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Posted by core jr  |  17 Apr 2014  |  Comments (2)


Hosted by Don Lehman, Core77's podcast series is designed for all those times you're sketching, working in the shop, or just looking for inspiration from inspiring people. We'll have conversations with interesting creatives and regular guests. The viewpoint of Afterschool will come from industrial design, but the focus will be on all types of creativity: graphic design, storytelling, architecture, cooking, illustration, branding, materials, business, research... anything that could enrich your thought process, we'll talk about.

You've probably seen Craighton's work around before. He's the guy who did that lamp made of an orange extension cord, or that pencil sharpener built into a mason jar to help quantify how creative you've been, or countless sketchnotes from design conferences and events.

Craighton is in the middle of a pretty formidable transition with his work. He's combining most of it under a new brand which he is calling Manual as well as launching a new product called the Manual Coffeemaker or MCM. If you haven't seen it before, it's this beautiful glass terrarium-like, pour over coffee maker, that is more of a kitchen appliance than a tool. The MCM is in the middle of it's Kickstarter funding right now, which is scheduled to end this Friday, April 18. As of this recording it's not yet fully funded, but it's inching closer and closer. So I thought it would be the perfect time to talk to Craighton about what this experience is like. What goes on in the head of a designer who puts their passion project out their for public approval?

Get the Afterschool Podcast, Episode #19 – Craighton Berman, Founder of Manual: Available at the iTunes store or direct download via Soundcloud below.


Posted by erika rae  |  17 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

PSFKConference-Lead2.jpgAll photos by Catalina Kulczar-Marin

Like with any other conference aimed at sparking innovation and creativity, you're going to leave the event with too much information to process. (Moan and groan about buzzwords all you want, but at the end of the day "inspired" is the only way to describe it.) Which, of course, were my feelings concerning PSFK 2014, a one-day conference titled "Connecting the Unexpected." On April 11, the staff of PSFK hosted an auditorium full of marketers, designers, entrepreneurs and other creative types at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. For the sake of Internet brevity and my own sanity, I'll break up a few of my favorite take-aways in accordance with the three speaker categories: Keynote, Spotlight and Refresh. I hope that you might find some of it—yup—inspiring.


PSFKConference-Kushner.jpgMarc Kushner of Architizer

The day got off to a great start. The first presenter—and possibly the most interesting to me—was Marc Kushner, CEO and co-founder of Architizer. While his message was strong on its own, it might have been the easy delivery and candid approach he took to presenting it. Nothing seemed over-rehearsed and instead of cramming a career's worth of work into 20 minutes (speakers were allotted 10- and 20-minute presentation times), he walked us all through one design his firm HWKN took on: "Wendy," the 2012 winner of the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program. He addressed the topic of creating things with personality and pushed his message even further through presenting the thought process behind one of his own successful designs. (His words: "They tweeted at her. They added her on Facebook.")

By taking us through the design process by means of various sketches and photographs of the finished product, Kushner successfully (at least in my instance) reminded us all that architecture is an interactive part of society. My favorite words from the entire event came from Kushner: "Math is intimidating. Architecture shouldn't be intimidating."

PSFKConference-KeynoteComp3.jpgLeft to right: Keith Yamashita, founder of SYPartners; Kevin Alloca, trend tracker at YouTube; and Björn Jeffrey, founder of Toca Boca

Keith Yamashita also served up a noteworthy performance and controlled his presentation (which you can view here) from his phone, which was pretty nifty. His focus was the importance of teamwork in discovering with a successful solution—design-specific or not—and took us through a few steps, or lessons: "Start from a pure place—with equal parts empathy and aspiration," "never delegate understanding," "virtually all acts of greatness are the work of an ensemble" and "greatness is a choice," to name a few.

Brooklyn Boulders's "Cultural Chameleon" Jesse Levin shared his stories of volunteering in disaster areas and drew similarities with the atmosphere and team he has built in Brooklyn. Hiring music acts and housing graffiti artists in exchange for wall decorations are only a few things he has utilized to create a collaborative space—not to mention he's created a co-working space inside of the Brooklyn Boulders gym, complete with standing desks and pull-up bars (no joke). While he wasn't speaking about design per se, the notion that taking creative leaps keeps ideas fresh applies to any domain.


Posted by Ray  |  17 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


It's never a perfect analogy, but it can be interesting when it comes close enough: Attempting to translate one creative discipline into another is, to mutilate the metaphors, more difficult than turning water into wine—rather, the old saying regarding "dancing about architecture" comes to mind. For Milan Design Week 2014, the Centrum Designu Gdynia ambitiously sought to distill a dozen products by Polish Pomeranian designers into culinary delights. Although the concept itself was executed to varying degrees of success, "Taste of an Object" offered a nice twist on the tried-and-true local design showcase.

Taking inspiration from Richard E. Cytowic's The Man Who Tasted Shapes (MIT Press 2003), the Gdynia Design Centre worked with razy2 design group to develop an exhibition in which "an object goes beyond the limits of how it's typically perceived."

"Flavors have shape," he started, frowning into the depths of the roasting pan. "I wanted the taste of this chicken to be pointed shape, but it came out all round." He looked up at me, still blushing. "Well I mean it's nearly spherical," he emphasized, trying to keep the volume down. "I can't serve this if it doesn't have points."
..."When I taste something with intense flavor, the feeling sweeps down to my arm into my fingertips. I feel it—its weight, its texture, whether it's warm or cold, everything. I feel it like I'm actually grasping something." He held his palms up. "Of course, there's nothing really there," he said, staring at his hands. "But it's not illusion because I feel it."

So goes the excerpt of Cytowic's book, a seed of source material that is planted in the geopolitical context of the Pomerania region of northern Poland, across the Baltic Sea from Sweden. Described as "a region of a turbulent history linked with and age-long fight for independence," Pomerania is also an incubator, "a base for brave yet developing, unique projects."

Mouthwatering though they may be, chef Rafal Walesa's gastronomic concoctions are only obliquely related to the products—but that's precisely the point. After all, one can only imagine that literal interpretations of, say, a radiator (there are actually three heating-related products in the show) or an urn might not be nearly as appetizing as the photogenic treats that were on view. (Note: The captioned images below alternate between food and product, with the dishes followed by the design that inspired them.)

TasteofanObject-WelnaPowietrze-1.jpgChocolate sponge cake is perhaps the ultimate comfort food

TasteofanObject-WelnaPowietrze-2.jpg"Welna & Powietrze" armchair by Malafor (Agata Kulik-Pomorska & Pawel Pomorski)

TasteofanObject-Pillou-1.jpgHard candy is intended to symbolize cast aluminum, while its lemon tea flavor conjures the contrast of heat on a cold winter day

TasteofanObject-Pillou-2.jpg"Pillou" radiator by None Grupa (Marta Szaban & Antoni Krzempek) for Terma

TasteofanObject-TearDrop-1.jpgRed wine jelly offers a twist on a drink for a solemn occasion

TasteofanObject-TearDrop-2.jpg"Tear Drop" by Aeon Form (Aleksander Bielawski, Robert Kowalczyk & Dominik Sedzicki)


Posted by erika rae  |  16 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


You may not see much of your well-worn childhood flip books past the age of 10—or maybe even younger thanks to the intrigue of more developed, tech-savvy toys. Juan Fontanive has something to say about that. His series of motorized flip books feature lifted images from Audubon guides that loop through colorful images of birds and illustrations of butterflies. The tiny sculptures-gone-film-art are made up of mixture of miniature gears, sprockets, clips, nuts, bolts and wormwheels. The result is an oddly soothing, page-flipping loop. Check out his newest compilations in action:

"Ornithology S."


Posted by Christie Nicholson  |  16 Apr 2014  |  Comments (3)


A group of MIT scientists have created a new material that can be both a mirror and a window, and no it's not a one-way mirror.

This new material can filter light depending on the direction of the light beams. In the image above light that hits from one angle goes straight through (white beam) but light that hits the material at different angle is reflected back (red beam). For designers it might make for interesting new tricks for walls or new forms of windows.

To filter light one must alter either it's frequency or polarization. In terms of frequency, stained glass windows are a good example, where the glass lets specific wavelengths pass through.


Polarized glasses, like the 3D glasses you wear at the movies, are able to let light through that oscillates in a specific way. But the idea of filtering light based on the direction it comes from has always been tough.



Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  16 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


A Core77 reader wrote in to ask about the provenance of this enormous horse made from wood cut-offs, which we spotted at Holz-Handwerk.


Called the "Workhorse of Peace and Hope," it was made by Italian furniture outfit Riva to symbolize the dedication and perseverance of Italian craftsmanship.

And speaking of wooden animals, here's something I never expected to see being sold by Restoration Hardware: A line of Hand-Carved Game Trophies made out of basswood.



Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  16 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


Photography accessory company Photojojo might consist of "a small and passionate team" of designers (who are hiring, by the way), but despite their dimunitive size, the SF-based outfit distributes a staggering array of product. And what they've got in the pipeline is bound to draw some attention: "We're working on some stuff to make drone photography easier for anyone to get into," the company writes. Specifically, they may be helping to usher in a new category of photography: The drone selfie.

What's a drone selfie? Well jeez, whaddaya think it is?

That one was shot by Amit Gupta, the SF-based entrepreneur who runs Photojojo. No word yet on what the physical products they'll be releasing are.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  16 Apr 2014  |  Comments (1)


In this four-part look at different toolbox designs, finally we come to Parat, which has one of the larger tool storage catalogs of any company we've seen. Like Tanos, the company's desire is to produce storage for every single thing any tradesperson could possibly carry; but unlike Tanos, Parat has foregone any notion of connectivity and modularity--perhaps due to legacy issues--and instead produces a bewildering array of form factors, giving the end user a wide variety of options.

Their Paratool line is a unique-looking sort of wheeled briefcase, which can be rolled or carried depending on the load and terrain. The interesting design feature is that it's meant to serve as a mobile tool platform; with the telescoping handles extended, the box can be opened and set at a particular height to allow access to the tools.


Their Parapro line will be familiar to anyone who's used Pelican cases, often the mobile storage unit of choice for photographers and military outfits. Like the Pelicans, the Parapros are 100% waterproof, dustproof and airtight, and molded from nearly indestructible polypropylene.


Their Evolution line looks something like a wall-mounted cabinet that has been adapted to ride on wheels.


Posted by core jr  |  16 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)
Content sponsored by Intel

If you haven't heard yet, Intel is looking for visionaries to enter the MAKE IT WEARABLE global challenge. All it takes to enter is for you to upload a one-minute video on your vision of the future of wearables. Five winners will receive $5,000 and a free trip for two to the award ceremony in San Francisco to take place in November of this year. For complete rules and to enter check out the competition website.

For those of you who want to develop a complete wearable product, we will be launching the Development Track of the challenge in the summer of 2014 with a grand prize of $500,000. You will be able to enter by submitting a proposal and pitch video of an innovative and creative product concept. Submissions will be judged on a balance of creativity, feasibility and market potential.


Posted by erika rae  |  15 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


While there are many designs out there that look to replicate the iconic style of the Eames Chair, I'd bet that there aren't many doing it quite like Bora Hong. Her work always has some sort of cultural connection, and her recent design series, "Cosmetic Surgery Kingdom" is no exception. The cultural spin? Hong explores the aesthetic surgery trend in South Korea by recreating the classic Eames chair using parts of outdated chair designs. She showcases her design process in two videos, where she dons doctor's scrubs and a hospital mask for added effect:

The project is meant to draw a correlation between the goal of creating a younger and more beautiful self by means of cosmetic surgery and the way in which designers are also always trying to create "good design." Check out her second video, titled "Surgery for an Eames Chair":


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  15 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


Polypropylene is one of your go-to plastics for injection molding, and being both flexible and tough, you can do sexy things like making living hinges out of the stuff. But you are of course limited to what you can produce in a mold.

Stratasys is hoping to remove this barrier with Endur, a simulated polypropylene material that can be 3D-printed in their PolyJet machines.

Just like the name implies, Endur is tough. The polypropylene-like material offers both high impact resistance and superior elongation at break. Endur has a heat-deflection temperature up to 129°F/ 54°C, excellent dimensional stability and comes in a bright white color. It also features an excellent surface finish to make it easier to achieve a smooth look and feel.
These properties make Endur attractive for 3D printing prototypes that need the flexibility, appearance and toughness of polypropylene for a wide range of form, fit and assembly applications. This includes moving parts, snap-fit components, and small cases and containers with lids. The white tone and smooth surface finish make it ideal for consumer goods, electronics and household appliances, lab equipment and automotive parts.

Take a look at the stuff in this amusingly stilted video:

Posted by Kat Bauman  |  15 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


Spring is a time for sprucing up, inside and out! For the Hand-Eye Supply Spring Quarterly we spent a day on job with Joshua DeParrie of Eco-Plumber. Joshua is a professional pipe whisperer and Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Between troubleshooting plumbing problems he schooled us on conceptions of balance and flow, discussed his take on Tao, and reviewed the Spring Collection.



Posted by core jr  |  15 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


This is the latest installment of our Core77 Questionnaire. Previously, we talked to Inga Sempé.

Name: Eric Trine

Occupation: Artist and designer

Location: Long Beach, California

Current projects: Right now I'm gearing up for New York Design Week. I'm doing a new version of my Rod+Weave chair with a brass-plated frame and dyed-blue leather—it will be like an Yves Klein blue, super-vibrant. And then I'm working on a collaboration with a fashion designer and illustrator named Ellen Van Dusen; she's making the fabric for a new chair that's in the works.

Mission: Taking the pretentiousness away from high design and making it more accessible to a broader audience. And also just being in people's homes with the work that I do—the mission is not to be in a design gallery or the MoMA gift shop but to actually get into people's living spaces.

EricTrine-QA-2.jpgAbove right: Octahedron Pedestals in a spectrum of colors. Top image: a detail view of Trine's Rod+Weave chair

EricTrine-QA-1.jpgA lounge chair and leather-sling side table from Staycation, a recent collection by Trine and Will Bryant

When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer? When I started transitioning out of a fine-arts, sculptural practice and started making things for myself. About five and a half years ago, my wife and I got married and moved into our first place. I've always had "maker's chops," so I taught myself how to weld and I started making all the furniture for our place. That turned into making stuff for friends, and then it was friends of friends of friends. It just kept snowballing. And I recognized that there was something in me that was activated through more of a design practice than a fine-arts practice. But I'm still realizing that I want to be a designer; I'm still figuring it out.

Education: I got a B.F.A. in interdisciplinary art, and my thesis was sculptural—I made this house on hinges and wheels that could fold into 434 different positions. So even in undergrad I was talking about themes of the home.

Then for graduate school I went to the Pacific Northwest College of Art, in Portland. The program was called Applied Craft and Design. I was looking at schools that were in between industrial design and a traditional M.F.A.. I know I don't want to be a craftsman, and I don't want to be a fine artist. Design is somehow hovering in between those spaces; it can pull from each of those traditions, but it has, I think, a clearer set of criteria.

First design job: Upon leaving graduate school last year, I've been doing my own thing. So my first design job was basically running my own business as a designer.

Who is your design hero? Russel Wright. I discovered him completely by accident. I found a set of four folding chairs that he did for Sears in the 1940s or '50s. I got them for $15 each and I posted them on my blog, and someone was like, "Where did you find those Russel Wright chairs?" And I was like, "Who the heck is Russel Wright?"

So I looked him up and then continued to study his work. He's my hero because he had a strong connection to the consumer culture and broader culture of his time. The dinnerware that he designed in 1937 is still the best-selling dinnerware set in American history. It's called American Modern. Nailing that design and making it so amazing and successful and accessible that it was literally in every home in America—I love that.

He also wrote this book with his wife called A Guide to Easier Living, talking about the benefits of modern design in an almost theoretical or conceptual way. One whole page is dedicated to a quicker way to making your bed. So design for him was really connected to improving your life, and not improving it in a status kind of way but actually improving the way that you interact with your space.

EricTrine-QA-4.jpgInside Trine's studio in Long Beach


Posted by core jr  |  15 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


Our readers are likely well aware that Core77's Allan Chochinov has been primarily focused on his duties as co-founder and chair of the School of Visual Arts MFA Products of Design program for the past few years now, and he is pleased to announce that they will be graduating their inaugural class next month. It has by all accounts been a major learning experience for all parties involved, from Allan and his faculty to the students themselves (who, of course, were joined by a second class, of 2015, last semester).

On Thursday, May 8, the 15 intrepid students who first set foot in the department back in 2012 will be presenting their year-long thesis work (names and projects listed below). The event at the SVA Theater on West 23rd St will take place from 1:00–6:30pm, starting with a few opening remarks from Allan and a keynote presentation by author and social theorist Douglas Rushkoff, whose latest book, Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now was published last year, followed by formal presentations by each student.

Richard Clarkson - "Super. Moments of Remarkable"
Emi Yasaka - "Upward: Fostering Human Mobility in a Sedentary World"
Clay Kippen - "Lucid: Seeing as a Tool for Learning
Kathryn McElroy - "Presence: How to Use Digital Technology to Live a More Analog Life"
Mansi Gupta - "BETTER: The Prejudices and Practices of Mass Production"
Damon Ahola - "The Benefits of Harvesting Ambient Energy"
Gaïa Orain - "the goods"
Samantha Moore - "Around: Drawing Out Relief and Engagement in the Urban Environment"
Rona Binay - "Coexist: Mixing with Wildlife in an Urban Environment"
Cassandra Michel - "Five+: An Exploration of Mindful Experience Through the Lens of Sense"
Joseph Weissgold - "The Teacher's Lounge: Re-Empowering Teachers Through Design Offerings"
Willy Chan - "Alive: Comforting Your Food"
Zena Pesta - "State of the Art Project: Transforming Local Businesses Into Learning Laboratories"
Charlotte Hellichius - "Whateverest. Exploring the Landscape of Apathy and Agency"
Matt Barber - "The End."

It seems like just yesterday that we saw the fresh faces of the inaugural class of SVA PoD roaming the floor of WantedDesign for their 2013 NY Design Week project "ALSO!" Congrats to Allan and all of the students!

Seating is limited, so RSVP is required.

About the Masters Thesis
The http://productsofdesign.sva.eduMFA Products of Design Masters Thesis is a unique, year-long design pursuit that investigates, iterates, and articulates around a given subject matter or territory. Using a series of progressive lenses—from speculative objects to social interventions—student work is instantiated along a continuum from product to service to system to platform. Integrating brand, business, and environmental and social stewardship, the thesis stands as a testament that the "products of design" must span multiple modalities in order to provide effective, holistic offerings.

About the MFA Products of Design Program
The MFA in Products of Design is an immersive, two-year graduate program that creates exceptional leaders for the shifting terrain of design. We educate heads, hearts and hands to reinvent systems and catalyze positive change. Graduates emerge with methods, confidence, and the strong professional networks necessary to excel at top design firms and progressive organizations, to create ingenious enterprises of their own, and to become lifelong advocates for the power of design.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  15 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


Tanos is a spin-off of engineering outfit TTS Tooltechnic Systems, and their sole purpose is to build out TTS's Systainer storage system. (Festool users will recognize the Systainers, as they come bundled with Festool products; no surprise as TTS is the parent company for both brands.)


The design approach of the Systainer system is simple in concept and complicated in execution. They've created a full line of ABS cases to hold every single thing an end user could ever need, from large pieces of kit down to the tiniest part, and they've built in such modularity that every single case of every size will all physically connect with or nest within one another. This allows users to mix and match to build their own storage monoliths.


Here's the basic idea in video:

The case interiors can be further subdivided with a variety of accessories and placed on optional wheeled bases.



Posted by Coroflot  |  15 Apr 2014

Work for Crown Equipment Corporation!

Crown Equipment Corporation designs, manufactures, distributes, services and supports material handling products that provide customers with superior value. As one of the world's largest lift truck manufacturers, Crown is focused on providing solutions that mean improved performance for their customers. With your CAD/Mechanical Design skills, Crown will bring even more innovative solutions to their customer base.

This New Bremen, OH company is looking for someone with a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering or Industrial Design, along with five to seven years of experience. You'll need a CAD/CAE certificate and strong CAD skills, with complex surface experience, plus the ability to demonstrate project management is important. If you have what it takes, Apply Now.

Posted by Ray  |  14 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


It's an increasingly pressing question in this day and age, and one that has certainly seen some interesting responses—including this interdepartmental collaboration from Switzerland design school ECAL—as an evolving dialectic between two closely related design disciplines. Exhibited in Milan's Brera District during the Salone del Mobile last week, "Delirious Home" is comprised of ten projects that explore the relationship between industrial design and interaction design. (Naoto Fukasawa, for one, believes that the former will eventually be subsumed into the latter as our needs converge into fewer objects thanks to technology.)


Both the Media & Interaction Design and the Industrial Design programs at the Lausanne-based school are highly regarded, and the exhibition at villa-turned-gallery Spazio Orso did not disappoint. In short, professors Alain Bellet and Chris Kabel wanted to riff on with the "smart home" concept—the now-banal techno-utopian prospect of frictionless domesticity (à la any number of brand-driven shorts and films). But "Delirious Home" transcends mere parody by injecting a sense of humor and play into the interactions themselves. In their own words:

Technology—or more precisely electronics—is often added to objects in order to let them sense us, automate our tasks or to make us forget them. Unfortunately until now technology has not become a real friend. Technology has become smart but without a sense of humor, let alone quirky unexpected behavior. This lack of humanness became the starting point to imagine a home where reality takes a different turn, where objects behave in an uncanny way. After all; does being smart mean that you have to be predictable? We don't think so! These apparently common objects and furniture pieces have been carefully concocted to change and question our relationship with them and their fellows.
Thanks to the development of easily programmable sensors, affordable embedded computers and mechanical components, designers can take control of a promised land of possibilities. A land that until now was thought to belong to engineers and technicians. With Delirious Home, ECAL students teach us to take control of the latest techniques and appliances we thought controlled us. The students demonstrate their artful mastery of electronics, mechanics and interaction, developing a new kind of esthetic which goes further than just a formal approach.
The ultimate object—still missing in the delirious home—would be an object able to laugh at itself.

ECAL-DeliriousHome-COMP.jpgPhotos courtesy of ECAL / Axel Crettenand & Sylvain Aebischer

"Delirious Home" was easily a highlight of this year's Fuorisalone and was duly recognized with a Milano Design Award. The video, which features all of the projects, is well worth watching in full:

Additional details and images of each project below.


Posted by Matthew Sullivan  |  14 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


In this series, Matthew Sullivan (AQQ Design) highlights some designers that you should know, but might not. Previously, he looked at the work of T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings.

Shiro Kuramata: Born in Tokyo, 1934. Died in Tokyo, 1991.

"For him, an object, a piece of furniture, an installation is never finished inside the borders of its own physicality. For him, around an object, or around a piece of furniture or around an installation there is never a silence, never abstract dust; always the air around is vibrating, as if it were shaken by a central provocation. That's why very often Shiro was trying to represent not only the object, or the furniture, or the installation but also the many mysterious vibrations that were produced around." —Ettore Sottsass from Vibrations in the Air, 1991

Materials were central to the work of Shiro Kuramata. His palette was the various qualities that matter exhibits: reflectivity, transparency, translucency, opacity, tactility. Form seems a result. It's not that form is unconsidered, just that the material is the voice; the material is the content of the furniture.

Japan has a very sophisticated visual culture; at times it's almost ridiculous how astute it is. The continual unification of craft and art transcends some sort of spiritual economy. (Indeed, from a Western perspective, it can seem that our separations of "art" and "craft" are misguided.) There is a long history of cleverly melding a medium with sculptural or pictorial representations, so that the inherent qualities of brush, ink, stone or wood are actually part of the resultant image. This is true of sumi-e/suiboku-ga ink-wash painting, as well as sancai (the Japanese-adopted Chinese technique of modeled, tri-colored glazes in ceramics) and karesansui (the art of dry landscape rock gardens). So when speaking of Kuramata's work as "matter centric," it really feels like an extension of this history. With every piece of his furniture (whether his K-Series lamps, his Glass furniture, his various flower vases or his Pyramid shelving), there is no separation between construction, form, interiority, materials—it's all one thing.

DesignFile-ShiroKuramata-2.jpgAbove: the Pyramid shelving unit for Ishamaru (1968). Top image: Kuramata's How High the Moon chair for Vitra (1986)

DesignFile-ShiroKuramata-12.jpgLeft: the Glass chair (1976). Right: an interior for the Issey Miyake store in Ginza, Tokyo (1983)


Posted by Kat Bauman  |  14 Apr 2014  |  Comments (2)


Let's be clear about two things: 1. I am a tech luddite; 2. I, coincidentally, grew up broke playing with sticks and rocks, and galdang it I liked it. Resultantly, I view expensive high tech toys with both skepticism and romanticism. That in mind: I covet this toy series, I want it to get funded, I'm begging my mom for one, and I would like to subscribe to its newsletter.


TinkerBots are reconfigurable, programmable, kinetic toys. The block-based sets use a central "Power Brain" cube that provides power and an arduino-compatible microcontroller. Snap in a variety of mobile and immobile pieces and expand your robotic object in a myriad of ways. Depending on the set, you can control a vehicle by bluetooth, mobilize an animal, teach it new moves, add proximity sensors and grabbing claws... They tout the capability of being a "living Lego" set, and have even designed in actual Lego compatibility. They're a little less versatile than that plastic block titan, but hey, baby steps. More importantly, you get a little modular robot with no wiring or programming needed. One of their goals is to adapt the system to use as a quadcopter. Teach your progeny about programming and the sinister future of drones in a single go!

Check out the campaign video:


Posted by Fosta  |  14 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


I spent the first 36 years of my life living in the UK, more than half of which was spent in and around London. As such, I have a deep personal affinity to Gin, that wonderful, complex, delicious spirit made famous by the Dutch and infamous by Hogarth. Gin has recently enjoyed a significant resurgence in popularity, gradually extricating itself from the caustic syrups of the 70s and into the most sophisticated concoctions of mixologists worldwide.

There are numerous reasons why I like gin. It's incredibly versatile, and can be drunk in many forms: with a mixer such as tonic or soda, as a base for classic or contemporary cocktails such as negronis, martinis or gimlets, or even neat (try a glass of Old Tom over ice next time the nights draw longer). Primarily though, gin's allure lies in the glorious, deep variety of tastes. From the driest of London gins to the complex, tea-like Golden Moon, there really is nothing like it. I think gin should be regarded by the same sommelier standards as wines and whisky. It's on it's way, but it still has some distance to go.

So by now you should be wondering what this has to do with Industrial Design. It's an analogy that I've been mulling over for some time and it has to do with the ways in which we approach the creation of contemporary objects. Let me explain by way of vodka.