'Tis the season to do all kind of holiday things. Amongst the multitudes of baked cookies and gift wrap, some of you may make it a tradition to make your own gingerbread houses—sometimes half-heartedly and half-eaten, depending on your tastes. No matter the level of strategy and effort you put into your sugary construction, I'm willing to bet that none of your attempts will ever turn out as appetizing and lifelike as the buildings food stylist Caitlin Levin and photographer Henry Hargreaves have put together.
With world-famous silhouettes to guide them, they've created a set of candy architecture that we'd all think twice about eating. The buildings are so lifelike that I had to keep reminding myself that every surface on all of the houses is edible. The series features several well-known art museums: Guggenheim, Louvre and the Tate Modern, to name a few. The duo wanted to show candy in a more serious light, one that isn't focused on the vivid colors and sweetness we're so used to associating with sugary treats.
Click the jump for more photos of the sugary architecture.
It's not like tea-drinkers choose tea for its immediacy or anything, but to push the "right here, right now" agenda even further, there's now a tea you can inhale instead of sip. London-based Camellia's Tea House debuted this new-age teatime experience at the 2013 Experimental Food Society Spectacular. The team set up a room full of vaporized teas and "sippers" tasted them with straws. Check out the video below to get a better visual for the presentation:
With Halloween festivities more or less underway this weekend, the holiday season is just around the corner and shopping aside, I imagine most of us are anticipating yet another stretch of eating, drinking and making merry. Here, we'll look at several stories related to the former. Service and packaging notwithstanding, some of these news items aren't explicitly related to design, but they certainly hold lessons for designers of all stripes.
First up, a couple of articles that examine food as a 'manufactured' product; not so much the industrial food complex but rather the entrepreneurial, product-driven side of how and what we eat. In contrast to, say, the riveting true stories behind Apple or Twitter—tech companies whose success is precisely why they remain compelling to the general public—food may seem an unlikely area of innovation. Yet it's an interesting topic for almost the exact opposite reason as bleeding-edge technology: Although food is essential to our continued existence in a way that iPhones and followers are not, we remain (at times blissfully) unaware of where, exactly, it comes from. From prepping potatoes by the pallet-load to harvesting hundreds of hectares of jalapeños, we got a closer look at the unsung line cooks and idiosyncratic entrepreneur behind New York City's Balthazar and Southern California-based Huy Fong Foods (of Sri Racha fame), respectively.
Photo by Marvin Orellana for the New York Times
I'll spare you the NYC-insider take (the restaurant is around the corner from Core HQ), but Willy Staley does well to establish the context of Balthazar's 'downtown-ness,' setting the scene with Soho's manufacturing heritage before diving into the details, which might apply to any major restaurant operation. Of course, this being Lower Manhattan, the stakes (cue rimshot) are higher, and restauranteur Keith McNally's iconic brasserie would not have become a veritable institution if not for its quality and consistency. "During the busy season—roughly fall Fashion Week to Memorial Day—the restaurant spends $90,000 a week on food to feed some 10,000 guests."
I highly recommend the custom-styled/art-directed Times Magazine feature "22 Hours in Balthazar" to non-NYCers and non-foodies alike: local flavor and jargon aside, it's a fascinating case study in both service design and how things are made.
Roughly one in 10 people who enter Balthazar orders the steak frites. It is far and away the restaurant's best-selling dish, and Balthazar can sell as many as 200 on a busy day. A plate of steak and potatoes requires a tremendous input of labor if you're going to charge $38 for it. At a smaller restaurant, cooks are typically responsible for setting up their own mise-en-place—preparing food for their stations—before each service begins, but at Balthazar, things are necessarily more atomized. The fries, for example, go through numerous steps of prep, done by a few different people, before they wind up on a plate.
Sri Racha, on the other hand, should need no introduction, though a bit a backstory is in order. Roberto Ferdman of Quartz reports that David Tran founded Huy Fong foods shortly after he landed in Los Angeles in 1980. Longing for the signature spice of his native Vietnam, made his own hot sauce (the ingredients read "Chilis, sugar, salt, garlic, distilled vinegar," plus a few less savory preservatives) and started selling it in the now-iconic squeeze bottle with the green cap as a community service. The rest, of course, is history: Rooster sauce, as one of my friends calls it, is now a staple in all variety of Asian eatery and beyond.
Popping up in a small, leafy square in central Vienna this design week, the 'Construisine' community kitchen and workshop creates a space for local residents to cook food from regional produce and build furniture from recycled wood, whilst drawing important parallels between the two in an attempt to encourage the Viennese public to embrace making.
With a whole host of fun food making tools, the creators Johanna Dehio [previously] and Dominik Hehl also offer revellers 'recipes' for furniture making, the installation thus growing in size the more it is used.
The Passionwege format returns for this year's Vienna Design Week linking emerging international design talent with what's left of the city's historic industries. Among the designers are Franco-Swiss duo Bertille & Mathieu, who have combined forces with crystal glass and chandelier manufacturer Lobmeyr to make the ultra-high end brand that little bit more accesible.
Having sought inspiration with a visit to the brand's age-old factory, the two designer drew interesting parralels between the process of crystal manufacturer and candy making—both involving the melting and boiling of powders (sand in the case of crystal, sugar in confectionary) and the subsequent depositing, shaping and setting of the molten sustenance into a clear solid.
If you are among the two million people who would have liked to expose their senses to the biggest revolution in cooking since the discovery of fire by visiting the legendary elBulli restaurant on Spain's Costa Brava, but didn't manage to do so before it closed two years ago, here comes a consolation: The Art of Food show in the Embankment Galleries of London's Somersethouse narrates the story of the elBulli restaurant and its protagonists in an engaging and well-executed exhibition.
Drawings and carefully crafted putty models preceded every new dish that Ferran Adria put on the table.
The work in the upper gallery focuses mainly on the molecular cooking techniques developed by Ferran Adria and his brother Albert Adria, whereas the lower showroom provides (via countless photographs and personal memrobilia) an intimate view into how the elBulli restaurant came into existence and how it developed over the years into the Mekka of New Cuisine. In the late 80's, chef and elBulli co-owner Ferran Adria's priority shifted from simply creating dishes, to create concepts and techniques that would be capable of making diners live experiences.
This giant meringue Bulli (french bulldog) was created for the final dinner at the elBulli restaurant in 2011. It's now on show in London's Somersethouse.
By doing so, he is an artist and a chemistry professor in equal measure (holding a honorary doctorate of Barcelona University), while being considered the most influential chef of the past two decades. To put it with the words of Richard Hamilton (a passionate disciple of Adria's cuisine): "Ferran did for cooking what Shakespeare did for language—he completely re-invented its vocabulary".
Earlier this year, Fox News reported that Dutch researchers found that video games that promoted fruit consumption failed to influence childrens' snack choices: the study illustrated a correlation between food-themed 'advergames' and hunger, but not healthy snacks over their less nutritious counterparts. However, I was interested to learn that a separate study, conducted by Georgetown's Sandra Calvert, found a positive correlation between Pac-Man and snack choice (fruit vs. chips). Per the article, "It might have to do with the game. He's a very famous and familiar icon and he gets rewarded for eating healthy food and punished for eating unhealthy food."
Which is a long way of introducing a video game that actually does encourage healthy eating habits by gamifying them. "Pixelate," a project by RCA Design Interactions students Sures Kumar and Lana Z. Porter, is billed as a "Guitar-Hero-style eating game in which players compete in a one-minute showdown to see who can eat the most food in the correct order."
A digital interface built into a custom dining table shows players which foods to eat and when, while the game detects whether they've eaten the correct food by measuring the food's resistance on the fork. Potential applications for Pixelate include encouraging children to eat more healthy foods, helping to manage portions, and educating children and adults about nutrition. Built using Arduino and openFrameworks, Pixelate gameifies the act of eating, challenging players to consider whether they think before they eat, or eat before they think.
Kumar and Porter were happy to share the behind-the-scenes story behind "Pixelate."
During the prototyping process, we made a chart to document the resistance of different foods. We were determined to use resistance as the variable for determining what food is on the fork, so we picked foods for the game that were electronically distinct enough for the program to differentiate between them. There's also a lot of variability in the resistance based on the amount of food tested, whether it's been cooked, where it's been sliced, and how long it's been left out for a while. Strawberries, kiwis, and figs made it to the final menu.
We also noted a trend in the resistance of "healthy" versus "unhealthy" foods based on the water content/density of the food. The more artificial, dense, or processed the food, the less it conducted. Fruits and vegetables, which have a higher water content, were much better conductors. So the harder it is to pass electricity through a food, it seems, the unhealthier it is (not a rule, but definitely a trend).
South Korean designer Sungi Kim recently sent over an intriguing concept for a bottle design with a built-in tablet dispenser. "Make sure you have clean, safe water and when desired, press the cap to release the hidden vitamin tablet and voila, simply magic."
It's an interesting take on water additives, and while my initial thought was that the pressurized container would preclude a push-top system (as in sealed jelly jars), but I suppose the solution would be to partially open the bottle and release the tablet, then reseal it and agitate as needed. However, our own hipstomp—a sometime packaging designer—has another concern:
...what they've drawn up wouldn't work—if stacked in pallets for shipping, the weight of the bottles above would dispense the pills in the bottles below—I believe it's possible, with some kind of blisterpack integrated in a recessed way inside the cap. Though it might be prohibitively expensive. Then again, Japan has a reputation for creating expensive bottles, and I imagine South Korea probably keeps pace.
At risk of feeding the trolls, I'd draw a casual comparision between the canning jar and the bicycle frame as two widely-used products that might be regarded as so perfect that they've scarcely changed since they were invented just prior to the turn of the last century. Sure, the bicycle frame has been subject to innovations in manufacturing processes and a broader range of use cases, perhaps, but let's face it: at the end of the day, there's not much you can do to improve on a simple glass jar with a sealable threaded lid.
Whereas the diamond frame has inspired all variety of accessories and add-ons—hand-brakes, derailleurs, shifters, etc.—the tried-and-true canning jar has inspired markedly less ingenuity until very recently, when the current generation of DIYers has taken to the humble houseware as a versatile vessel for foodstuffs, perishable and otherwise. Now, the same folks who brought us the Cuppow canning jar drinking lid are pleased to present their latest product, the BNTO ("ben-toh"), a new accessory that further extends the utility of the standard glass jar.
Canning jars are designed to store food safely and make an awesome lunchbox: they are easy to clean, cheap, and you can microwave them! The only problem is that sometimes the foods that taste the best together don't travel well together. So we took inspiration from Japanese bento boxes and created a conveniently shaped insert that separates a canning jar into two compartments so you can mix or dip like a champ. BNTO should provide the perfect companion for all of your food adventures!
You couldn't make it up: a Portland, Oregon-based design duo just launched a crowdfunding campaign to launch a mason jar-based product, designed expressly to brew one of the two beverages that the City of Roses is famous for.
Besides its rugged good looks, it so happens that the mason jar is more durable than the traditional carafe; bedecked in a wool sleeve for insulation and topped off with a maple lid (with a press), the Portland Press is a crafty take on the iconic coffee brewing apparatus (footnote: the origin of the French press is unclear, but the modern version was patented in Italy in 1929; today, it's typically associated with Bodum of Denmark).
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.
We're talking about food now more than ever—so much so that food-centered innovation isn't just taking place in the kitchen anymore. Interest in our edibles has officially made the leap from plate to apartment. Sure, you've seen a sleeping bag in the style of a pizza slice and a scarf painted like strips of bacon, but recently we've spotted furniture that takes subtler cues from the kitchen. The end result is infinitely more palatable.
How do you stand out among a group of 120-odd young international designers all trying to capture the attention of customers and buyers? During Milan's recent SaloneSatellite, Francesco Barbi and Guido Bottazzo of Italy's Bicube Design created a line of furniture inspired by their country's national cuisine: pasta.
Before chocolate transforms into a topping or a candy bar, it's poured. The action has been reproduced over and over in commercials and advertisements to whet our palates. Designers Vinta Toshitaka Nakamura and Kohei Okamoto captured that same liquid quality—and our attention—in their Chocolite lamp.
It's not quite design, but seeing as Evangelia Koutsovoulou of Daphnis and Chloe is one of our esteemed jury members for the Food Design category of this year's Core77 Design Awards, let's just say it's a chance to get to know her a little better. (Our awards team is busy reviewing the entries and preparing to send them to the jury teams at the moment; we'll be announcing the live broadcast schedule shortly.)
The video, illustrated by Oscar Bolton Green, is a winsome example of visual storytelling—in fact, both the art direction for the company and the Kickstarter campaign are superbly well-executed
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.
The dark, fantastical room inside the Saatchi Gallery was a far cry from the cold, wet streets of London. A large golden tree held flutes of champagne, while projections of flowers and bubbles effervesced up the walls. In celebration of spring, Tord Boontje and Perrier-Jouët launched their recent collaboration, The Enchanting Tree. Building on the brand's Art Nouveau heritage, Dutch designer Boontje has designed a champagne service inspired by the changing of the seasons and the champagne moment.
Photo by Angela Moore
At the appointed hour, handsome waiters carried out tabletop versions of the room's centerpiece and placed them on white plinths. Adorned with the brand's signature anemones, each of the twisting golden trees holds six champagne flutes above bottles nestled in ice buckets. An elegant turn of the glass—familiar to all wine drinkers—releases it from the hand-worked metal branch. Boontje's contemporary aesthetic in collaboration with the craftsmen responsible for the individually soldered leaves and white lacquered anemones continues Perrier- JouÃ«t's aesthetic tradition. Although the large tree is headed to the brand's house of all things Art Nouveau, Maison Belle Epoque, the champagne service will be available at Selfridge's and premium hotels.
Designer Alexander Lervik is pleased to present Lumière au Chocolate, his latest project in the Lervik 100 collection, which he is presenting at this very moment in his current home of Stockholm, Sweden (the opening is tonight, February 4th, from 6–10PM at Galleri Kleerup). Produced by Scandinavian LED specialists SAAS Instruments, the uncanny chocolate ark belies a latent luminosity:
The Poetry of Light chocolate lamp, unlike other lamps, is completely dark when you first turn it on, mimicking light spreading along the horizon at sunrise. The heat from the lamp causes the chocolate to begin melting, and it takes several minutes for the first rays of light to penetrate. Holes soon form and as the light grows the chocolate melts. The material and structure of the lamp are the result of pure curiosity. Alexander Lervik wanted to explore the possibility of creating a contrast to light, i.e. dark. The shape of the lamp has been devised based on extensive testing involving the melting process.
The curse of the designer: You sit at the bar quaffing your favorite brew after a long day at the studio, then the light hits the stein just right... and you start wondering what the C, M, Y and K numbers are of this particular beer. Well, wonder no more—the Beertone color reference guide aims to do for beer what Pantone has done for everything else in the world: Assign it a specific color value.
For now the Swiss-based venture has only quantified Swiss-made brews, but they've got plans to expand beyond their borders and are taking suggestions. There's no word on when the 200-plus swatch booklet will begin shipping, but they're taking pre-orders right here.
When it comes to kitchenware with a sense of humor, Qualy Design is something like Alessi, except they're based in Thailand. Their take on seasoning shakers is something like a spice jar mixed with a snow globe: Clear domes contain whatever spice you load them up with, surrounding a small model of an animal or plant. Invert it and the spice evacuates through a hole in the top.
I do wish that they had a greater variety of plant models more specifically matched to particular spices; loading the cactus model up with mesquite is a no-brainer, but I can't think of a spice evocative of a polar bear. If you've got a MakerBot (or another personal 3D printer of choice), of course, you could probably 3D print your own inserts.
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.
A veritable holy grail... photo by Mark Lampert for NPR
It ain't design, but a monastic lesson, of sorts, for modern artisans: any beer connoisseur worth his or her salt—or hops, as it were—knows that the trappist brew Westvleteren (pronounced as it's spelled: WEST-v'letter'n) is widely considered to be the rarest beer in the world. As the coveted product of one of six Trappist breweries—legally sanctioned abbeys in Belgium—Westvleteren is considerably more obscure than widely available bottles from Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort and Westmalle, mostly because the monks at St. Sixtus Abbey don't distribute their ambrosial libation at all.
Instead, intrepid beer drinkers must make the pilgrimage to the Belgian hinterlands and schedule a visit via phone. The reclusive monks are notoriously difficult to contact, and availability remains limited to what is available at the time (there are three styles, a blonde and two bottle-conditioned ales numbered 8 and 12); rumor has it that they'll give you a time and date and ask for a license plate number to coordinate pickup.
So yes, American seasonal one-offs notwithstanding, Westvleteren is indeed the rarest beer in the world, and while you can find similar flavors in Rochefort's formidable brews, Westvleteren's sheer unattainability is part of its appeal: lucky drinkers are sure to savor every last drop. The current generation of microbreweries can come up with marketing gimmicks as they please, but (as the story goes), the monks at St. Sixtus have been at it since 1838, and even though they didn't start selling the beer until nearly a century later, their business model still predates the dawn of American craft brewing by about half a century.
Of course, it's also worth mentioning that the production is limited to what the monks need to sell to support the Abbey and nothing more, roughly 3,800 U.S. barrels per year. While it goes without saying that scarcity is part of the myth, the supply-side restrictions have not obviated a secondary market for the premium brew. On the contrary, your humble editor was able to track it down—years ago, while studying abroad in Europe—at a beer store in Amsterdam for the altogether reasonable price of 10€ for a Westvleteren 12. It's as delicious as you might expect, definitely worth the money if not a journey to the Low Countries (not one to squander the opportunity, I picked up several bottles at the time, and I have no intention of drinking the remaining Westies, which are currently aging in an undisclosed cellar, any time soon).
But here's the kicker: in what might be the limited-time-only special offer to end all holiday deals, the Trappist monks have made the beer available Stateside for one day only... 12/12/12. NPR reports that the abbey needed to raise funds for a recent renovation—spokesman Mark Bode says it will likely be the last public sale of the beer—and I highly recommend listening to the story, which aired on Morning Edition today.
Unfortunately, I imagine that the entire shipment has been long sold out as of press time; the Whole Foods on Bowery reported that many customers wound up emptyhanded, as they only had 24 of the gift packs in stock. The six-packs were priced at $85 (I expect that individual bottles might resell for upwards of half that) at select retailers nationwide.
So it's not quite a teachable moment: Etsy sellers and Kickstarter aspirants have nothing on the ascetic artisans of St. Sixtus... which just goes to show that a little storytelling can go a long way. That and 174 years of heritage.
This video is interesting on a couple levels, but I won't ruin it:
According to the sign in the closing shot of the video, the cotton candy flower costs five yuan, or about 80 cents at the current exchange rate. Upon a bit of research, I was interested to learn that the treat debuted at the 1904 World's Fair for the hefty sum of 25 cents a box—the equivalent of about $6.00 today. Confectioner John C. Wharton filed a patent for the first cotton candy machine in 1899 with the help of dentist William J. Morrison (irony aside, there is at least one research paper dedicated to the life and times of the sometime lawyer, author and inventor). In any case, the Nashville-based team sold nearly 70,000 boxes of "Fairy Floss," as it was called back then—a second dentist, Joseph Lascaux of New Orleans, LA, devised a similar machine in 1921, when he coined the term 'cotton candy' (no word on whether infringement was an issue back then).
As for the gauzy treat itself, cotton candy is essentially melted sugar that is rapidly cooled in a centrifuge as gossamer strands are collected along the edges of the bowl. Here's a short and sweet vid of the 'traditional' way of making it:
With Back to the Roots, a company that supplies Whole Foods with gourmet mushrooms grown in spent coffee grinds, Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez figured out how to turn other people's garbage into money. For the entrepreneurial duo's next effort they've got a more product-design based offering, but one that still neatly fits their passion for growing your own food.
The Aquaponics Garden is a small-scale, low-hassle food growing system—or a fishtank that cleans itself, depending on how you look at it. The fish poop that fouls ordinary tanks is pumped up to the plants above, which are growing in nothing more than little pails full of pebbles; the fish excretion provides the nutrients. As a result, the user gets fresh spinach, baby greens, oregano, beans, basil, mint, parsley, thyme et cetera, no green thumb necessary.
Buy-in for a complete set-up starts at a measly $50 on Kickstarter, where Arora and Velez are trying to raise 100 large for tooling. The duo sound like they could use a little ID help—although they'd raised $75,000 at press time with three weeks left to go, they're still deciding whether to go with injection molding or sonic welding. (If you've got an opinion on which route is better, their comments section is open for business.)
Yesterday, we saw a 'retirement home for chickens'; today we have yet another urban agriculture project by a group of students from New Zealand. "Pod" is a household 'fogponics' gardening concept by a quartet of second-year Industrial Design students (Adam Ben-Dror, Nick Johnston, Casey Lin and Robert Skenea) at Victoria University of Wellington, who have adopted the name Greenfingers for the recent term project.
They researched several other options for a nutrient/watering system before arriving at fogponics, a variation of aeroponics, which differs from hydroponics in that it doesn't require a growing medium.
The fogponic system is similar to aeroponics in that the nutrient solution is vapourised, allowing it to be more efficiently absorbed by the roots of the plant. In fogponics an ultrasonic fogger to create an extremely fine mist. The optimum particle absorption range for plant roots is between 1 and 25 microns in size, and ultrasonic foggers typically create mist from 5 to 10 microns.
Fogponics require little maintenance to the system, with the primary thing being refilling the nutrient solution as it is absorbed by the plant, as well as periodically cleaning the ultrasonic fogger as a build up of salts can occur. Between crops the growing medium that is supporting the plant also needs to be replaced to remove all traces of the previous crops. The typical lifespan of a ultrasonic fogger is around 6000 hours, meaning it would need to be replaced 2-3 times a year, if continuously active.
Ok, not quite—the aluminum frame for the Sky Greens innovative planting system tops out at about nine meters, or about three stories. But considering that the farm yields some five to ten times more than conventional methods, the metaphor stands at least as tall as the pulley-equipped towers: according to their website, "the A-Go-Gro system uses patented low carbon hydraulic green technology to power the rotation of the tower at very low energy costs, while still allowing the plants to get more than adequate sunlight."
Channel NewsAsia reports that the Singapore-based company has been supplying local supermarket chain FairPrice Finest with locally-grown produce. The veggies have been a hit, selling out despite the nominal 10–20-cent markup—as fast as the farm can grow 'em, at a rate of roughly half a tonne daily. The goal is to expand from 120 towers to 300 by 2013 at a cost of S$27m (~$22m in USD), which is projected to quadruple the output to two tonnes per day.
[Note: for those of you who have not (for whatever reason) heard the news, last night marked a major event for those of us here in the States; not to make light of President Obama (and Nate Silver's) historic achievement, but this post has nothing to do with that.]
For her graduation project at Stuttgart State Academy of Arts, Johanna Kleinert hopes "to reveal the relevance of old food preservation techniques, that nowadays are gaining interest again."
The young designer drew inspiration from traditional WECK jars, an iconic food preservation vessel that is itself a cousin to the popular Ball mason jar here in the States. Thus, Kleinert has updated the drinking glass-like form factor with a new sealing mechanism, "based on an O-ring, which has several advantages compared to the conventional flat gasket." This makes it both easier to open vacuum-sealed jars and allows for dry storage, sans vacuum.
As with fellow design student Larisa Daiga's "Interactive Modular Set," the handsome vessels can be labeled time and again for ease of reuse: "the upper part of the lid is not glazed, so that it can be labeled directly with a water-soluble pen."
Similarly, the vessels vary in color and size, where the lower section of each lid can be glazed in a different color. The borosilicat glass, which comes in five proposed sizes, from 155mL to 1L, can be tinted gray or left clear.
Devastation notwithstanding, Hurricane Sandy has been occasion for an uncanny respite from the otherwise unstoppable hustle and bustle of the city that Core calls home... and more than one of my friends has confessed to not-so-secretly enjoying the compulsory staycation. (Meanwhile, I've been diligently typing away at my kitchen table thanks to mostly-reliable broadband.) In fact, I couldn't help but think of one friend's remark, "I feel like I'm becoming a lush"—after three days off, no less—when Tatabi Studio's Enkaja cocktail mixer turned up in the inbox.
Don't be fooled by the fact that it looks like an inkwell or shampoo bottle (maybe it has to do with the "200 mL" on the label): the Enkaja is expressly designed to wet your whistle as well as your local mustachioed barkeep, even if you think Angostura refers to a quasi-atheistic belief system. In fact, especially if you don't know the first thing about mixology: the mix-and-match concept is essentially 'Drinks for Dummies,' with pre-measured bottles... something like a Keurig approach to a cocktail shaker—plug-and-play inebriation instead of caffeination.
While the product itself is certainly thoughtfully-designed, the visual identity—another of Tatabi's many services—is perhaps even more noteworthy.