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


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.



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


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:


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


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.


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


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



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


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



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


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

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



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



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.


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





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


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.


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.


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.



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


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:


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.



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


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.


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.



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


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.



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.



Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Mar 2013  |  Comments (4)


Joe Warren's QMB, or Quad Micro Bar, is nifty way to seat four in a temporary setting. Washington-based industrial designer Warren observed that "bars and chairs are cumbersome, space-consuming assemblies that take up extra space when they are not in use," and set out to design a piece of furniture whose footprint was shrinkable.


The QMB is made from natural growth forest products and uses non-polluting dyes, retaining that American Northwest healthy-living vibe. And while I'm not sure about the price point from a consumer perspective—Warren's aiming for $700 a pop on Kickstarter—I could see a bunch of these rolling off of a catering truck for on-site events.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  21 Mar 2013  |  Comments (0)


What does it take to design a bestseller for the MoMA Store? Industrial designer Lawrence Chu knocked one out of the park with his Tuck storage box, designed for Umbra back in '09 and subsequently picked up by MoMA scouts. The scale of the photos might be deceptive; the bamboo box is roughly 5" x 5" x 5" and rings up at $35, making it a popular gift.


Where is Chu now? After departing Umbra to set up his own shop, Chu—a Hong-Kong-born native Chinese speaker educated in Canada—jumped on an opportunity. He's now helping American home appliance company Bissell expand far beyond their Grand Rapids, Michigan home base, by setting up their China-based industrial design branch in Shenzhen.

Posted by Teshia Treuhaft  |  15 Mar 2013  |  Comments (2)


One of the greatest accomplishments for a young designer is to bring their first product to market. For many designers right out of school, it can take years to see a project put into production and is often a learning process in itself. We are happy to report that one of our featured and favorite Coroflot projects is taking the next step.

We first featured Michael Roopenian's Engrain Keyboard prototype on Coroflot in 2011 when it was his Master's Thesis project at the Pratt Institute. At the time, the project was simply a thoughtful response to incorporating natural tactility into a user interface. Roopenian used a combination of traditional woodworking, sandblasting and lasercutting to produce and prototype. While the project was nice for school, it wasn't immediately scalable for production.

EngrainPrototype.jpgThe original 2011 prototype


Two years later, Roopenian looks to produce the keyboard for production with new packaging, updated materials list and, of course, a good ol' fashioned Kickstarter campaign. After spending six months of development, the production version of the Engrain Keyboard emerged in sassafras with a Danish Oil finish (the original prototype was pine), complete with a sleek packaging design.

We caught up with Michael to hear about the new developments, scaling up production and lessons learned.

Core77: What are some of the major design developments since the 2011 version?

Michael Roopenian: The biggest development was the switch from using Pine wood to Sassafras. As you can imagine, the soft pine also just doesn't hold up like a hardwood. Sassafras, when sandblasted, provided a more toned-back texture with similar properties, and ended up being a good compromise between tactility and true keyboard functionality. From the beginning, I knew I had a concept that people were interested in, but bringing it to reality was all about finding the right balance.

The other major developments revolved around the system of installation, which uses the off-cut wood as a mounting bracket. This simple method of installation was another key to really making it a viable product that anyone could buy and install flawlessly themselves.




Posted by Teshia Treuhaft  |   5 Mar 2013  |  Comments (0)


Dana Ramler is a Vancouver-based designer with a knack for unconventional design combinations. Speaking the language of industrial, fashion, interactive and media design simultaneously; her projects and collaborations hit that sweet spot between thought-provoking conceptual design and the intelligent products for market.

Bio Circuit is a vest that provides a form of bio feedback using data from the wearer's heart rate to determine what "sounds" they hear through the speaker embedded in the collar of the garment. The wearer places the heart rate monitor around the ribcage, resting against the skin and close to the heart. An MP3 audio player embedded in the vest plays the audio track related to that specific heart rate. The audio tracks are soundscapes mixed from a range of ambient sounds.

Bio Circuit was created at Emily Carr University by Industrial Design student Dana Ramler, and MAA student Holly Schmidt.

While the Biocircuit probably won't be hitting the market anytime soon, Ramler's work in technical running accessories for lulumon athletica definitely deserves a look as well. They almost make running in sub-zero temperatures sound appealing... almost.


Check out more on Ramler's Coroflot page for everything from inflatable belts to an interactive nest

Posted by Ray  |   8 Feb 2013  |  Comments (13)


Based on the description of his latest project, it's safe to assume that Paolo de Giusti is sick of all of the newfangled concept bikes that seem to be all the rage these days. Whether they're design competition entries or simply eye-catching renderings, the Italian art director simply isn't impressed. But beyond hoarding vintage Campy components like your average retrogrouch (not that there's anything wrong with that), he proposes yet another variation of the concept bike:

It is not a folding bike, nor is it an electric- or battery-powered bike. It is not iOS-ready. You can't plug your music/phone/camera into it. This is the XXXVI DG—quite simply, this is a bicycle. Two wheels. Two pedals. One Seat. Inspired by bicycles for bicycle lovers, combining traditional elements and components in an unconventional yet innovative way. The frame takes its shape from a simple desire for asymmetric aesthetics, while at the same time providing a stable cave-like covering for the wheels and preserving the bicycle's ergonomic features.


Its name, of course, refers to the diameter of its wheels: "The 36” wheels are, themselves, blasts from the past, having been commonplace many years ago for their uniquely smooth, relaxed and sturdy rolling, perfect for the everyday cruiser."


Of course, a particularly jaded cycling enthusiast might cite Cannondale's "Lefty" single-bladed fork and similarly experimental asymmetric frames as precedents to de Giusti's XXXVI DG. But in fairness to the designer, the highly unorthodox bicycle merits consideration beyond its overlapping frame and fork: from the undersized chainring—presumably to compensate for the placement of the single chainstay—to the angled line of the top tube, the XXXVI DG would likely make for an unconventional ride... to say nothing of actually building the thing.


See additional zoomable views over on the Coroflot project page for XXXVI DG.

Posted by Ray  |   6 Feb 2013  |  Comments (3)


For his M.A. thesis in industrial design, Norwegian designer Thomas Larsen Røed worked with a forward-looking transportation initiative known as the Scandinavian 8 Million City. Backed by governments at the local, regional and national levels, as well as the EU, the project is a detailed proposal for a high-speed rail corridor that runs south from Oslo down the Swedish coastline to Copenhagen, Denmark. Between the two capital cities and two Swedish metropolises in between—Göteborg and Malmö—the 600km span is home to some eight million residents (over 40% of the total population of Scandinavia) and the similarly significant percentage of the region's business and commercial interests.


The website is a bit short on information in English, but a 44-page PDF provides plenty of context and data to the proposal for the "Corridor of Innovation and Cooperation" (COINCO for short). The document makes a strong case to build a multinational high-speed rail line by 2025 site, for which Røed has developed an original train design. In his own words:

I want to contribute to the HSR vision through industrial design and this diploma project. The aim is to create a HSR concept based on Scandinavian values. This includes a focus on exterior design and building a brand identity foundation. By materializing all the ideas and reports that already exist, I believe people will find the whole vision of a Scandinavian HSR more tangible and realistic, which hopefully would make them express their support—something that is essential when trying to realize a big project like this.

By exploring Scandinavian values and identity, I want to create a concept with a distinct form and expression where technical aspects and requirements of the design meet Scandinavian culture and identity.

Just to create and/or contribute to the debate of future mobility would be a valuable end result—and for this reason, the concept might benefit from being somewhat provocative rather than a generic high-speed train.





Posted by Ray  |  16 Jan 2013  |  Comments (2)


Industrial design students and pros alike will appreciate Martin Esteva's form studies: Like his endlessly imaginative kindred spirit George Yoo, Esteva conjures compellingly three-dimensional abstractions from pixels, flexing his software prowess in generating science-fiction-y yet organic forms.




However, Esteva actually brings the renderings to life, going so far as to actually make 3D models of the abstract forms.



Posted by Ray  |   8 Jan 2013  |  Comments (12)


Amid the veritable downpour of CES coverage this week, we were interested to see a gadget that is tentatively set to launch in 2050. Quentin's Debaene's hypothetical "AIRBLOW 2050" umbrella concept is worthy of James Dyson himself... at least to the extent that the French design student hopes his design will be deemed so: it looks like he's entered it into the British innovator's eponymous annual awards program.


Once Debaene had identified the fabric portion of the umbrella as the root of all of its problems, the solution was clear as day: to get rid of the bulky, easily inverted membrane entirely. Instead, a vacuum draws air through the telescoping shaft to deflect raindrops around a small radius of the device, creating an invisible overhead barrier to the elements. (Besides describing what it does, its somewhat dubious name seems to be a play on "Airblade.")



Posted by Coroflot  |   4 Jan 2013  |  Comments (0)


Kevin Boulton is a Northampton, UK-based 3D Modeler and Animator who is a few years out from Uni, pursuing independent projects under the moniker Studio Scarlet. Frankly, he can call himself whatever he wants—the kid's got chops.



According to the description for an older motorcycle project (above): "While learning Maya on the 30 day trial I built this bike to see what I could do."

KevinBoulton-BowandArrowRotated.jpgImage rotated to fit

It looks like he was duly inspired by last year's summer olympics: Boulton mentions the games in the description for the Custom Bow, and he's also dreamt up a slick TT/Tri bicycle concept.



Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  31 Dec 2012  |  Comments (0)


Come New Year's Eve the champagne will start flowing, and Milan-based Marco Dragotta's designed a better alternative to the silver ice bucket that turns bottles into a sopping mess.

Dragotta's Galaxy champagne bucket is "designed to glorify the bottles, keeping them in the ideal position to [best display] the labels..."


...but there are also ergonomic/functional improvements over a bucket: The design replaces ice cubes with ice packs, which are inserted inside the ABS housing to keep the bottles cool (and absent melting ice, dry). The entire thing spins on a circular bearing in the base, letting your guests pick their poison.



Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  26 Dec 2012  |  Comments (0)


Besides its sustainability, these days bamboo is often utilized for its physical properties of rigidity, durability and relative lightness. But Taiwan-based industrial designer Kai-Chi Yao's Extension lamp exploits a more overlooked property of bamboo: Its flexibility.

While going for her Masters Degree in Industrial Design at Shih Chien University, Yao's Craft Design/Lighting Design course allowed her to experiment with the properties of bamboo in an exploratory way. By visiting traditional bamboo craftspeople and studying the range of effects they were able to achieve with the material—for example, slicing it into flexible strips for weaving—Yao struck upon the idea of regional slicing, allowing the material to go from rigid to flexible and back to rigid along the length of a single piece.




Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  21 Dec 2012  |  Comments (1)


Another guy who's produced a Turner's Cube is Jake Horsey, a Coroflotter and metal designer-fabricator based in Sunderland, Massachusetts. Horsey can blend CNC with manual milling skills, as in this mariner's astrolabe (done in collaboration with Ben Westbrook), where the dial was done via CNC and the indicator was manually milled.


Horsey's the guy you go to if you want a bad-ass custom headbadge for your line of bicycles, like NFG Cycles did:



Posted by Kai Perez  |   4 Dec 2012  |  Comments (0)


It is always empowering to see projects overcome the limitations of the human body. It's one of the reasons why we love super heroes, or watching people skydive from outerspace. In a similar fashion, perhaps more entertaining is Daniel Love's mannequin figurine products. Just as a concept rendering now, these fully articulated, gold plated figures are human size scaled lamps.

Imagine the classic movable mannequin on a whole new form and style. The classical lamp has evolved much over the past several years. As much as it has evolved very few lamps let your imagination run wild. Every joint is fully articulated and at the users control. With so much control of the form what will ensue? The results may be controversial, provoking or elegant. Finished in gold plating for a touch of exquisiteness.


The provocative leg lamp from A Christmas Story has grown up and now is a golden vixen. As Daniel mentions in the product description, the positioning of the figure becomes a statement. For the evening's dinner party a sexy or sensible position for the lamp may be the newlyweds dilemma for the night.



Posted by Ray  |  30 Nov 2012  |  Comments (1)


We picked up on Samuel Bernier's "Project RE_" even before he was recognized as Runner-Up in the DIY category of this year's Core77 Design Awards, and he might just be in contention for 2013 with his latest project, "Dentelle." Taking it's name from the French word for lace, the project was inspired by a simple repair job:

When I moved in my new apartment, the last owner had left [an IKEA] Rigolit lamp in the middle of the living room. An object that looks like a fishing rod holding a big paper cloud. The lampshade was ripped everywhere and Scotch tape was holding it together. This huge volume was always in the way and we kept bumping our heads into it. One day, I had enough and decided to buy a new lampshade to replace the paper one. Everything was either too expensive for me or extremely ugly. Also, the closest IKEA was an hour away... by bus.

What does a designer do in such a situation? He makes! A few hours later, thanks to affordable 3D printing, a unique lampshade was made. I couldn't stop there, so I designed 2, 3... 12 different ones, using always the same shape and changing only the color and the texture. They take between 4 and 12 hours to print, use absolutely no support material, weight between 50g and 100g and cost less than $5 to print.



As in his "Project RE_," Bernier's approach captures the spirit of the Fixer's Manifesto to a tee, revitalizing a superficially damaged object with ingenuity, a bit of elbow grease (and a spool of ABS, of course).



Posted by Kai Perez  |  27 Nov 2012  |  Comments (4)


Industrial Designers always seem to be tackling the issue of prosthetic limbs, there is good reason to. It is estimated that in the United States, there are approximately 1.7 million people living with limb loss. The difficulty in replicating the functions of the human arm and hand lay in the complex machinery required. Kaylene Kau, a recent graduate of the University of Washington for Industrial Design, came up with this concept. Unlike conventional concepts, this one is essentially a tentacle-like arm that allows for dexterity and grip.


The radical approach allows for less motors and machinery to occupy the space within the arm. This translates to less parts, cheaper to produce and easier to maintain. The tentacle arm approach allows someone to grip multiple objects just like a real hand would. However, I am skeptical about how finer, more tactile operations such as using a pencil or picking up a small object could happen.


The solution to control the arm unit is simplified here but with further refinement such a concept could work. It is great to see that there are design solutions that can extend so far from conventional approaches. The organic form, not human, is a beautiful contrast to the Darth Vader like arms that are on the market already.


Posted by Ray  |  21 Nov 2012  |  Comments (3)


It's been a minute since we saw the last badass compressed air-powered motorcycle, so seeing as digital designer / 3D modeler Pierrick Huart finally got around to uploading the Saline Airstream to his Coroflot portfolio this past September, it's worth revisiting even a year and a half after its debut.



Back in March 2011, Technologic Vehicles reported that Huart was a member of one of seven teams of students from the International School of Design (ISD) in Valciennes, France, who submitted projects to a speedy brief from "Les Triplettes de Bonneville." (As such, we'd be remiss not to credit fellow team members Vincent Montreuil, Julien Clément, Thomas Duhamel and Benedict Ponton.) Described as "crazy French DIYers," the triplets selected the Saline Airstream design, when features an Alu-Magnesium chassis by Daniel Heurton and weighs in at only 102kg (224 lbs).


Meanwhile, Wes Siler of Hell for Leather explains the technology behind the engine far better than I could ever hope to:

Pneumatic engines using compressed air as their power source aren't new. If you've used an impact wrench or other pneumatic workshop tool, then you've used a compressed air engine. The technology enjoys particular interest in France, where Victor Tatin conceived an airplane powered by it all the way back in 1879. That's where Les Triplettes des Bonneville, the team that will run the Airstream and the makers of its engine come from.

The company making the engine is MDI, which is pushing the technology in low-speed, urban vehicles. Like electricity, compressed air is zero emissions (well, technically it's emitting air...), but unlike electricity, fill ups don't take hours. You can fill a compressed air tank from a compressor or storage unit in the same time it takes to fill up with gasoline. The downside is that power output and therefore performance are so far somewhat limited, something Les Triplettes are trying to address.

The function of a pneumatic piston engine of the kind employed here is incredibly simple. Air is stored in the Airstream's three tanks at 3,626psi and fed into the engine at 363psi, where it expands, pushing the piston down. That pistons's return path exhausts the air through a valve, just like in your gasoline-powered motorcycle.



Posted by Kai Perez  |  19 Nov 2012  |  Comments (0)


The Natural History Museum really does come alive, and not just at night: one of New York's most well-known museums is home to live and stuffed animals alike. After admiring the massive mammoths, you begin to notice the vivariums. The word itself is defined as a semi-natural space designed for specific flora and fauna for viewing and study. Maximizing the efficiency of a vivarium is just as important in the design of a window display. Understanding the relationship between animal and the viewer, designer Roy Lorieo shows his design and fabrication process.

frog_vivarium1.jpg Living space for Tree Frogs in New York's best known Upper West Side museum

With a diverse education, studying architecture at Yale and design at Pratt, it only seems natural for Roy Lorieo to pursue such a project. The vivarium is designed for Tree Frogs in the Natural History Museum. As an exhibition designer, Roy has also worked on a Traveling Dinosaur Exhibit as seen here on his Coroflot portfolio.

frog_vivarium2.jpgBlue foam construction shows more dynamic living space that will improve life longevity for the Tree Frogs

The previous vivarium suffered many design flaws that hindered the living habits of the frogs, as well making upkeep by the caretakers difficult. Roy addressed the flaws and sought out a solution.