Appleboxes are simple, sturdy plywood boxes that are mainstays of the photography and film production industries. And because they are durable and come in a variety of very specific sizes, I've found they can also come in quite handy in a small-shop setting:
Appleboxes are typically made the old-school way—with a table saw and router table rather than a CNC mill—but by walking you through how to make a full set of them on the ShopBot, it will give you an idea of how to execute a basic, practical project via CNC. We'll dive in next week!
Previously: Episode 7 - Desktop CNC Milling: The Point Cutting Roundover Bit // All Core77 ShopBot Series posts →
Posted by core jr
| 26 Nov 2014
Once again, we're pleased to present our annual gift guide for all of your gift-giving needs this holiday season. As with last year's guide, the list comprises 77 items—a lucky number if we say so ourselves—selected by our seven guest curators, each a luminary in his or her own right. The 2014 Ultimate Gift Guide is a collective effort from Randy Hunt, Creative Director of Etsy; Jill Singer & Monica Khemsurov, Founders/Editors of Sight Unseen; John Maeda, Design Partner at KPCB; Chris Wu, Associate at Project Projects; Richard Sachs, bicycle framebuilder; and Sam Vinz, co-founder/director of Volume Gallery.
From tasteful consumables and future heirlooms to ultra-contemporary apps and accessible art editions, our esteemed guest curators have compiled six lists of distinctive gift items, 77 in all.
Check out the 2014 Core77 Gift Guide, "Curators' Delight"→
Flipping through architecture blogs, I'm used to seeing modernist houses with the de rigueur Le Corbusier chaise longue and the Eames chairs inside. But this particular one jumped out at me because it's owned by an industrial designer married to a mechanical engineer. San-Francisco-based ID'er Peter Russell-Clarke and mech-eng wife Jan Moolsintong contracted architect Craig Steely to design their house, with some input, and the resultant structure has some very unusual apertures.
First off the garage. You've seen bi-fold doors before, but none like this:
Photo by Ian Allen for Dwell
And yes, those shots are mid-opening, that's not how the door looks in its final closed position. Here's its full range of motion:
And a shot from the inside, where you can see the yellow webbing on either side attached to a crankshaft and the motor:
When shotguns fire "shot"—a multitude of small pellets as opposed to a singular slug—the wielder gets "a good spread" with a single pull of the trigger. Depending on what your priorities are, this may or may not make it a good weapon for home defense; in the words of comedian Bill Burr, "I don't want to have to do a bunch of drywall work [after repelling an invader]."
But that "spread" is what a particular type of shotgun—originally called a "fowling piece"—was designed to produce, and specifically for hunting birds. Beretta's updated 486 shotgun, designed by Marc Newson, pays homage to this with artsy patterns on the laser-engraved receiver.
The engraving is a clear homage to Asia as the homeland of the pheasant. This unique design is made possible by the high-tech laser technology used in the manufacturing process. This ensures the best texture wrap over the entire surface of the receiver and also allows for a deep contrast and sharp resolution in all the details of the engraving.
The receiver is edgeless, following the current trend in "round body" shotgun designs enabled by precision machinery. But in terms of original flair, the sexy opening lever is pretty Newsonesque:
Posted by core jr
| 25 Nov 2014
This is the latest installment of our Core77 Questionnaire. Previously, we talked to Brad Ascalon.
Name: Sam Jacob
Occupation: I'm the principal of Sam Jacob Studio, a design, architecture and urbanism practice based in London. At the same time, I'm a professor of architecture at Yale and at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Director of Night School at the Architectural Association; and a columnist for Art Review and Dezeen. And until recently I was a co-director of FAT Architecture, which closed this year in a blaze of high-profile projects at the Venice Architecture Biennale and a collaboration on a building with artist Grayson Perry.
I've always pursued an idea of design practice as a combination of criticism, research and speculation that all feed directly into the design studio. So that ideas cross-fertilize, find connections and directions that make the practice stronger, more agile and able to respond intelligently to the problem at hand.
After 20-odd years as co-director of FAT Architecture, it's been exciting to establish a new kind of practice, to work with new people, with new kinds of projects, with different angles of attack.
Location: London (mainly) / Chicago (sometimes)
Current projects: I'm really excited about some collaborative projects that are happening at the moment. The first is developing ways to reinvent the business park—taking the outmoded 1980s model and revitalizing it. The idea of work has changed so dramatically in recent times, so it seems right to be imagining new ways to spatialize and organize new kinds of work patterns. For me it's the perfect combination of research, speculation and design.
Secondly, a big master planning project that's trying to invent a new kind of community—one that's not urban, not rural but also non-suburban, a new kind of hybrid between the rural and the urban. A techno-eco idyll, in other words.
And lastly, designing my own house—the fantasy of any architect, but a daunting one too. Any architect designing his own house is inevitably also writing a manifesto.
Mission: To use design as a form of real-life science fiction—to invent new ways of being in the world, or new kinds of worlds to be in.
Above: Jacob and his drawing of Southwark for the 2014 10x10/Drawing London auction. Top image: A Clockwork Jerusalem, FAT Architecture and Crimson Architectural Historians' exhibition for the British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Photo by Cristiano Corte
The Hoogvliet Villa, a cultural center in Rotterdam designed by FAT. Photo by Rob Parrish
When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer? It just kind of happened... I think it was a real fascination with the idea that architecture could be a combination of many things—that it was artistic, sociological, technical and so on, and that it was all these things at the same time. It's a naïve idea perhaps, but one I still believe in. One lesson I've learnt from older generations is to try to remain as naïvely optimistic as possible in the face of the endless array of problems that beset any design project.
Education: I studied at the Mackintosh in Glasgow, then at the Bartlett in London. It was—totally accidentally—a great combination. First being embedded in the Glasgow School of Art, the serious Modernist tradition of the Mac, then the freedom of the Bartlett gave me a really broad exposure to different ideas of what architecture and design could be.
First design job: Straight from school into FAT. Actually, doing both while I was in my last year. In other words, I've never really had a proper job in design—which is both a blessing and a curse. Not having a model of what an office should be or how it should work has given me a real freedom to invent something that works for me. But at the same time, I'm sure there are a few shortcuts it would have been good to learn faster. Nothing like learning on the job, though.
Who is your design hero? For his ability to conjure arguments and propositions out of the thin air of everyday culture: the British critic from the '60s and '70s Reyner Banham
For the relentlessness of investigation: Rem Koolhaas
For his belief in the connection between politics and design: William Morris
For beauty in the face of the inevitable tragedy of design: Borromini
Above and below: Drawings from Sam Jacob Studio and Hawkins\Brown's master plan for an Eco Ruburb, a community hybrid of the rural and the urban
Posted by Sam Dunne
| 25 Nov 2014
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.
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 Kat Bauman
| 25 Nov 2014
It's that time of the year. Throughout the Northern Hemisphere, it's growing cold and bleak. Though you may be beginning to think of snowy holiday cheer, delicious food roasting amid family and attractive gifts, I have a better option. Reflect on the demise of society as we know it with the New Survivalism project by Parsons & Charlesworth! This semi-sinister art project takes planning for post-apocalyptic living out of the bunker and into a more convivial, personal type of conjecture. What types of preparedness would we need, beyond mere survival?
The project's alternative bug-out bags offer six personal preparedness kits for modern survivalists whose water+rations are already taken care of. What upper-level essentials are there? In case of emergency, as in normal life, our priorities differ along very personal lines. While apocalyptic movies have their standard canon of character types, these packs and their owners' "mini manifestos" push outside of the tropes.
The first bag belongs to the Object Guardian, and it's more of an archival box. In a time after civilization's peak, who will keep the stories of our ancient objects and ways of life? Well, the guardian may be able to help. As a collector of all manner of old objects, the Guardian's bag protects an amalgamated ball of... stuff, seemingly cribbed from a history museum. From the mini manifesto:
Trying to memorize just some of them seemed ridiculous but what if I am the only one left to remember? Sure, they've got their Integrated Emergency Management plan all tied up but who is the real guardian? Who is taking the memories of these artifacts to the people, when the people can no longer come to them?
What happens to curators when the museums are abandoned? What happens to the millennia of learning?
Posted by Coroflot
| 25 Nov 2014
If you are naturally creative and express yourself through fluent craft and hand work rather than through a computer, Design Partners in Dublin has a very exciting new opportunity for an innovator and prototype maker who is ready to broaden the fluency and creative output of their model shop. Design Partners is a product design and strategy consultancy that tunes in to ambitious clients and brings bold, unique product visions to life. Are you the new Model Maker & Creator on the Design Partners team?
They are looking for someone who is organized, precise, highly creative, motivated and ambitious. Hopefully you will have a technically diverse background with experience in the design industry and you will be ready to take on this leadership role in their new purpose built model shop and R+D lab at their Dublin studio. Don't wait, Apply Now.
Imagine you're a Formula One driver doing 240 m.p.h. when a bug slams into your helmet's visor. By chance the smear is directly in front of the pupil of your dominant eye, and this obstruction of your vision is enough to cost you the race (and maybe much more). That's why F1 helmets have four layers of transparent tear-off strips over their visors. The drivers rip them off and let the wind take them, their act of littering forgiven in the name of chasing millions of dollars worth of glory.
In addition to the pull-off strips, there is an impressive investment of design and materials science in the modern-day F1 helmet. First off they're freakishly light, weighing just 1250 grams (under three pounds). This is to avoid burdening the driver with an extra-heavy head as they can experience as much as five G's while cornering and braking.
Despite the low weight, there's an insane amount of material in them—according to F1 Technical and Formula1.com, some 17 layers that can include carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum, magnesium, epoxy resin, polyethylene, polycarbonate, Kevlar, Nomex for fire resistance, and a secret blend of herbs and spices that manufacturers are secretive about.
Small vents are designed to allow airflow into the helmet. As it's the driver's only source of fresh air, there are filters in place to keep out brake dust, splashes of motor oil and the like.
The rest of the helmet, though, is designed to channel air around it, making it as aerodynamic as possible. F1 cars are traveling at such speeds that an overly wind-resistant design would snap the driver's head backwards.
Alongside the chin-mounted comms microphone you'd expect is something more surprising: An in-helmet drinking straw that leads to the driver's beverage of choice. A handy button on the steering wheel lets the liquid start flowing.
On top of all this the helmet is of course designed to provide protection, and this functionality is updated as the designers learn more. For example, at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, Brazil's Felipe Massa was knocked out by a suspension spring that flew off of another driver's car. Watch it in CG:
Last week I upgraded my cracked-screen iPhone 4S... with a 5S. I think the iPhone 6 is pretty, but it's simply too big for me. I tried one out in the store and decided I don't want to double-tap the home button every time I need to reach the top of the screen.
But I am clearly in the minority, as everyone else in the world seems to want a bigger phone. People are willing to put up with the wider, less-convenient-to-carry form factor for the improved UX. So here's my question: Do you think folks would put up with not only a wider, but a thicker form factor—if it meant they could fully charge their phone in less than one minute?
That sub-one-minute mark is what Israeli tech company StoreDot is working on. If you're wondering about the company's strange name, their technology is based on using biorganic nanocrystals that they call "Nanodots" that can store charges. These dots can also do other fancy tricks like serve as flash memory and even compreise display elements, due to their "inherent luminescence in red, green and blue visible spectral regions."
But it's the battery application that's currently generating a wave of buzz. "While the prototype is currently far too bulky for a mobile phone," Reuters reports, "the company believes it will be ready by 2016 to market a slim battery that can absorb and deliver a day's power for a smartphone in just 30 seconds."
It looks unlikely that this Wonderbattery will show up in the iPhone 7; the company has reportedly received financial backing from "a leading mobile phone maker [in Asia]." So it sounds like either Samsung or HTC will have a competitive edge, at least where juice is concerned.