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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  12 Dec 2014  |  Comments (1)


The Fletcher Capstan table, like the Jupe table before it, has undoubtedly been copied in garages and workshops around the world. And while it's unlikely that anyone can duplicate David Fletcher's fastidious and multimaterial construction, some enjoy the challenge of DIY'ing something similar that's more within reach.

Contractor Scott Rumschlag falls into this category, and has put more than 400 hours over a couple of years attempting to produce a self-built version of the Fletcher Capstan, complete with star-shaped center and multi-level leaves. Here's what Rumschlag had come up with by February of last year:

While he was not able to duplicate the always-round design of the Fletcher Capstan, here's the version he posted a video of last week, where he explains the mechanicals he devised to achieve Fletcher-like results:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


I have to be honest—I wasn't going to say anything to you, but now I feel I must. It's not that your gift-giving skills are bad—I know that you've faithfully perused both our 2014 Gift Guide and the offerings at Hand-Eye Supply—it's that your gift-wrapping skills suck.

That's why everyone looks disappointed when you bring them a gift; the way you've wrapped it is so conventional, so pedestrian, so blah, and you use too much tape. So here I'm going to show you how they do it in Japanese department stores. They rig up little slots at the corners so the gift-opener can get some purchase with a fingernail, and they only use a single piece of tape on the entire package. Sure they might offset the tape savings by wasting a little more paper, but this is the holidays, buddy, not a goddamn Greenpeace mission.

Now step up your game. You can thank me later.

Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


Having the right hangers is critical for ensuring well-maintained clothes. In most cases, normal good-quality wood or plastic hangers will work fine—but sometimes a different type of hanger can be useful.

The Cliq hangers from Flow Design have no hooks; they attach to any metallic tube or surface with magnets. For users who are tight on vertical space (and willing to add a metallic surface if one isn't already in place), these could help; they save about 6 cm of space. They might also be easier than normal hangers for some users to handle, since there's no manipulating of a hook over a bar.


The blow-molded polypropylene Hercules coat hanger from Magis, designed by Marc Newson, has a shorter hook than many hangers, which can also be a bit of a space saver. However, the opening on some of these short-neck hangers is smaller than on more traditional hangers, which can make it a tight fit on some rods.


Posted by core jr  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


As part of a new interview series on the Autodesk Foundation's new blog,, Allan Chochinov, Editor at Large of Core77 and Chair of the MFA Products of Design program at SVA discusses impact design and the role of designers in social change with Robert Fabricant, Co-Founder and Principal of the Design Impact Group (DIG) at Dalberg Global Development Advisors. The series, hosted by Core77, will investigate the intersection of design and social innovation. Here, Robert Fabricant shares three of the most vital things to understand about the field of social design. Read the full interview on

* * *

Avoid the "Big Idea" trap: We are missing the boat if our partners think design is only good for the next cool invention that tries to change the world. The only path to impact is through deep engagement with systems, applying the design lens to participants at every level. Single product strategies fail consistently as I saw on a recent trip to India.

Respect the practical bits: Social impact takes patience, discipline and follow-through. Failure happens between concept and implementation. As my dear friend Fabio Sergio from frog recently put it, we need to be investing in small things that can "tip the system into a slightly different state." On a personal level, I have spent five years trying to get right a simple piece of packaging and instructional design (for an HIV self-test kit), working with an amazing partner in South Africa to "tip the system" with the support of the design team at frog. The concept (of self-testing) is more relevant than ever, but success will be determined by the littlest things as we prepare to enter the market.


A "fresh perspective" will only get you so far: Designers are used to playing the "outsider" card, emphasizing our unique perspective. This capacity is critical to our value in highly competitive markets like chat applications. But it can backfire when designers give the impression that we invented user research or prototyping. We have a lot to learn from fields like community organizing and behavorial economics. I like learning :-)

Read the full interview with Robert Fabricant on

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (5)


Consider how broad industrial design is as a field: Maybe you designed the product that sits on a store shelf. Maybe you designed the box that the product sits in. Or heck, maybe you designed the actual shelves.

If you've done any of these things for a major retail client, you're probably familiar with what are called plan-o-grams, or POGs, or visual merchandising, or "shelf schematics," or whatever fancy jargon your client used for it. Plan-o-grams are that often un-fun but necessary breed of design work handed down by marketing gnomes, who emerge from their caves with The Data, sacred market-researched algorithms on "shelf presence." It's essentially a diagram of what object needs to go where in a retail display, with the ultimate goal of drawing customers into the store, increasing sales and "reinforcing brand." This eye-grabbing grid can be seen through the window and will draw the customer inside. Put this sparkly gewgaw at eye level so the consumer will spot it. Place these floor-demo items and waist level so the consumer will want to pick them up and touch them. Splash it with the company colors.

Back when I was on active duty, we designers had little to zero input on where individual items went, but were the ones tasked with graphically laying the diagrams out for printouts that were later given to the frontline retail employees. Sometimes late at night if you walk past, say, a closed Banana Republic or a Modell's, through the window you can see staffers setting up new displays and consulting binders filled with the latest diagrams.


Posted by Hand-Eye Supply  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


The Shine Case is the newest home for cool tools from Trusco! They feature tough formed steel construction, collapsible handle, lockable clasp, and a sneaky disco paint job. The perfect size for a traveling tool kit, these will also happily accept your most precious pens, curios, sewing supplies, dopp kit, or swanky lunch. The colors are great, with enough subtle glitz to make your other tools jealous. Pick your protective poison - $60 at Hand-Eye Supply.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (1)


As cool as its design is, the central drawback to the Jupe table is that the leaves must be stored separately. In this video of a Jupe reproduction, at 0:28 to 0:36 you can see they've got the leaves tucked in a rather ugly separate cabinet off to the side:

Enter David Fletcher. While the UK-based designer, mechanical engineer and ex-antique-furniture-dealer appreciated Jupe's design, he figured he could improve upon it. "[Jupe] tables could not store their own expansion leaves, were not truly round in every stage, plus they were slow and laborious to operate." In 1997, Fletcher set about developing an updated design to address these issues.


Posted by Sam Dunne  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


The latest scientific discovery kicking up a storm in the tech world (or at least on its blogs) is news coming out of the UK that researchers at the University of Bristol are claiming to have developed the first iterations of technology enabling users to feel entirely virtual 3D objects.

Something straight out of a science fiction thriller, the team's research published this month outlines a method for producing the sensation of touching physical objects with the use of focused ultrasound waves in a way that mimics the intended form. By linking up their ultrasound emitter with a Leap Motion sensor the device is able to recognise when a hand comes into contact with a virtual form and focus ultrasound waves to give the corresponding 'haptic feedback.' (See a video demonstration after the jump.)


Posted by core jr  |  10 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)
Content sponsored by the Ford Motor Company

For our fourth installment of Ford and IDSA's 'Designing Innovation' series, we've invited a diverse group of experts panelists to discuss ways designers can innovate to fortify the relationships between a brands' products and the consumers who enjoy them. Moderated by Rama Chorpash, the Director of MFA Industrial Design at Parsons, tonight's conversation highlights the broad influence of design in today's marketplace and features Ingrid Fetell, Design Director at IDEO; Steve Schlafman, Principal at RRE Ventures; our very own Allan Chochinov, Chair of MFA Products of Design at SVA; and Craig Metros, Exterior Design Director of the Americas at Ford Motor Company (read our recent Q+A with him here.)

The discussion kicks off at 7pm EST. Remember, you can join the conversation by submitting a question on Twitter using the hashtag #DesigningInnovation—we'll be selecting a few to ask the panelists live on stage. Tune in below to see the 'Designing Innovation' panel live from New York City's Cooper Union.

Read up on the panelists onstage:


Posted by core jr  |  10 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

In their most recent presentation, RKS brought us a discussion about the very chair you could be sitting on right now. This RKS Session, "Designing for Function and Style" was led by Bernard Brucha of Mashstudios, a firm well-versed in the art of honoring function when designing furniture with style.

As Bernard puts it, work doesn't just happen at the office any more. When his team approaches the design of office space and furniture application for clients like Uber, Pinterest and Jacob Engineering, they examine more than just the physical space to ensure technology can be leveraged to serve everyone best. The result is a highly functional and pleasing environment in which to spend a good portion of your day. Watch the entire presentation after the jump:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  10 Dec 2014  |  Comments (2)


In the 1830s, an upholsterer and cabinetmaker named Theodore Alexander Robert Jupe was awarded British Patent No. 6788 for an expandable table design. The round six-seater table contained a particularly ingenious mechanical mechanism that must have astonished citizens of the Georgian era. Before we get into the mechanism, have a look at the table from overhead:

Round Dining Table by Robert Jupe from M.S. Rau Antiques on Vimeo.

Here's what's funny: In my opinion, the auctioneer actually uses the table mechanism incorrectly! Watch the footage from 0:21 to 0:27, and you'll see he turns the table counterclockwise to separate the wedges, which is correct. But after adding the inserts, at 0:44 to 0:48 he rotates the table clockwise to tighten the leaves. I feel he has missed the most important point of the table's mechanism, which is called a Capstan mechanism. Watch the CG animation below to understand how it works:


Posted by Don Norman  |  10 Dec 2014  |  Comments (2)

For many years, together with a number of design educators, I have been discussing how design can address the complex socio-technological systems that characterize our world. The issues are not new: many people and disciplines have grappled with them for some time. But how can design play a role? Do our educational methods, especially the emphasis upon craft, prepare designers for this? What can design add?

In Fall 2014, a number of us found ourselves in Shanghai where we were serving as advisors to the newly formed College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University. (The list of participants appears below.) We decided it was time to act. As a result, over the next month we wrote a position paper, describing the nature of the issues and the framework for working on the problems. We didn't know what kind of design we should associate with this approach, and after many iterations on a name, we simply called it X—as in the algebraic variable that can take on multiple values. Hence, DesignX. The next section presents highlights from our statement.

Collaboratively authored by (in alphabetical order): Ken Friedman (Tongji University, College of Design and Innovation and Swinburne University Centre for Design Innovation), Yongqi Lou (Tongji), Don Norman (University of California, San Diego, Design Lab), Pieter Jan Stappers (Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering), Ena Voûte (Delft), and Patrick Whitney (Illinois Institute of Technology, Institute of Design). Contact email:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  10 Dec 2014  |  Comments (6)


"I noticed I was using packs and packs of mechanical pencils at work as disposable items," writes Andrew Sanderson, who spent six years as an aircraft propulsion technician and a decade as a gas turbine engineer. He subsequently switched to product design, with the goal of creating a mechanical pencil that you could keep and use forever.

"I set out to design a mechanical pencil that would reduce the waste, be a testament to U.S. manufacturing and design, and not break the bank," Sanderson explains. "Having a single mechanical pencil that replaces the endless packs of plastic that end up sitting it landfills and floating in our oceans has to be a good thing."


What most impressed me about Sanderson's design is how he endeavored to hide the seams. It really does look like the conical tip and the shaft are one solid, machined piece, though of course they're not. Take a closer look:


Posted by core jr  |  10 Dec 2014  |  Comments (1)

DoshiLevien-QA-1.jpgPortrait by Peter Krejci

This is the latest installment of our Core77 Questionnaire. Previously, we talked to Sam Jacob.

Names: Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien

Occupation: Founders and partners of the design studio Doshi Levien

Location: London

Current projects:

Doshi: There are many. We're working on a range of textiles. We're working on quite a few projects for Galerie Kreo, which is a gallery based in Paris. We're working on new collections for B&B Italia, Moroso, Kvadrat—there are quite a few different projects going on.

Levien: The work is very varied. Which is great, because we hop from one project to another, and they tend to feed each other in terms of ideas—there's a lot of crossover between the different areas.


Doshi: "Mission" sounds a bit too New Age to me. I think that when you work as a designer, your aims and your ambitions develop over time. Considering that we have worked a lot on product and furniture, I see the next step for us as working on space—it could be a public space, a hotel, a gallery.

Levien: As you go into a larger scale, the social aspect becomes a factor in the work, and I think that's really interesting for us. We designed our perfect house not so long ago, for an exhibition called Das Haus at IMM Cologne in Germany. I think that was the beginning of a new way of working for us, a new direction for our studio.

DoshiLevien-QA-2.jpgDoshi Levien's Almora lounge chair for B&B Italia, released earlier this year

DoshiLevien-QA-3.jpgAn early sketch for Almora (left) and the first model of the chair

When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer?

Levien: I didn't know that design existed as a profession until I had been to cabinetmaking college at 16. Design was not really a focus at that point, more the idea of making things perfectly and learning about wood. I value that experience so much now, as it established a kind of tacit understanding of and feeling for materials, a kind of sensitivity that I now apply to any production process. After making for a couple of years, I realized that what was missing was a design element—considering why things exist, and not just focusing on how things are made. So, in a way, design was a natural step from a making background.

Doshi: When I was growing up in India, design as an organized profession didn't exist. I applied to study architecture, and then one of my tutors told me about this design school which was founded on the manifest of Charles and Ray Eames, the National Institute of Design in India. And it was after having applied there that I really understood what design was. Up until then it was just an idea for me, but I first fell in love with the campus and the whole environment, and I knew I wanted to be creative in that way. It was actually through studying design that I understood I wanted to do design, if that makes sense.


Posted by Coroflot  |  10 Dec 2014

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If you have tons of experience creating, engineering, and detailing products for manufacture, you're great. If you have experience with LED lighting (color rendering, lumen efficiencies, beam spreads, thermal dissipation analysis, and binning) you're perfect. This is a great opportunity to make a big difference at a fast-moving startup. Don't wait - Apply Now.

Posted by Coroflot  |   9 Dec 2014  |  Comments (1)
Content sponsored by the Ford Motor Company


In the tradition of hosting compelling discourses about how technology and design shape our lives, the Designing Innovation series continues tomorrow, Wednesday, December 10th, with a panel discussion streaming live from the Cooper Union right here in New York City. Ford and IDSA NY are proud to present this discussion that will explore how design innovation takes place now and in the future, locally and globally. Everything kicks off at 7pm ET so watch this Designing Innovation page for the live feed and join in the discussion on Twitter using #designinginnovation.

We caught up with Craig Metros, Designing Innovation panelist and Exterior Design Director, The Americas at Ford, to ask him a few questions about what he finds innovative in the automotive industry and what part of the panel discussion he's looking forward to the most. Craig has come a long way in the past year; all the way from Melbourne, Australia where he was Design Director for Ford Asia Pacific, back to his hometown of Detroit to take up his new position as Ford's exterior design director of The Americas. Craig shared his excitement to be back in his hometown and what impact his artistic pursuits have on his automotive designs.

2005_gt_2015_mustang.jpgThe Ford 2005 GT and the Ford 2015 Mustang GT350 wow Craig every time.
Core77: Is there a specific car model that leaves you uttering, "Wow," every time?

Craig Metros: My favorite models are the '05 Ford GT and the 2015 Mustang GT350. They are the embodiment of how Ford vehicles are designed—not just styled. The '05 GT came out as a symbol of Ford's automotive prowess, giving a subtle nod to the legendary Ford GT-40 race cars in certain aspects of its distinctive design DNA, while also offering a taste of the future with its bold, aspirational visual cues. Looking at the recently released Mustang GT350, I appreciate the fine balance between continuity and change. The car retains the key Mustang DNA elements but with a modern interpretation (the long hood, shark-bite nose, signature tri-bar tail lamps) while the lower roof and wider hips give its unique muscularity clearly differentiating it from any other Mustang.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   9 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


A lot of modern-day architecture discussions can be confusing, alienating and overly academic. That's why I was drawn right away to Barry Berkus' "How to Think Like an Architect" video series, because he speaks and thinks in such a sensible, pragmatic and accessible manner:

Now to the industrial designers among you: When you're in the sketching phase, how do you start designing, say, a handheld product? Do you start by drawing the human hand and filling it with your object? Do you start with the object's innards, if it's got electric guts, and start shaping the form around that? You're probably familiar with a variety of processes, but you'll likely find Berkus' architecture-based design process as interesting as it is different to what ID'ers do. Here he shows how he goes from vague bubbles to hard lines:


Posted by core jr  |   9 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

AU2014_3D_Car.jpgLocal Motors' Strati, the world's first 3D printed car.

Last week, Las Vegas played host to Autodesk University, Autodesk's annual gathering—part conference, part continuing education—for 9,000 professional designers, engineers and animators. Below is a summary of some of the big ideas and themes that will be shaping the conversation around making in 2015.

It's alive!
Design is a living process that lives past the moment of creation—a key theme for this year's Autodesk University. From featured speakers and workshop presenters to the company's CTO and CEO, the message was clear: we are moving swiftly past the Internet of Things, where devices interact with us, toward a broader, more complex and, ultimately, more valuable Community of Things, where products interact with each other and respond collaboratively to the environments in which they exist.

AU2014_Jeff_Kowalski_Autodesk.jpg Jeff Kowalski, Chief Technology Officer and SVP, Autodesk

Hardware is hot, hot, hot.
Three elements in the design process and manufacturing are supporting the innovation that will drive this evolution—an evolution that's not just on the way, it's already here. First, the advancement of 3D printing, micro-molding, capital and funding options means that production is more flexible and robust than ever before. Second, demand is continuing to grow from "a few sizes fit all" to individual customization (see Normal's custom-fit ear buds after the jump). And finally, our attitudes towards products are changing. For a variety of reasons—sustainability, cost, our own hyper-individualized mentalities and even our desire to create better communities—we are starting to expect that products will be responsive, change and get better over time.


Posted by core jr  |   9 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)
Advertorial content sponsored by Design Indaba

Scarcity is a tough teacher. There's nothing romantic about people being so desperate for building materials, they'll strip a newly built school down to its foundations. But constraints can lead to clever creative breakthroughs—a principle that every designer knows. Some very smart solutions in sustainability, tech and product design are emerging from the African continent. Design Indaba has been championing these examples of African innovation since it was founded in 1995 but is now using the full power of its online publication and presence to cover the continent like never before.

At, you'll find a treasure trove of stories about African makers and creators with a singular, make-do approach to materiality, transforming what's at hand into unexpected objects and designs that delight. Found objects are repurposed in ingenious ways while mass-produced materials are reimagined in novel applications—always reflecting traces of a previous incarnation.

Here are three stories from Design Indaba that reflect this capacity to think on your feet, adapt and improvise in order to create ingenious design applications. Design Indaba's online publication publishes content about design and innovation from Africa and beyond every day.


Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Dutch designers Melle Smets and Joost van Onna followed the trail of Europe's discarded vehicles to capitalism's periphery—the industrial hub of Suame Magazine in Ghana. In this immense open-air factory, over 200,000 craftsmen recycle discarded car parts into new vehicles. Smets and Van Onna collaborated with local craftsmen to create a new, archetypical African car: the SMATI Turtle 1. The car took its name from its characteristics—slow but steady speed, its basic and strong mechanics and its protective bodywork.



Posted by Hand-Eye Supply  |   9 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


After discovering a vintage ball peen hammer with a mysterious middle cut-out that was not an ingenious bottle opener, the guys at Good Beer Hunting got to work. With a great design team and an exceptional drinking team they produced the Beer Peen Hammer: a tough, cast bronze ball peen with an integrated bottle opener that does work. Ball peens are ideal for precise workshop tasks and household fixing, and this one can't be beat at bottle fixing. The black oxidized finish is good looking and it comes with a protective waxed canvas bag. Impress the tool junkie in your life with this back to basics twist on two of the most vital tools - $55 at Hand-Eye Supply.