After spending several years in the habitation department at NASA, developing living spaces for the International Space Station as well as multiple off earth exploration vehicles, designer Garrett Finney left in 2009 to launch his dream recreational vehicle, the Cricket trailer. At the recent Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, Finney introduced a prototype of the FireFly, an even more compact and utilitarian next-gen trailer, designed to fit in the back of a pickup truck or be towed by a small car.
The FireFly's interior is minimal, lined with folding bench tops for the sleeping/living surface with room for storage underneath. Although he initially hopes to attract the eco-campers who require the robustness of a trailer and the serious off-roader, Finney also envisions industrial or disaster-relief applications, such as deploying temporary base camps in remote and disaster stricken areas. Working with the small team of Evan Twyford (recruited from NASA in 2012) and Cricket Lead Designer Brian Black, the FireFly was designed in a three-week blitz after several months of sketching, mockups and CAD modelling.
"We worked with one of our local metal vendors to cut and fabricate the majority of the exo-skeleton," Black says of the development process. "Most of these skeletal components were laser cut and bent sheet aluminum which, when fastened together, create rigid structures."
Combined with the welded square tube sections, this created a rugged yet light weight architecture. We borrowed many construction methods and materials from our NASA/aerospace design experience as well as our experience designing and manufacturing with the Cricket such as the use of light weight yet highly insulative composite panels. These panels are high R-value, inch thick architectural siding with .04inch aluminum skin and an eps foam core. This use of aluminum and composites allowed us to create the rugged volume seen with this prototype while keeping it weight at just over 600lbs.
Evan Twyford sketching
Vehicle profile iterations balance ergonomic sizing and human factors concerns, such as bunk width and ceiling height, with technical sizing constraints such as truck bed dimensions and under-bench stowage.
Early concept sketching depicts multi-mode use on trailers, in a truck bed, and on a notional lander-leg package. Sketches also outline separate habitation module and frame/decking components with modular stowage/water tank compartments.
Firefly with deployable lander leg package. Concept sketch by Evan Twyford.
Re-branded as NY NOW, the biannual trade show formally known as the New York International Gift Fair was back this August with all of the usual suspects presenting their wares. Viewing this show through a designers' lens can be a little overwhelming—there's just so much stuff!—but as veteran attendees we stuck to the small but well curated flagship section of the fair, "Accent on Design."
There was not much in the way of new product at the show this year, with most companies opting to refresh their collections with new colors and invest in more sophisticated branded booths—always a good thing, as it elevated the overall experience of walking the floor. One of our favorite booths, pictured above, was Danish vendor Menu who consistently present a strong product line-up, their no-frills gallery like presentation a testament to the strength of the products.
Overall, it felt like most companies exhibition spaces had a smaller footprint. it was inspiring to see some of the independent designers like Fort Standard and Chen Chen & Kai Williams who got their start with the AmDC graduate to getting their own booths, and Japan's presence was undeniable with both their minimal approach to display and product selection offering a welcome visual break.
Here's a quick round-up of stuff that caught our eye!
Desktructure by Hector Serrano
Our friends over at PSFK took their self-published "Future of..." trend report series to whole new level this month with a physical exhibition showcasing over 60 products, ideas and services from their latest research into "The Future Of Home Living." Located in the 5,000 sq. ft. future retail space of Stonehenge's latest building development, 101 at 101 West 15th Street, the exhibition not only addresses the changing needs of the modern-day New Yorker but also the global shift towards urban living and managing smaller spaces.
To examine our trends through a macro lens, we've organized them into three larger themes: Adaptive, On-Demand and Equilibrium, which point to the importance of a clean, efficient and responsive space that can flexibly conform to the ever-changing needs of its residents. This overarching framework is meant to inspire anyone to reshape their life at home, regardless of whether they live in a studio apartment inside a high rise, a split-level home in the suburbs or a remote cabin in the woods.
Anyone familiar with the Life Edited project will be aware of many of the concepts put forward, but one thing that resonated with us was the subscription-based services for: coffee, cocktails, exact ingredients for healthy homecooked meals, and a library for periodically rotating your wall art. The on-demand services are not only practical but offer a form of entertainment for the dweller, improving the quality of their life at home.
Kitchen and living room section.
AT-UM Table for Lenovo's Horizon Tablet PC by UM Project.
Home Aquaponics Kit by designers Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez.
Posted by Glen Jackson Taylor
| 1 Aug 2013
Content sponsored by Windows Phone
Core77 is pleased to partner with Windows Phone to bring you a series of photo diaries this summer. Based on the theme of Reinvention, we're looking to capture the fleeting moments and highlight the often-overlooked facets of the world around us through the lens of the Nokia Lumia 928, especially in the low-light settings in which its camera excels. (All photos were taken with the Nokia Lumia 928 smartphone and are published without post production.)
Reporting by Glen Jackson Taylor
Summertime in New York City is all about the outdoor events: a healthy mix of free and paid concerts, cinema in the parks, on rooftops, dance parties, river cruises and events like next week's Summer Streets festival. The penultimate installment of our Windows Phone test shoots in the wild we headed to Williamsburg Park—one of Brooklyn's newest outdoor venues—to see one of the most influential bands of the 80s, New Order. Anyone who's seen a gig in previous years at the Williamsburg Waterfront (a few streets down) is bound to be disappointed by this venue as the replacement, there's no majestic view of the Manhattan skyline and the sound quality drops significantly towards the back but on the upside, the work-in-progress park has a 7000 person capacity and unlike the Williamsburg Waterfront, all money raised at Williamsburg Park will stay in the city.
Frustrated with the lack of decent keyboard stands on the market, Mikael Jorgensen began sketching ideas for a stylish lightweight touring stand some ten years ago—as lead pianist and keyboardist for the band Wilco, he'd spent the better much of that time on the road—but with no background in design or fabrication, he didn't really know how to proceed. He had given up hope until years later, when friend and producer Allen Farmelo, who showed him a mixing console that collapses for traveling, designed and built by François Chambard of UM Project. After an introduction from Farmelo, Jorgensen met with Chambard at his Greenpoint studio and immediately connected with his design sensibility and craftsmanship.
The stand breaks down to fit perfectly into a standard keyboard case for touring and can easily be configured to function as a desk for laptops; executed in Chambard's signature style with a matching bench, the UMJ-1 looks like nothing else on the market. I stopped by UM Project's studio to get a hands-on demo before the distinctive stand's debut at Wilco's Solid Sound Festival at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Chambard enthusiastically assembled the unit before my eyes, explaining the thought process behind it, as the storage room next door was being set up for the photo shoot.