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Posted by erika rae  |   4 Apr 2014  |  Comments (1)

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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)

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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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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  28 May 2013  |  Comments (1)

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Ever since we looked into the history of Braun's audio products, I am not able to look at stereos the same way. I keep picturing Dieter Rams, Hans Gugelot, and the Ulm guys sitting at the drawing board trying to figure out what those then-new audio devices ought to look like, work like, feel like. And how they could do it all with a minimum of fuss. You look at a stereo from today and you just don't get the sense that most folks have that kind of focus and more importantly, restraint.

One guy who does, however, is Victor Johansson, who's currently going for his Masters in ID at Central St. Martins. With his Ceramic Stereo degree project that intelligently considers how we ought to use modern stereos, Johansson makes a trenchant observation that even major audio manufacturers overlook:

The observation that led to this concept comes from audio consumption and more specifically the mismatch between where content usually resides today (in smartphones) and what is being used to amplify the playback (stereos and speakers). In a typical audio-playback scenario a clash of interfaces occur. The smartphone that holds the content is connected either via an audio cable or [Bluetooth] to an amplifier. More often than not you get double volume controls, double playback controls and so on. This together with the smartphones' already existing interface duality, with some functions residing on the screen and some mapped to physical keys, makes for a complex interface system.

Johansson's solution is best explained via audio/video:

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Posted by core jr  |  10 May 2013  |  Comments (4)

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By Herald Ureña, College for Creative Studies ’13

I chose the name LOHOCLA, backwards for Alcohol, for this project in order to suggest that my new design inherits the past by incorporating it into a modern object. It is a redesign of the growler, a reusable vessel to carry beer from the pub or store to your home, commonly used in the USA but also used in Australia and Canada.

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I investigated the history of the growler and based a new design on the product's forms from the past so the reinterpretation has an aspect of 'design memory.' Growlers in USA circa 1800's we actually repurposed metal buckets. During the 50's and 60's people would reuse packaging and food containers as growlers, including waxed cardboard containers and plastic storage products. Half-gallon jugs became popular in the 80's, though those glass jugs were also re-purposed (apple) cider or moonshine jugs. The design of the growler shifted to closed containers once refrigeration became standard in American homes.

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It was important to me that the redesign of the growler keep an aesthetic of other preexisting objects in some way. The overall shape still looks like the cider jug but I have created a handle that is reminiscent of the bucket handles from the 1800's, as well as the look of a common pitcher.

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Function

I investigated ergonomics from the point of view of the common user, bartender, waiters, user trends, consumption habits at home, in restaurants, and pubs. I then decided to ensure that the shape of this growler could also be used as a decanter / pitcher as well, so it can be used for serving in a pub if the user decides to stay. This growler is smaller in size, contrary to high American consumption habits. Existing designs are notoriously difficult to clean; thus, I made the top wider to facilitate this process, as well as for pouring. To reduce the material used on the cap, the cap now screws on to the inside of the glass wall and is also hollow to reduce weight. I added texture to the bottom of the growler so that the bartender can grip it and fill it up easier. There is also a bubble marking system on the outer surface of the glass, marking every half pint and indicating exactly how much to fill the jug with an extruded line on the surface of the jug. It is intended to be filled very close to the top, near the lid, in order to reduce airspace in the growler so the beer stays fresher.

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Although some growlers are now being made out of aluminum, people complain about not being able to see the beer, particularly when someone is serving them from a growler. The interior of the growler has a helix that circulates the beer as it is being poured to keep it circulating and equally fresh throughout the drinking experience—the user will not get the bitter butt of the beer that is sometimes discarded altogether. That large inner helix clearly is the driving differentiating element applied.

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Posted by Teshia Treuhaft  |   6 May 2013  |  Comments (7)

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The 'clever material swap' gets to be a bit trendy in the industrial design game after awhile. We usually have trouble to finding projects that both employ a new material intelligently (and with good intent) but don't immediately fall into 'can't-believe-its-a-cement-lamp' category. Likewise, as far as bandwagons go, 3D printing doesn't seem to be slowing down in the slightest with projects like the 3Doodle pen and 3D photo booths. But while we all wait for either 3D printed houses or organs, we have to ask: when are all the innovative 3D printed consumer products going to catch up?

Upon perusing our sister portfolio site Coroflot, we came across the portfolio of Marc Levinson, the chief executive officer of Protos Eyewear. Protos boasts that their line of 3D printed eyewear is both consumer grade and yields "striking designs that are impossible to make through standard manufacturing methods."

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Levinson deals with some pretty solid applications for 3D printing market-ready products. Originally considered to be a technique primarily for prototyping, many companies are looking to 3D print directly to market. Levinson's 3D printed frames for San Francisco-based Protos Eyewear are a great example of manufacturing process informing aesthetics. We're particularly fond of the Hal Pixel frames, perhaps a not-so-subtle nod to the digital age.

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Posted by Ray  |   3 May 2013  |  Comments (1)

RaphaelDaha-WrittenPortraits-AnneFrank.jpgVanGoghAbdolah.jpgClockwise from top: Anne Frank, Kaler Abdolah, Vincent Van Gogh

Dutch creative director Raphael Dahan has nearly 20 years of experience as a digital artist and photo retoucher, and he demonstratess his expert hand in a series of images of books that are intended to look like busts... which is to say that you the images are remarkably photorealistic renderings, easily mistaken for photos of actual books that have been carved to resemble faces.

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Dahan created several of these images for Bookweek 2011; the digital portrait of Anne Frank features an excerpt from her diary.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  29 Apr 2013  |  Comments (2)

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg famously embarked on a mission to only eat meat that he'd killed himself—an achievable goal when you're a dot-com millionaire and have the resources to set up the logistics. Brooklyn-based designer Martina Fugazzotto, however, is a woman of more humble means who set a slightly different quest for herself: She would grow her own food. First on a balcony, then in a concrete backyard in Brooklyn.

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Though she's a designer, Coroflotter Fugazzoto is one of our brethren in Graphics/Web/Digital rather than Industrial; that being the case, she doesn't have that closet some of us ID'ers have to keep physical objects we've worked on. And though she enjoys her 2D design work, "At the end of the day, there's nothing that physically exists that I've made," she explains.

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Feeling that void led her to start a garden, where she could exchange physical toil for the reward of bringing something three-dimensional into existence. "I needed something more tangible, something that was so much more real in the world," she says. Working out of a tiny concrete plot behind her Brooklyn building, Fugazzotto soon branched out (pun! Sweet!) from houseplants into vegetables.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   4 Apr 2013  |  Comments (0)

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Brazil-based industrial designer Ricardo Freisleben Lacerda either lives in a small space or likes thinking about how to reduce the size of furniture when it's not in use. Check out his Gaming Table, done as his graduation project from the Universidade do Estado de Minas Gerais in Barbacena:

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Assuming the cantilevered tops are strong enough to support even my heaviest friends, I'd say that's a cool design for saving some space. It'd be a welcome addition to my space-tight Manhattan digs for having friends over, though we might be chugging rather than checkmating.

Another project Lacerda has worked on, this one in conjunction with fellow designer Andre Pedrini under their Oboio brand name, is their Nomad Closet.

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Posted by Teshia Treuhaft  |   3 Apr 2013  |  Comments (5)

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Many a young design student has searched for a way to manufacture the feeling sentimentality in object design—it's a great moment when you buy a product and build a special type of inherent knowledge of its quirks and inter workings. In the Color Wheel Timepiece, ID Student Scott Alberstein of Carnegie Mellon has attempted to shake up the traditional use of a watch and challenge the user to build their own understanding via color rather than a traditional analog face.

Alberstein says of the timepiece:

The type of watch one wears can tell a great deal about someone. In order to build a personal relationship with this watch I decided to represent the passage of time through color. If used regularly, the user will develop associations between time and color patterns. Eventually, the user could tell the time based on what colors are shown.

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Don't get me wrong; the color wheel clock is a poetic idea. In use, you realize analog clocks might be slipping into object nostalgia territory, replaced by ever-present digital displays. If 20-somethings do use analog displays- they tend to be by way of screens. While the IPhone seems a pretty good stand in for watch, timer, alarm... the list goes on, it's good to see someone tackle the wrist watch - one of designer's greatest fetish items. We've seen a few variations on color watch faces (The Ziiiro Gravity and Proton lines come to mind), and Alberstein's Color Wheel Timepiece is a nicely resolved challenge to the archetype.

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Posted by Ray  |  27 Mar 2013  |  Comments (0)

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A couple months ago, I posted about "Curious Rituals," a research project by a team of designers at the Art Center College of Design, which I discovered on Hyperallergic. In his post, editor Kyle Chayka also drew a connection to another project concerning touchscreen gestures IRL, "Multi-Touch Gestures" by Gabriele Meldaikyte, who is currently working towards her Master's in Product Design at RCA.

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Where Richard Clarkson's "Rotary Smartphone" concept incorporated an outdated dialing concept into a contemporary mobile phone, Meldaikyte explores interaction design by effectively inverts this approach to achieve an equally thought-provoking result. The five objects are somehow intuitive and opaque (despite their transparent components) at the same time, transcribing the supposedly 'natural' gestures to mechanical media.

There are five multi-touch gestures forming the language we use between our fingers and iPhone screens. This is the way we communicate, navigate and give commands to our iPhones.

Nowadays, finger gestures like tap / scroll / flick / swipe / pinch are considered to be 'signatures' of the Apple iPhone. I believe that in ten years or so these gestures will completely change. Therefore, my aim is to perpetuate them so they become accessible for future generations.

I have translated this interface language of communication into 3D objects which mimic every multi-touch gesture. My project is an interactive experience, where visitors can play, learn and be part of the exhibition.

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