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Posted by Ray  |  28 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)


Just launched on Kickstarter, Fireside is bicoastal startup that promises to revolutionize digital photography—not in how we create images and videos but how we share and enjoy them for posterity.

"1,000 songs in your pocket."

So goes the tagline for the very first iPod, released 13 years ago (nearly to the day), a quaint conceit in hindsight. In fact, history has shown that the mp3 player and iTunes alike are merely incremental steps along the path to more versatile hardware and software: Smartphones are capable of fulfilling our listening needs beyond our wildest imaginations. With the concurrent advent of 3- and 4G networks, mobile devices can extract melodies from the ether, while streaming services offer unprecedented depth and breadth when it comes to choices and recommendations, neatly categorized with tags and filtered through metadata.

A database with millions upon millions of songs is one thing, but what about other media? Video is a younger cousin of audio to the extent that it too has exploded with the twofold emergence of online hosting platforms—viz. YouTube and Vimeo—and widely accessible hardware. GoPro is a case study in itself, but even our phones are powerful enough to capture everything from historic events and major occasions to random moments between those milestones.

But if it's easier than ever to document our lives, the friction occurs at a different point in the user experience. For one thing, having hundreds of thousands of photos and videos means that each one becomes a proverbial drop in the pond, and organizing/editing them can be a chore in itself. Then there's the incongruity between shooting—for which a small but powerful device is ideal—and actually viewing the results. A glass rectangle the size of the palm of your hand may be perfect for taking a call, accessing a music library and snapping a selfie, but it's hardly the best format for appreciating the visuals that inundate our screens these days.

Fireside_HERO.jpgMore on this below...

Indeed, the latest generation of iPhones marks a slight concession to Apple's competitors. Tim, Jony & co. decided that screen could stand to be bigger after all, and the sales figures validate the hypothesis thus far. With a screen that is nearly 40% bigger than that of its predecessor, the iPhone 6 is certainly easier on the eyes, not to mention the obligatory improvements in camera technology.

But it turns out that the ability to take better photos and store them in one's pocket is only half of the equation. We've all been there: We want to show someone an older photo of that Halloween costume or that trip to Paris or that street art from a few years back, and despite
camera rolls' perfunctory affordance to sort images by location or date, the virtual 'shoebox' of chronological thumbnail images leaves a lot to be desired.

Conversely—and arguably worse still—we often forget about older photos and videos as it gets buried under the figurative weight of new memories. As with ring-bound albums, one-hour-photo envelopes and dusty shoeboxes, we simply neglect to resurface bygone years despite the easy access of digital storage. Sure, there are Flickr and Facebook albums full of memories, but the former rarely occasions revisiting and the latter offers far too many distractions to offer a meaningful viewing experience.


Enter the Fireside Smartframe. As with the iPod, it's not the first device to do what it does—as you might have guessed, it's a digital picture frame—but it is intended to be the first to do it well. Co-founder Andy Jagoe introduces it as Pandora or SONOS for photos: the former reference point has far better name recognition and captures the data-as-genome element of the playlists, but the latter is slightly more accurate in that it is a source-agnostic hardware (and quasi-IoT) system. He and fellow co-founder Don Lehman acknowledged as much when they demo'd the Smartframe for me last week, in anticipation of the launch of their Kickstarter campaign this morning [disclosure: Lehman has contributed to Core77 in various capacities for over a decade].


Posted by Ray  |  14 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)


Basic though their purpose may be, water towers have long been a fixture of inhabited areas far and wide, from the brobdingnagian barrels atop NYC edifices (per 19th century ordinance for buildings taller than six stories) to sci-fi-worthy monoliths that rise from landscapes like alien flora. At best, they are as beautiful as they are iconic, abiding in the gestalt of the built environment as monuments to our collective engineering prowess, humble sentinels of our hydration needs.

On the other hand, those of you who see them as eyesores might change your minds when you see Maud van Deursen's "Chateau d'Eau" series of glass decanters. Inspired to highlight the quality of Dutch tap water, the Design Academy grad has created several tabletop water towers that serve as functional sculptures. "The quality of Dutch tap water is exceptional—regulations for tap water are stricter than those for bottled water. Yet bottled water is a thousand times more expensive, plus, it has a negative effect on the environment."



Posted by erika rae  |  14 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

Nikolo-UponTea.jpgPhotos by Akseli Valmunen

As much as that teapot design above might suggest otherwise, I promise you won't get in trouble for reading this at work. That's right, I said teapot (c'mon—don't act like you didn't see those tea leaves on the side). Sure, it might resemble some sort of illicit or semi-erotic paraphernalia, but this tabletop brewer is really just a minimalist approach to steeping your favorite leaf. Finnish designer Nikolo Kerimov takes a note from nature in regards to the pot's process, specifically the motion of rain falling over a mountain top. I'll leave that to your own interpretation.


As any warm drink enthusiast recognizes, brewing a cup of coffee or tea is just as much a visual experience as it is a ritual. Following suit of the many well-designed beverage makers out there, "Upon" is pretty eye-catching when it comes to form and would look mighty nice nestled next to a lineup of well-designed tea canisters. NSFW doppelgangers aside, the combination of glass, ceramic and cork is the detail that really won me over. Way to hit us with the houseware trifecta.


Also notable is Kerimov's "Shelfie" design. Much like the "Pop-Up Linen" wardrobe we covered a while back, this storage unit can be flat-packed down into a convenient carrying capsule.



Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  13 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)


Saitama-based Masanori Oji's interests are as broad as his skillset. The handicrafts designer has experience in architecture and graphics as well as product, and after attending a workshop at a brass foundry to learn about the material, it wasn't long until he proposed a series of product designs to the company behind the foundry.

That company is Futagami, one of the oldest brass foundries in Japan, and one that's produced everything from ship fittings to Buddhist altar equipment. In collaboration with Oji they've released a beautiful line of housewares, like the dope bottle openers you see up top, and these gorgeous sets of chopstick rests below.


They also produce rests for Western cutlery...

0ojifutagamibrass-005.jpg addition to the cutlery itself, which is primarily brass, but silver-tipped at the business end.



Posted by erika rae  |   9 Jun 2014  |  Comments (2)


Groovy: It's the perfect way to describe Visibility's new universal design kitchenware set, Ridge Kitchen. We're not talking some psychedelic mixture of bold colors and gaudy florals. New York-based duo Sino Sohrab and Joseph Guerra have created a set of minimal designs that do more than just look good while not in use. Ridge Kitchen is made up of three porcelain kitchen tools—a pitcher (which can moonlight as a vase), grater and a mortar and pestle—each of which indicates its purpose through a cohesive design trait.



The grooved patterns indicate where the tool should be gripped, making it easy to intuit the objects' use.


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

ZeroGravityCocktail-Lead2.jpgWe know, Chris Hadfield—we think that baggie design is whack, too.

There are certainly at lot of things to consider when designing for space travel, and basics such as hydration are no exception. For years, the Zero Gravity Cocktail Project has been working to come up with the best way to enjoy your cosmopolitan in the cosmos and they've landed on a design that's a big improvement over the liquid-filled baggies astronauts have long grappled with. For those of you who have never considered what it would be like to sip in space, I've sprinkled a few videos exhibiting this inconvenience throughout. Observe:

Back to the glass at hand. Zero-Gravity's vessel depends on a grooved surface and capillary action—the ability liquid has to flow in narrow spaces without the advantage or disadvantage of gravity—to keep any celestial messes at bay. The Cosmic Lifestyle Corporation—"a boutique concept, design and branding company that develops stylish products for off-world use while connecting Earth brands to space," as stated on their website—is responsible for the space-age design. While it would get great use from today's astronauts (hey, spacewalking deserves an end-of-the-day drink), it seems more intended for the future population of permanent space-dwellers. Along with the martini glass, the group is also working on the Drinkbot, a mechanized bartender (in theory) which mixes liquids in weightlessness and dispenses the cocktail into the Zero Gravity glass.

ZeroGravityCocktail-Comp3.jpgThe Zero Gravity Cocktail Glass

So why a bar set and not a more commonly used kitchenware? Founder of The Cosmic Lifestyle Corporation and space tourism futurist Samuel Coniglio explains:

The Zero Gravity Cocktail Project is an attempt to bridge the gap between the space tourism vision and mainstream reality. By creating a fun object that appeals to many people, we hope to show that space tourism is not an abstract concept but a stepping stone for improving the way people live, work and play beyond planet Earth.


Posted by erika rae  |  21 May 2014  |  Comments (0)


Food scraps are hard things to come to terms with. It doesn't seem sensible to toss them to the mercy of the landfill and composting is a (sometimes smelly) commitment. Japanese designers Kurasuhito Kurasutokoro and Yusuke Komatsu have created a golden option for those unsightly food throw-aways: Cut Piece. Using leftover pieces of veggies and fruits cast in pure copper, they offer an aptly themed series of kitchen accessories.



The repurposed scraps are suggestive of certain functionalities, but can be used in many different ways. Discarded apple halves become recipe book weights, cherry stems transform into golden spears for hor d'oeuvres and lotus root slices moonlight as trivets.


Posted by erika rae  |  21 May 2014  |  Comments (0)

Inception-Lead.jpgPhoto by Alex Welsh

What better way to celebrate fantastic cinema than with a movie-scene-replica-turned-quirky-decor-item? (That's rhetorical—because there shouldn't be a better way.) Winding my way through the student projects, textile demos and hyper-modular displays at WantedDesign, I found Seletti quietly nestled next to DWR with a simple display that I couldn't help but poke and prod. Designed by Luca Nichetto, Inception is their newest product. It is an ambiguous little design fashioned after New York City's topography, featuring hotspots like Central Park and Fifth Avenue.

To save you some anticipation, I'll state the (somewhat) obvious: The overarching theme and inspiration for this design is the Leonardo DiCaprio silver screen hit we all spent a good hour or more contemplating post-credits. The monochrome mats are made up of miniature silicone skyscrapers of all sizes. Imagine a Godzilla version of yourself looming over the city and pulling up a perfect square of New York's inner-city grid and you've got the right shape/geography in mind.

Inception-Brochure.jpgPhoto by Alex Welsh


Posted by erika rae  |  13 May 2014  |  Comments (0)


These are most certainly not your grandmas' plates. (Unless yours have an off-kilter sense of humor that indulges dinosaur attacks and robot takeovers—if so, rock on.) Artist Don Moyer has added his own mark to the traditional—and quite frankly, overdone—Willow patterned dinnerware. Typically, commonly seen designs depict various harmonious sceneries and landscapes drawn in blue ink. Moyer doesn't stray from the color scheme, but does add a flying monkey, robot, sea monster, pirate or UFO (or two) into the mix with his Calamityware series. Currently, you can purchase five different designs featuring the mentioned calamities, with a sixth one on the way. What's next? I'm anxiously asking the same question. Moyer gives us a hint on his Kickstarter campaign site for the new plate: "I'm considering a volcano, Sasquatch, mariachis, mimes, pterodactyls, a giant octopus, bats, alligators and several other themes. But probably not all at once." Darn.


As mentioned, Moyer is currently looking to the crowdfunding masses for help producing this delightful design. Check out his video here—even if the dinnerware isn't your style, you might have a change of heart after hearing this designer talk about his work (well-timed jokes ahead):


Posted by erika rae  |  12 May 2014  |  Comments (3)

ChopChop-Lead.jpgPhotos by Patric Dreier

If there's one thing that'll ruin meal-making—no matter how many glasses of wine you've had to counteract any frustration or how loud you've got the cooking tunes playing—it's an disorganized prep space. Well, a lack of space might be worse, but there are ways to deal with that if you've got the cash (Häfele's transformable kitchen/dining areas are a good example). The ChopChop Kitchen from Berlin-based industrial designer Dirk Biotto has given me a major case of kitchen envy. ChopChop might doesn't come off as simple as the minimalistic kitchen islands of late, but this might be why I'm so drawn to it. The complete dedication to functionality is honorable—and its got a workbench vibe going that leaves little to dislike.



Cooking even the simplest of things can be a challenge when you really think about all of the tools, ingredients and steps that go into preparing a meal. Specifically, Biotto took elderly and disabled chefs into consideration when designing ChopChop, which focuses on keeping everything in sight and easily grabbed.


Posted by Ray  |  22 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


Spazio Rossana Orlandi is perenially among the must-see exhibitions during the Salone, and its namesake design patron is perhaps the definition of a doyenne. This year, her multi-chambered, multi-level space hosted an eclectic mix of students, small studios and well-established designers, several of whom happened to be exhibiting kitchenwares and other vessels.


Konstfack's "Talking Table" was a showcase of experimental tablewares that explore the nuances, dynamics and social norms of dining. Students from the Industrial Design and Jewelry & Corpus programs (some of whom we'd met at ICFF last year) presented consistently thoughtful and well-crafted design objects, from the 'ghost' place setting (smartphone not included) to the napkin for two, a comment on Eastern vs. Western dining traditions.





Posted by Brit Leissler  |  12 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

MO-Paris-2014-Gallery.jpgPhotography by Brit Leissler for Core77

There has always been a big buzz about the Maison & Objet show, which happens twice a year in Paris—and, as of a couple of years ago, Asia, where the brand has expanded to include a large tradeshow in Singapore as well as various "road shows" in different Asian cities.

Whereas the September event in Paris coincides with the Paris Design Festival, the show in the end of January is a pure trade fair on its own, sans side events celebrating the more artsy end of the design world by investigating ideas and concepts. No, this is all about sales, no bones about it.

Unfortunately, I'd say that the majority of the objects on view was unimaginative, average product overload at best—and kitsch at worst. Happening upon a booth that was full of taxidermied animals, most of them dressed up and put into ridiculous poses, I was compelled, in a disgusted kind of way, to take a picture, and briefly considered compiling a truthful photo essay, reflecting an unfiltered version of the 'real' Maison&Objet. After all, as a designer you often hear that "your portfolio is only as good as the weakest project that you present in it." Does this not also apply to design shows?

But then I remembered the conceit of digging through the muck in order to find the truffles—in order to present the "best of Maison&Objet" to our readers. And so I did, the result being yet another photo gallery showing lots of "nice stuff."

What remains undocumented, though, is the halls full of tacky goods aimed at buyers who intend to decorate the interior of a five-star hotel in the Middle East or Russia (or worse, still, a private client in one of those locales). Nor can you feel the headache caused by getting lost in—and overexposed to—the smell of a hall full of fragrance products (how design is that!) due to the poor signage of the whole fair.

Which brings me to the point of user experience, which started with a press room where there wasn't even a working wifi connection... or even a free glass of tap water. In almost every hall, I stumbled at least once over some unmarked bumps, thick cables visually but not physically smoothed over by carpet, which makes me wonder about the percentage of visitors who break their ankles at Maison&Objet. Considering that this show charges every visitor €65 even if they stay only for a day, as well as the rather proud prices for exhibiting, I would have expected a higher general level of experience design.

But once a show is established, the organizers can justify their "laissez-faire" attitude towards these details, since they know they can get away with pretty much anything. But being a critical member of the design community, I do feel very strongly about pointing out the flaws of it all, instead of just tuning into the general praise anthems about Maison & Objet.

As you can see in the gallery, there was of course a great number of delightful design objects on show - but they should be seen as a "best of selection", rather than the standard. The overall experience of my visit is certainly not marked as "delightful" in my memory.

» View Maison&Objet 2014 Gallery

Posted by Glen Jackson Taylor  |   6 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

NY-NOW-Winter-2014-01.JPG'Toto Wooden Dolls' by Artek. The villagers, called Martta, Kerttu, Aaro and Eemil, are made by turning wood and finished with painting by hand.

NY-NOW-Winter-2014-02.JPGThe 'Toto Wooden Dolls' were designed by Kaj Franck in 1945 as collectables for the Finnish magazine Kotiliesi.

Here's a quick round-up of some of the noteworthy stuff we came accross at the Accent on Design section of the home and giftware show NY NOW (f.k.a. NY International Gift Fair), which faced some stiff competition last weekend, coinciding with Chinese New Year festivities and the Superbowl. This year's show was loaded with some really impressive ceramics, as well as Tom Dixon's ever-expanding catalog of products, and it was great to see so many young designers with really solid product photography, personal branding, and marketing collateral. Check out the highlights below:

NY-NOW-Winter-2014-03.JPGCeramic 'Buddie Vessels' by Mirena Kim.

NY-NOW-Winter-2014-04.JPG'Nest' storage containers by Joseph Joseph with their signature color-coding.

NY-NOW-Winter-2014-05.JPGRocking wooden and brass paper-weights 'Tipsy' by Bower.

Congrats to Danny Giannella and Tammer Hijazi of Bower, our pick for the "Bloggers' Choice Awards"


Posted by erika rae  |  19 Nov 2013  |  Comments (3)


An inversely curved chair seat, a super stacked fork, an inflatable door handle—these are only a few of the designs that have come out of KK Studios. In a series aptly titled "The Uncomfortable," designer Katerina Kamprani decides to design in a whole new way that some may call plain awkward. The series' intent is pretty straightforward: "The goal is to re-design useful objects making them uncomfortable but usable and maintain the semiotics of the original item," as read on her website.




Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  18 Nov 2013  |  Comments (3)


If there's such a thing as a manufacturer's version of an otaku—someone who is fiendishly obsessed with one thing—it's gotta be Sugatsune. The Japanese company produces specialty hinges and closing mechanisms for all kinds of applications, and while that might not sound sexy, their Multiple Motion Sliding Door System that we looked at here remains the most innovative cabinet door solution we've ever seen.

If you think about it, standard out-swinging hinges aren't always the best solution, they're just the incumbent ones. Watch someone pushing a baby stroller and trying to enter a store, and witness how awkward it is—they must get close enough to the door to grab and pull the handle, but must then back up to let the door clear the stroller, then they have to squirt through the doorway and use their shoulder to prevent the door from closing on them. In instances like that, it would be better if there was a solution in place like Sugatsune's Lin-X Lateral Swing Hinge:

I realize that will probably never happen for interior doors, but at least they're making them for cabinets. Anyone in a wheelchair would probably appreciate not having to back themselves up just to swing a cabinet door open.


Posted by Glen Jackson Taylor  |   4 Sep 2013  |  Comments (0)


NY-NOW-2013-Best02.jpgMenu Booth

Re-branded as NY NOW, the biannual trade show formally known as the New York International Gift Fair was back this August with all of the usual suspects presenting their wares. Viewing this show through a designers' lens can be a little overwhelming—there's just so much stuff!—but as veteran attendees we stuck to the small but well curated flagship section of the fair, "Accent on Design."

There was not much in the way of new product at the show this year, with most companies opting to refresh their collections with new colors and invest in more sophisticated branded booths—always a good thing, as it elevated the overall experience of walking the floor. One of our favorite booths, pictured above, was Danish vendor Menu who consistently present a strong product line-up, their no-frills gallery like presentation a testament to the strength of the products.

Overall, it felt like most companies exhibition spaces had a smaller footprint. it was inspiring to see some of the independent designers like Fort Standard and Chen Chen & Kai Williams who got their start with the AmDC graduate to getting their own booths, and Japan's presence was undeniable with both their minimal approach to display and product selection offering a welcome visual break.

Here's a quick round-up of stuff that caught our eye!

NY-NOW-2013-Best04.jpgDesktructure by Hector Serrano


Posted by Kai Mitsushio  |  11 Jul 2013  |  Comments (0)


For those of us who "only use the best" in our kitchens (regardless of how much cooking actually goes on in there), "Tsubamesanjo" is your new word for the day. Tsubamesanjo is a rail station located exactly on the border of two cities, Tsubame and Sanjo, in Niigata Prefecture in the Northwestern region of Japan. While the Niigata region is known within Japan for its high quality agriculture (famous for its top grade rice and consequentially, great sake), the region around Tsubamesanjo, oddly enough, is actually known for its high quality metalwork.

Back in the early 17th century, there was frequent flooding of the river, which caused major problems for the farming industry. In response, the local magistrate invited nail makers from Edo (present day Tokyo) to teach the farmers the craft of nail making, which is how the tradition of metalwork began.

Today, there are numerous manufacturers within a 30km area of Tsubamesanjo that carry on this tradition of high quality metalwork that grew from nails to kitchen knives, hand tools, and other household and industrial wares.


While tradition and craftsmanship is venerable, it can also go out of style. That's exactly where FD Style (founded by Mitsunobu Hagino) fills the gap. Hagino's FD Style blends the traditional craftsmanship of the Tsubamesanjo region with a modern design aesthetic with their stylishly designed stainless black kitchenware.


Posted by core jr  |   8 Mar 2013  |  Comments (0)


simplehuman, best known for their wastebins and innovative, design-driven kitchen and bathroom accessories, are entering into the beauty category with the tru-lux Sensor Mirror. The free-standing magnification mirror features a full-spectrum LED light ring that mimics sunlight with a color rendering index (CRI) of 90. An embedded sensor at the top of the mirror automatically lights up when you step in front of it. At 5x magnification boasts of a "precise curvature for distortion-free optics," providing great detail while allowing users to see their entire face.


The mirror is adjustable—tilting back fully—with a telescoping stem. The stainless steel base houses a USB port to recharge the mirror and maintain a cordless, clutter-free environment. simplehuman boasts that the mirror can retain a charge for up to a month with normal use.


The same rechargeable USB ports are being applied to their wildly popular sensor pumps—the newest models are stainless steel and feature a hinged cap for refilling liquid soap.


Posted by core jr  |   7 Mar 2013  |  Comments (1)


Expanding on the success of their DrawerStore Cutlery tray, British kitchenware designers Joseph Joseph are venturing into new corners of the kitchen with a new line of drawer organizers previewed at the International Home + Housewares Show to help contain and arrange the miscellany. The expandable organizers fit drawers sizes from 13.5" up to 21".


The DrawerStore Organizer includes stackable modular trays and a variety of differently sized compartments to keep your bits and bobs in order. The DrawerStore Stowaway organizes your kitchen essentials with compartments for grocery bags, rolls of aluminum foil and cling wrap.


Along with the drawer organizers, Joseph Joseph continues expanding their thoughtful, design-driven kitchen line with a number of safety innovations. The Mezzaluna, a traditional chopping utensil for preparing herbs, gets a modern update with pivoting handles that fold into a blade guard for safe storage.



The Duo magnetic cheese knife set's handles clip together securely—protecting both the blades and fingers when stored in the drawer.


Posted by core jr  |   4 Mar 2013  |  Comments (5)


IHHS2013-Sodastream-1.jpgPedestal not included

The SodaStream booth was definitely on our radar this year, since they unveiled the Yves Béhar-designed Source soda machine just a month after the 2012 International Home + Housewares Show. As with last year, the New Jersey-based company went all-in with a massive booth in the Wired+Well section of the Housewares Show, though they opted to forgo the walkthrough mini-movie booth for a relatively simple cage filled with plastic soda bottles.


Even so, this year's booth was no less spectacular than last year: between the sculptural installation Keurig-like flavor caps and an alcove for the new Samsung refrigerator that features an integrated carbonator, SodaStream made a strong showing at McCormick Place. Check it out:

When we were filming her introductory remarks, Design Programs Vicki Matranga made an offhand comment that SodaStream was among the major success stories for the kitchen category, marking a shift in beverage consumption habits. We noted that at least a couple competitors were nipping at their proverbial heels last year, but we were impressed with the new offerings as SodaStream continues to innovate and collaborate in order to reach new customers in the expanding market for home carbonation.


Posted by shaggy  |  28 Jan 2013  |  Comments (27)

An urbane, reasoned one, but nonetheless...


If you aren't up on NYC design drama, last week, in what one would hope is a publicity stunt and not a self-serious act of protest, Quirky, an invention-development company, put up a billboard and gathered a crowd to draw attention to the similarities between a product they brought to market in 2009 and one OXO, the housewares company, did recently.

Here is the PDF of their response: OXO FINAL Response

Hyperbolic headline aside, what do you design-types think? Tell us in the comments!

Posted by Ray  |  21 Jan 2013  |  Comments (1)


We've seen plenty of furniture and lighting from prolific designer Benjamin Hubert, as well as the 'groovy' minimalism of the "Plicate" watch, but it's always hard to predict what to expect when a designer tries his hand at other objects. Of course, Hubert is talented enough to put his signature touch of refined restraint on just about any object imaginable, and his new series of vessels is no exception. This past weekend saw the debut of the London-based designer's aptly-titled "Pots" at Maison Objet—designed for Danish brand Menu, the terracotta vases and jars are minimal yet expressive, a perfect example of Hubert's aesthetic.

The storage jars stem from the studio's 'Materials-driven, process-led industrial design approach' researching the typologies and language associated with ancient and contemporary methods of keeping products cool and dry utilising terracotta.

'Pots' feature an exterior of natural, raw terracotta contrasting with the gloss glazed interior and soft rubber lids, providing a multitude of experiences for your senses.

The collection represents an uncompromising contrast between the ancient traditions found in terracotta and the industrial modernity embedded in the mass-produced rubber lids.





Posted by LinYee Yuan  |  18 Dec 2012  |  Comments (3)


I'm sure I'm not the only person who hides the Brita when company comes over and feels terribly guilty tossing those carbon-filled plastic filters every couple of months. In fact, it's always been a bit of a mystery to me why there wasn't a beautiful, more sustainable and affordable alternative on the market.

I clearly wasn't the only one looking for a design solution for a consumer product I interact with on a day-to-day basis: Introducing Soma, a glass carafe and 100% compostable water filter. The filter, designed by David Beeman, is made from all-natural Malaysian coconut shells, vegan silk and food-based PLA plastic. Beeman, with over 30 years of experience creating water formulas for Starbucks, Peet's and other global brands, talks a bit about the design process in the video below:

The glass decanter has a beveled edge which results in drip-free pouring. The product is manufactured in the United States and the subscription-service style of renewing the filter is as good as it gets. The founding team behind Soma comes with their own set of good as it gets credentials: Mike Del Ponte (founder/CEO of Sparkseed, an award-winning social innovation accelerator), Rohan Oza (brand genius behind vitaminwater, smartwater, vitacoco and popchips), Ido Leffler (co-founder of Yes To Carrots, the 2nd largest natural beauty brand in America), and Zach Allia (his apps hit #1 on Facebook, Apple store, and Chrome store). Advisors include Tim Ferriss, and founders and executives from Method, Incase, Warby Parker, Birchbox, TOMS and the UN Foundation.

And while they're in full launch mode for for their product, early adopters can get the Soma carafe + 6-Months worth of filters for $50 (each filter delivered to your door every two months). As of press time, they've blown past their initial $100,000 goal—we're waiting to hear what sort of reach goals they might have and what type of add-ons they might have for their early backers. Get in on the ground and support Soma!

Posted by Ray  |  29 Nov 2012  |  Comments (1)


Years ago, in Art History class, I remember learning that carving a veil out of marble—i.e. creating the illusion of lightness from stone—the ultimate challenge in ancient sculpture. I can't imagine it's gotten any easier over the years, and it so happens that designer Gonçalo Campos notes that it's at least as difficult, from a technical standpoint, to achieve the soft effect of drapery in porcelain. Thankfully, he was able to develop a process to cast molds from fabric with the help of Vista Alegre, a Portuguese Porcelain and Crystal company. He cites the veil as the inspiration for his latest project, "Tecido" platters:

Usually a modest item used to create anticipation and draw attention to whatever it conceals, and now it becomes an object in its own right. Affirmed by its own elegant and delicate shape, in a simple, yet impressive arrangement, it becomes a functional product that can be used daily, as much as in special occasions. This is a product to inspire each one of us to appreciate the simple things in life and see the beauty in all the details that go unappreciated, such as the gentle shapes in a veil.




Where Rogier Martens' fruit bowls took their form from their contents, Campos' wares obliquely refer to still life compositions, especially when augmented by line drawings of potential delicacies.



Posted by Ray  |  16 Nov 2012  |  Comments (0)

I bet André Breton himself could not have foreseen the 'consequences' of inventing Exquisite Corpse: four score and seven years after he popularized the collective writing/drawing game, designer Chloe Lee Carson has resurrected the surrealist pastime as a collection of playful tableware.


For her "Exquisite Cups," Carson came up with a total of nine characters—further refined by an illustrator—divided into three sets, which loosely adhere to the themes of "Folk," "Wild," and "City." (The pun is less successful in French, as the game is known as cadavre exquis. C'est la vie.) In homage to the game, each cup "displays different body parts that stack up to form a complete image. Once stacked, they can be twisted to create amazing cross-breed creatures."


Posted by Ray  |  25 Oct 2012  |  Comments (9)

Every now and again, we see a concept bike that incorporates a hubless wheel, typically a bicycle, which is invariably met with backlash such as: "the hubless wheel is a hallmark of naïvety." Yet idealistic designers continue to pursue the void—hell, we've even seen a prototype of a bicycle with a hubless wheel—and there's no denying that it's a striking form factor. It seems that the judges of the Red Dot Award concur, noting that the hubless wheel "captivates due to its exceptional ergonomics."


Of course, they're not referring to a vehicle but a rather more mundane (or, conversely, practical) object: the Rösle Pizza Wheel.

Thanks to the innovative, patent construction with a rounded, free-running blade, the pizza wheel glides quickly through the fresh pizza, without causing the topping[s] to displace. The stable, stainless steel blade is sharpened on both sides and assures exact and effortless work. The pizza wheel can be easily dismantled for cleaning.


The Pizza Wheel turned up in our forums (in a thread about "Good design you love to have," no less) where member mo-i notes that a pair of Americans—Jessica Moreland & Chris Hawker of Trident Design—came up with the design for the German kitchenware company. Although the hubless blade goes by a different moniker on the Columbus, OH-based consultancy's website, it didn't require much digging to learn more about the Pitzo: Moreland and Hawker are duly proud of the recognition they've received, and the backstory is available on the microsite:

The Pitzo Pizza Cutter was conceived in 2009 by Jessica Moreland, an industrial designer working at Trident Design, LLC, a product design and invention development lab... While on a scouting trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond with Chris Hawker, president of Trident, it was noted that the pizza cutter was a product that could use some fresh eyes.

TridentDesign-Pitzo-2.jpgThe plastic version is available at Walmart, among other retailers