It's a myth that nobody in Los Angeles walks. A lot of people do, but they're often overshadowed by the city's glamorous car-obsessed image. Over the years, Los Angeles is taking a step forward towards a walking revolution.
Already, the city is being inundated with several Measure R-funded transit projects that will extend a number of metro lines to connect diverse neighborhoods. Los Angeles is primed for change and wants to be unshackled from its automotive chains.
In recent news, Los Angeles is hiring two pedestrian coordinators to help the Department of Transportation to develop a pedestrian masterplan in the city. That's an amazing feat for a city that's always prioritized its cars more than its people.
Alongside this piece of news comes the resurgence of Los Angeles's first-ever citywide pedestrian advocacy group Los Angeles Walks founded by urban designer Deborah Murphy in 1998. Murphy, along with Alexis Lantz, Jessica Meaney, Alissa Walker, Colleen Corcoran and Michelle Craven, revived the group under the umbrella of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in support of walking in Los Angeles. Core77 talks with Murphy to ask how much would it take to design a walkable city. Apparently, a lot.
Core77: How did you start with walking as an advocacy?
Deborah Murphy: Over 30 years ago, I started working in downtown after I graduated from UCLA. At first, I drove and then I realized "I can't do this. I have to take the bus." I would walk a quarter mile from my house, get on the bus and get off a couple of blocks from my office. The experience was so great, I bought bus passes and bus tokens for everybody in my office, so they could do the same thing. I thought, "You guys are going through the same thing nightmare I went through, so why would you do that?"
When you're doing that much walking, you start to notice that even if it's a walkable neighborhood, the drivers weren't walk-friendly. Constantly, I was in this situation where I was at an unmarked crosswalk location at an intersection trying to cross the street and people trying to nail me going 50 miles an hour. It then became a real issue for me to do something about this.
Peripheral vision decreases at higher speeds. By: Michele Weisbart.
Los Angeles Walks isn't a new organization. It started back in 1998. Why did it fizzle out in its previous iterations?
My reason for wanting to go there was the Missing Person's song lyrics, "nobody walks in LA." I said, "Yes they do." We just need a better way to do it and we need respect and all the rest of it.
When I left the Department of City Planning in 1998, I decided I was going to establish a pedestrian advocacy group. I was able to use the Surface Transportation Policy Project is a kind of mother organization and, at the time, 50 or 60 people would come and meet me at the Melendrez office (where I worked) to talk about issues. It was great, but people started flitting away. It became, "Great idea! Deborah, you do that! Deborah, you do that."
So, why does the pedestrian movement have more traction now?
First, the media is more consistent now. Second, there's a broader media. We're not just relying on the Daily News. Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly. There's blogs and people are really tied into that.
Bicyclists and pedestrians are now working together. In the past, the pedestrians and cyclists were on opposite sides, the Green LA Coalition was a place where those differences were bridged.
We're pleased to present an abridged version of "20 Years of Kikkerland," a print piece commemorating their 'Vicennial' anniversary on the occasion of the ICFF, courtesy of our friends at the Dutch-via-NYC design company. Founder Jan van der Lande was happy to indulge us with the inside scoop on particularly memorable moments of the past two decades, adding a few anecdotes to the comprehensive chronology.
A houseboat on the Hudson river on the Upper West Side of Manhattan was the home of Jan van der Lande and Kazumi Hayama and it became the (home) office for Kikkerland when Jan incorporated the business in 1992.
As the name implies (Kikkerland is a nickname for the Netherlands, and literally means frogland), the original focus of the company was to import and distribute Dutch Design. Being that there are a lot of houseboats and water in Holland, the boat was the perfect starting place for Kikkerland.
A basement on the Upper West Side served as a storage and shipping facility, and many of the clients were in New York City, so in the early days, Jan delivered most orders personally, by bike. This was the base of operations for Kikkerland from 1992 until 1995.
Bottle opener (1994) designed by Gert Jan Vogel
After studying agriculture and environmental studies, Jan changed course completely and started working at the design store Gallery 91 in Soho (1989–1991). He learned a lot about the design business there and met a number of designers.
Jan also had friends from Holland who were active in the design world. Dick Dankers and Cok de Rooy from the Frozen Fountain and Rob Dashorst from Daskas introduced him to many other designers and products from Holland. In fact, Jan has represented independent self-producing designers since 1987.
During his research and scouting trips to Holland, Jan met many designers who had recently finished art school, such as Hella Jongerius, Richard Hutten and others. It led Kikkerland to start importing their designs to the USA.
Jan helped produce the "Mouse Lamp," designed by Martha Davis and Lisa Krohn, during his years at Gallery 91. These lamps turned out to be a precursor to Kikkerland: besides their design sensibility, these lamps foreshadowed things that define the company today: originality, humor, affordability, and environmental concern.
The "V Vase," designed by Rob Dashorst, was one of the early successes for Kikkerland. Jan and Rob went to the same kindergarten in Holland, so they had known each other for a long time! Originally Rob wanted Kikkerland to produce these vases in the United States to save on shipping, but it turned out to be a bit more complicated than expected, so they ended up being imported from Holland.
Prior to this catalog (left)—printed in black & white except for the cover—the promotional material was photocopied, and handed out in combination with color photos. With the first color catalog in 1997 (right), Kikkerland was starting to become a real company! There would be one more Xeroxed catalog after this one, but from then on, the catalogs were printed in full color. Kikkerland relies on these semi-annual catalogs, as well as tradeshows, web sites, and packaging for promotion.
In the late 1980's and early 90's, many designers produced and distributed their designs in small quantities for design stores and museum stores. One of those stores, Mxyplyzyk in the West Village of Manhattan, was a client of Kikkerland and became an important source of information. Owner Kevin Brynan introduced Jan to a number of the designers whose products he sold in his store. (Later on, he joined Jan on several scouting trips to Asia and even now reports trends from the retail perspective to Kikkerland.)
In 1996 he introduced Jan to Chico Bicalho, who, in turn, introduced him to former classmates at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) David Dear and Jozeph Forakis. These seemingly small events turned out to have a big influence on the direction and success of Kikkerland.
The "Flip Clock" by Michael Daniel, who was another connection made through Kevin from Mxyplyzyk. Michael used to produce these robot clocks by hand with existing flip clock mechanisms. The factory that made those mechanisms burned down in the 1970s and so they were no longer produced. The whole mechanism needed to be retooled for Kikkerland production.
Our friends at Portland design studio Industry are pleased to present their latest project, a wireless digital speaker unit for fellow PDX'ers Aperion Audio. The ARIS was "fully designed, engineered and tuned in Portland" over the course of three weeks with the pithy mission of "Hi-Fi over "Wi-Fi."
The Aperion ARIS gives you Hi-Fi via Wi-Fi for Windows, so you can enjoy your favorite tracks instantly. So what if your music library achieves its vastness through files scattered on every desktop, laptop, notebook, tablet and smartphone in your world? As long as the device connects to your network, you're covered... Set up ARIS on your network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet in minutes, then use Windows built-in Play To feature to pick and play your music to the ARIS speaker located wherever you want to listen...
Principal Oved Valadez shared a short deck with Core77 for a bit more insight into the whirlwind design process, which focused on "a shift from the traditional sustainable platform, back to quality and value. We call it deep sustainability":
The Challenge: How can a brand rooted in a traditional hi-fi audio shift their focus to a younger, more tech-savvy design-centric consumer? How can product design tell this story?
The Opportunity: By identifying an opportunity to speak to a new consumer, this design establishes a lifestyle product icon for a new audio platform; Wi-Fi enabled Hi-Fi. It shifts the focus from a traditional audiophile listener to instead reach a more design-savvy, technologically progressive consumer.
In anticipation of the upcoming 2012 D-Crit Conference, "Eventually Everything," Core77 is pleased to have the opportunity to explore the breadth of SVA's design criticism MFA program through a series of Q&As with a few members of the graduating class.
Barbara Eldredge will be presenting "Missing the Modern Gun: Object Ethics in Collections of Design" during the fourth and final panel of the day-long event, "Man, Machine, Morality," on Wednesday, May 2nd. See the full schedule of events here.
Firearms are absent from all American collections of contemporary design, in spite of their importance to design history and their enduring significance in the culture at large. Even when they are discussed in a design-historical context, it is all too easy to ignore the moral implications that color our perception of guns. Why can firearms be displayed in art, history, and military museums, but not in design museums? What does moral good have to do with the Museum of Modern Art? Many design collections effectively serve as object-based ethical codes revealing how to live a "good" life. Nonetheless, exhibition of a firearm within a design museum has the potential to open a new branch of discussion about guns, design, and morality.
Why D-Crit? Why Now?
Human experience changes with the incorporation of each new technology whether it is fire to cook our meat or motorized transportation or a device that lets us play Angry Birds. It is important to take a critical perspective on the objects and built environments that help to shape how we think and who we are.
Design criticism exists in all cultures and times; it just isn't always called by that name. But it affords a means of examining humanity through our interactions with objects and constructed spaces.
You cite the argument (made by the NRA, among others) that "if everyone has a gun, all are protected." What about the arguments that "if no one has a gun, all are safe," or "if anyone has a gun, no one is safe"?
I'm glad that you asked! Every time someone told me about the security benefits of universal firearms ownership, I thought of the 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes and his view that, if left ungoverned, people are essentially amoral. Hobbes is perhaps best known for writing that man is a selfish being whose life is naturally "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."
He was a major player in the shaping of Western thought. Many firearms owners who talked to me advocated a Hobbesian view that arming oneself was a legitimate precaution against the eventuality of human violence. After all, Hobbes also wrote, "If men are not naturally in a state of war, why do they always carry arms and why do they have keys to lock their doors?"
But I find the anti-gun arguments, "if no one has a gun, all are safe" and "if anyone has a gun, no one is safe," to be equally Hobbesian and depressing. The assumption underlying all thse statements is that humans are so incapable of self-control and empathy that if they have the opportunity to commit violence then they will use it. So we have to take away such opportunities through heavy government control or being equally armed.
I like to think that the reality isn't so simple. Carrying a firearm can never ensure one's safety but neither can the total elimination of firearms. It's funny to say this since we're talking about design here, but I think that such perspectives put too much emphasis on the firearms themselves and not enough on the average person's capacity for moral reasoning. There is a limit to what designed objects/systems can accomplish.
For many people, carrying a firearm provides more psychological security than practical security. It makes them feel autonomous and powerful. Rather than ban firearms outright, a more effective (though certainly more difficult and idealistic) solution would be to better support social and economic structures that empower individuals. The problem isn't that it is easy to get a gun in America; the problem is that getting a gun is sometimes easier than getting therapy, social equality, and economic stability.
In anticipation of the upcoming 2012 D-Crit Conference, "Eventually Everything," Core77 is pleased to have the opportunity to explore the breadth of SVA's design criticism MFA program through a series of Q&As with a few members of the graduating class.
Derrick Mead will be presenting "Designing for Repair: Things Can Be Fixed" during the second panel of the day-long event, "Working/Not Working," on Wednesday, May 2nd. See the full schedule of events here.
Critical design is a contested territory, an often-nebulous arena of thought experiments fraught with equal parts moralizing and optimism. Some designers have co-opted the mantle of critical design for self-promotional or marketing purposes, muddying the waters further. In other cases, like at The Agency of Design in London, ambitious, idealistic young designers are tackling real problems in materials, energy, and waste with fully functional prototypes. This talk will analyze the Agency of Design's three toasters—the Realist, the Pragmatist, and the Optimist—and compare and contrast them with the work of other bold-face names in product design like Yves Behar's Aesir cell phone, and Oscar Narud's Keel tables. Themes in critical design such as designing for repair, designing for failure, and designing for "cradle-to-cradle" type life cycles will be considered with a special emphasis on explaining why these issues are frequently taken up by unique critical designs, prototypes, and small-run bespoke objects but only rarely dealt with in real-world, mass produced products.
Core77: Why D-Crit? Why Now?
Derrick Mead: DCrit is a culture—its students and faculty are people interested in thinking about the world in a similar way, albeit from lots of different points of view. I love things—materiality—but am constantly asking why?, and remain skeptical of 99% of the "stuff" humanity applies its time and money and resources to producing: design, art, everything. A lot of the "design world" is wrapped up in selling the stuff, or, at the very least, dependent on the stuff's continued sales, to keep earning livings. To me DCrit is important now because it provides a platform for burgeoning critics to sharpen their knives without bias of any kind. As much as we all have our preferred subject matter, the enthusiasm and support that exists within the DCrit program for writers remaining generalists is vital to viable popular design criticism.
Broken Rochester gauge
Is the notion of 'fixability' a corollary to the current trend of DIY culture, or vice versa, and why?
I'd say it's a often bit of both, at least in the sense that I'm hoping to get people thinking about repair. At the more technical end of the spectrum—Thingiverse as opposed to Etsy—quite a lot of the DIY that gets hyped is actually rather unfortunately materials-intensive and "-insensitive," in terms of things like adhesives, or plastics. The potential exists, however, in both traditionally craft-based and tech-enabled DIY, for people to get more involved with their existing belongings, and not just keep cranking out new things, regardless of how reclaimed, or how biodegradable. I especially like hipstomp's notion of "unpretty" DIY, which lowers barriers to entry for getting your hands dirty. People think in broad terms, like, "oh, I'm not a creative type," or "I wouldn't know where to begin, with my broken toaster," but with unpretty DIY in mind, we can all start to consider ourselves fixers. The tools and information you need to tackle repairing things, from clothes to appliances, have never been more easily accessible. I'm particularly excited about physical tool- and skill-shares like The Fixers Collective, in Brooklyn, and Techshop, which is expanding eastward from California, as well as online resources like Ifixit.
In anticipation of the upcoming 2012 D-Crit Conference, "Eventually Everything," Core77 is pleased to have the opportunity to explore the breadth of SVA's design criticism MFA program through a series of Q&As with a few members of the graduating class.
Anna Kealey will be presenting "Unpacking the Pastoral Food Package: Myth-Making in Graphic Design" during the first panel of the day-long event, "Calculated Nostalgia," on Wednesday, May 2nd. See the full schedule of events here.
The expanding market of health- and environmentally-conscious consumers has intensified processed food companies' focus on visuals and verbiage that equate their products to fresh, healthy, unprocessed foods. Designers working with food clients are expected to maintain myths about food production and the healthy attributes of processed foods. Packaging design attempts to add a level of emotional resonance to products, ideally connecting consumers to a natural environment and tradition through agrarian imagery far removed from the reality of a boxed, processed package taken from the supermarket shelf. An enormous range of packaging designs overwhelms and confuses the consumer. Together they create a landscape of fictitious imagery that is disconnected from the realities of food production today and perpetuates a lack of understanding about food. This presentation dissects the visual and verbal cues on food packaging-from the seemingly obvious to the far more abstract-and illustrates how they are used to create myths about food.
Core77: Why D-Crit? Why now?
Anna Kealey: Communication is so visual now. I think the success of platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are indicative of our desire to communicate with quick pictorial snapshots almost in place of words. These new mediums coupled with already existing ones means our environment is increasingly saturated with images and designed artifacts. D-Crit gave me a broad range of skills to evaluate this material and what it says of our culture. The rate of change in design, especially in the digital realm, is so fast. The course's contemporary-focus equipped me to evaluate current design phenomena as they're happening.
How has your background in visual communication informed your interest in food packaging? Do you think a naïve (i.e. untrained) approach to the design of food packaging would be an advantage or disadvantage for your research?
I worked briefly for a food magazine in Ireland and learned quickly of the intentionality behind every aspect of food design—from the sprig of rosemary that appears casually strewn on the plate to the vintage photographic filters used to add a nostalgic haze. It's there whether you realize it or not.
My background meant I was constantly critiquing my own work and the work of my colleagues, which helped me develop a keen critical eye. It gave me the ability to dissect the packaging into its basic design components, which allowed me to analyze each design decision and its motivations. Where my experience was probably most useful was when I was interviewing designers because I could speak their language and understand their process.
However, I could see how a graphic design background could prove to be a hindrance. I am very immersed in the world of design and many of my dearest friends work in the field. I have tremendous respect for the work designers do. However, my thesis deeply evaluated, and often criticized, the basic aesthetic decisions that designers make everyday. This is important to what I do, and what I believe, which is that visual material and seemingly innocent design decisions do have ethical consequences. Nobody really enjoys being critiqued. So in a way, being an untrained outsider could have afforded me some distance. Thankfully I was aware of this conflict as I begun my research so early on I accepted that what I wrote will not please everybody.
Nike CEO Mark Parker has a more intimate connection with the design process than your average executive, as he originally signed on as a footwear designer before working his way up the ranks. At this month's NFL launch event, Core77 caught up with the man who oversees Nike's multibillion-dollar empire--and a staff of some 700 designers, not to mention the external creatives whom Nike consults with--to talk big-picture design.
In the video below, Parker describes how Nike observes and collects data from the athletes they work with and injects that into the design process; how co-founder Bill Bowerman's relentless inventorship continues to inform Nike's ethos today; how footwear continues to evolve through advances in materials science; why sustainability and impact is a big part of Nike's design process; and the importance of designers remaining connected to the world for which they design.
Last week James Corner of Field Operations and and Ric Scofidio of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, two of the leads from the High Line Design Team, unveiled never-before-seen images of their initial concepts for the High Line at the rail yards, a section located between West 30th and West 34th Street to the south and north and 10th and 12th Avenues from the east and west. This last section extends the Meatpacking District and West Chelsea segments of the High Line into Hudson Yards, which—by the time construction is complete—will become New York's newest neighborhood, "a new kind of urban experience...with more than 12 million square feet of new office, residential, retail and cultural uses."
Final construction of the High Line is being carefully coordinated with the development of Hudson Yards. The MTA, who owns the West Side Rail Yards, an active train yard for the LIRR, has leased the property so that the platform can be developed. It's hard to believe that abandoned train tracks can be turned into 12 million square feet of space, but if the first two phases are any indication, the High Line Design Team delivers. Take a look at some of the different concepts the High Line Design Team is tossing around, like dense plantings of wildflowers, 'play beams' for the kids and ampitheatre-style seating for outdoor performances.
One of the primary obstacles is that Chinese design can often be difficult to locate. Take a stroll through the French Quarter in Shanghai, or the peek through some of the design studios in Beijing's hutongs, and you'll locate a few here and there. Aside from organized events like Beijing Design Week, it can be difficult to get a broader sense of trends in the Chinese design sphere. Indeed, a furniture designer friend of mine has a studio in a village on the outskirts of Beijing.
Which is why, when living in Beijing, I was thrilled to hear about Design China, a new web site and blog that actively tracks trends and issues in contemporary Chinese design. Spearheaded by Zara Arshad, a British designer currently based in Beijing, Design China aims to provide a rare, organized look at China's contemporary design scene.
Fashion designs by Dooling Jiang. All images courtesy Design China.
It's through this broad work experience that Ms. Arhad has witnessed Chinese design. While I've discussed these issues many times with her over drinks in Beijing, I finally had a chance to sit down with her (on Skype) recently to talk through them more formally.
Core77: Where did the idea for Design China come from?
Zara Arshad: I had been discussing something like this for a really long time. The first time was whilst I was working on the Organizing Committee for Xin: Icograda World Design Congress 2009. This was in the latter half of my first year in Beijing, and I was frustrated at not being able to access design information in one place. It was mostly through colleagues (who were heavily involved at Central Academy of Fine Arts) that would inform me about events and exhibitions. It was all mostly via word of mouth.
Core77: I definitely felt that when I first moved to Beijing in early 2011. The art scene was quite well organized, but it was still difficult to find unified information about design. What spurred you to actually make the site?
The impetus came last year when I was taking care of the Beijing Design Week international media group. We were discussing Chinese designers and the BJDW program at the time, and some of the journalists highlighted their interest in seeing work specifically from Chinese designers. However, much of our 2011 program was a mix of both international and Chinese design. The former was, perhaps, slightly more prominent.
During an informal chat with some of the international media group, one journalist commented, "I don't know if there are any good Chinese graphic designers." I just happened to mention a few of my friends that fit the slot, to which he replied: "You have all this information in your head. You need to put it somewhere so that we can go and find out all these things." Sitting in a room with people who were experts in their field, and who were telling me there was finally a demand for something like this, caused me to conceive Design China.
I'm surprised there are so few blogs dedicated to contemporary Chinese design. I have actually found a couple of design blogs since, such as CreativeHunt and EightSix. They are both good websites, but I feel that I just have different experiences and information to offer. For example, I'm not just reporting about individuals groups and projects but also about events and observations. I'm trying to really expand on the design debate and look at how design can facilitate positive change within the community and how that's happening in China.
The interior at Liang Dian Design Center, Beijing's first space dedicated solely to contemporary design.
Our friendAlberto Villarreal sent us details about their recent collaboration with Guadalajara's EOS México, a firm founded by brothers Mauricio and Sebastian Lara. Like many a clever design, "EOSkate" started with a mistake: the latter firm was preparing a book to commemorate a decade of their work when a printing error yield "several hundreds of (somehow) useless books."
Instead of merely recycling the flawed volumes, "the creative minds of the Lara brothers turned this 'error' into a design opportunity."
They saw this as an excuse to recycle the books into art and design pieces and invited 11 designers/firms to create objects using the books as a raw material, and gave 6 to 10 books to each invitee.
Alberto Villarreal and his team at AGENT (the Mexico City-based firm he leads), started brainstorming about what to do with the books they got. [They] roughed out several ideas and ended up designing a skateboard made out of paper (from the book pages) mixed with resin.
Villarreal tells us,
I saw this as an opportunity to experiment with materials—the book itself has so much color in the pages and this encouraged us to play up the graphic content, but when we started experimenting with the paper new things came up.
We didn't follow a logical A to B process. We didn't know what was going to be the outcome, but while experimenting and analyzing the properties of the paper, new ideas started to come out.
Yves Béhar and entrepreneur Assaf Wand are pleased to announce a new venture called Sabi, a forthcoming line of "lifestyle and wellness products designed to transform life's small tasks into moments of joy." The first collection of products captures the essence of this design philosophy: "Vitality" is a line of accessories for medication and pill management.
Inspiration to create Sabi first struck Wand when his wife, then pregnant with their first son, went shopping for a case for her prenatal vitamins and supplements, and couldn't find anything on the market that was both easy to use and aesthetically appealing. Wand realized there was a need not just for a more attractive way to store pills, but a more organized way to keep vitamins and medications on hand.
Wand turned to the Swiss-born, San Francisco-based designer to turn his vision into a thoughtfully-designed reality: "to create products that infuse the tasks and rituals of daily life with a sense of delight, while also inspiring users to appreciate life's little moments." Béhar, in turn, recognized the need and the challenges immediately:
As a designer and entrepreneur, I have long had a simple question no one has been able to answer: why is there no functional brand that speaks to the boomers while taking care of their everyday needs? With such a large demographic of people in their 60's and older, it is not only a missed business opportunity, but also an insult that products with low quality and lesser design are still the norm.
Thus, the principle of Universal Design—"the actual executions needed to assess all users needs throughout the design process, especially populations that have special needs"—was the starting point for Béhar and his team at fuseproject. From there, they determined that the "line of products—from weeklong pill storage to convenient on the go solutions—cover wide ranging needs, instead of just a singular solutions."
At Design Miami, we had the opportunity to sit down with Alessi's President Alessio Alessi and his son Giovanni Alessi Anghini, an industrial designer. Traveling with their family, they were on the last stop of a U.S. trip to celebrate the opening of a new retail space for Alessi in the Miami Design District. Giovanni is one of four children and the first of the fourth generation to start working for the family business. I was surprised to learn that there are no in-house designers at Alessi, just five engineers who work with a pool of 200+ external designers that are either commissioned, invited to participate in workshops, or have approached the company with their product idea.
A family affair
Being born into a family like Alessi and choosing the path of a designer is both a blessing and a curse, on the one hand your exposure to design thinking and the design world is infinitely better than any schooling could provide but the expectations (both personal and public) that come with the territory could easily be debilitating. Giovanni however seems totally at ease with the challenge and it's no accident. His father and uncles (the third generation) made a rule that their children had to prove themselves working outside the company before joining, and even then they have to apply, this also ensures they have the opportunity to explore other career options before entering the business.
Abatjour, 2011 by Giovanni Alessi Anghini and Gabriele Chiave
The Interwebosphere has been abuzz with news about the very device that may spell—or rather, print—its unmaking: earlier this week, London-based design consultancy Bergunveiled their latest innovation, the Little Printer. The desktop device is roughly the size of a cube of Post-It notes, configured to produce a receipt-sized analogue for a newspaper featuring personalized content culled from the otherwise never-ending newsfeeds that all but define the Information Age.
Little Printer lives in your front room and scours the Web on your behalf, assembling the content you care about into designed deliveries a couple of times a day. You configure Little Printer from your phone, and there's some great content to choose from—it's what Little Printer delivers that makes it really special.
In other words, Berg has taken the burgeoning, buzzword-y, possibly made-up notion of 'content curation' to the next level with the Little Printer, which produces a personalized physical document—at once one-of-a-kind and patently disposable—on a twice-daily publishing schedule. The excellent video is set to hit a million views (with your help) within a week of going live:
Of course, the real—in every sense of the word—appeal of the Little Printer lies in the tactility of its output, which transmogrifies two-finger scrolling into a good old-fashioned scroll, of sorts, an escrow in the original sense. It's not so much that we've been desensitized by touchscreens; rather, we're accustomed to them, and the effect of seeing content that is commonly presented under glass (literally) writ small is charming, if not altogether refreshing. Hence, Berg's characterization of the Little Printer as "more like a family member or a colleague than a tool."
Before you ask, it's scheduled to launch in 2012; more on the tech and an exclusive Q&A with Berg Principal Matt Webb after the jump...
Melbourne-based Knog is among the biggest names in the bike-light space: their line of one-piece silicone lights has quickly expanded both in terms of shape and size as they've built a loyal following on pace with the growth of the cycling trend over the past half-decade or so.
Yet Knog has transcended their outward hipster appeal with their unmatched approach to product design, making them the go-to purveyors of bike illumination for the fixed-gear set and hardcore commuters alike... not to mention modern makers.
Incidentally, my Frog Strobe went out of commission due to a faulty contact halfway through the summer and I was just about to pull the trigger on a new one when who else but Jonathan Chan of Knog's design team reached out to me about their new(ish) USB-rechargeable lights. He was kind enough to send me a care package with a pair of new lights, as well as a few other goodies, for what I hope is a comprehensive review for the design-minded urban cyclist.
American pottery manufacturer Heath Ceramics has had their kilns burning for more than half a century, employing craftsmen at their Sausalito, California factory to produce tableware and tile. In recent years, Heath has been creating focused, hand-crafted collaborations with a carefully curated list of designers and artists including Christina Kim (Dosa), Roy McMakin and chef Alice Waters. "Our collaborations are inspiring for those of us working on design at Heath, as well as the artists and designers with whom we collaborate," explains Creative Director Cathy Bailey. "They are true collaborations where we all are learning something new and opening our minds to different possibilities in our work. They are also inspiring on many different levels, from new techniques to new perspectives offered by the artists and designers we're working with to create and craft on an entirely new level."
The newest edition to their artist roster is the Los Angeles-based illustrator and graphic designer Geoff McFetridge. Best known for his abstract, hand wrought line illustrations that depict everything from land- and cityscapes, fantastical creatures to crowds of people, McFetridge's work has been featured on products from Nike, Pepsi, Stüsy, Burton, Patagonia and in Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are and Adaptation. The collaboration with Heath is McFetridge's first foray into the medium of clay, although not his first work for interiors—he creates graphics for his wallpaper and fabric company Pottok prints. This collaboration marks a first for Heath Ceramics as well, "the first type of collaboration that is very graphical and where the artist is doing the illustration himself."
A natural extension of a long friendship between McFetridge and Heath LA Studio Director and potter Adam Silverman, the resulting collection was a true conversation between brand and artist. Bailey shared that the process, "was a deeper level of collaboration... Adam worked with Geoff on the general concepts. We then all worked together to figure out what a good merger would be—how Geoff's work and shapes would translate to clay. We also had to take into account how a piece is made (slip cast or jiggered for example) and whether or not it was appropriate to paint on or carve into the surface and even if we needed to consider throwing a new shape of pot. What was so gratifying about this collaboration was the exploration of technique and process."
This exploration resulted in a complete custom-painted dinnerware set, hand-carved vases and hand-carved teapot and cup sets for the collection, My Head Disappears When My Hands Are Thinking.
We sat down with Geoff to learn more about his illustrations and carvings for Heath—read on for more info about coin-hunting, yoga-skateboarders in leotards and making art for the masses. If you're in Los Angeles, you can see the pieces for yourself—the show opens tomorrow.
My Head Disappears When My Hands Are Thinking
Heath Los Angeles
7525 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
Through December 31st, 2011
Core77: Can you share a bit about your approach to this collaboration? Why did you choose the specific characters and drawings for Heath?
This is the first post in a year-long series, Apocalypse 2012, where our favorite futurists, resiliency and disaster experts examine the role of design to help you prepare for...the end?
It's a pretty fascinating time to witness the demise of the most powerful and rich nation in the history of the world. All doom and gloom aside, for those of us who fancy ourselves drive-by-ethnographers, it's good people watching. What's more, it's predictable and rhythmic, as events occur and pundits pundit and protesters protest, all to the steady beat of mass production. There's no need for unnecessary anticipation, as we can easily guess when the next occupier will be tear-gassed, or when the next presidential hopeful will make an audacious and racist remark; we're pretty much guaranteed a rhetorical and canned response from our administration, followed by news of a pop star acting drunk and disorderly. It repeats so frequently, and with such a blanded regularity, that nothing is unbelievable, nothing too grotesque. An electric fence to keep the immigrants out? Of course that's what a presidential candidate would propose. New functionality to see what pornographic videos your friends are watching, right now? Of course that's what Facebook is building. This is the tongue-in-cheek fallout the feeds the Daily Show, only it isn't really very funny, because it's real, and you can't turn it off.
It's perhaps obvious to point out that the world we live in is interconnected, yet the simple statement is at the crux of our downward digression: our political system is intertwined with economics, intellectual property is connected to technology, design is at the heart of consumption and marketing feeds the beast. It's a system, and so our critique of it should be systemic, and so too should be our strategies for change. But most of us can't think of systems, because they are too big of which to think. We witness items, or people, or unique instances, and we critique and celebrate those, because they are tractable. To denounce Michele Bachmann as insane is misleadingly simple, but to rationalize her rise to power is harder, because it requires empathizing with her supporters, understanding her world view, acknowledging the role she's played in a political machine, examining her relationship-through-policy with large companies, teasing out the relationship between these companies and religious entities, and holding all of that in your head while asking yourself, "Did she really just say that 'there isn't even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas'?" Seven plus or minus two, and our brain quite literally can't make sense of the world around us.
To maintain any resemblance of happiness, the skill most of us will require in the post-apocalyptic, post-United States industrial block is sensemaking, the ability to synthesize large quantities of often incomplete or conflicting information—and we must direct that skill squarely at the humanization of technology. In the history of economic prosperity and advancement, there have been only a select few armed this magic ability: us. The "creative class", those with—god help us—"creative quotient", have learned this skill largely through on-the-job training. And then, we've focused our efforts on producing things no one needs and marketing these things to people who literally aren't equipped with the education, the confidence or the discerning ability to judge.
Wealth inequality, from my perspective, is not the point of clash between the 1% and the other 99% (although, like in any system, money is intertwined in just about everything). The clash is about the ability to understand systems—to make sense of complexity—and then, when possible, to wield or manage these systems to our collective advantage. The political process is not separate from banking, lobbying, manufacturing, educating, importing, exporting, fighting or praying—and neither is the process of design. To say "we're part of a global economy" is to trivialize the complexities of the man-made world. We're part of a global technological system, and everything —including, thanks to companies like Monsanto, nature—is now a part of it. The power currency of the next era is sensemaking through systems thinking, and the occupiers are starting to realize that they don't have any money to spend in this new economy.
Last week, Artek Design Director Ville Kokkonen was in town to introduce the new White collection, Artek's first lighting collection since Alvar Aalto's classic forms were put into production in the '40s and '50s. Two years in the making, the White collection moves Artek's current lighting offering into the present by considering the possibilities of using fluorescent instead of incandescent lightbulbs—the collection rethinks the typology of the lamp and includes a medically-certified bright light therapy solution.
Using 15th and 16th century architecture as a starting point, each piece in the collection is designed to reflect light. "We studied ancient architecture—when there was no artificial light and walls were thicker—and examined the parameters of the windows and where they were located to bring light into a particular space," Kokkonen explains. "We looked at that from several different perspectives and that partly influenced the formal language of the superbright rectangular surface."
The Bright White 1, a rectangular table lamp that has been medically certified for bright light therapy, was created as a solution for the notorious winter blues. It can also serve as a functioning tabletop work lamp. In the research process, Kokkonen realized that many users of bright light therapy lamps tend to store their lamps after each use. The Bright White 1, "shifts [these lamps] from technical device to permanent fixture." Fluorescent bulbs are mounted to the back of a deep plywood casing to create a more narrow light cone. The front surface diffuses the light, allowing 97%-98% of light to pass through. A dimmer allows for users to adjust the lamp according to usage and needs.
Amidst a flutter of black-clad designers, the Prince of Denmark and the sounds of a 4-piece live jazz band, there was much to celebrate at the grand opening of the Carl Hansen & Son New York City Showroom. The Danish Fusion event showcased Carl Hansen & Son seating and tables, lighting by Pandul, silver collectibles and table objects from Georg Jensen and Kvadrat Soft Cells acoustic textiles on display. But the most interesting happening at the showroom was going on behind the scenes. Danish craftsmen from Carl Hansen & Son were busy hand-weaving the seat of the iconic Wishbone chair, designed by Hans Wegner and in uninterrupted production since 1950.
The Wishbone chair, which is produced in Denmark using steambent wood, has over 100 production steps all carried out by hand. In the video below, we see the process of hand-weaving the seat using 120 meters of papercord, a highly durable material used since 1950 at Carl Hansen & Son. It is constructed with 3 pieces of paper twisted together and then entwined again. At Carl Hansen & Son, the papercord is kept in a special temperature and humidity controlled room in order to maintain the same finish on every chair. The technique you see takes about 3 months to learn. Each wishbone chair takes about 45 minutes to weave compared with the CH25 easy chair takes about 8 to 9 hours.
The dinging in the background is from a craftsman demonstrating the precision and work that goes into hand-hammered silver.
Hellman-Chang is a New-York-based furniture line that makes their pieces the old-fashioned way: By hand. Tour their 8,000-square-foot facility in Brooklyn and you'll see mortise-and-tenons, glue-ups and lots of hand-planing. In an era when manufacturing is done overseas, the thought that you can have a not only workable, but highly successful furniture firm based in the city and using local craftsmen seems unlikely.
Even more unlikely is that founders and designers Dan Hellman and Eric Chang never went to design school. The duo seemed to come out of nowhere. When Eric stepped on stage at the Guggenheim to receive Hellman-Chang's first design award back in 2006, Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen shook his hand for the cameras, then whispered in his ear "Who the hell are you?"
Following that first Best of Year Award, Hellman-Chang carefully built a line that would eventually populate private residences, rooms at the Ritz Carlton, the offices of Sotheby's, the Presidential Suite of the Four Seasons. Building a successful business from the ground up takes talent, hard work, luck, and above all, tons of shrewd decision-making. In this business, as with many others, make the right call and you advance to the next level. Make the wrong call and you're finished. Dan and Eric's uncanny ability to consistently make those right calls is something many a start-up designer could learn from, and Dan and Eric have agreed to tell their full story in this exclusive, multi-part Core77 "origin story" interview.
To answer Cindy Allen's question, Who the hell are these guys? We'll start off by telling you who they were. Daniel Hellman and Eric Chang were two childhood friends from Maryland who wanted to pimp out a fish tank before they went off to separate colleges, where they'd pursue non-design-related fields. Here's Part 1 of their story.
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Core77: First, the cocktail-party question: What is Hellman-Chang?
Eric: We're a furniture line out of Brooklyn, based on a passion for designing and building furniture by hand. Stylistically we're into bold, modern, unique designs, but rooted in solid woods and traditional craftsmanship; we're known for unique surface treatments and a sort of sleekness. And there's that strong Brooklyn vibe. We fabricate in Brooklyn and find that's a major pull factor in our brand. It's a big reason why a lot of our clients are drawn to our projects.
That full lineup includes:
- "Capsule" earbuds ($49.95)
- "Pivot" headphones ($59.95)
- "Reflex" headphones ($79.95)
- "Sonic" headphones ($199.95)
L to R: "Capsule," "Sonic," "Reflex" and "Pivot"
There's no denying that Incase has designed a good-looking bunch of products with their audio debut. The forms are simple to the point of looking like foam prototypes (in the best way possible): the "Pivot" and "Reflex" are reduced to two circles, while the 'phones of the "Sonic" are slightly oblong and more ear-shaped. The ultra-minimal aesthetic belies details such as hidden adjustment features (more on this below) and excellent material selection.
Each of the three over-the-ear models features waxy-smooth cans, coated with Incase's "signature soft-touch" finish, while coated canvas or microsuede covers the rest of the hardware. It's also worth noting that the finish is resistant to scuffing—these may not age with a steampunk patina, but that (obviously) isn't what Incase is going for.
The mostly grayscale palette echoes the pared-down design philosophy, though each colorway has just a touch of day-glo detailing, tucked away in the fabric speaker covers. It's the equivalent of wearing neon underwear under (as Jay-Z would say) all black everything, and I can't say that it makes any sort of difference to me.
The one noteworthy problem is that it can be hard to see the "R" and "L" labels on the headband. This is less of an issue with the "Sonic" and the "Reflex," which have a single cord running from the left phone (is this convention?), but is definitely a problem with the "Capsule," where an minuscule letter is molded into the stem of each bud. A raised bump on one of the two buds (along with the letter) would go a long way here: once a user knows that bump means "right," he or she can simply figure out which one is which by touch. (I've color-coded the rubber tips on my other set of earbuds, a solution that would also work for the "Capsule.")
Earlier this summer, electronics accessory company Incase announced that they were launching a line of headphones to complement both the gadgets that need them and their existing portfolio. Seeing as Incase has become all but synonymous with laptop bags and cases, the announcement marks a new direction for the Southern California-based company, and the initial teaser shots definitely whet our appetites for more details.
We had the opportunity to talk to Joe Tan, Chief Design Officer, and Markus Diebel, VP of Design, about the design process behind the new collection.
I know one of Incase's primary goals was to strike a balance between aesthetics and comfort. Can you elaborate on this process?
For us, functionality takes priority. When we set out to design our line of headphones, we wanted to elevate the listening experience by focusing on the right acoustics and creating a high level of ergonomic wearing comfort.
To keep the focus on producing this listening experience, we set out to create the most minimal aesthetic that further emphasized and complemented our focus rather than detract from it with unnecessary details. In our product development cycle, we go through a repeated exercise and process of aesthetic reduction, which, in this case, has resulted in a timeless simplicity and a seemingly effortless aesthetic that we are very excited about.
To maximize the wearing comfort, we looked closely at the human anatomy, specifically the ear and ear canal shape and how our ear tips and pads would interface with them. With unique ear tip and ear cup shapes that match the human form and by incorporating memory foam into the build of the ear cups, we were able to increase the pressure dispersion at the various touch points, resulting in a better and more comfortable fit and an improved acoustic experience as a result of minimizing the sound leakage.
From L to R: The "Pivot," "Reflex," and "Sonic"
How did you arrive at the choice of materials?
Since we are introducing a completely new family of products, we wanted to create some sense of continuity and consistency with the rest of the Incase product line. This was achieved through our design language and approach, but also through careful editing of materials and finishes.
We've chosen some materials and finishes that were already part of the Incase design language, such as the soft-touch finish and coated canvas textile. We then combined these familiar materials with completely new ones like memory foam, microsuede and woven mesh (found on our ear cups), which creates a completely new tactile and sensory experience.
This year's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for corporate and institutional achievement was given to furniture design company, Knoll. The award is a timely vindication for the design-focused company, which continued to invest in design even as the economy tanked (Knoll stock price in the first quarter of 2009 sank to just over $5; shares are now over $20.)
Andrew Cogan, left, has been CEO of the East Greenville, Pennsylvania-based company since 2001. I talked with him about the company's ongoing commitment to innovation, and he described how Knoll has learned to evolve and adapt along with the market even as it continues to emphasize the importance of design to the bottom line ("Workspaces," top, are a new introduction designed by famed New York-based company, Antenna.) An edited transcript of our conversation follows.
Helen Walters: Can you describe the research process at Knoll?
Andrew Cogan: Florence Knoll started the Knoll Planning Unit in 1946. She was well-known for trying to understand the problem clients were trying to solve for, particularly as they were moving into the modern workplace. She spent time studying what was going on in an office, how people interface with each other and equipment and tools. And we continue to do that to this day. We're very client-driven. We engage with a range of individual clients, looking at all the problems they're solving and we think about how furniture can play a role in that. We also do research on a broader level, so we think about a topic such as office seating and spend hundreds of hours filming people in office chairs to see how they sit and move, and that gives insight into designing products. Then we also do third party trend research looking at trends in the workplace. We bring all those insights together into our product design process.
Can you give an example of a client-based project?
We recently did a major program with eBay. They were trying to go to a more collaborative environment, with a lower height horizon, so we looked at how our products could facilitate that. It evolved into a very particular solution of a collection of products that met their needs, both in how they're working today and how they want to work down the road.
What does "lower height horizon" mean, and what are some of the other office space trends you're watching right now?
The lowering of the horizon is driven by social issues, of people wanting to collaborate and see what's going on more. It's also driven by environmental issues. LEED certification calls for more natural light to reach the core of a space and high panels interfere with the penetration of light, so we go lower. That trend is coupled with miniaturization and the mobility of tech. People are spending more time online and doing email and less time on the telephone, so you can create a smaller, more efficient environment. People don't want to feel like they're at some big dining table getting work done, so within a space you have different levels of privacy, adjustability and enclosure.
In anticipation of Device Design Day 2011, we've partnered with Kicker Studio to bring you a series where speakers from this year's conference reflect on six questions about design and their practice. D3 brings together visual, interaction and industrial designers for a multi-disciplinary conversation about the design of consumer electronics and objects with embedded technology.
Device Design Day is less than a month away and we're back with our 5th conversation with the speakers at this year's conference. As a 14-year-veteran of the speech recognition industry, Karen Kaushansky knows a thing or two about interaction design and the importance of making devices work for users. Read on to learn more about Kaushansky's insights on the 8-track, pod coffeemakers and devices that change user behavior.
Karen Kaushansky is a Principal Interaction Designer at Jawbone where she creates rich interactive experiences for Jawbone devices. Karen is formerly of Microsoft/Tellme and is a 14-year-veteran of the speech recognition industry. Over the years, her work has spanned from traditional phone-based speech recognition applications, to voice biometrics, to multimodal experiences.
Now, Karen works with the team at Jawbone to create products and services for the mobile lifestyle unparalleled in their innovation, ease-of-use and sophistication of design. Jawbone is the creator of an award-winning, best-selling line of intelligent Bluetooth headsets (Jawbone ERA & ICON), and of JAMBOX, the first intelligent wireless speaker and speakerphone.
Karen lives in San Francisco with her husband and Goldendoodle Mac, is an ice hockey player and is looking to hire.
Kicker Studio: What is the most cherished product in your life? Why?
Karen Kaushansky: I have family heirlooms that I cherish, for example a sterling silver enamel ring passed on from my grandmother. But I interpreted this a little to mean: something I use all the time or can't live without. I can tell you that I use my good old fashion alarm clock every day. It's plugged in so I know it will work reliably to wake me up each morning and then it's one button to turn on the alarm. I know people use their smartphones as alarms but it's like 4 to 6 steps to turn on the alarm. This device has one, ok maybe two, functions—tell time and wake me up—and it does it really, really well.
I also have a working 8-track cassette player. It's a great reminder of how, when technology advances, sometimes the user interaction is an afterthought. With a vinyl record, I could choose which song to listen to based on where I put the needle while with the 8-track it's really hard to go to a particular song.
What's the one product you wish you'd designed, and why?
As a dog owner, I wish I had invented those Chuckit! ball launchers. It solves a real problem—avoiding slobbery dirty hands when throwing the ball for your dog, especially when another dog stole your ball.
What's been really interesting to me are products or devices that change user behavior. One example is the Wii—making family time in the living room active. Recently I started using a Windows Phone 7 which is a very socially oriented phone. The people tile on the main screen shows photos of your contacts, and they are updated constantly. Well I found myself starting to take pictures of my friends just to have them in the rotation. I hadn't done that before.
The weather outside is beautiful, but we're as busy as ever here at Core: in addition to the newly-launched Coroflot Genius Gallery and the Summer Gift Guide, we're finally seeing the finish line for the First Annual Core77 Design Awards. We're scheduling the live jury announcements throughout the middle of July, but in the meantime, we've got some great behind-the-scenes content for your viewing pleasure. Earlier this week, shared the process that went into the identity for the awards; today, we're pleased to present a more in-depth look at one of our jury teams as they share their thoughts on the challenges at hand.
L to R: Lars Holme Larsen, Bjarke Ingels, Jens Martin Skibsted
While Lars Holme Larsen was the head of the Transportation Jury, his colleague and collaborator Jens Martin Skibsted certainly had a fair share of input as one of the jury members: he's been designing award-winning transportation solutions for over decade. Along with rising starchitect Bjarke Ingels, the three Danish designers comprise the design überfirm KiBiSi. We had a chance to pick Skibsted's brain about urban mobility and why it matters more today than ever before.
Core77: KiBiSi certainly constitutes a high-profile "dream team" of Danish designers. Can you comment on the similarities and differences between the collaborative platform and your independent consultancy? Or is it a truly synergistic partnership?
Jens Martin Skibsted: KiBiSi has evolved from a loose constellation to a tight knit company. All product design assignments are made within the KiBiSi Company. Bjarke does all of his architectural work within BIG. I do bikes within Biomega and big-think stuff (books, brand consultancy, speeches) within Skibsted Ideation. Lars is now 100% KiBiSi. Within all frameworks we are driven by ideas. In KiBiSi, we are idea-driven together and we focus on industrial / product design.
The bicycle is arguably a canonical example of industrial design, one that embodies both form and function, and we're always happy to share beautifuldesigns (at risk of becoming a cycle-centric blog). KiBiSi clearly shares this mentality, both through your unique designs and your strong sense of innovation. But at the end of the day, it's about getting people to ride their bikes—new or vintage, beautiful or ugly, high-tech or low—is this goal beyond the scope of industrial design?
A conscientious designer seems to want to alter the scope of design from being the mercenary of consumption to the arbiter of moral consumption. Obviously designers can't save the world, but they can nudge. Making bikes desirable is within the reach of designers—if they team up with visionary business people.
The newest site (opening "doors" only 2 1/2 weeks ago) in a growing crop of flash sale retailers, Fab.com features daily product deals from emerging and established contemporary designers. Today they announced that Chad Phillips, former Creative Director of Kid Robot, has been brought on as Fab.com's Director of Product Acquisition.
As a self-described "retail and design nerd," Phillips was a former Product Manager at NYC-based design emporium, Moss, and has consulted with Areaware, the Greenwich Hotel, the Museum of Sex and even produced two iPhone apps: Bad Camera and Subway Bingo. In his new role, Phillips will be curating the selection of products offered through Fab.com. We got the chance to chat with Chad about the changing landscape of online retail as well as some insight on what this new sales formula means for the design community as whole.
Core77: Your experience prior to joining Fab.com has been with brands and products in a physical space. In what ways do you anticipate curating products for an exclusively digital space to be different?
Chad Phillips: Early days at Kidrobot were very digital actually, the web always made up a huge part of sales. Just before leaving I was still buying for all locations, so I am very comfortable in the digital space—I just love wacky, fun retails spaces too. The biggest difference is in the mind set of merchandising, telling a story digitally, otherwise it isn't too much of a deviation. Being a constant online shopper helps.
A selection of products from Kid Robot from left to right: Munny customized vinyl figure, Kid Robot x Lacoste shoe, Jason Siu x Kid Robot speaker, Nemesis Project x Kid Robot bike + matching U-Lock
In what way do you think platforms like Fab.com change the landscape of retail? How does this affect designers/brands?
It's making people excited to shop again and less guilt-ridden both because of the get-it-now nature and the lower-than-retail price. People want to shop and the economy needs us to shop. I think physical retail has just gotten to be predictable and cumbersome, so we all look to the web now. The web always has the color you want in stock. Fab is showcasing some of my favorite designers new to the scene which helps them grow and this is something brick and mortar locations can't always try out.
From the Core77 Discussion Boards: Check out Florida-based blaster701's (aka Jeff Smith) awesome Sketch Demos for the students at Virginia Tech's ID department. Smith is a principal/Design Director at Reflex Design and has been involved with design education for years. Recently Smith has been traveling to host workshops at Virginia Tech and RIT and is now sharing his sketch work on video. Check the jump for some nice sharpie sketches on letter sized paper: hair dryers, blender and small electronic device. See more of Smith's work over at the forums, join in on the discussion and post your own!