly, at the end of last month, Toronto-based John St. (already well known for their Catvertising stunt, below, from a couple of years back) released a hilarious, if all too believably dystopian mock marketing (mock-eting?) video announcing a 'new agency model'—Reactveritsing™. Then only a day later, local competitor 'lit up' social media with a similarly self-deprecating video celebrating the agency's supposed "Employee Appreciation Day"—showing weary creatives being released momentarily from the desks to be reunited with long-forgotten families.

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