The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center won't be opening its doors for the 25th annual ICFF for another week, but the NYCxDesign festivities are well underway as of this weekend, and besides the second edition of Frieze New York and its satellites, today also saw the opening of BKLYN Designs at St. Ann's Warehouse in DUMBO. After a brief hiatus (including a stint at the Javits in 2011), the showcase of independent designers from the borough du jour is back in Brooklyn for its tenth anniversary.
Organizer Karen Auster and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce have wisely opted for first weekend of the inaugural NYCxDesign festival so as not conflict with ICFF—the exhibition will be on view through this Sunday, May 12. (BKLYN Designs is rather more accessible than Frieze, both geographically and metaphorically, though we recommend the humble bicycle as the most pleasant mode of transportation to either location; rest assured most of next week's events are clustered in the more central districts of Soho and Noho. Check out our NYDW Guide for more details.)
Here are some of the standouts from our quick tour of the space this morning:
Palo Samko, an elder statesman of the Brooklyn scene, has been exploring with casting in earnest ever since he started making his own brass hardware (drawer pulls, table legs).
As with many of the woodworkers at the show, Bien Hecho was a custom/contract studio for years before debuting their first collection at BKLYN Designs.
Founder John Randall noted that "Water Tower" was made of reclaimed wood from the very same; it's intended to hold a standard five-gallon water bottle, as an alternative to the mundane water cooler.
These projects are the culmination of a course I've been teaching in conjunction with Sandrine Lebas, Chair of CCA-ID, building on a 'research' semester last fall, which I co-taught with Raffi Minasian. Per the syllabus:
This studio will investigate the role, mechanisms, history, and potentials of the concept of comfort. We will leverage this foundation into a particular project in which the students will use the mechanisms and conceptual paradigms of comfort to challenge, lead, or disrupt a chosen facet of human life. We will use comfort to alter behavior through the practice of Industrial Design.
The application of comfort as a theme for the studio was to explicitly address the emotional component of product design. Comfort is a deliberately slippery theme—highly variable from client to client and context to context. Students immediately grappled with the 'goal' of the products, the various means by which that goal may be physically manifested, and the mechanisms which lead and reinforce feelings and behaviors. It allowed the group to ask the deeper questions, not just "What's a better version of device X?" but "What's a better solution for problem Y?" The theme also lent clear guidance to decisions of detail, material, and brand aspirations—how does this engender that?
The students really ran with the theme. Each applied their own interests and career aims to the effort. Responses range from hyper-ergonomic cutlery, open-ended construction toys—ahem. the world's best blanket-fort kit—new notions in play and childhood fear, furniture that encourages the new habit of working from bed, novel snowboard bindings and a superior chemotherapy sling.
CCA's Industrial Design class of 2013 is excited to share its thesis work: Comfort Objects, the culmination of eight months of design and research covering a wide array of expertise, including soft goods, furniture, sports products, and homewares. Come hang out, eat some good food, and don't miss the opportunity to see 24 unique projects in the field of Industrial Design.
"The first time somebody acknowledged your skill," writes craftsperson Jeff Baenen, "and asked you to personally make them something (and they would pay you!)... was a moment I will always remember." Years ago the Illinois-based Baenen, a mechanical designer by training, was having drinks with a co-worker who asked if Jeff could build him a special box: One that would hold his wife's family Bible.
A box to hold a book, sounds simple, no? But religious tomes that double as family heirlooms require a certain amount of reverence, and there was also a nuts-and-bolts design problem to solve:
The size of the family bible had a huge impact on how the box would be designed. I think it was somewhere around 14”×10”×4”. Being of such a large size I didn't want to have a person reach into the box to pull out the bible (it was pretty heavy). Nor did I want them picking the box up and dumping the bible out.
Baenen's solution was to design and build an interior mechanism that would enable the user to raise the book up out of the box, like something from an Indiana Jones movie. "I designed a lifting mechanism that would allow the bible to 'rise' out of the box by rotating two cam arms," Baenen explains. "In the down state the mechanism is only .75” thick. When actuated it will raise the bible 3.5” out of the box... easy to just grab with your hands."
I chose the name LOHOCLA, backwards for Alcohol, for this project in order to suggest that my new design inherits the past by incorporating it into a modern object. It is a redesign of the growler, a reusable vessel to carry beer from the pub or store to your home, commonly used in the USA but also used in Australia and Canada.
I investigated the history of the growler and based a new design on the product's forms from the past so the reinterpretation has an aspect of 'design memory.' Growlers in USA circa 1800's we actually repurposed metal buckets. During the 50's and 60's people would reuse packaging and food containers as growlers, including waxed cardboard containers and plastic storage products. Half-gallon jugs became popular in the 80's, though those glass jugs were also re-purposed (apple) cider or moonshine jugs. The design of the growler shifted to closed containers once refrigeration became standard in American homes.
It was important to me that the redesign of the growler keep an aesthetic of other preexisting objects in some way. The overall shape still looks like the cider jug but I have created a handle that is reminiscent of the bucket handles from the 1800's, as well as the look of a common pitcher.
I investigated ergonomics from the point of view of the common user, bartender, waiters, user trends, consumption habits at home, in restaurants, and pubs. I then decided to ensure that the shape of this growler could also be used as a decanter / pitcher as well, so it can be used for serving in a pub if the user decides to stay. This growler is smaller in size, contrary to high American consumption habits. Existing designs are notoriously difficult to clean; thus, I made the top wider to facilitate this process, as well as for pouring. To reduce the material used on the cap, the cap now screws on to the inside of the glass wall and is also hollow to reduce weight. I added texture to the bottom of the growler so that the bartender can grip it and fill it up easier. There is also a bubble marking system on the outer surface of the glass, marking every half pint and indicating exactly how much to fill the jug with an extruded line on the surface of the jug. It is intended to be filled very close to the top, near the lid, in order to reduce airspace in the growler so the beer stays fresher.
Although some growlers are now being made out of aluminum, people complain about not being able to see the beer, particularly when someone is serving them from a growler. The interior of the growler has a helix that circulates the beer as it is being poured to keep it circulating and equally fresh throughout the drinking experience—the user will not get the bitter butt of the beer that is sometimes discarded altogether. That large inner helix clearly is the driving differentiating element applied.
We're talking about food now more than ever—so much so that food-centered innovation isn't just taking place in the kitchen anymore. Interest in our edibles has officially made the leap from plate to apartment. Sure, you've seen a sleeping bag in the style of a pizza slice and a scarf painted like strips of bacon, but recently we've spotted furniture that takes subtler cues from the kitchen. The end result is infinitely more palatable.
How do you stand out among a group of 120-odd young international designers all trying to capture the attention of customers and buyers? During Milan's recent SaloneSatellite, Francesco Barbi and Guido Bottazzo of Italy's Bicube Design created a line of furniture inspired by their country's national cuisine: pasta.
Before chocolate transforms into a topping or a candy bar, it's poured. The action has been reproduced over and over in commercials and advertisements to whet our palates. Designers Vinta Toshitaka Nakamura and Kohei Okamoto captured that same liquid quality—and our attention—in their Chocolite lamp.
The high performance, lightweight and portable ultrasound systems FUJIFILM SonoSite makes enable clinicians all over the world to provide improved patient care when and where it's needed. This posting isn't just about a job opportunity - it's about a chance to create designs that significantly improve the lives of others.
By working with SonoSite as an Interaction Designer, you'll be working along side other committed designers to create experiences that will empower clinicians. You will be expected to seek the truths of the users needs, habits and work environments and combine that understanding with your own perspective to bring fresh, new ideas that will inspire others.
Vitsœ, exclusive licensee of Dieter Rams' furniture designs, is very pleased to announce that they are re-releasing the "620 Chair Programme." As of yesterday, the ultraminimal armchair is available on the Vitsœ website and will be in showrooms worldwide shortly.
Vitsœ's new production of 620 shows characteristic rigour and attention to detail. The chair has been completely re-engineered, right down to the last purpose-designed stainless-steel bolt. In turn, the very best traditional upholstery skills have been revived to ensure a chair that will last for generations, a point reinforced by the choice of a sumptuous full-grain aniline-dyed leather that will only improve with age. All of this has been achieved while prices have been reduced.
Although Rams is best known for designing household wares for a certain German company, he also dabbled in larger objects such as furniture; as with the better-known Vitsœ 606 shelving unit, the 620 is modular (similarly, the first two numbers refer to the year in which the product was designed, per the company's naming convention). As the story goes, a knockoff turned up by 1968; company co-founder "Niels Vitsœ, fought a lengthy court case that culminated in the chair being granted rare copyright protection in 1973."
I was tempted to photobomb this image with Blown Away Guy...
Statistically speaking, most of us only use crowbars when we're about to be arrested for Menacing, but if you've ever had to do light demo around the house you know how handy they can be. Someone actually stole my crowbar a couple of years ago, and I never bought a replacement since I haven't recently needed to pry anything open or dispense street justice.
Maybe it's just as well that I've held off, as a new crowbar may be hitting the market at the end of this summer. And, usefully, it also happens to be a hammer. And a 1/2-inch socket wrench, and a couple of other things. I'm normally skeptical of multi-tools, but the Cole-Bar Hammer, which is currently up on Kickstarter, look pretty promising:
I know what you're thinking: How well would that central joint hold up when the tool is extended into a full-length crowbar?
Semi-obscure pop culture reference: surely some of you "Futurama" fans remember Professor Farnsworth's fanciful Fing-Longer, which is essentially a prosthetic extension of one's index finger. At the end of the episode, we learn that the plot is itself a recursive loop of hypothetical situations, in which the professor was merely speculating as to what would have happened if he invented the Fing-Longer.
I'm sure that everyone can understand the appeal of having longer phalanges (the sheer brilliance of Farnsworth's invention is beyond the scope of this article), but few of us know what it's like to lose a finger. Sure, I've broken or otherwise injured all of my digits at some point, but my hand has only been out of commission temporarily, for no more than a week or so at a time. It's frustrating enough to be handicapped for a week but I can't imagine not being able to fix my bike, cook or clean, or tie my shoes, etc., without an ad hoc workaround for the rest of my life.
Colin Macduff of Olympia, Washington, lost most his right middle finger in an explosives accident in 2010 and decided to do something about it. Where Professor Farnsworth's source of inspiration begged the question (he got the idea for the Fing-Longer from his future self), Macduff, an experienced welder/fabricator, realized he could fabricate a simple biomechanical finger out of spare bicycle parts:
Core 77's excellent series Apocalypse 2012: The End Starts Here saw 'mild polemics' and lively discussions used to demonstrate and suggest new roles for design at the beginning of the end of time. But what about designing in the apocalypse? Or, more accurately, in places that do not enjoy the easy availability of first world design practice.
All over the world, or rather the real futuristic world we live in where everything is indeed made by hand, artisans continue to make things that are essential to culture, history and most important livelihood. The artisan sector is the second largest employer after agriculture in the developing world. It is the only cultural industry where developing countries are the leaders in the global marketplace, with trade totalling over $23.2 billion annually.
Current design approaches and systems are, to a very great extent, dissociated or disengaged from the needs of 'people-on-the-ground' and from the capacities of local production processes. Contemporary product aesthetics that fail to capture consumers' attention are a result and reflection of this sense of detachment and ill-advised development. In order to create products that are at once sustainable, locally meaningful and globally marketable, it is imperative to begin developing, or perhaps retrieving, these integral connections.
So what about designing in Haiti? Not with the assumption that the nature of "first world" design practise and problem solving is appropriate for all situations as frequently demonstrated by the continued use of developing countries as part of a vast outsourcing system of product manufacture. Instead, what about a commercial design project in Haiti?
Haiti: media whipping boy; poster child for poverty and chaos; site for the projection of our collective fears—it has endured both metaphysical and real slings and arrows. It was the first country to take independence through rebellion—Haitians ousted Napoleon and for their efforts paid billions in reparations to compensate France for its loss of men and slaves over the next centuries. They have endured trade embargos by France and the United States. Haitian Voodoo has been pilloried and stereotyped by Hollywood. And, of course, they have recently barely survived a devastating earthquake.
And through all of this, Haitian artistic culture has continued to innovate and adapt proving a robust challenge to our common exclusion of things on the edge.
Last week, a vacant industrial loft was magically transformed into an elegant gallery space for the evening, as the Rhode Island School of Design's Department of Furniture Design celebrated its graduating Masters Candidates in a show titled, 'The New Clarity.'
The title of the exhibition drew its name from "Letters to a Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke:
...Everything is gestation and then birthing. To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating."
Each designer took a fresh approach to that understanding, re-envisioning what furniture could be and giving a glimpse of what that development looked like on the path to their final work.
Bent-wood room divider by Elish Warlop
Pieces ranged from the bent-wood room divider above to a chair to facilitate sex with multiple partners simultaneously--running the gamut of what comes to mind (and doesn't) when one thinks of 'furniture design.' The diverse array of work explored not only a new understanding, but varying motifs of tradition, from daily traditions of the everyday to ornate, woven tapestries re-imagined in plastic.
One of the most memorable pieces from the evening was the latter, the work of Colantonio, which looked at commodities of the past, seeped in ancient tradition, and adapted them utilizing contemporary tools and technologies.
Plastic Persian carpet by F Taylor Colantonio
"Most of my work deals with historical 'types' of objects, at least as a point of departure," said Colantonio. "I'm interested in taking a thing like a Persian carpet, and all the baggage that comes with it, and abstracting it beyond the qualities we would normally associate with a Persian carpet. I wanted to create a kind of a ghost of the source object, something that is both familiar and entirely strange. In many of the pieces, this is done with a shift in material, often as a result of exploiting a manufacturing method in a new way."
F Taylor Colantonio
Patterns on patterns on patterns by F Taylor Colantonio
The Beer Bag, by Marco Gallegos
The aptly titled "Beer Bag" was part of Gallegos' "Rethinking the Familiar" Collection, which looked to further the relationship and value people place on everyday objects. With the capacity to carry a six-pack of beer, the bag fits snugly onto one's bike. Beer holders included.
The Lilu Table, by Marco Gallegos
The Lilu Table is also the work of Gallegos, who sought to create a self-supporting structure, where each part provides vital support to the rest--working together as a system. The power-coated steel legs fit into the top, locking them all together in a secure fit.
The breadth of the work left little to be desired in terms of heterogeneity, leaving the future work of each designer just as varied and unpredictable as the collection produced. We'll be eager to see what divergent paths they take after graduation this June!
The Graduate Furniture class, photo by Anelise Schroeder
More photos from the opening night after the jump.
Color me impressed! I figured the next generation of designer-relevant input devices would come from Apple or Wacom, but surprise—it's Adobe. The software giant is venturing into hardware, and their resultant Project Mighty looks pretty damn wicked so far.
The Adobe Mighty Pen is designed for sketching on tablets, and it's got at least two brilliant features integrated with their drawing app: Since the screen can distinguish between the pen's nib and your mitts, you can draw with the pen, then erase with your finger. No more having to click a submenu to change the tool. And when you do need a submenu, you click a button on the pen itself to make it appear on-screen.
The truly awesome device, however, is the pen's Napoleon Ruler. Adobe's VP of Product Experience Michael Gough was trained as an architect, and wanted to bring the efficacy of sketching with a secondary guiding tool--like we all once did with our assortment of plastic triangles, French curves and the like--to the tablet experience. What the Napoleon does is so simple and brilliant, you've just got to see it for yourself:
Presumably they're still working out the kinks, as the release date is TBD.
"If you work here, you will churn out such insanely good work, you'll get your portfolio to the point where you'll develop an unbarable ego and start bitching about being underpaid. That's the goal, anyway."
What will you be working on at Mirrorball?
"Client categories include: Beer, Spirits, Soft Drinks, Beauty & Motorcycles (The stuff you want to be working on... and the stuff that your friends will hate you for.)"
Read the rest of the posting by clicking the link below. Yes, this is as awesome a career opportunity as it sounds.
Water and electricity don't mix, at least not where safety's concerned. But artist Antonin Fourneau, while in residence with the French R&D and prototyping collective DigitalArti, devised a safe and spectacular way that even children could safely activate LED lights with water.
Fourneau's proprietary hack, called "Water Light Graffiti," is a traveling installation that will next touch down at the Grohe showroom during New York Design Week. It consists of a grid of thousands of LED bulbs that light up as soon as water hits them. "You can use a paintbrush, a water atomizer, your fingers or anything damp to sketch a brightness message or just to draw," DigitalArti explains. "Water Light Graffiti is a wall for ephemeral messages in the urban space... A wall to communicate and share magically in the city."
Check it out:
Water Light Graffiti will go live in New York City on May 13th, at the Grohe Live! Center at 160 Fifth Ave; RSVP required.
As we saw in "Creatively Defaced Textbooks," it's easy enough to create drawings in a book that you take home with you, or hide behind the back of the student in front of you. It's a much greater challenge to deface—or upgrade, depending on your point of view—a streetscape, where your artistic talents may draw the unwanted attention of the authorities.
Today marks "V-E Day," the day that World War II ended in Europe. And in a couple of weeks, it will be the 110th anniversary of Buick. To tie both anniversaries together, the automaker has released photos of the most fearsome Buick to ever come off the production line: The M18 Hellcat, a World-War-II-era tank destroyer.
In 1942, the last civilian Buick rolled off of the production line, and the factory immediately began retooling for war. Like much of American industry, GM had earlier been tasked with supporting the war effort, and when the tasks were divvied up Harley Earl's design studio found themselves with an unusual design assignment: Forget the Roadmaster—we need something that can kill enemy tanks.
Earl and his team came up with the Hellcat, a bad-ass nine-cylinder, 450 horsepower vehicle that weighed 20 tons. (For scale, a Roadmaster of the era weighed about two tons.) Despite the weight, the Hellcat had a top speed of over 60 miles per hour thanks to its engines, which were actually designed to power airplanes.
"The Hellcat was considered the hot rod of World War II," says Bill Gross, an historian with M18 restoration experience. "And Buick engineers also made it quiet by tank standards, so it was very successful at getting in, hitting a target, and getting out. To give perspective, most German tanks of the day were capable of just 20 mph and even today's M1 Abrams tank is outpaced by the Hellcat."
When I used to work for an artist who specialized in photorealistic portraiture, I remember watching the assistants use a projector to draft the preliminary pencilwork for his medium-to-large scale (30”×40”+) paintings. Since we were working with digital compositions, it was a simple matter of lining up the image with the canvas or archival paper, then painstakingly tracing the photograph and background onto it.
Now that software has democratized and simplified the tools of creating images, I imagine this is a common practice in artists' studios. But what about drawing from real life? Most everyone has seen or at least heard of camera obscura, but it turns out there's a somewhat more, um, obscure tool that draftsmen of yore had at their disposal.
Pablo Garcia and Golan Levin (Art Professors at SAIC and CMU, respectively) note that "long before Google Glass... there was the Camera Lucida." The device is a "prism on a stick," a portable lens-like device that is affixed to a drawing surface, allowing the user to accurately reproduce an image before them by hand.
We have designed the NeoLucida: the first portable camera lucida to be manufactured in nearly a century—and the lowest-cost commercial camera lucida ever designed. We want to make this remarkable device widely available to students, artists, architects, and anyone who loves to draw from life. But to be clear: our NeoLucida is not just a product, but a provocation. In manufacturing a camera lucida for the 21st century, our aim is to stimulate interest in media archaeology—the tightly interconnected history of visual culture and imaging technologies.
According to the well-illustrated history page on the Neolucida website, the device was invented by Sir William Hyde Wollaston in 1807, though the Wikipedia article suggests that it was actually developed by Johannes Kepler, whose dioptrice dates back to 1611, nearly two centuries prior.
Selections from Pablo Garcia's personal collection of vintage camera lucidas
Maybe I shouldn't have been so blown away by the so-called "must-see video" that I posted yesterday: commenter Peanut pointed us to a manufacturing video with a similar visualization treatment by a Greek film production company called Deep Green Sea. It turns out that "Alma Flamenca" is but one episode of an ongoing series of videos called "The Art of Making," which are essentially poetic (and well-executed) takes on the tried-and-true how-it's-made vid.
Before beginning my Fulbright research in China, I had previously spent three years living and working in Yangon, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). My time in Myanmar was formative: my firsthand observation of the extent that the country's residents relied upon tuolaji, their flexible and powerful tractor-like vehicles, to perform many tasks provided inspiration for my present research.
However, not all of the inspiration for what drives my research today came from the Myanmar's vehicles. During my time in such a resource-constrained context, I recognized the mixture of challenges and benefits that comes with relying upon many things to be handmade instead of mass-produced. While the Western world shifts toward coveting handmade objects as a sign of status and taste for craftsmanship, denizens of resource-constrained environments have no choice in the matter, and could benefit greatly from some of the very mass-produced goods that today's design-minded individuals tend to eschew. Although I knew this fact in the abstract, confronting this apparent contradiction up close made it obvious how much more costly it is to dwell in both a resource- and choice-constrained environment, where hand-crafted items are the norm rather than the exception.
Consider the things you carry with you each day. In Jan Chipchase's latest book, Hidden in Plain Sight, he identifies the most commonly carried objects around the world: keys, money and mobile phone. Besides these things, however, there is something else we always carry with us, whether consciously or unconsciously, and that is our identity. Most all of us are familiar with situations in which we must prove who we are, whether to obtain government services or benefits, gain access to a controlled area, verify identity in the case of legal sanction, and so on. While different contexts each have their own processes and differing degrees of formality for proving identity, the need remains nearly universal, and until technological solutions such as facial recognition are sufficiently widespread and accurate, identity will continue to take the form of a physical artifact—namely, a personal identification card.
The differences between identity cards—physical material, size, storage behavior, personal data, authentication mechanism, etc.—and the range of situations for which they must be shown comprises a common set of attributes to investigate across different contexts. Although an in-depth comparison of China and Myanmar's respective identity cards (and surrounding behaviors) is beyond the scope of this article, residents of both countries share the perceived need to protect their cards, whether for fear of damaging the ability to read the embedded chip in the plastic card (China), or to protect one's relatively flimsier paper identity card (Myanmar).
In Myanmar, individuals address the need of "How do I protect my important cards from being damaged?" with a custom solution. Plastic covers are individually crafted to each customer's document sizes, made directly in front of the customer by a single individual's hand, one at a time, using an elegantly simple, candle-powered tool. This solution is notable for both the amount of effort expended by the craftsman—which may seem excessive by an outsider's standards—to achieve the result of successfully protecting a single card. In 2012, this vendor was charging 100 kyat (US $0.13) to protect a single card. Technically, the craftsman need not create a bespoke, sealed cover for each document as part of his job, as there are only so many distinct sizes of identity card in the Myanmar context that require protection. However, he has no choice, given the materials that are available to him.
The high school wide receiver dodging defensemen on a frigid November 40 yard line. The marathon cyclist smoldering beneath the relentless Hawaiian sun during her first Iron Man Triathalon. The dedicated gym goer who will run his first 10 minute mile today and feel like a super hero when he steps off the treadmill.
These individuals rely on Under Armour to achieve their goals and Under Armour relies on brilliant Technical Developers like you to help them deliver those performance supporting products.
Bring your passion for bags/packs industry and accessory products, your excellent communication skills, and your ability to crush problems through analysis and creativity to this career opportunity and you'll fit right in with Team Under Armour.
Top spot went to Katie Lee's spot-on blend of ingenuity and style
Last fall Core77 got the chance to participate in the jurying of a chair design competition sponsored by Wilsonart and held at the University of Oregon's Product Design Department. It was a semester long assignment for the students and challenged them to use Wilsonart's laminates to produce a NW cafe inspired chair. This coming week the results of that competition are going on display in NYC at the ICFF and we encourage you to stop by and see the winners yourself; the high level of thinking and polish applied by the class is well represented by the champion chairs. Here is a teaser of the work, continued from above...
Adam Horbinski's sculptural (and versatile) two-piece
Jordan Millar's contemporary synthesis of line and plane
Plenty of us were taken aback by Todd McLellan's "Things Come Apart" photo series, where he disassembled a variety of everyday objects and laid all the parts bare. Now the Toronto-based shooter has gathered teardown photos of 50 design classics, from the Pentax SLR you see above (hope it doesn't have a radioactive lens) to the iPad to a freaking grand piano, and compiled them into the coffee table book Things Come Apart: A Teardown Manual for Modern Living, which hits store shelves today.
McLellan's also concurrently released a video showing what he goes through to get to those end photos:
For those of you who can't get to a brick-and-mortar that carries it, the book is also available on Amazon.
Based on the usual bit of cursory investigation, Alexandre Chappel's minimal online presence is a felicitous albeit frustrating complement to a video he's posted: according to his now-defunct Wordpress blog, he was an Industrial Design student at Oslo School of Architecture and Design as of 2011, at which point his "main passion is cars and everything that has something to do with them."
Lately, however, it seems that he's turned his attention to a more mundane object: the lowly pen. That, and motion graphics, as he ably demonstrates in the beautiful video below, entitled "Precious Lines."
The HUD- (or Google Glass-) like information mapped onto the world offers a tantalizing taste of the grail of augmented reality largely because the simple vector schematics complement the close-cropped shots of machining to a tee. It's all about the details: the fact that the text echoes the focal length of the shot at 0:55; the way the shaving at 1:45 looks like a line; and the text aligned with the drawer at 2:42 are all executed flawlessly.
Clockwork from top right: Matt Shaw, Tiffany Lambert, Brigette Brown, Cecilia Fagel, Bryn Smith
Each year the SVA MFA Design Criticism department hosts a conference, where the students present their research, as well as choosing the theme and format. This year's theme is "counter/point" and each student will present their work in counterpoint with that of a speaker whose views may differ from their own. We asked the D-Crit Class of 2013 to explain how they selected their speakers and what discussions they think will ensue at the conference.
Can you explain why you invited your speaker and why their areas of research or design practice relate to your thesis topic? What can the audience expect from your pair of presentations and the discussion to follow?
Matt Shaw: I think that Mark Foster Gage provides a good counter/point for my topic because at first glance we appear to have very different agendas. In my thesis, I advocate for the communicative possibility of what is called "roadside vernacular," or buildings shaped like giant objects. His advanced digital aesthetic is very different, communicating more viscerally and less directly, which he writes about in his book Aesthetic Theory. However, we both place an emphasis on the visual, and we agree that this could be the key to making architecture which re-engages broader publics. I think we agree about what needs to happen, but disagree about how to best accomplish it. These similarities and differences are nuanced and should make for a stimulating discussion in many ways.
* * *
Tiffany Lambert: You can anticipate a glimpse into a future universe—one with mountain-shaped trains and cars grown from organic materials—and hear about how design mediates broader cultural and social experiences that go well beyond aesthetics alone. My research project interrogates the way design citizens (or end users) have become more engaged in processes of design. This participatory culture manifests itself in a variety of ways, shifts the roles of both citizens and expert designers, and raises important questions for the field and its surrounding discourse.
While my work aims to expose the implications of participation in order to establish a critical framework, Fiona Raby's most recent experiment with Anthony Dunne—now on view at the Design Museum in London—explores cultural and ethical impacts through speculative (and spectacular!) design solutions. Their project uses the design proposal as a participatory tool, involving the larger public and designers alike.
An alarming Wiki entry on Camerapedia has caught the attention of the Reddit community. Entitled "Radioactive Lenses," the original write-up notes that "There are a significant number of [camera] lenses produced from the 1940s through the 1970s that are measurably radioactive."
Apparently the problem is that manufacturers used to use glass containing thorium oxide, which increases the refractive index of the lenses. Unfortunately for users, thorium oxide is a byproduct of uranium production and it's freaking radioactive.
What the Reddit users started asking is just how radioactive. "Anyone with an understanding of nuclear physics," one poster wrote, "care to make some sense of those readings for cavemen like me?" Here was the answer he got:
Nuclear physicist here. Typical radiation levels [on the thorium oxide lenses] can approach 10 mR/hr as measured at the lens element's surface, decreasing substantially with distance; at a distance of 3 ft. (.9 m.) the radiation level is difficult to detect over typical background levels.
10 mR/hr is more than I would want to be exposed to for prolonged periods. In my lab alarms go off if the ambient levels get above 2 mR/hr, and 10 mR is the maximum allowed dose for an 8-hour shift.
- My lab uses very conservative limits for occupational exposure. People who clean up radioactive waste are exposed to doses many times higher and are fine.
- That is the dose rate at contact with the lens, so it will only really matter when you are handling it, and your hands are not particularly sensitive to radiation.
- I'm curious how they measured the dose, specifically whether the alpha radiation was included. Alphas can't penetrate through shit, and will be stopped by a lens cap or filters, even your clothes or epidermis. They could, in time, damage your eye and give you cataracts if you aren't wearing glasses or contacts. Our askscience health physicist explains much of this here. He quotes a study that determined a "serious outdoor photographer" would get only 2 mrem per year, which is really negligible.
The current scuttlebutt seems to be that if you're not putting your eyeball up against the lense—i.e., using the camera backwards—you'll be fine. However, if the camera's got an eyepiece also made with thorium-oxide-containing glass, you may want to re-think using it.
There's a complete list of the known afflicted camera models and lenses here.
This time around, the theme is "design that's more than the sum of its parts," and we're excited to see that many of our favorite designers and studios are teaming up to bring new work to the table (so to speak). Our friends at Token and UHURU are among the 50+ participants in Reclaim x2, and as longtime occupants of Red Hook—a neighborhood that was submerged under 3–4 feet of water during the storm—they had firsthand experience of the wrath that Sandy wrought. "We were very excited for the opportunity to get together and put collective energy behind this collaborative project," says Emrys Berkower of Token. "And being that it is in support of such a great cause makes it even more meaningful." UHURU's Horvath shares the sentiment:
It's too bad that it took a hurricane that trashed both our spaces, but I'm glad we are finally able to make it happen and that we can represent Red Hook at the show. It has been great working together so far, both in the initial brainstorming sessions and during our afternoon in the hot shop blowing glass into crazy forms and setting them on fire.
Ladies and Gentlemen × Nicholas Nyland
Once again, we had a chance to catch up with Jen and Jean on the occasion of Reclaim x2, which will take place in the middle of the first annual NYCxDesign festival (see the first Q&A here). Some two dozen pieces by twice as many designers—per the collaborative theme of the show—will be on view from Wednesday, May 15, through Friday, May 17, at 446 Broadway, 3rd Floor, with a reception on the night of Thursday, May 16.
Core77: How did the inaugural Reclaim event go? Lessons learned? Any good stories to tell?
Jean Lin: We had so much fun organizing and executing the first exhibit. I think a lot of its success can be credited to pure adrenaline after Hurricane Sandy. We all wanted to help so desperately that all of us—both Jen and I, and the initial group of designers—sort of fed off of each other's energy and enthusiasm for the cause. I still marvel at the fact that we were able to pull it all together in little more than a month.
Jen Krichels: Because the first event came together so quickly, we didn't have much time to think about whether Reclaim NYC would have a future after the first show. But the night of the event and in the days after we were asked so many times when the next show would be (both by designers who wanted to participate and by people who wanted to attend or support the cause) that we started planning a Design Week show right away.
With the luxury of more time, we are launching an online presale before Design Week, which will be followed by the exhibit and sale on May 15–17. We also have a range of price points to allow people to make a range of donations to Brooklyn Recovery Fund. The presale, which will be hosted on at60inches.com and shop.lin-morris.com, will give collectors more time to consider some of the heirloom-quality pieces that are part of the show.
JL: Honestly, my biggest regret was not buying anything at the first show. I was so busy during the auction that the items I had my eye on were snatched up from under me. Jen bid on and won a gorgeous UM Project lamp for an amazingly reasonable price. I kick myself every time I see it in her apartment. Hopefully the presale will prevent this from happening again.
Egg Collective × Hangar
Even the fabrication of the objects has been a collaboration—Hangar brazed the initial bronze masters, from which we created molds and plaster castings. Both the collection of masters and the cast objects will be displayed together as a landscape at Reclaim x2.
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We were pretty impressed with Amanda Ghassaei's 3D-printed records, but apparently the Tech Editor at Instructables isn't content to blow our minds with her digital fabrication prowess just once. As of this weekend, she's back with a veritable encore: a Laser Cut Record.
Although all the documentation for that project is available here, and the 3D models can be printed through an online fabrication service, I felt like the barrier to entry was still way too high. With this project I wanted to try to extend the idea of digitally fabricated records to use relatively common and affordable machines and materials so that (hopefully) more people can participate and actually find some value in all this documentation I've been writing.
As with the 3D-printed vinyl, the laser cut record is hardly high-fidelity... but that's not the point. The point is, it's really f'in cool.
The 'clever material swap' gets to be a bit trendy in the industrial design game after awhile. We usually have trouble to finding projects that both employ a new material intelligently (and with good intent) but don't immediately fall into 'can't-believe-its-a-cement-lamp' category. Likewise, as far as bandwagons go, 3D printing doesn't seem to be slowing down in the slightest with projects like the 3Doodle pen and 3D photo booths. But while we all wait for either 3D printed houses or organs, we have to ask: when are all the innovative 3D printed consumer products going to catch up?
Upon perusing our sister portfolio site Coroflot, we came across the portfolio of Marc Levinson, the chief executive officer of Protos Eyewear. Protos boasts that their line of 3D printed eyewear is both consumer grade and yields "striking designs that are impossible to make through standard manufacturing methods."
Levinson deals with some pretty solid applications for 3D printing market-ready products. Originally considered to be a technique primarily for prototyping, many companies are looking to 3D print directly to market. Levinson's 3D printed frames for San Francisco-based Protos Eyewear are a great example of manufacturing process informing aesthetics. We're particularly fond of the Hal Pixel frames, perhaps a not-so-subtle nod to the digital age.
The YouBot doesn't come with an "end effector" that can perform the rotating motion you and I would do with two hands to get that leg into the table. Knepper's team devised an elegant workaround, using rubber bands attached to two different rings: