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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  13 Oct 2014  |  Comments (2)

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For most of us consumers, beer is something we buy in bottles and cans, its creation process something of a mystery; we have a vague notion of grains and a fermentation process being involved. Home brewers more firmly understand the science, but much of their alchemy happens inside opaque stainless steel containers, with your average home brewing set-up hewing to the Walter White Meth Lab school of design. So for his final-year design project Freddie Paul, a Product Design student at London's South Bank University, decided to make the home brewing process more transparent. Literally.

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Beer Tree is a gravity fed home brewing kit for brewing craft ales. It concentrates on the brewing process as something to be enjoyed and celebrated. The process can be completely visualised from start to finish, involving the user more than traditional kits to create a strong sense of satisfaction and pride over the final product.

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The video gives you a better sense of what the Beer Tree looks like in action:

We're digging Paul's use of laser-etched graphics on the control panel, his use of materials and the overall form. One commenter on the video is more critical: "It looks impossible to clean and sanitize, your mash tun will lose so much heat, it looks like you can't vorlauf" and more brewerspeak. Another commenter is more upbeat: "My close friends and I have all agreed. We would pay good money to own one of these. Seriously consider making a Kickstarter for manufacturing of this product. I would sign up to back you TODAY."

Paul, if you're reading this: Given that you've graduated and we don't see a current employer on your Coroflot profile, perhaps the crowdsourcing is worth a go?

Check out Paul's shots of the development process after the jump.

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Posted by erika rae  |  28 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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I don't know what you thought of your local weather reporter when you were growing up, but for me, he played a bigger role walking in the city parade than as an accurate forecaster. I know it's not necessarily their fault—each meteorologist is at the mercy of a green screen and pre-determined satellite information. I guess we should all be happy that the digital push has literally put weather reporting in the hands of the people. Still, there are some days my pseudo-trusty weather app promises sunshine and cloudless skies and I'll get home drenched by an unexpected downpour, throwing me back to this 2-second Family Guy clip that I find myself going back to time and again:

We've got your back, Swedish-speaking readers

It sends me into giggles every time. But thanks to BloomSky—a crowdsourced weather information system that's looking to restore our trust in forecasting—I may not have to resort to silly YouTube clips to relieve my unexpected weather rage. The package comes with a outdoor module and an app, with the option to buy add-ons like a solar panel, extended battery life, an indoor module and mounting supplies. The personal weather station has all kinds of cool capabilities built in: a rain sensor that can tell when rain starts and stops, down to the minute; weather pattern push notifications; a wide-angle HD camera that turns on a dawn and off at dusk for capturing weather scenes; an automatically created timelapse video come each sunset; and the ability to subscribe to other BloomSky stations for weather updates around the world.

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The crowdsourcing weather station recently saw crowdfunded success (see what I did there?) on Kickstarter, surpassing its $75,000 initial goal and reaching its stretch goal of $100,000. Here's a video highlighting all of its bells and whistles:

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Posted by erika rae  |  20 Aug 2014  |  Comments (1)

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When it comes to shared spaces, amenities such as public charging stations aren't necessarily a priority when there's tax money to be spent. So, like any designer looking to contribute to the greater good, Paris-based industrial designers Sylvain Chasseriaux, Léa Bardin and Raphaël Pluvinage chose to solve the problem an innovative way. Their solution: Taking on these moments of inconvenience with a guerrilla campaign of boldly painted, machine-made items aimed at providing life-hacks that are quite literally hidden in plain sight.

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Their series, Fabrique-Hacktion, ranges from tiny tabletops for folding chairs, hand-crank phone chargers, discarded newspaper stations and a tool for easier change-grabbing from vending machines, among other tools.

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Aside from providing an unexpected convenience for passersby, Chasseriaux hopes to create "an involvement of people in their public and collective space through installing 'grafts'—complementary objects—which support a usage and practice while improving or questioning current urban systems and furnitures." Check out the video below to get a glimpse into the entire series of gadgets:

Each one of the items comes with instructions for making your own. (You can check out the how-tos on the project's website.) The team also put together a map, tracking where the objects are placed.

A couple of the apparatuses caught my eye in particular. Check out the making/function of these fantastic four:

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Posted by erika rae  |  11 Aug 2014  |  Comments (1)

TableLamp-Lead.jpgPhotos by Guy Miller

Most of us prefer to tuck cords and cables well out of sight—in fact, I've arranged half of the furniture in my apartment in order to hiding my eyesore of a Wi-fi router. It's safe to say Tel Aviv-based designer Shahar Katsav is pushing for the opposite with his Table Lamp. The bright orange cords emerge from a soldering board and culminate in a head of incandescent bulbs that comes together to resemble a new-age Pixar character.

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With its sinewy base and compound-eye light source, it's not for everyone, that's for sure. But it's not a stretch to envision this in a work studio or computer lab of some sort—or camouflaged among stray wires on a weathered workbench in the garage.

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |   7 Aug 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Amid all the flashy concept bikes up for consideration during the Bike Design Project, this little guy managed to catch our eye last week. Miilo is a balance bicycle for kids around 2 or 3, designed to grow as fast as they do. The slick flippable frame was designed by Andreas Bhend, who has previously gotten our attention with his IKEA hacks and another adorable bike idea.

Like those other projects, he's working in well-traveled territory but manages to bring a few elegant little moves to the subject that make even this hardened bike heart skip a beat. To start, this isn't just another pedal-free bike for tiny bumbling humans. Balance bikes in general are a great start for kids. In my humble opinion, they're entirely better for getting a tot cycling than transitioning onto and then off of training wheels, because they teach internal balance and mechanical control at low speeds and without building reliance on an awkward crutch. Many balance bikes now take rapid child size change into account, and come with a main frame that starts low and can later be reversed for a higher riding position. Miilo offers that feature in a shape that does a good job at maximizing the difference between low and high.

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Posted by erika rae  |  16 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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You may remember Konstantin Achkov's flat-packed plywood furniture from when we captured it as a standout at the 2012 Sofia Design Week. While he's obviously known for his breakdown-focused furniture, his Coroflot portfolio boasts a number of impressive—more recent—designs that don't skimp on complexity in lieu of its simplified flat-packed nature. Take the Electron Chair, for example. Achkov describes the shape as incorporating a "puzzle principle," and that's one description that doesn't get lost in translation with this work.

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Electron is made out of beech plywood cut with a CNC router. There isn't a single screw or drop of glue used in the chair's construction—instead he chose to use pin joints—falling even more to its puzzle-like nature. This is the first time we're seeing a textile element in Achkov's work, with the bold fabric seat and back of the chair. Tip the seat on its side and you might notice a familiar shape: "The side-view of the symmetrical geometric form looks like electron symbol," Achkov says. The lace-up detail on the underside of the seat is a nice touch, too.

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Posted by erika rae  |  12 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)

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As 3D printing slowly but surely goes mainstream, we've been seeing more and more products that might just be ready for the seemingly endless shelves of big-box retailers. Sure, it allows for the production of forms that previously would have been impractical if not altogether impossible to create, but more often than not, the end result is a plastic doodad that screams, "I was made by a cute little whirring robot!"

Madrid-based industrial designer Octavio Asensio manages to avoid these pitfalls. Previously, we took a look at his color- and size-customizable Tyrannosaurus Rex sculpture—which was funded four times over on Kickstarter. Now, he's back with some new (completely customizable) eye candy for us: Oinky, the Whimsical Piggy Bank.

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The name is a bit misleading because, as you can see, the design doesn't limit itself to the use case of a traditional piggy bank. But you'd better believe that anything you decide to store in Oinky will look damn good. Asensio has taken the skeletal properties of 3D printing filament and transformed it from cheap-looking and easy to break to, well, whimsical. As the designer says it himself, "After all, what's life without whimsy?" As long as it's in the form of well-designed housewares, we've got to agree.

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Posted by erika rae  |  30 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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There's a certain intimacy in sharing a meal with a loved one. Unfortunately, the time spent together is more likely than not obstructed by modern-day distractions at some point (I'm looking at you, iPhone). There are all kinds of designs out there focusing on pulling people together and helping them appreciate the moment they're in—just take a look at First Date Cutlery. (And while most of these interaction designs blend right into the dining experience, some stick out like a super-stacked fork.) Michigan-based designer Sophia Thomas has created a subtle way to embody those dear moments with friends over a meal with her ongoing series, "Encoded Intonation."

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The series is certainly abstract, in concept and product. My favorite installment, "Encoded Intonation III," features more material association to sound as plates and knives sporting a "soundwaved" edge from recordings straight from the mouths of the designer's most frequent dinner companions.

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Posted by erika rae  |   4 Apr 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Don't get me wrong—crock pots are fantastic. Throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pot in the morning and coming home to a fragrant apartment and ready-to-eat dinner is magical. It's almost worth the nagging anxiety goes hand-in-hand with leaving an electrical appliance on all day with no one to watch it. Almost.

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NUKE, a new concept from Savannah College of Art and Design students Talia Brigneti and Jeff Dull, takes a little bit of the magic out of the common crock pot and gives users peace of mind by means of a smartphone app and an integrated pot system.

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  19 Mar 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Around these parts—these parts being the self-righteously damp Northwest—most seasons bring rain, which means icy cyclist-vs.-nature battles are rare, but soggy feet are a common woe.

Most all season commuters hate the idea of switching from clipless pedals they like for the sake of donning a waterproof walking shoe, and shoe covers are an ill-fitting non-guarantee against the creeping wet. Waterproof SPD-compatible shoes exist... on the bulky, heavily insulated, sweatmonster end of the spectrum. In short, where the hell is Chrome's waterproof SPD shoe? Someone check out Urbanized, Jillian Tackaberry's fun and approachable design for waterproof cycling shoes, and then give her a contract because I need them. Today.

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  27 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

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This winsome widget might provide the seamless, socially interactive music experiences we've always wanted. Tap the Chune with your bluetooth equipped digital music holding rectangles, tell the app what genres you care for, and away you go to Margaritaville or down the Highway to Hell. According to the young design team, the Chune is a "playful social music service that intelligently curates playlists depending on who is around, and how much fun they're having." Finally! An object that judges both my taste in dance music and the quality of my social life!

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The device pulls from social music streaming sites and combines tastes on the fly. The goal is to curate a communally acceptable party soundtrack that reflects both the interests of those present and the current energy level of the gathering. Accordingly, the minimalist controls include both a vitally important Skip button ("uh haha I have no idea why THAT came on!) and a Vibe dial. How the vibe dial affects the party propriety of the music isn't exactly clear, but the idea is interesting.

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Posted by erika rae  |   4 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

MicFS-Silver.jpg"Teen Idol"

Blair Buttke, a freelance graphic designer at Philosophy, Inc. in Phoenix, AZ, has graced us with a series of microphone renderings worthy of a double-take. Each design has its own name, personality and role when it comes to audio functionality. The monikers make the microphones' ideal uses pretty obvious and doesn't include any complex serial numbers and letters. The result: another series in the slew of electronics we can connect with past the work desk.

MicFS-Comp2.jpg"Cape Canaveral" (left) and "Washington Bureau" (right)

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Posted by erika rae  |   6 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)

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There are only so many ways to make a plant look right at home indoors. You can buy the biggest, most functional planter and they're still going to look a little out of place—not to mention your vegetation will eventually run out of room. Without the freedom of the great outdoors, plants just don't look right indoors. Italian designer Andrea Rekalidis is looking to switch that mentality up with a design that helps plants let it all hang out (literally) indoors and out.

Piantala is a metal rod partition that gives off the form of a traditional white picket fence. The design acts as a support system for vine-growing plants indoors and outdoors—the circular "feet" can be planted directly into the ground outside or into a planter or pot inside.

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Posted by erika rae  |   6 Dec 2013  |  Comments (0)

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Michigan-based designer Susan (Yating) Qiu is exploring the frontier of minimal furniture design with work that features unexpected materials and natural inspirations. They may not catch your eye for being the most practical pieces, but they sure are fun.

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Her first series, "Adret & Ubac" may come off as a defective rug (which is partly true, according to the designer), but it's actually a snooze-worthy seating option for those looking to catch-up with a friend or on their sleep.

It's essentially a rug on the floor that elevates at the center to function as a backrest. The form defines dual spaces for both conversation and self retreat. Different tones used on two sides of the ridge signify the adret and ubac of the mountain, the binary nature of the piece, as active catalyst for social interaction as well as for passive repose.

In a world of open office layouts and temporary workspaces, this would fit in perfectly at one of those progressive nap-friendly employers.

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Posted by erika rae  |   5 Dec 2013  |  Comments (0)

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We're a fan of fire, especially when it comes to DIY projects like a sun-powered grill, an incendiary bicycle, or what is still probably the best IKEA hack ever. But besides its culinary or propulsive properties, fire is really just a source of light, and we also love it when designers come up with new ways to provide this basic necessity.

San Francisco-based designer Hoang M Nguyen has created a lamp design that certainly holds a flame to other lighting designs we've featured. The fixture, LampFire, is a fun play off of a traditional camping silhouette. The design, which is inspired by the act of gathering around a fire to bond with friends, features a bare hanging bulb staged to set the scene of a single source campfire.

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Posted by erika rae  |  27 Nov 2013  |  Comments (0)

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Nailing down a perfect workspace is a science. For a place that you spend a majority of your time in, it had better fit you and pull the most productivity from your procrastinating fingertips—even if you're a freelancer without a go-to office. David Bruér, an industrial designer from Stockholm, has designed a portable space for the workers who want to bust past flimsy cubical walls—a hampster wheel of creativity, if we may.

We caught a look at the workspace in 2012 at Stockholm Design Week. While the photos do the design justice, it deserves a revisit for a closer look at all the working parts. The design circles around (literally) the functionality of the slats inside the space—custom fitted chairs, benches and lights can be placed within the sphere in any of the available slots. The structure is easily moved and reassembled, making this kind of construction ideal for an open-office layout.

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Posted by erika rae  |  19 Nov 2013  |  Comments (1)

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We've seen cars powered by kites and air. We've also seen a shotgun powered by a power drill. Industrial designer Alan Fratoni has combined the best of both worlds and designed a vehicle that's powered by a cordless Skil drill.

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Xavier, which takes on the form of a low-riding go kart, looks more like a fun weekend toy than anything—which isn't far from the truth considering the vehicle was designed for a race put on by the University of Buenos Aires, where Fratoni studies. The designer is also responsible for creating a fold-up electric vehicle, which has picked up a bit of press in the past.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   8 Nov 2013  |  Comments (0)

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Nicolas Brouillac hails from France, a country that takes their wine-drinking seriously. And while we saw that Peugeot once helped coffee drinkers imbibe with their coffee mills, industrial designer Brouillac designs products for oenophiles produced by the modern-day Peugeot.

His Dahlia decanter, inspired by a children's top, help to aerate a freshly-opened bottle. Pour into the funnel-like opening, then let Dahlia roll in its prescribed circle, confident that the vessel's design precludes any spillage.

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Posted by erika rae  |  28 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)

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Marion Caulet's Cooking Tools capture the act of kitchen multitasking with colorful and compact meal prep essentials. Complete with a timer than can monitor three different tasks at once and a set of stackable spatulas, the end result is a super-efficient—and nice-looking—way to prepare a meal for one or a crowd.

The concept—a group project for Evolution, a cookware brand by Mauviel Cookware—takes the different processes in making a meal and assigns a tool for each one.

First up are the seasoning pipes. The shape makes them easy to hold and the simple, clean look makes it acceptable to tote to the dinner table for some mid-meal spice. The base acts as a bowl where the seasoning is stored. When you're ready to add some to your ingredients, twist the cork top (which opens the pipes) and flip the bowl to fill the pipes. Flip it rightside up, twist the cork to seal the seasoning, grab a seasoning stick and you're good to go. The pipes come in different sizes depending on the amount of spice you need.

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Posted by erika rae  |   9 Oct 2013  |  Comments (3)

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Zombies: We've read books on how to kill them, seen movies with every possible breed of undead enemy and created series of television shows depicting the toll that the zombie apocalpyse can take on our fragile human bonds (I'm look at you, Walking Dead). But have you ever really seen—or thought about—all of the supplies a proper Zombie raid survival would take? (The scenes from Zombieland, involving Woody Harrelson and a trunk full of guns/blunt objects, don't count.) But Donal O'Keeffe, a UK-based motion designer at ITN, has done the research for you and put together a series of Zombie Survival Vehicles. Created with Cinema 4D's Physical Renderer, O'Keeffe was inspired by his interest for highly detailed cross-section 3D designs.

I wanted to create naratives and characters within the details. I wanted to create a series of renders that people could spend hours looking at, to see something new with every fresh viewing. Each one was rendered and created for large format printing. Plus I felt the concept of protection from the outside world and our attempt to cling onto some form of reality was fascinating. These themes lead me to the zombie survival vehicles. Match this with me being a huge George Romero fan and you can the see where the concept spawned.

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The tiny contents inside the vehicles were modeled and textured by the designer, aside from a few of the more complex items (i.e. guns), which he purchased. Most of the actual cars were also modeled by O'Keeffe.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  15 Aug 2013  |  Comments (0)

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We're loving these gorgeous, rotated-reality window displays designed by Coroflotter Marlene Mazieres. The Paris-based Mazieres, formerly a designer of visual merchandising at Christian Dior, whipped these windows up for her new employer, men's luxury brand Berluti as part of their display at Harrods.

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Posted by Teshia Treuhaft  |  14 Aug 2013  |  Comments (0)

highres4.jpgModel Chair

The opportunity to be surrounded by young and bright designers is never a great as in the midst of design school. The unfortunate downside is that being educated among a wealth of talent may lead to homogenous approaches to design through traditional university education. The RISD Furniture Department undergraduate class appears to have avoided that pitfall, producing some very interesting (and diverse) young designers in 2013. The work runs the gamut from the elegant compound curvatures of Laura Kishimoto's woodworking to the Playful Pop of Jamie Wolfond's approach to design for manufacturing.

So to does their fellow classmate Benjamin Kicic offer yet another approach with a selection of furniture objects that seem to only be described as politely subversive. Paying both homage to centuries of furniture design history with a dash of dry humor about the future of manufacturing, Kicic strikes a chord dealing with old forms and new materials. Oftentimes, projects that attempt to bridge the (expansive) gap between traditional making and the age of digital reproduction can fall into the 'lukewarm novelty' category, but Kicic's work makes the jump successfully. The careful blending of what should be strongly opposed design elements open up a mature conversation about the canon of design history and uncertainty of design future.

modelchairnobronze.jpgModel Chair Mock-up without Bronze Joinery

Kicic's Model Chair, in particular, was devised as an exercise in departure from the traditional approach to furniture making. Although object design is often heavy on hands-off planning and forever married to craft, Kicic inverted the process, embracing an ad-hoc approach. The chair attempts to celebrate temporary joinery (composed here of hot glue) by making it permanent through bronze casting. This dedication to diverting the 'usual' approach to construction or material is a thread that runs through much of Kicic's work, culminating recently completed BFA thesis.

Jointcomposit.jpgInitial Joint created with Hot Glue and later cast in white bronze

With furniture, an object's value can often be determined by the way the parts are connected and how much craft and time goes into these connections. With this chair, the form was chiefly dictated by a process largely removed from craft and much more gestural. Preciousness and joint strength was returned through casting the hot glue in white bronze. My goal [with the Model Chair] was to create something that was both calculated and gestural, that played with a new way of working and thinking, a structurally sound object created with a quick and messy gesture.

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Posted by Ray  |  25 Jun 2013  |  Comments (0)

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I think most of us grow up with the assumption that one or both of our parents are entirely qualified to administer first aid, or at least enough to tend to our 'boo-boos,' and 'ouchies' as we learn the laws of physics the hard way. While I certainly hope that mom and pop have a basic knowledge of how to clean and dress a wound, there comes a point where one must learn to do so by him or herself. And even if one knows what and how he or she needs to do in order to treat a cut or scrape, there's also the matter of actually tearing packaging and unscrewing caps, which can get messy if the wound is on one's hand, as is often the case in, say, the kitchen. Enter Gabriele Meldaikyte's redesigned Home First Aid Kit.

The design of the traditional first aid kit fails to address how they function in real life and are frequently used by someone who has no medical training. I have created this first aid kit framework that can be expanded according to personal requirements. It could be used in the domestic environment or as an educational tool for nurseries, schools etc.

Burns, minor scratches and deep cuts to the hands are common injuries in the kitchen, which occur while cooking and preparing food. The first aid kit has been created for use with one hand only, so that a hand injury can be independently and efficiently treated, even if the accident occurred whilst you were alone.

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Where the recent RCA grad's previously-seen "Multi-Touch Gestures" was a conceptual take on screen-based interaction design, the "Home First Aid Kit" is a rather more practical project—equally considered to be sure, but decidedly more pragmatic in terms of real-world applications.

My design divides the first aid kit according to particular injuries: Burns/scalds are marked in yellow colour, minor cuts/scratches are in orange and bleeding/deep cuts are red. Every injury is described in steps, guiding the casualty through the treatment process. I have provided special tools to enable this one-handed treatment. These include a bandage applicator, where bandage can be applied much faster and can be cut off with integrated blades (replacing scissors). A plaster and dressing applicator that works like a stamp: where you tear off the top protection layer and then you stamp it on the cut, with the remaining layer working as a protection for the next plaster etc.

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Posted by Ray  |  21 Jun 2013  |  Comments (0)

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Love 'em or hate 'em, the Miami Heat prevailed over the San Antonio Spurs to take their second straight NBA Championship last night. The seven-game series is already being hailed as an instant classic as the remarkably even matchup made for a thoroughly entertaining clash between Gregg Popovich's squad of longtime contenders and Eric Spoelstra's dominant team, who had the best record in the regular season.

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Over on our sister portfolio site Coroflot, London-based illustrator Alexis Marcou recently posted a series of wall graphics for New York City's House of Hoops, a basketball-centric Nike outpost in Harlem—just in time for last night's victory. In addition to Lebron James (pictured here, obviously), the series includes his Heat teammate Dwyane Wade, as well as perennial All-Stars Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Amar'e Stoudemire and more (though the Spurs stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are conspicuously absent)—check out the rest here.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   7 Jun 2013  |  Comments (2)

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Design student or no, it takes some serious stones to attempt a redesign of a design classic. Case in point: The Florian-Seiffert-designed Braun KF 20, above—which we covered in our History of Braun Design, Part 4—essentially set the form factor for the modern coffeemaker. Coroflotter Richard Wilson, who is now a London-based junior designer, tackled a re-design back in his tender student days. Before we get to his renders, let's have a look at some of his sketches from the project:

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So what do you think—based on those, would he have been able to follow through and pull it off?

Hit the jump to find out.

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Posted by Ray  |   6 Jun 2013  |  Comments (9)

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For his final year project at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Henry Daly decided to develop a new typology for an off-road recreational vehicle. The Exo is essentially a forward-facing recumbent electric three-wheeler, in which the operator lays prone in a torpedo-like position, as in skeleton or Cresta sledding.

Exo is an electric off-road vehicle for recreational use on dirt, sand and gravel. The aim of the project is to merge man and machine providing a deeply immersive driving experience. The vehicle leans during cornering connecting body motion to vehicle motion and allows a higher maximum cornering speed. The birdcage frame is fabricated from aluminium tubing. Power comes from a 10kW DC brushless motor run from a Lithium-Ion battery pack. The project was completed as a final year project in Dublin Institute of Technology.

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