We're back in London for the 11th of our 17 Core77 Design Awards live jury broadcasts, where Paul Priestman and his handpicked jury of Mat Hunter, Dale Harrow and Sophie Thomas are pleased to present the winners for the Transportation category! Tune in below or at Core77DesignAwards.com
In the original Miami Vice television series, Detective Zito is murdered in Season Three. After learning of his death, co-cops Crockett, Tubbs and Switek visit his house, where they discover Zito's collection of snow globes. They look at them in bewilderment, and the clear message delivered by their faces—in as ham-fisted a way as only '80s American television can do it—is "Wow, I guess we didn't really know this guy at all." Cue violins. An as hackneyed as that moment was, it was the first time your adolescent correspondent understood the usage of physical objects as a narrative device in storytelling.
Years later in ID school, professors who apparently knew each other as well as Zito and Switek delivered conflicting messages on this front. One professor would tell you that "Objects exist to tell stories—they tell us about ourselves!" while others said objects were mere intermediaries that we should design to be unobtrusive; the whole "People don't want a toaster, they just want toast" mentality.
It's easy to see the "Objects tell us about ourselves" bit as a bunch of hooey, as with iPhone and Android users—upon spotting the competing product on an acquaintance's desk, they'll tiresomely begin projecting qualities of the most vociferous proponent of that product onto the user. Ditto Mac and PC users. But it does fascinate me that some objects tell tales we never see coming. Case in point: Stanford economist Eric Hanushek, and his research partner Ludgar Woessman from U. of Munich, put together a study where they found a specific object in certain family's homes that served as a reliable indicator that a child from that family would do well in school.
Any guesses as to what that object is? A computer? A television? An iPad?
Welcome to Day Four of the Core77 Design Awards live jury broadcasts! First on the today's schedule, Lars Wallentin and his fellow jury members Charles Morgan, Kym Staiff and Patrick Gaudard announce the Packging category winners live from Corseaux, Switzerland. Tune in to the livestream above or at Core77DesignAwards.com.
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At this point in history, every last one of us is knee-deep in the YouTube era, the gold standard of user-generated content, where a new flash in the pan surfaces every day. Although Colin Furze is among the lucky ones who have managed to secure a bit of longevity, his latest stunt is the first time I'd heard of the Stamford, Lincolshire-based persona, a BMX rider turned plumber turned stuntman and video maker—and longtime DIYer / pyromaniac.
Furze combines Jackass's seminal let's-do-stupid-sh*t approach to reality TV and Casey Neistat's art of crafting subversive viral videos with an ill-advised disdain for safety equipment and an appropriately maniacal cackle, brazenly attempting to pull off projects so outrageous that they don't require a don't-try-this-at-home disclaimer. A nice primer on his antics circa 2011 includes his 72-foot-long motorcycle and insane bonfire, both of which were deemed worthy of world records, as well as his bread-&-butter of speed-related thrills. Always looking to outdo himself, he recently posted his first proper filed test of his latest and greatest invention, the JET bicycle—no, it's not an acronym, you just have to yell when you say it—a.k.a. "the most dangerous unsafe bicycle in the world." Although the superlative remains unsubstantiated, he's might just be right:
This is the second post of an ongoing series about wood. Understanding its nature, the way it moves and changes, and the implications for designers and builders. Check back every Wednesday for the next installment.
For a furniture designer interested in working with wood, it's important to first understand how it's cut into boards. Because the different ways that wood is cut can have a huge impact in how it behaves once it's integrated into your final design. This information may be covered at fine furniture schools, but we were surprised to learn that a lot of industrial design programs skip this crucial wood information altogether. This series is intended to arm you with some basic information to help plug those knowledge gaps.
In my first post of this series I described one of the most common cuts, the plainsawn, it's advantages and disadvantages. Now we'll look at quartersawn and briefly touch on riftsawn, and try to clear up the confusion between the two.
Niels Diffrient, the artist, architect, author, and industrial designer whose seminal research on ergonomics established standards for the furniture industry, died at his home in Ridgefield, Connecticut, on June 9, 2013. Diffrient was 84.
Diffrient's death was announced by wife, Helena Hernmarck, the internationally acclaimed textile artist.
Niels Diffrient was born on the sixth of September, 1928, on a farm near the small town of Star, Mississippi. He was a gifted, curious child, full of wonder for the things around him, and he loved to draw. Not only was Diffrient able to take the measure of his world from an early age, but he was also capable of rendering his impressions with uncommon ability.
The national economy faltered and failed during the first six years of Diffrient's life, and the Great Depression took an enormous toll on the lives of Mississippi farmers. In 1934, Niels' father Robert Diffrient hitchhiked to Detroit to look for work while his family remained behind. Factories such as those of the Detroit auto industry were looking for workers, and after a short time found work and sent for his wife and son. Naturally, Niels's imagination took root in the new setting—lessons from the farm gave way to the experiences of northern urban schools, and his artistic interests flourished.
Diffrient also had the good fortune to attend Cass Technical High School, where his interest in drawing airplanes led him to the curriculum for aeronautical engineering. As he related in his recent autobiography, Confessions of a Generalist, he struggled with the scientific subjects at Cass until a fellow student saw his drawings and recommended that he transfer to the art department, where his talent found recognition. Upon graduation, Diffrient continued his studies at Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he was employed by the headmaster's son, Eero Saarinen, to assist in the development of two chairs Saarinen designed for production by Knoll Associates, the Model 71 and Model 72. Diffrients' first exposure to the workings of a manufacturer bringing a design to production occurred in meetings between Saarinen and Florence and Hans Knoll. He recalled: "There was little talk of things like market share. It was the days when there was mostly a lot of interest in proving modernist principles."
On to the next one! Live from New York, it's... Wednesday afternoon? As good a time as any for Jeff "jeffstaple" Ng to announce the winners for the Soft Goods category of the 2013 Core77 Design Awards! Tune in to the livestream above, or at Core77DesignAwards.com!
"Racetrack Playa" sounds like the screenname of an online teenager you're competing against in Need for Speed, but scientists recognize it as the name of a dried-up lake in Death Valley. For a century, scientific minds have been puzzled by a well-documented, poorly-understood phenomenon occuring at Racetrack Playa: Enormous stones, some up to 700 pounds, appear to have somehow moved themselves across the lakebed floor in random patterns, leaving a furrowed trail behind them.
No one had ever seen these "sailing stones" move, but many photographed the end result. The original thought was that the lakebed forms a thin sheet of ice on it, and that the wind then blows the rocks across it; but that theory was discounted after researchers calculated it would take wind speeds of hundreds of miles per hour to move the rocks, while the wind at the Racetrack maxes out around 90 m.p.h. And if you're wondering why they don't just strap a GoPro camera onto a rock to see what's going on, scientists returning to the site over the years have calculated that the rocks move for short periods of time, just once every three years. That's a bit longer than your battery's likely to last.
However, a fortunate collision between two of these magic rocks provided planetary scientist Ralph Lorenz with an interesting discovery:
We've been fans of Jamie Wolfond's work since he turned up on our radar at RISD Furniture Design's "Transformations" exhibition in Milan last year. The Toronto native and recent grad has dabbled in a number of delightfully weird experiments in furniture design since then, from the previously-seen stools and chairs to the lighting and timepieces pictured below.
With his BFA under his belt, the young designer has secured an internship at Bertjan Pot's Rotterdam studio for the summer; he's not yet sure where he'll end up afterward, but his future is looking bright. Wise beyond his years, Wolfond recently took the time to share his thoughts on the convoluted world of designing for manufacture.
I started my degree project intending to work with trades, machines and producers from outside the furniture industry to design and construct prototypes for accessible, producible furniture.
The idea for the project came out of my newfound interest in designing for production. As a young and inexperienced design student, I was immediately attracted to the increasingly popular 'licensing' model. Licensing allows a freelance designer to come up with a project, create a prototype, pitch it to a manufacturer, and hopefully sell the rights to its design, receiving a small royalty for every piece sold. This way of working is particularly attractive to students since it promises the possibility of having one's work produced on a large scale without the financial risk, distribution channels or industry experience that it would take to start a business from scratch.
Further investigation of the licensing model as a way for young designers to see their work produced revealed several problems with the idea of designing products on speculation alone.
The Emergency Bench is a personal favorite—I love the way it looks like an animal as it inflates
Command X, the ultimate reality show for emerging graphic designers, is back for a fourth season this fall with Matteo Bologna as emcee and Sean Adams as roving reporter. Seven up-and-coming designers will have the chance to win the title and break into the industry at "Head, Heart Hand: AIGA Design Conference" in Minneapolis.
And this year, contestants who make it through the first round will have the chance to work with an AIGA Medalist mentor—including design legends Jessica Helfand, Jennifer Morla, Lucille Tenazas, Michael Vanderbyl and Lorraine Wild. Think you can make the cut? Visit designconference.aiga.org for complete rules, application details and prizes.
Our 2013 Core77 Design Awards live jury broadcasts continue this morning with the announcement of the winners in the Social Impact category. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, jury captain Ravi Naidoo and his fellow designers Heinrich Wolff, Porky Hefer and Y. Tsai are pleased to present their selections for this year's winners—watch the announcement below.
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In addition to unveiling their redesigned Mac Pro, yesterday Apple also previewed their forthcoming iOS 7. This is the one many an industrial designer has been waiting to see; we all know Jonathan Ive can do hardware, but iOS 7 will be the first real indication of what software will look like under Ive rule—and if he'd be given free reign. Former Apple executive Scott Forstall was famously a proponent of skeuomorphism, the inclusion of real-world elements—stitched leather, lined legal pads, spiral bindings—that many in the design community found tacky and backwards-looking. Following his ouster, Ive was placed in charge of iOS design, and he's made it no secret that he intended to Think Different.
Well, based on what we're seeing, we're happy to report that it seems Ive's creative control is complete.
The first thing users will likely note is the change in typography. Just as Forstall's beloved word "skeuomorphism" has an unusual sequence of three vowels in a row, Ive has switched the font to what looks to be Helvetica Neue Ultra Light, which has an equally foreign sequence of contiguous vowels. The resultant look is undoubtedly more modern (though your correspondent prefers thicker fonts for legibility's sake).
"Flatness" is the adjective of the day, and the new iOS has it in spades. In the past decade-and-a-half icons have spun steadily out of control; what were once simple representations of objects, necessarily drawn in low-res due to computing constraints, unpleasantly evolved into overcomplicated, miniaturized portraits. Ive's flat design approach returns to the roots of the graphic icon, eschewing 3D shading and instead using line to tell the tale. With the exception of a couple of icons—the Settings gears and Game Center's balloons—shading is completely absent. The cartoonish highlights on the text message word bubbles are gone. Background gradations are the only non-flat visual variation allowed.
Interestingly enough, the keypad now looks like something graphically designed by the Braun of yore...
We're wrapping up Day Two of the Core77 Design Awards live jury broadcasts with the Strategy & Research team in San Francisco, California. Jury captain Susana Rodríguez de Tembleque of SYPartners selected the honorees with the help of her fellow jury members Kate Aronowitz, Phil Ginsburg and Jesse McMillin—check it out on the livestream above or at Core77DesignAwards.com.
Core77's Hand-Eye Supply Curiosity Club is so stoked for tonight's presentation from Aaron James Draplin of the Draplin Design Company. As the creator of the ever popular Field Notes, a designer with an almost unbelievable client list and a legendary personality all-around, Aaron's talk is sure to thrill!
Tonight's talk starts at 6pm at the Hand-Eye Supply store in Portland, OR. Come early and check out our space or check in with us online for the live broadcast!
Tired of that same old overly smart, overly coy, overly dramatic conference talk you keep sitting through? Yeah, you know the one. Where some yahoo is up there "connecting the dots" on a bunch of shit that is more or less obvious, or, is painfully parsed together? We get it. But it doesn't mean it's fun. So give the DDC a shot? Welcome to our little brand of dumb! Let this talk be a breath of fresh air. Get dirty with the DDC and talk about things that don't really have much to do with things. Dumb things. Orange things. Wild things. Things that might save yer life. Things that might make you throw out the old things? And maybe not? That just might be the thing...
Located in the mighty Pacific Northwest, the Draplin Design Co. proudly rolls up its sleeves on a number of projects related to the Print, Identity, Illustration and Gocco Muscle categories. We make stuff for Coal Headwear, Union Binding Co., Richmond Fontaine, Field Notes, Esquire, Nike, Wired, Timberline, Chunklet, Incase, Giro, Cobra Dogs, Burton Snowboards, Hughes Entertainment, Megafaun, Danava, Ford Motor Company, Woolrich and even the Obama Administration, if you can believe that. We pride ourselves on a high level of craftsmanship and quality that keeps us up late into the wet Portland night.
Our Proud List of Services: Graphic Design, Illustration, Friendship, Clipping Pathery, Garying, Jokes/Laughter, Campfire Strummin', Gocco Dynamics, Road Trip Navigation, Trust, Guitar Tuning, Gen'l Conversation, Culture Critique, Color Correcting, Existential Wondering, Bounty Hunting, Heavy Lifting, Advice, A Warm Meal, Simple Ideas and Occasional Usage of Big Words.
And we're back in London for our second 2013 Core77 Design Awards jury announcement of the day, for the Writing & Commentary category. We'll hand it over to jury captain Justin McGuirk and his fellow jury member Sam Jacob.
Loebach and some "failed experiments" in his Brooklyn studio
This is the second installment of our Core77 Questionnaire. We'll be posting a new interview every other Tuesday.
Name: Paul Loebach
Occupation: I'm a furniture and product designer.
Current projects: I'm just finishing up a watering can design I did for an American brand called Kontextür, and I'm working on some new lighting with the American company Roll & Hill. And there are always a couple confidential new projects in the works.
Mission: My philosophy as a designer is to improve the lives of society as a whole by bringing value and meaning to the objects that inhabit our material world.
The X3 Watering Can's handle and pour spout are a single metal tube, bent three times.
When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer? When I was really young. I remember playing with my toys and thinking about ways that they could be improved and wanting to redesign them. Eventually that evolved into my awareness of the field of industrial design.
Education: I went to Rhode Island School of Design, studying industrial design. Graduated in 2002.
First design job: Right after I graduated, I moved to New York City to do an apprenticeship for a furniture designer named John Davies. Basically I did full-scale drawings of wood furniture under his guidance. I did that for a year, at which point I branched off and started my own design business.
Who is your design hero? I don't know if I have any one particular hero. Anytime I open up a design book or magazine, I just have respect for all those people that have made their mark in that way, because I know how much effort, thoughtfulness, patience, and stamina it takes to get there. So the people that are out there doing it and making it happen in general are my design heroes.