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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  29 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Messenger bags make you sore on one side. I can just about guarantee those of you that wear them have one shoulder that is constantly stiffer than the other. Backpacks provide more even pressure, but then you lose the key utility of a messenger bag: The ability to quickly slide it around from back-to-front. Years ago when I switched from messenger bag to backpack, I was surprised at how much I took that utility for granted.

On a crowded subway car you want your backpack in front, to prevent pickpocketing and because it's simply good manners; when walking down the street it's a hassle to shrug out of your backpack just to grab one thing, which is why you always see pairs of backpack-wearing tourists where one is fetching something out of the other's bag for them; likewise when you're waiting for a bus which may arrive in 30 seconds or fifteen minutes, you must decide whether to shrug out of the bag and sit, or keep it on and stand.

I always assumed this was just the design trade-off inherent in the choice of form factor, but the development team behind Wolffepack have proved me wrong. These clever gents have designed a backpack that quickly docks and undocks with the shoulder straps, giving you the best of both worlds:


Who else did a double take, thinking it was Scott Wilson?

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  29 Oct 2014  |  Comments (6)

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You probably remember Richard Branson's April Fool's joke about Virgin producing glass-bottomed planes. I figured this next bit of news might be a gag too, but apparently this proposal for a virtually invisible passenger airplane is sincere.

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Put forth by the UK's Centre for Process Innovation, a science/engineering/technology incubator, this "Windowless Fuselage" concept is intended to save fuel and reduce emissions. The CPI's thinking is that commercial airplanes have windows for the passengers' comfort, but that if the windows could be jettisoned from the design, airplanes could be made lighter and thus save on fuel. To offset the feeling of sitting inside a tin can, airplanes would then be lined with ultrathin, flexible plastic screens covering the interior surfaces and even the seatbacks.

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These screens, the concept goes, could serve as mere lighting, or the entertainment systems, or be linked to external cameras to provide the impression of flying al fresco. The screens could even "allow the colour changes associated with sunrise and sunset to be controlled on long haul journeys, helping passengers to adjust to time zone differences."

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Posted by Coroflot  |  29 Oct 2014

Work for Pensa!

Pensa is a design firm with a strong track record of developing successful products and brands. At Pensa, that success comes from gaining a deep understanding of people, the products they use and the contexts in which they use them. Their DUMBO team is seeking a Senior Industrial Designer with exceptional story telling skills to join them on their mission of delivering the creative solutions their clients need.

Not only will you need 5-8 years experience working as an Industrial Designer, they're looking for someone with solid experience in consumer product design and the demonstrated ability to resolve 3D form language as the foundation developing brands. This is a fun team comprised of designers with multifaceted backgrounds, but every single person LOVES design. Get your resume, portfolio and cover letter together and Apply Now.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  28 Oct 2014  |  Comments (2)

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In the non-square, non-level, non-plumb world we live in, the Stanley FatMax laser level is one of the handiest tools I own. Can't remember what I paid for it—mine is way outdated—but it was less than a hundred bucks, and X/Y only.

On the other end of the cost scale, a California-based company called Origin Laser Tools produces extremely expensive high-end laser levels. Optomechanical engineer Tim Litvin started the company in 2010 with the aim of making laser levels that would be the best of the best—with locally-sourced parts and construction:

Our laser's mechanical parts are CNC-milled by a local machine shop, a local circuit board manufacturer fabricates and assembles our custom electronics... even the hand-checkered wooden grips are the product of a local craftsman. Almost every other component is also made in the United States. The components are finally assembled, by hand, here in Santa Cruz...

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Our laser tools are an investment, made by craftsmen, for craftsmen. We hope they'll become a tool that you'll look forward to using, every day.

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Posted by core jr  |  28 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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This is the latest installment of our Core77 Questionnaire. Previously, we talked to Peter Marigold.

Name: Zoë Mowat

Occupation: Designer and maker

Location: Montreal, Canada

Current projects: Recently I've been in my workshop a lot. I've been prototyping a new product and I'm finishing up an edition of my Arbor Jewelry Stand—I've been doing a limited version all in brass. And then I'm balancing that with custom orders and client work.

Mission: To challenge myself, and ultimately to make things that people want to keep around.

ZoeMowat-QA-3.jpgMowat's 33 1/3 Record Crate. Top right image: the Arbor Jewelry Stand. Portrait by Andre Rider

When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer? Actually, my plan was always to be a sculptor, like my mother. When I was growing up, we would spend afternoons in her studio building things and assembling materials together. So that's where it started. And then it was in high school that I discovered design. In art class for a while I was really into drawing modernist buildings, sort of breaking down the geometry—I don't know why I was doing that, but one day I was drawing Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion, and from there I discovered the Barcelona Chair, and I think that was it. Seeing a real vision, and how it can apply to many things—that everyday items can be designed by a governing philosophy. Also, I wanted to make objects that can be touched and used, unlike sculpture in most cases; I guess I'm really drawn to that intimacy. So at the end of the school year I ended up applying for industrial design instead of sculpture.

Education: I studied industrial design and graphic design at the University of Alberta.

First design job: While I was in university, I designed window displays for a design store. It was equal parts concept, working with your hands and planning. And when it came to working with my hands, it usually involved a lot of glitter, electrical tape, spray paint and the need to attach a hundred of one thing to another thing. I loved it.

Who is your design hero? I'm not sure about the word "hero," but there are many designers whose work I really admire. I especially admire many of the women from the early 20th century, like Eileen Gray, Charlotte Perriand, Eva Zeisel, Ray Eames . . . the list goes on.

ZoeMowat-QA-7.jpgMowat's recent Tablescape series (Tablescape I pictured) was inspired by Charles and Ray Eames's philosophy of "select and arrange."

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Posted by Ray  |  28 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Just launched on Kickstarter, Fireside is bicoastal startup that promises to revolutionize digital photography—not in how we create images and videos but how we share and enjoy them for posterity.

"1,000 songs in your pocket."

So goes the tagline for the very first iPod, released 13 years ago (nearly to the day), a quaint conceit in hindsight. In fact, history has shown that the mp3 player and iTunes alike are merely incremental steps along the path to more versatile hardware and software: Smartphones are capable of fulfilling our listening needs beyond our wildest imaginations. With the concurrent advent of 3- and 4G networks, mobile devices can extract melodies from the ether, while streaming services offer unprecedented depth and breadth when it comes to choices and recommendations, neatly categorized with tags and filtered through metadata.

A database with millions upon millions of songs is one thing, but what about other media? Video is a younger cousin of audio to the extent that it too has exploded with the twofold emergence of online hosting platforms—viz. YouTube and Vimeo—and widely accessible hardware. GoPro is a case study in itself, but even our phones are powerful enough to capture everything from historic events and major occasions to random moments between those milestones.

But if it's easier than ever to document our lives, the friction occurs at a different point in the user experience. For one thing, having hundreds of thousands of photos and videos means that each one becomes a proverbial drop in the pond, and organizing/editing them can be a chore in itself. Then there's the incongruity between shooting—for which a small but powerful device is ideal—and actually viewing the results. A glass rectangle the size of the palm of your hand may be perfect for taking a call, accessing a music library and snapping a selfie, but it's hardly the best format for appreciating visuals that inundate our screens these days.

Fireside_HERO.jpgMore on this below...

Indeed, the latest generation of iPhones marks a slight concession to Apple's competitors. Tim, Jony & co. decided that screen could stand to be bigger after all, and the sales figures validate the hypothesis thus far. With a screen that is nearly 40% bigger than that of its predecessor, the iPhone 6 is certainly easier on the eyes, not to mention the obligatory improvements in camera technology.

But it turns out that the ability to take better photos and store them in one's pocket is only half of the equation. We've all been there: We want to show someone an older photo of that Halloween costume or that trip to Paris or that street art from a few years back, and despite
camera rolls' perfunctory affordance to sort images by location or date, the virtual 'shoebox' of chronological thumbnail images leaves a lot to be desired.

Conversely—and arguably worse still—we often forget about older photos and videos as it gets buried under the figurative weight of new memories. As with ring-bound albums, one-hour-photo envelopes and dusty shoeboxes, we simply neglect to resurface bygone years despite the easy access of digital storage. Sure, there are Flickr and Facebook albums full of memories, but the former rarely occasions revisiting and the latter offers far too many distractions to offer a meaningful viewing experience.

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Enter the Fireside Smartframe. As with the iPod, it's not the first device to do what it does—as you might have guessed, it's a digital picture frame—but it is intended to be the first to do it well. Co-founder Andy Jagoe introduces it as Pandora or SONOS for photos: the former reference point has far better name recognition and captures the data-as-genome element of the playlists, but the latter is slightly more accurate in that it is a largely source-agnostic hardware (and quasi-IoT) system. He and fellow co-founder Don Lehman acknowledged as much when they demo'd the Smartframe for me last week, in anticipation of the launch of their Kickstarter campaign this morning [disclosure: Lehman has contributed to Core77 in various capacities for over a decade].

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Posted by Mason Currey  |  28 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

RamaChorpash-ParsonsMFAID-1.jpgStudents in the new MFA program will have access to the New School's University Center, which opened last January. Photo by Jacob A. Pritchard

Earlier this month, Parsons The New School for Design announced that it's launching a Master of Fine Arts in Industrial Design for fall 2015 enrollment. As a postscript to our recent D-School Futures series—in which we asked the chairs of several prominent design programs to reflect on the state of ID education—we caught up with Rama Chorpash to find out more about the thinking behind this new MFA. In addition to being an accomplished designer in his own right, Chorpash is the director of Parsons's existing BFA in product design; he developed the MFA program and will be serving as its director as well. (Ed. Note: He was also one of five designers who represented Staten Island in our "All-City All-Stars" exhibition for NYDW2012.]

Our New York–based readers may also want to mark their calendars for this Thursday evening, when Chorpash will co-moderate a panel discussion to celebrate the program's launch. The discussion topic is "Product City: Shortening the Supply Chain," and it will feature the founders of Makers Row and the head of responsible growth at Etsy. That event is free and open to the public—find the complete details here.

Core77: Who is this program for?

Our focus is on supporting both design professionals and recent graduates who want to advance in the field while forwarding the field itself. To this end, we'll also be accepting candidates from other disciplines to enrich studio culture and diversify knowledge and peer learning.

What sets this program apart from other MFAs in industrial design?

The program prepares the next generation of designers to navigate seemingly contradictory dichotomies—manufacturing and sustainability, consumerism and need, globalization and localization, offshoring and onshoring—with an eye toward reconciling them and shaping a more integrated future. To explore some of these tensions, The New School, as one of the only design-led universities globally, provides significant intellectual resources. Students have access to leading experts in economics, ethnography, environmental policy, sustainability management and so on. The program is located in the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons, the only integrated school of architecture, interior design, product design and lighting design in the United States. Our university has over 135 undergraduate and graduate degrees, minors, certificates and continuing education programs.

Distinctive to the curriculum are the local and global design studios, which involve significant off-site work and community engagement. In the first term, students will have the opportunity to do hands-on self-production, as well as conduct user testing in NYC. In the second term, they continue their industry-integrated approach by either visiting or working with international production and supply chains. Students utilize advanced making skills and critical inquiry to design products at various scales of production, from low-volume to high-volume—from desktop manufacturing to international global supply-chains.

RamaChorpash-ParsonsMFAID-2.jpgLeft: Rama Chorpash. Right: Inside the New School's Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. Interior photo by Bob Handleman

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Posted by Coroflot  |  28 Oct 2014

Work for SRAM, LLC!

Would you like to:
Work on products that people love
Work for a great company in a fun industry
Have control of your design intent
Work on an industry leading design team

If you answered yes to these, love bikes and are an accomplished Graphic Designers, SRAM wants to hire you to elevate their mountain bike suspension, brakes, wheels, and drivetrain products through the innovative use of color, finish, branding, and graphics. If you have a proven history of developing strong designs and are skilled at working cross-functionally with people from other departments, Apply Now.

Posted by Ray  |  27 Oct 2014  |  Comments (1)

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In Casey Neistat's review of Google Glass, the filmmaker likens the wearable device to another much-lampooned gadget of a previous generation. Indeed, the Segway endures in pop culture, if only as a cautionary tale. Dean Kamen's much-hyped invention effectively poisoned the well for the personal mobility industry as a whole; short of the comfort and convenience of, say, the hoverchairs in Wall-E, this category will likely remain stigmatized as solutions looking for a problem. (Although a recent Kickstarter project may portend Disney/Pixar's rotund prognostication for the human race, task-oriented assistive devices may be the growth area for the time being.)

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The use case that we didn't foresee: the ever-popular music video. Today sees the debut of yet another carefully choreographed performance from none other than OK Go, who have long since made the transition from run-of-the-(tread)mill rock band to viral video soundtrackers, writing generically catchy power-pop earworms solely in service of their increasingly over-the-top cinematic efforts. More impressive than OK Go's songcraft is their clever use of props and optical illusions; for their latest effort, "I Won't Let You Down"—the second single from their new full-length, Hungry Ghosts, following the forced-perspective trompe l'oeils of "The Writing's On the Wall"—the foursome saddle up on Honda UNI-CUBs, a stool-sized monowheel vehicle (more on that below).

I won't reveal the grand finale, but quasi-spoiler alert: At about 1:03, it becomes apparent that the entire video—a continuously shot long take as in their previous vids—was filmed with a UAV, which is also pretty impressive in itself (props to Multi-Copter Pilot Kenji Yasuda). Let's just say they've come a long way from the treadmills...

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  27 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Google Glass: Some people love it, some hate it, and this guy became addicted to it. But overall they haven't gained much traction among the masses, presumably because there's no overarching unmet need they're fulfilling.

However, if there's one guy who can utilize them, it's filmmaker Casey Neistat; having a camera permanently hanging on the front of your face is a good fit for a guy who always seems to be recording everything around him. Check out Neistat's Google Glass review, and dig the clever, low-tech way he came up with for addressing the audience:

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  27 Oct 2014  |  Comments (5)

0mercedesalumvssteel.jpgLeft: Aluminum; Right: Steel.

When trying to "lightweight" something made out of steel, the designer's natural inclination is to turn to aluminum. But the R&D guys over at Mercedes-Benz recently did the opposite of that, and scooped up a Materialica Design and Technology Award for their trouble.

The MDT Awards are part of recently-held trade fair Materialica, which is dedicated to "Materials applications, surface technology and product engineering," and were intended to highlight lightweight design in transportation. To that end Mercedes took an aluminum piston design for a diesel passenger car and replaced it with a redesigned steel one.

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Posted by core jr  |  27 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

Vienna-Design-Week-Gallery-2014.jpgPhotography by Sam Dunne for Core77

Vienna Design Week returned for the eighth successive year, this year setting up shop in the grand Schwarzenberg Palace in the heart of the city. Apart from being blown away (as always) by the spectacular architecture of Austrian capital, we were delighted to see the return of the legendary 'Passionswege' program—a platform in which up-and-coming international designers collaborate with local manufacturers and craftspeople from Vienna. Other highlights include an array of impressive upcycling at the Recycling Design Prize exhibition and a NikeID-like system for cakes that keeps customized decoration classy.

» View Gallery

Vienna Design Week 2014:
» Passionswege - BCXSY x Lobmeyr
» Passionswege - Pedrita Studio x Stiefelmeyer Glaserei
» Sebastian Marbacher's 'Baustellen Bank'
» 'Cake's New Dress' - Lucy.D x Cafe Landtmann
» Recycling Design Prize
» Passionswege - PostlerFerguson x A.E. Kochert

Posted by Teshia Treuhaft  |  27 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Berlin has rapidly made a name for itself as one of the foremost cities for tech startups to ahem, start up. In addition, to the budding companies that call the German capital home, we also have heavy hitters such as Soundcloud, Eyeem, plus satellite offices of Twitter and Etsy for good measure. With such an array of software and online products I've been asking around—dewy-eyed as a newly minted Berliner—where are all of the hardware tech companies?

One answer is that they do in fact exist, the tech hardware scene is growing tremendously particularly as wave after wave of creative and technologically inclined young people flock to the city. I first came across LUUV, a promising group of Germans building a camera stabilizer for your trek through the Bavarian Alps or skateboarding in Alexanderplatz during the international betapitch global event in Berlin.

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The design philosophy of LUUV reads almost as a Design 101 case study on the importance of fast prototyping and direct user research. Fresh from a long series of pitch competitions and as new alumnus of the tech accelerator HARDWARE.co, co-founder Tim Kirchner shared his thoughts on 3D printing and skateboarding culture in Germany. In the interview below, Kirchner elaborates on LUUV's success and the hardships of bringing a product to market, setting your sights on international distribution, and building a community from the ground up.

Core77: How did you guys started with LUUV?

Tim Kirchner: The idea of LUUV goes back to one of our co-founder Felix, who was filming with cameras like the GoPro. From the beginning, he was having this problem from the beginning that when filming with it either in the hand or attached to your head, you always end up with shaky, crappy footage you don't want to show your friends. In December 2012, Felix was on a snowboarding trip to Austria, and built a little DIY stabilizer, basically a stick with a weight on it to film for fun around the cabin and in the evening. He was traveling with a friend of his who works a big media studio in Germany, when the friend was looking at the footage, he started saying, "Wow, it's really impressive and stable." That's really where the idea of LUUV was born.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  24 Oct 2014  |  Comments (6)

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It is a shame that the Power Mac G5, and the first-generation Mac Pro, are these beautiful hunks of aluminum that have no present-day use. While the conscientious may deliver them to recycling facilities, wouldn't it be cool if the shells could be usefully repurposed? Germany-based designer Klaus Geiger thought so, and machined a solid piece of walnut to perfectly match the radii in the G5 tower's handles.

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Though Geiger's one-off bench was created for a freecycling event in Freiburg, he subsequently became intrigued by the idea of upcycling G5 shells, stating "they are simply too good to be disposed of." He produced at least a couple of other pieces, like the one seen up top and this rolling set of drawers...

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...then cranked out some renderings to show what a full line might look like:

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Posted by Carly Ayres  |  24 Oct 2014  |  Comments (3)

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Based in Tahoe City, California, Barclay Moore has been making custom furniture in his tiny one-car garage since 1986. Working in the small space, the furniture maker relied heavily on folding sawhorses for their ease of storage and light weight. One huge drawback, however, was their lack of strength and stability—over the years, Moore amassed a pile of broken plastic versions. Last summer, he finally got fed up and decided to invent a sawhorse of his own.

"So the idea came in July, when all my plastic horses lay in ruins," Moore says. "I needed a set that was bomb-proof but that still folded." With a background in engineering, Moore took out a piece of cardboard and began sketching. "The goal was to make something that will last years, fold up, be transportable, be able to stand on it, be able to modify it and use a material that is appropriate," he says. Moore chose plywood for its stiffness, durability, weather resistance, light weight and ability to be machined using tools he already had on hand.

The result is the MORHORSE, which Moore calls a "folding sawhorse on steroids." It comes in two versions: the Clydesdale—"the mother of all horses as far as strength to weight"—and the Mustang, a slimmer and lighter design. Both are CNC-cut from 4-by-8-foot sheets of 3/4-inch CDX plywood, yielding three and six sawhorses per sheet for the Clydesdale and Mustang, respectively. To test the strength of his designs, Moore loaded two Clydesdales with 3,320 pounds of lumber, and they held up without a crack. The Mustang made it to 1,720 pounds—before Moore dropped the load from eight feet to finally break them.

Moore's Kickstarter video

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Posted by Ray  |  24 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Among other things, the Internet transcends the regional borders of advertising campaigns, which have historically been geo-targeted out of necessity; these days, YouTube affords access to commercials old and new—ironic though it may be that we find ourselves revisiting or discovering ads as content, so too is viralness increasingly a mandate for agencies the world over. We've seen IKEA's regional campaigns before, including BBH Asia Pacific's Apple-spoof 'bookbook' catalog ad for IKEA Singapore; here's their latest work, inspired by The Shining (on the occasion of Halloween):

The transposition of "play" into "pay" may well be the scariest part...

It's very well done, save for the fact that instead of fixing the camera on Danny's body (the Big Wheel is lacking a backrest, as in the source material, but it's close enough), the shot follows his path, which means that he veers to the edge of the frame when cornering—details, people. That said, we'll take any reason to post the classic Steadicam long take:

It would be interesting to see it charted on a map of the IKEA where it was filmed (assuming that they didn't build a faux-showroom set; that would be something else), as in this treatment [exegetical spoiler alert] of the original.

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

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The MFA in Products of Design program at SVA in New York City is holding its Information Session/Open House on Saturday, November 8th, from 1pm to 4pm. Meet faculty Ayse Birsel, Elliott Montgomery, Kyla Fullenwider, Johan Liden, Rebecca Silver, Sinclair Smith and Richard Tyson, along with current students as well as recent graduates. Tour the department and Visible Futures Lab, and preview projects from the two-year curriculum. Here's a bit more:

Please join us for our Open House and Information Session. The MFA in Products of Design is an immersive, two-year graduate program that creates exceptional practitioners for leadership in the shifting terrain of design. We educate heads, hearts and hands to reinvent systems and catalyze positive change.
Students gain fluency in the three fields crucial to the future of design: Making, from the handmade to digital fabrication; Structures: business, research, systems, strategy, user experience and interaction; and Narratives: video storytelling, history and point of view. Through work that engages emerging science and materials, social cooperation and public life, students develop the skills to address contemporary problems in contemporary ways.
Graduates emerge with confidence, methods, experience and strong professional networks. They gain the skills necessary to excel in senior positions at top design firms and progressive organizations, create ingenious enterprises of their own, and become lifelong advocates for the power of design.

Check out all the goings on at the department goings at their site, and RSVP for the Open House/Information Session event here.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  24 Oct 2014  |  Comments (5)

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Design theory is all fine and good, but one of the better things that will happen during an industrial design education is when schools connect with real companies that make real things. The company gets an opportunity to see what fresh minds would do with their product line-up, and design students get real-world feedback on creating something that's actually doable.

Case in point: The annual Zinc Challenge sponsored by InterZinc, a Michigan-based company that unsurprisingly specializes in zinc—the fourth most commonly used metal worldwide, they're quick to point out—and asks ID students to come up with product-based uses for the stuff. "Our challenge [is] a two part zinc casting design competition," the company writes. "The first part based on knowledge, the second on practical design."

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  24 Oct 2014  |  Comments (1)

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For a relative minnow of the design world, it was great to see some solid involvement from the international design community at Łódź Design Festival in Poland last week. To give one outstanding example—Eindhoven based Japanese designer Tsuyoshi Hayashi took to the stage to present his delightfully simple 'Kawara Chair'—a small stool from ceramic and wood.

Inspired by the charming array of colours and finishes of rejects, Hayashi makes use of off-casts from the traditional Kawara curved tile industry in Takahama, Japan. The frame design takes advantage of the tiles' standard size and shape: the tiles slot in with awesome precision, holding firm without the need for glueing or fixing of any kind. The unique hardness of these glazed tiles (apparently fired at double the temperature used in Western kilns) gives the dainty seats a satisfying solidity.

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Posted by core jr  |  23 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Following the pre-conference workshops on Wednesday, this year's GAIN Conference was in full swing in NYC today, bringing together a great lineup of thinkers and doers to address the idea of redesigning business from a wide range of perspectives (hence the "Design and Business" moniker). Chaired by Nathan Shedroff with moderation help from Jeanne Liedtka, the speakers explored new ways of defining the value and role of design across organizations, continually referencing the human element and how design serves to connect people, and improve lives. The conference website has interviews with several of the speakers, and will be publishing videos of the presentations in the coming weeks.

Below are some of our favorite tweets covering the day's activities: