In case you missed it, we've been looking back at 2011 this week in our Core77 Year in Review series. Besides our coverage of this year's news and milestones, we also looked at the cycling movement and visual communication with more trend watching to come. Today, our look back focuses on the best of Core77 features and resources from 2011.
Our top 10! Drumroll please...
CORE77 TOP 10
10. Moto Undone, a stripped down motorcycle concept.
9. Quadror, a new structural joint supporting everything from furniture to housing by Dror Benshetrit.
8. UPenn Engineering Students Present "Alpha": Possibly the Most High-Tech Bicycle Ever, featuring a switchable integrated free-fixed transmission.
7. Rapid Prototyped Dicemaster, intricately RP'ed dice for the Dungeons & Dragons set.
6. Bertelli's Biciclette, beautifully built using a mix of found and new parts.
5. I Have Seen the Future, and I Am Opposed, Don Norman reflects on the future of our technologies and warns about propriety controls.
4. Jeff Tideken's Gravity Bike Gets Up to 60 miles per hour.
3. Light Light's Sublime Levitating Lamps, skeuomorphic LED lamps.
2. CoreToon: Sixteen Ways to Use Your Wrist now that Watches are Obsolete.
1. A Mindbender for Craftsmen, who knew a piece of wood and a nail would be our top post of 2011?
Since our storied beginnings 16 years ago, the heart of Core77 has always been learning and making. 2011 has been no different. From Paul Backett's series on rethinking design education, Craighton Berman's introduction to the art of Sketchnotes to our Sustainability in 7 video series with Designers Accord, taught us that whether you are still in design school or have been designing for 40 years, it's always exciting to learn something new.
In 2011 we learned about the full lifecycle and applications of cork—from harvest to industry—while being mesmerized by the alchemic art of peinture decorative to transform one material into another. Our favorite case studies from 2011—whether it was frog's work on new electric vehicle ecosystems, Continuum's Leveraged Freedom Chair for mobility in developing countries or Ziba's work on creating a digital identity for TDK Life on Record—were also a testament to the transformative nature of design. Our Core77 sponsored competitions also yielded incredible case studies. Aava Mobile saw two distinctly different prototypes in Thomas Valcke's Blackbox and Alberto Villareal's Twist. And who could forget our Autism Connects winner (and student winner for the Core77 Design Award in Design for Social Impact), GoBug, an interactive toy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
And as we celebrated the history of industrial objects through the design history of icons (like the American fire helmet) and even stamps, we also spent time this year exploring the changing terrain of making. Willem Van Lancker challenged the idea of making physical things in a digital object culture in "O Pioneers." The persistence of the Open Design movement is becoming more evident as it becomes embraced by a wider audience of designers and consumers. Hand-in-hand with the rise of Open Source design, we saw 3D printing reaching past prototyping into the world of direct consumption with affordable 3D printers, multiple materials and made to order businesses.
Looking towards 2012, we'll continue with our Apocalypse series, kicked off by Jon Kolko's appeal for sensemaking and the humanizing power of design in an uncertain and disjointed world. The urgency of these current times was also addressed in Michael Sammet's "Building Adaptive Capacity: Towards a Design for Sustainability 3.0", Dave Seliger's Redesigning International Disaster Response and Panthea Lee's ongoing series, The Messy Art of Saving the World, a look at the role of design in international development.
A perennial favorite, Coretoons are the incredible work of lunchbreath and fueledbycoffee, our Core77 artists-in-residence. Besides our 2nd most popular post of the year, here are three of our favorites from 2011:
FIVE PHOTO GALLERIES
We're proud of our international network for writers and photographers that help us bring the most innovative and compelling design stories from around the world to you. Here's a look at this year's favorite photo galleries covering exhibitions, global design weeks and materials stories.
HAND-EYE SUPPLY CURIOSITY CLUB
For those lucky enough to call Portland "home," Hand-eye Supply hosts the Curiosity Club every other week.
Ex Curiositas, Scientia. We pledge to learn with out prejudice in pursuit of our mutual goal; perpetual noviceship. We admit that it is impossible to know everything about anything and thus we remain perpetually curious and perpetually novice.
Local creatives are invited to present on a subject of their choosing and the results are live broadcast for the rest of us to see! Here's a wrap-up of some of our favorite presentations from 2011:
We asked our resident book editor, Robert Blinn to share some of his favorite books of the year:
Bas Van Abel's Open Design Now is the most important book I reviewed this year.
Jonathan Olivares' Taxonomy of Office Chairs was the most important product design book.
Donald Norman is always one to watch.
And Rian Hughes' CULT-URE: Ideas Can Be Dangerous was my personal favorite of 2011.
Our discussion forums have always been a lively home for advice, feedback, commentary and opinions—solicited and not. We asked our diligent moderators for feedback from the best of this year's conversations. Here's a sampling of some of our favorites, a snapshot from a year of work and life as a designer.
Flotspotting is a semi-regular feature that highlights the best of what ’Flotters have to offer, from shiny renderings to clever concepts, from promising art direction to design/build collaborations... and everything in between.
The choice of materials was paramount to at least a couple of our favorite product designs, the "Engrain" tactile keyboard and Kelvin Chang's concrete office supplies. Meanwhile, Mia Schmallenbach's "Nesting Knives" for Deglon are as handy at home as Iain Sinclair's "Cardsharp" or a trusty Kershaw might be in the wild.
As always, we Flotspotted plenty of vehicular dazzlers: from classic motorcycles to speculative two-wheelers; futuristic rides inspired by Syd Mead and Daniel Simon [interviewed] alike, and judged by Syd Mead and Daniel Simon together; a concept that is a cross between this, this and this; and, just this past week, double dose of bad-assery.
If Priestmangoode's "Moving Platforms" concept and Jiang Qian's "T-Box" seem just as fantastical as George Yoo's abstract renderings, suffice it to say that we're always on the lookout for next generation of rail-based transport.
Still, at least some of the myriad illustrations and renderings came to life as (Hot Rod) art books on Kickstarter, while print-to-order company Blurb, who brought us the Coroflot Genius Gallery during the summer months and beyond, provided the opportunity for winners Andrew Walsh and the ever-prolific Joe MacCarthy to produce books of their own.