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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  25 Jul 2014  |  Comments (5)

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Sure, smartphones allow us to communicate with anyone in the world at any time and provide access to a global network of knowledge and entertainment, but it's not like we can just pull the things out of our pockets and start using them. No. Instead we are forced to type in a four-digit security code!

This provides a unique set of physical challenges. For example, let's say that your security code is 1-9-8-2. This means you have to send your thumb up to the "1" at the top left of the screen, then move it all the way down to the bottom right to press the "9!" Then you have a little break moving it over to the "8," but that's temporary, because guess what, then you have to move your thumb all the way up to the top again to hit "2!" What are we, slaves?

Thankfully, for those of us who weren't born with Arnold Schwarzenegger's thumbs, help is here in the form of Digital Tattoos. These NFC-based skin stickers come in packs of ten. You stick one onto your body and tap your phone against it to "accept" it, which should be easier than getting your parents to accept that tribal/Celtic/Chinese character tattoo. From then on, you just tap your smartphone (it can be any smartphone in the world, as long as it's a Moto X) against the sticker and boom, the phone is unlocked, no Gatorade breaks required.

The adhesive "lasts for five days, and is made to stay on through showering, swimming, and vigorous activities like jogging," making this ideal for those who like to shower, swim, and/or jog vigorously.

Digital Tattoos aren't free, of course, they're $10 per pack. But that's no problem, because when you run out, you just pay them another ten dollars and then they give you another pack. In other words, you can just keep buying them!

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  25 Jul 2014  |  Comments (1)

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It's 1952 in Cambiago, Italy, and a young man makes a fateful decision not to go into the family farming business. Ernesto Colnago loves racing bicycles, knows how to fix them, and wants to make them rather than tilling the soil. His father responds by grabbing an axe—and cutting down the family's mulberry tree, to turn the lumber into a workbench for Ernesto.

Colnago started selling high-quality custom steel frames in 1954, and in the subsequent decades gained a reputation for designing and building winning racing bikes. By the '70s, Colnago was making super-light steel frames, and in the '80s, used a then-radical top tube with an oval cross-section in a quest for increased stiffness. Then came the materials experimentation: Aluminum, titanium, and finally carbon fiber in a fateful collaboration with Ferrari in the late '80s.

By 1987 they'd produced their first carbon fiber prototype—but it wasn't ready for prime time. "The first fruit of Colnago and Ferrari Engineering's cooperation [was] the Concept bicycle," the company writes, "with carbon fiber tubes, composite three-spoke wheels and a gear system enclosed in the chainrings. The unusual gears [made] it too heavy for production, but the ideas in its frame [informed] all subsequent Colnago carbon fiber bicycles."

They've spent the years since working it out, and just this month they've updated their flagship bike. The Colnago C60 is hand-manufactured with the same process of "lugged" construction as its predecessor C59. Under this technique, the tubes that Colnago has formed from Japanese-made carbon fiber can be cut to specific lengths and inserted into a range of different lugs, or hubs if you will. This allows relatively quick and easy customization. (The alternative is to mold the frame in one piece, which would require a new, expensive mold for each variation in geometry.)

Watching the bike come together, it almost resembles a plumber cleaning and pasting PVC pipes together:

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Posted by Deena DeNaro  |  25 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Underway as of yesterday, the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow have been drawing lots of comparisons to the Olympic Games of London 2012. Some of this commentary has been plainly insipid, while others have been downright mean. Lyn Gardner's review of the XX Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony review was cruel and nasty, the way New York City fashion editors take pot-shots at Dallas by publishing images of big-haired women in loud dresses when covering social events in the Lone Star State.

While this may all come down to the "Scottish Cringe" (a national trait of self-deprecation), the Opening Ceremonies at Celtic Park on Wednesday night raise the valid question of how one distills culture and values into a stadium floorshow?

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To be sure, there were several cliché moments like giant dancing tea cakes, an inflatable Loch Ness Monster and John Barrowman's costume of purple tartan. But there were also some inspired moments like the Scottish Ballet's touching duet to a muted version of the Proclaimers' "500 Miles"; the Scottish terriers accompanying each nation's athletes; and the gay kiss in the opening moments. This last gesture was an unequivocal statement to the 42 participating countries that have laws against homosexuality on their statute books: These Games (a.k.a. The Friendly Games) are a celebration of equality and diversity.

But aside from the impossible task of portraying a nation's historical contributions in a one-hour spectacle (London 2012's supermodels and Sochi's weeping bear seem farther from the mark than highland dancing on whisky barrels), there is some stellar design work associated with the XX Commonwealth Games at Glasgow 2014.

Queen's Baton

In addition to the Queen's Baton, which we reported on last October, the designs of the medals, podiums and medal bearers' costumes all have a quality of elegant abstraction as they contemporary updates to traditional representations of Scottish culture at the medals ceremonies of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

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Posted by Coroflot  |  25 Jul 2014

Work for Eat24!

When job descriptions are this fun, we find it's best to let them do the talking...
"Do your Adobe Suite skills rival Beyonce's dance skills? Are you obsessed (not in a creepy way) with typography, spatial relationships, and awesome UI's? Can you design a tasty-looking egg roll with one hand while eating a real egg roll with the other? Alright, you don't have to eat while working, but if it helps with your work-flow we're totally ok with that.

Hi, we're EAT24 and we need a UI/UX Graphic Designer to keep our mobile apps, websites, ads, and email campaigns looking sexy. That means we need you to have at least a few years of experience designing for web and mobile app UI/UX with a kick-ass portfolio to back it up. Ideally you also have some understanding of business strategies and user research, as well as an ability to play well with others and adapt to specific styleguides." Don't miss out on this great opportunity! Apply Now.

Posted by erika rae  |  24 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Shipping containers have been becoming a lot of things lately—homes, churches, a Subway sandwich shop... the list goes on. We've got another one to add to the list: a larger-than-life kaleidoscope that you can actually walk into. The effect is much the same as a house of mirrors. Designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki are responsible for this psychedelic project, titled "Wink Space." At first glance, the structure comes off as a blinding beacon of mirrors—catch it at the wrong angle you'll be seeing sunspots instead of symmetry—but step inside and you'll find that Shirane and Miyazaki have a few surprises for you.

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My favorite quirk has got to be the fact that the entire kaleidoscope is constructed with zippers—meaning various 'windows' can be unzipped and revealed from the inside. The designers call this "the world's first zipper architecture." Staying true to the quick assemblage/breakdown nature of shipping containers, they wanted this sentiment to translate in Wink Space. "A thin and light material was demanded to build the zipper architecture," Shirane and Miyazaki explain. "Therefore I referred to origami, which is a traditional game in Japan that can be made both light and strong only by folding. In other words, this polyhedron is built by folding one plane of 15m×8m."

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Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  24 Jul 2014  |  Comments (2)

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A number of my clients now collect compostable materials, either for their own outdoor composting, or for city curbside collection bins. While a home recycling station might include a compost collection section, that's far from the only way to go.

If you're designing a kitchen, you may want to consider having something like the BLANCO SOLON compost system built into the countertop. Shannon Del Vecchio, an interior designer, LEED AP, says that "this useful feature is well on its way to becoming standard issue for new kitchens and renovations in the [San Francisco] Bay Area."

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But there are also interesting designs for end-users who don't have the built-in option. The OXO compost bin follows the common approach of not being airtight, to avoid anaerobic conditions and the resultant odors. The lid detaches for easy emptying when the bin is taken outdoors. This bin is designed to be used without a liner; all parts are dishwasher-safe.

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One way to control the odor (and the flies) is to freeze the compostable scraps. Scrap Happy from Full Circle, made of flexible silicone, has a wire rim to attach to a drawer, so end users can easily push scraps into the bin. It then goes into the freezer until it's time to use it again—or empty it, by pushing on the bottom. Again, this is a dishwasher-safe product.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  24 Jul 2014  |  Comments (9)

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This is a true story. Descriptions of companies, clients, schools, projects, and designers may be altered and anonymized to protect the innocent.

Editor: This True I.D. Story comes to us anonymously, from an up-and-coming designer ready to hit the trade shows. All he needed was a little manufacturing help...


I'd been working on this one [tabletop item] design for a while, I think Core77 even covered it. After a long development time, I finally got it to a point where it was time to industrialize it, get somebody else making it. Before that point I'd just been cranking out prototypes myself, with my little shitty little Craftsman router table—in other words, I was not set up to do any kind of real production.

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So I'm looking around for someone who can get the job done and I hear about this one older dude, I'll call him OPG for Old Production Guy. He's a friend of a friend of a friend, within an hour's drive of my shop, and is by reputation a fantastic woodworker. He came highly recommended with years of experience in the furniture industry. The word was that he'd eventually moved on into a tangential field related to woodworking machines, but was now reportedly itching to make stuff again. With all of his experience, he sounded like a good fit, and having worked in the industry, he presumably knew all about the importance of deadlines.

So I pay him a visit, and this dude has a gigantic warehouse with access to like every woodworking machine under the sun. Table saws, bandsaws, router tables, shapers, planers, joiners, and all of these crazy contraptions for performing multiple operations at once. He grabbed some scrap wood and demonstrated the tolerances of some of the machines for me and they were pretty impressive. You could tell by the way he handled the wood and the machines that he'd been doing this his entire life.

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I figured with a warehouse full of equipment like that I might be too small-potatoes for him—I just needed a small run of these [objects] that I could bring to a trade show—but after I pulled out my drawings to show him, he seemed excited by my design and eager to make it, and my low numbers didn't faze him. I got the vibe that he just wanted to make sawdust again.

So he asked me to bring out two prototypes, as I had designed both a smaller and larger version and he wanted to see them both. I brought them out there and we had lunch and talked about it while he looked the prototypes over. At the end of the meeting he goes "Okay, why don't I try to make a couple of these and we'll see how it goes? And then we'll go from there."

I was like "Wait, don't you need like a deposit? Or to like, give me a quote?"

"Nah, don't worry about it, we'll just test it out," he says. And I'm like "Oh, sweet!"

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So this was my first misstep.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  24 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Using sheets of acetate, some markers and his phone's built-in camera, the artist known as Hombre_Mcsteez creates brilliant animations that overlay his drawings onto the environment. Mcsteez, a.k.a. Marty Cooper, refers to the clips as "Aug(De)Mented Reality," and a more accurate description isn't possible to create:

Cooper regularly updates his Instagram page with both still shots and mini-videos, like this update on the classic videogame Frogger:

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Posted by Coroflot  |  24 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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How often during a year, or perhaps a month, do you find yourself frustrated or underwhelmed by a tool, system or product you use regularly? Better yet, how often during those moments do you think to yourself, "If only it worked this way instead..." If you've ever dismissed the viability of these ideas because they would be too difficult/costly/complicated/inconvenient to manifest, then the third installment of the RKS Sessions is for you.

On August 5, RKS Sessions presents The Transformation of an Idea into Mass Success, featuring Craig Hickman, creator of the easy-to-use paint program Kid Pix. Hickman saw how frustrated his own son would get trying to use early computer drawing programs and turned his own "why doesn't this work better..." moment into the iconic easy-to-use paint program that encourages children to use computers.

Sign up today to attend this presentation on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM in Santa Monica, CA, where you'll learn how Hickman incubated his idea into mass commercial success.

Posted by erika rae  |  24 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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We've written about Morpholio's powerful app-based design tools in the past (here and here), but you might not know that they also foster design students through an annual competition called Pinup. This year, I had the privilege of sitting on the jury team—along with a solid lineup of fellow design editors and writers from Fast Company, ArchDaily, Interior Design Magazine, Design Milk, Design*Sponge and more—and I want to share a few of the many impressive submissions that were honored in this year's competition. From a curvaceous 3D-printed mask to a safer ladder, the submissions hailed from across a broad range of design typologies and disciplines

Entrants had a choice of three categories: Emerging Talent (young professional designers), Future Voice (student designers) and Shapes Future (annual themed category, this year featuring 3D printing), but the entry guidelines are intentionally left vague, which added a nice element of surprise to the judging process.

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Perhaps my favorite entry came from San Francisco-based designer Jasmine Kwak. Her submission took on the idea of living within a community and how each separate "nuclei" of family units could be brought closer together—physically in day-to-day movements and activities—with her entry "Communal Living." "Traditional colonial housing models are designed for a single nuclear family. Hence, the houses are introverted, meaning all the activities, whether communal or private, happen within the four walls of a house," Kwak explains. "This project proposes that these existing houses to become extroverted by opening up the existing circulation and communal spaces. These spaces now become a semi-open and public space, encouraging any communal activities in a house to happen within the community scale."

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With the "Ephemeral Beauty" headpiece, Jiang Yuan has achieved a rare level of grace and refinement for a 3D-printed design.

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Posted by core jr  |  24 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

OscarZhaoYvesBehar.jpgOscar Zhao & Yves Béhar: "You had me at nihao."

Late yesterday afternoon, we learned that Beijing's BlueFocus Communication Group will be taking a majority stake in fuseproject, Yves Béhar's design firm. This marks the growing agency's first foray into the States; it first dipped its toes into Western waters in April of last year, with a 20% stake in Huntsworth PR group, followed by taking a majority stake in We Are Social (both based in the UK). Now, the Financial Times reports that "BlueFocus will pay $46.7m in cash for 75 per cent of Fuseproject, to be paid out over several years depending on performance." (Figures on the agency's net worth and remarkable ascendancy are available here.)

Where fuseproject is a household name in the design world, we (like most of you) hadn't heard of BlueFocus prior to yesterday's announcement. Make no mistake, they are by all accounts a juggernaut, not just among native Chinese companies but on the world stage as well. Founded by Oscar Zhao in 1996, BlueFocus currently employs some 2,800 people—it is reportedly the biggest PR agency in the world—and Béhar's 75-person team, will join the ranks of the ~700 others at companies in which BlueFocus has a majority stake. fuseproject will continue to operate independently; while its multidisciplinary portfolio and services (i.e. rebranding Paypal) may well complement and align with BlueFocus's long-term goals, the San Francisco-based company is ostensibly the first industrial design consultancy in the Chinese company's highly diversified holdings.

BlueFocus.jpgContrary to alarming AQI reports, BlueFocus invites blue-sky thinking at their Beijing headquarters (via Baidu maps)

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Posted by Coroflot  |  24 Jul 2014

Work for Skip Hop!

Are you passionate about designing functional, fashion-forward bags that improve the lives of those who own them?
Are you a quick-thinking, creatively driven, multi-tasking team player who loves tackling many projects at once?
Do you have product design experience that spans a wide variety of products?

The dedicated but easy-going creative team at Skip Hop wants you to help designing and developing the most innovative functional bags to help make parenting easier. This Bag/Product Designer role in Brooklyn, NY requires a specific combination of skills - product design experience plus fashion forward know-how. One without the other won't cut it here, but if you possess both, please don't hesitate to check out the rest of the job description and Apply Now!

Posted by erika rae  |  23 Jul 2014  |  Comments (3)

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If you could combine a cooler with another product, what would it be? A built-in ice crushing blender, a USB charging station, a waterproof bluetooth speaker, or a hidden cutting board? How about all of the above? These are only a few features of the portable icebox that raised close to six million dollars in the first week of its crowdfunding campaign. Now, I don't have a problem with the classic cooler, as inferior as it may seem next to the 'Coolest' cooler—I have many fond memories of get-togethers on the deck of my childhood house sprinkled with a rainbow of coolers filled with frozen treats for the kids and beer for the adults. But you would have to be a little out of your mind to argue that this isn't a significant upgrade to the original design (which dates back to 1954, history buffs).

Check out the video for more information on the frippery and flounce that the Coolest has to offer:

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Posted by Christie Nicholson  |  23 Jul 2014  |  Comments (7)

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In 2007, a student at the University of Tokyo brought a lump of a grey, sparkly mineral to his professor Tsutomu Miyasaka, with the hope that this material might have potential to make cheap and efficient solar cells. But it only converted 4 percent of the sun energy to electricity. Not that remarkable.

Now, however, things have changed. Seven years later the unremarkable lump of rock called perovskite is beating out most solar cells on the market, getting 20 percent efficiency. The progress has sped up because researchers around the world saw the potential in this mineral.

While the sun is pretty much a limitless source of energy for all of us, the cost to capture it remains the challenge. The typical residential solar roof might get about 15 percent efficiency in sunlight and provides electricity at 50 cents/watt. This is twice the cost of coal.

So it's got to get cheaper in order to pull ahead as our number one energy source. Right now the top-performing cells, made of gallium arsenide get a maximum efficiency of about 30 percent but are prohibitively expensive.

The cheaper options like copper indium gallium selenide (a flexible material) or cadmium telluride (as cheap as silicon) get only about 20 percent efficiency.

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Posted by erika rae  |  23 Jul 2014  |  Comments (1)

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You've gotta love a house that comes with instructions. The newest project from Iranian design group nextoffice scales up the the space-saving technique behind the Murphy bed and enhances it with a bit of Hogwarts-like whimsy. Their work on the three-floor Sharifi-Ha house in Tehran incorporates a series of semi-mobile rooms, which can be oriented to allow for extra space and sunlight.

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As any city dweller knows, you don't have a lot of square footage to work with in urban hotspots. This design addresses this issue a stack of three rectangular rooms that can either be aligned flush against the façade of the home or rotated perpendicular to the outer wall—creating weather-friendly options for both a winter and summer living space.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  23 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Every once in a while, a star shows up on Jimmy Kimmel Live and you find that their mother is sitting in the audience. On the show last night something similar happened, albeit with an unusual guest—a bipedal 14-foot monster named "Bodock." Watching proudly from the crowd was Stratasys manager Leslie Frost, tweeting pics and updates.

That's because key parts of the creature, like the chest armor, shoulders, arms and fingers, were enormous ABS parts that came out of a Stratasys 3D printer. "Everything about the giant creature project was ambitious, including size, weight, delivery schedule and performance requirements," says designer Matt Winston. Without large-scale 3D printing and specifically, access to a Fortus 900mc, which has an insane build envelope of 36”×24”×36”, "none of it would have been possible."

Designed by FX house the Stan Winston School and engineered by technical firm Legacy Effects, "Bodock" was created for San Diego Comic-Con, which opens tomorrow. (Kimmel watchers were given a sneak peek a two days early, as the host gleefully revealed to a crowd of unsuspecting kids that Bodock contains the internal plumbing to spray liquid sneezes.) Leading up to the launch, Wired's been tagging along and shooting the development process:

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  23 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Regardless of whether you're in the Invasion of Mypace camp, or the Well That's How Business Works camp, Facebook has been playing games with your heart. As we all now ought to know, Facebook has admitted to experimentally filtering feed results to test emotional response and behavior in users. While it's hard to consider experimentation without informed consent to be anything less than blatantly shady, it's also well within their legal rights. Ethical it ain't, but then again deskchair epidemiology has never had the luxury of such self-selecting scale.

But the biggest bummer—other than seeing an upswing in pictures of your exes and their stupid beautiful lives—is that we didn't get to see the results! Not so any longer. Artist Lauren McCarthy created the Mood Manipulator, a browser extension that allows you the gratification of choosing your own digitally devised mood swings.

Now you can choose your own emotional filtering rather than passively interacting with a pre-adjusted feed filtered by unseen researchers without enough scruple to feel weird studying emotional effects in people who have not been notified. These tasteful opt-in controls give you four tonal "channels" with three positions each: Positive, Emotional, Aggressive and Open (in other news four-metric psych news, the Myers-Briggs test is totally meaningless). Just download the extension and toggle your way to psycho-social harmony.

MoodManip2.jpgAlways with the babies

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  23 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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I hate to write this, but "You'll never believe what happens next!"

Speaking of anamorphosis, check out French artist Bernard Pras' nutty room-sized sculpture below. Pras practices the cylinder-free variant of anamorphosis, and the results have to be seen to be believed:

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Posted by Coroflot  |  23 Jul 2014

Work for Native Shoes!

If you haven't heard of Native Shoes yet, these kicks are made from foam-injection molded-EVA, and combine the best of evolving technology and great design. Along with a unique, low-emission manufacturing process, Native shoes are animal bi-product free, waterproof and odor-resistant. How would you like to join their team as Junior Level Footwear Designer in Vancouver, Canada?

The right person for this role will be responsible for executing the development of all seasonal products, while working closely with the Product Line Manager and Creative Director to ensure that Native product design is innovative and brand appropriate. Core functions include footwear design and development, sourcing, tech pack creation, adhering to key calendar dates, and driving communication from design to commercialization. If this sounds like your ideal job, Apply Now.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Charles Edward Stuart, colloquially referred to as Bonnie Prince Charlie, fomented the Jacobite uprising of 1745 in an effort to seize the British throne. Charlie's Scottish troops were defeated in battle a year later and he fled to France. In the brutal English crackdown that ensued, Scottish households found to contain a portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie were in for trouble, so former supporters interested in surviving got rid of them.

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But not all of them. One artist used a clever technique to secretly hide a portrait of BPC in plain sight. A seemingly abstract circular pattern was painted on a tray...

0anamorphiccylinders-003.jpgImage by Kate Furr-Danner]

...and once a mirrored cylinder was placed in the center, boom, you had Bonnie Prince Charlie staring back at you.

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