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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  25 Aug 2014  |  Comments (2)

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When you think of knockout sci-fi concept designers, you probably think of Syd Mead and/or Doug Chiang. Between Blade Runner, Tron, Terminator 2 and the later Star Wars films, both men have gotten their due. Their names also ring a little sweeter to us because both majored in Industrial Design, Mead at Art Center, Chiang at CCS. But for fans of this genre, there's another man whose name you may not know and whose work you should look at: Jean-Claude Mézières, whose background was not in industrial design but in illustration. And if you have seen the original Star Wars trilogy, you have seen the largely uncredited influence of his work (further down in this entry are the most egregious examples).

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Mézières' background is as wonderfully confusing as it is interesting: Born and raised in Paris of the 1930s and '40s, entered an art academy at the age of 15. After graduation he did two years in the French army, seeing action in Algeria, and briefly worked as an illustrator upon his discharge. Then he became so fascinated by the American West that he hitchhiked across America in the 1960s to fulfill his lifelong ambition of becoming an actual working cowboy in Utah.

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After wrapping up his cowboy gig and American adventures, Mézières returned to France—and started an influential science-fiction comic book, at a time when sci-fi was about as popular in France as being a hitchhiking cowboy was.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  14 Aug 2014  |  Comments (11)

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On long-haul flights, both flight attendants and pilots need to take breaks. Yet airplane designers are of course forced to cram cabin crew rest areas into confined spaces, to leave more room for revenue-generating passenger seats. So how do they manage it, and what do these spaces look like?

Crew Rest Compartments, or CRCs, vary in design from plane to plane. Boeing's enormous 787 has this pimpish loft space nestled above the passenger compartment, where up to five flight attendants can catch some shuteye:

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The photo above is of the space as it exists in an actual airplane. If we look at the design-phase mockups, below, we can see the designers initially had a slightly different idea: In addition to the cleaner, clutter-free surfaces, the place is well-stocked with pillows in an effort to promote cabin-crew pillow fights.

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The pilots have their own separate sleeping compartment. It features the same privacy curtains suspended from ceiling-mounted tracks that you see in the flight attendants' bunk room.

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In this photo, shot by The Flying Engineer, we see the 6'3" Captain Pat Bearce is able to stretch out in one of these comfortably.

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Posted by erika rae  |  10 Jun 2014  |  Comments (1)

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A pressurized cylinder of aluminum is hardly habitable as it is, but some companies are arguably (or hypothetically) taking things too far. Meanwhile, designers continue to seek incremental ways to make airplane cabin more comfortable, namely by tweaking the seats—anything to get a few inches farther from the head-drooping drooler in the middle seat.

Bruce Campbell took the idea to heart: He purchased a out-of-commission aircraft, complete with wings and landing gear, for $220,000. It's final destination happens to be in the woods just outside of Portland, OR, where Campbell resides in the kitted-out ~153-foot "cabin" he calls home.

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A former electrical engineer by trade, Campbell ditched any notion of traditional housing with his work-in-progress—which has taken over a decade, seeing as the first photos that Campbell posted of the plane date back to May of 2002. Today, the 727 features a kitchen, shower and electricity. He didn't completely gut the 149–189-passenger capacity aircraft, either. The original design details are still there, from the uncomfortable teal, "sanitary headrest"-clad seats to the turquoise and brown color combo in the bathroom. Check out this video of the plane in it's not-so-natural habitat (unfortunately, it only shows the outside of the home):

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   6 Jun 2014  |  Comments (3)

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In a recent talk we attended, Fiskars' Petri S. Toivanen touched on the disconnect between ad photos of interiors and how people actually live. "Companies show photos of these nice, clean, 'design' kitchens," but, he pointed out, "the reality seems somehow different."

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Perhaps no one is more guilty of this than IKEA, whose catalog shots of nicely-organized, all-Ikea-furnished homes have the added twist that many of the images aren't even real photographs, but are pure CG. But to the company's credit, they recently conducted a massive and global study to see how people actually behave in their own homes, and have released the study for public consumption. Called the "Life at Home" report, it features data (focused on morning activities) from roughly 1,000 respondents from each of eight world cities: Berlin, London, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Shanghai and Stockholm.

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The accompanying photographs are fairly unflinching looks at real peoples' apartments, absent any product placement or Ikea plugs. The emphasis is on the data: How long do people take to get ready in the morning in New York, Paris, Moscow, et cetera? Do they eat breakfast together? How long do guys take to get dressed versus women? What percentage of women put makeup on? Which rooms do they work in?

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Posted by erika rae  |   5 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)

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The one time my family decided to plan a vacation based on the place we were lodging, it turned out to be the best decision we ever made as a globetrotting clan of four. We managed to find a rented villa in a mountain community of Salobreña, Spain, not knowing anything about the area or the the must-see spots. Turns out, we had plopped ourselves right in the middle of a relatively tourist-free zone among scattered cave entrances that were more likely than not occupied by gypsies. The entire space was decorated simply to the taste of the region—wall hangings of the castle we could see from the front balcony, woven curtains with traditional patterns of the local heritage made by women in the community, kitchen tiles depicting local delicacies, the list goes on. It was the feeling we got walking into the home that really resonated with us years after the trip.

I would imagine you'd hit a similar note of welcome when visiting Fogo Island Inn—minus the gypsies, of course.

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Located on a tiny Canadian Island near the Polar Circle, Fogo Island Inn worked with Designer Chris Kabel (of Sticky Lamp and Seam Chair fame) to bring a bit of the local outdoor aesthetic indoors with two fantastic design touches. First up: key fobs. While cheap and easy to replace, key cards lack a certain je ne sais quoi. Kabel found 29 different items from the ocean shore, a fisherman's shed and the local supermarket to serve as the themed keychains for each of the Inn's rooms.

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Nautical knots, lobster claws, pieces of coral, tool bits, seashells, etc., take on totemic significance, like 'Monopoly' tokens, as symbols of the region. "Together the key tags become the chapters of a book about the present and past daily life on the island and its rough nature," Kabel says on his website. The fobs are cast in bronze, guaranteeing they'll last longer than that card that needs replacing every time you set it next to your cellphone.

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Posted by Moa Dickmark  |   2 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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A few years ago, I saw a picture of a desk that captured my eye. I can't remember exactly where I saw it—perhaps it was this very blog—I just remember not being able to stop thinking about it. I searched the Internet to find out who had created this lovely desk and ended up on the website of Manoteca. Now, when I see something that I like, I have to tell the person who is behind it that I like their creation (or what they are wearing, or what they are singing, or what they are drawing, etc.) Call it what you will, OCD if you wish.

So I found the e-mail address for the person behind the brand, and it turned out to be a young woman called Elisa. Since then, we haven't written much, but my curiosity for the person and the visions behind the brand is still there. So, here comes the second article about young ambitious entrepreneurs working within the creative field.

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Core77: What led you to start Manoteca?

Elisa Cavani: Before creating Manoteca, I was working as a visual merchandiser for fashion companies, for more or less ten years. I traveled a lot and gained a lot of information. In those ten years, I met very respectable people with so much talent. Yet the structure of big companies crushed them—I saw many people forget the things they believed in and give up any kind of talent. I was scared because I could feel that it was happening to me as well, so I decided to "fire" myself and create something that I had had in my head for so long.

This was the beginning. I moved the furniture in my apartment and for a year I worked, lived and slept in the middle of tools and sawdust. To me, the pieces of my first collection represent the freedom of expression. I loved them so much. I spent my evenings watching them, cleaning them one by one, every single hole and crack in the material. I really treated them as if they were the most valuable things I owned. In fact, they still are.

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Did your ten years of experience as a merchandiser have any influence on how you started your brand?

I didn't think so initially, then I thought again and came up with a better answer. The visual merchandisers work with the visual language, they communicate feelings and moods but cannot use words. There is so much of this in Manoteca. There is a maniacal attitude, for which everything have to be perfect, and a meticulous attention to every detail. There is the organization and optimization of the time. There are the administrative and commercial skills, which I unwittingly absorbed and modified in favor of the brand. There is the knowledge of foreign markets that I have followed for a long time, the awareness that every person have different habits and cultural characteristics that you need to know, otherwise it is impossible to communicate. There are errors that I have made in the past, from which I can benefit today. There is a predisposition for solid and professional structure, which hasallowed the project to go around the world.

In retrospect, I should say 'Thank You' to my past.

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Posted by Moa Dickmark  |  27 Mar 2014  |  Comments (0)

This is the beginning of an interview series about young entrepreneurs around the globe working within the creative fields such as photography, product design, fashion and music just to mention a few.

Below you find the very first interview which is about Jonas Hojgaard and his up and coming Danish furniture brand Nordic Tales. It all started with the lamp Bright Sprout and have grown exponentially ever since. If you want to know more after reading this little interview, you will find him in Milan during the furniture fair April 7–13.

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Core77: What inspired you to start Nordic Tales?

Jonas Hojgaard: Nordic Tales is the product of an idea about that it is possible to handle the whole range, from idea to development to sale, as a designer! You don't have to wait for somebody to approve or disapprove your ideas to realise them! A design business put in the world, mainly and primarily to contribute with aesthetics and secondly to earn money will have a set of values that the general business man can't compete with.

What would you say are the values that define Nordic Tales?

We are storytellers just as much as we are designers. We try to contribute with products that you can influence and give your own touch. We grant you with "the power to design!"

Maybe the fascination about this remodeling / customizable thing comes from all the years I spent playing with Lego as a kid, or maybe I'm just curious.

When I design, I always try to achieve some complexity, to make it more than what it is! My ultimate goal is to do this and then hide it and let you discover the products' true features—it surprises you and gives you that very special "A-ha!" feeling!

Besides this, my goal is always to make something that you can't really describe why you like. The design should be a sum of many small details, balanced so that none outshines the other. The experience of the design should resolve in an emotion that you like and not any particular characteristics that you can point out.

I find it much more challenging to achieve this in design than in, say, photography. Design is more difficult especially because it has to be producible on a large scale. Photography is much easier since it consists mostly of visual parameters.

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Posted by core jr  |  22 Nov 2013  |  Comments (0)

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With just less than a year to go until their next event, the Belgian Biennale Interieur—a celebration of design and creative culture known for its relatively small size but uncompromising curation—is calling for entries from budding design talents keen to exhibit their work in 2014.

A star panel will judge entries on object and interior design:

Interior brief - Deadline: January 30, 2014 - Create a cutting-edge bar concept for the Biennale INTERIEUR 2014

Object brief - Deadline: April 30, 2014 - Create an object that is relevant to our living environment and helps us improve daily life

More information and registration over on the awards homepage

Objects---Max-Lipsey---Acciaio-series---2010.jpgPast awarded entry 'Acciaio series' furniture by Max Lipsey is now in production with Cappellini

BiennaleInterieur-Spaces.jpgPrevious winner: Box Bar at the biennale INTERIEUR 2012, scenography by Granstudio

Interiuer2014judges.jpgJudging panel includes Lina Kanafani, Noe Duchaufour Lawrance, Lowie Vermeersch, Matylda Krzykowski, Philippe Grohe, Rolf Hay, Francesca Sarti and Robert Klanten

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

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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.

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Posted by erika rae  |  14 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)

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There aren't many surfaces that wouldn't look better with super secret Star Wars themed wall installation. Google's Zurich office can now knock that one off of the list. Zurich-based design firm Drzach & Suchy created a custom wall piece titled "The Force" for the office—one that switches who you see (Darth Vader or Yoda) depending on the shadows that are being cast on the wall.

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The installation was created using shadow casting bricks and over 16,000 Legos. Clocking in at ten hours from start to end, we're willing to guess this will be one that'll stay up for a while. Watch the timelapse video below:

Of course, it's not the first time that we've seen the Swiss design team use a light-dependent textured 'pixel' technique to creating a macro-lenticular image (is there a name for this effect?): "Nature Calling" incorporated grass to the same effect.

Posted by erika rae  |  14 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)

Truth-Coffee-Lead.jpgall photographs by Haldane Martin

Truth Coffee might be the coolest coffee shop you've ever seen—or been to, if you've found yourself in a sleepy slump in Cape Town, South Africa. The shop is an ode to the best roasted coffee in a perfectly executed space. But like a beehive needs a queen, the shop wouldn't be half as mystifying without its centerpiece—the custom built coffee grinder. "Professor Jones' Fabulous Coffee Bean Contraption" (as the grinder is rightly named) was built by Steampunk sculptor Chris Jones. See the video below for an interview with the man behind the machine:

From the smooth curves of the metal table in the booths to the natural look of the wooden tables, Truth Coffee mixes the fantastical feel of Steampunk with a clean and relaxing coffee house vibe. Read on for more photos.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   3 Sep 2013  |  Comments (1)

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This is one of the more fascinating experiments in small-space living that we've ever seen. Seattle-based engineer Steve Sauer wanted to see if he could turn a 182-square-foot storage unit with a single window into a liveable space, and he then decided to build it himself. Not only do we feel he's succeeded admirably, we're not sure which we admire more: Sauer's incredibly creative use of multi-level space, his unwillingness to compromise on materials, his self-machined plumbing, his IKEA-hacked surfaces... the list goes on.

The design of this space and its various features would be impossible to explain through still photographs, so thankfully there's video. Check out how bike-nut Sauer fit multiple bikes inside, peep his in-floor soaking tub, the ingenious kitchen-bin shower cubbies, and the bike shift lever in the showerhead mount. Sauer earns his living designing aircraft interiors for Boeing, but we wish he'd spend more time designing spaces down here on the ground.

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Posted by Kai Mitsushio  |  19 Jul 2013  |  Comments (0)

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In business, they say your client list speaks for itself. With a client list that includes the Japanese Imperial Palace and the Vatican, Oriental Carpet Mills is doing something right.

Since 1935, this carpet mill has manufactured and supplied premium quality carpets (in addition to their notable clients mentioned above), to government offices, public facilities, major corporations, hotels, restaurants and places of worship in Japan and around the world. While the client list grows impressive the further you go down, the company has stayed true to its roots, still producing out of its original location in the small town of Yamanobe, Yamagata Prefecture, in the Northeastern region of Japan.

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Oddly enough, the story of Oriental Carpet Mills begins with severely damaged crops during an especially cold winter in the 1930s. Since the severe cold nearly ruined the farmers' crops, many local women and girls were being forced out of their homes to work in less-than-desirable conditions—some even forced in to prostitution—because their families didn't have money to feed themselves. The founder, Junnosuke Watanabe, decided to rectify his town's situation by employing (almost exclusively) women to work in his new carpet mill. In order to further his carpet mill's quality and skill level, Watanabe invited seven carpet-making experts from China to trade their skills and knowledge with the workers in his factory. Through continual iteration and improvement, Oriental Carpet Mills has refined (and continues to diligently iterate on) their process in order to achieve the quality that attracted their high profile clients. To this day, the staff at the carpet mill remains heavily female.

The process behind Oriental Carpet Mill's high quality product contains the following 4 steps, carried out by highly skilled craftspeople:

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1.) Spinning and blending meticulously selected wool from all over the world.

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2.) Carefully dying (and testing the dye) to create subtle color differences

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3.) Weaving process that is continually iterated with new techniques to create detailed designs and subtle color transitions

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4.) Mercerizing, or a chemical wash that produces a sheen and smooth touch

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Posted by Christie Nicholson  |  29 May 2013  |  Comments (1)

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Those of you working in the furniture and interior design industries have probably heard of Xorel. For those that haven't, it's a high-performance textile typically used as wallcovering, paneling or upholstery. It's also manufactured by Carnegie, an early proponent of environmentally-friendly, PVC-free fabrics; since its launch in the '80s, Xorel has been a popular choice for its safety, durability and for how easy it is to clean. And now it's getting an environmental makeover that renders it even more earth-friendly.

Yesterday, Carnegie launched Biobased Xorel, the world's first biobased high-end interior textile. Seven years of research culminated in a polyethylene yarn that is produced from 60 to 85 percent bio content, namely, sugar cane (rather than fossil fuels).

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

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As part of MoMA PS1's forthcoming EXPO 1: New York exhibition, a "large-scale festival exploring ecological challenges," the contemporary art center is bringing rAndom International's "Rain Room" to its sister organization in Midtown Manhattan.

Rain Room is a hundred square metre field of falling water through which it is possible to walk, trusting that a path can be navigated, without being drenched in the process. As you progress through The Curve, the sound of water and a suggestion of moisture fill the air, before you are confronted by this carefully choreographed downpour that responds to your movements and presence.

The digitally-inclined art/design collective is pleased to bring "Rain Room" to MoMA following its debut at the Barbican Center in their hometown last fall, where it recently closed after a five-month engagement. We can only assume that some of our readers have already had the pleasure of seeing the installation in London, but we're definitely looking forward to experiencing it in person.

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Posted by core jr  |  18 Apr 2013  |  Comments (0)

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Shel Kimen loves a good story, and hers is a tale of a grassroots effort to support a creative community in their time of need. She dreamt up Detroit Collision Works, a multipurpose boutique hotel, co-working space and venue for all-around awesomeness, in Summer of 2011, and they're hoping to Kickstart a prototype of a converted shipping container in time for Flower Day in the country's longest running farmer's market—exactly one month out, on May 18. With just 36 hours to go to raise $11,000 for First Container, Kimen was kind enough to take the time to tell us why we should care.

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Awesome needs a place to be.

As people are all too eager to tell you, Detroit has some problems, with the economy, crime, and fractured communities. So when I was thinking about a move to Detroit after 14 years in New York City, I knew that whatever I was going to do had to address some real needs. Coming from the design world, I know that making a good product means understanding, intimately, the people that are going to use it. So the first thing I started doing when I got to Detroit was talk to people. Lots of them.

It started with a hotel. Amazingly, there was not a modern, boutique hotel in all of Detroit! Yet creative people from all over the world visit to work on design an innovation projects—for the auto industry, for bio-tech, for the city (we are an urban planners dream thesis), and to perform at or attend one of our legendary music festivals that combined bring in half a million people annually. Those are creative travelers!

So, ok, we need a cool hotel.

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But a cool hotel isn't enough. We need a place for coming together, with our immediate communities, as a city, and inclusive of the many people who visit us. We need a place to accelerate the growth of our communities.

Collision Works is a creative space needed by the people living in Detroit now and the people coming to visit us. It's an artful 36-room boutique hotel, co-working facility, and public event space that uses storytelling to connect and engage travelers and locals alike. Our whole lives are stories—truth and fiction, history and imagination. Stories connect us, help us learn, and catalyze personal and community growth.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   8 Apr 2013  |  Comments (6)

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I just came across shots of this 130-square-foot apartment in Paris. The fact that the tiny space is split-level could've been a big disadvantage, but the unknown designer turned it into a plus with their handling of the couch-bed situation.

As with a PATH Architecture project we looked at earlier, the bed serves as a couch during the day by concealing half of it, but at night it is pulled out to reveal its full width.

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

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That old craftsperson's motto about making the back of the cabinet as nice as the front may not apply to set designers, but that doesn't make their job any less hard. Particularly when you've got to design a 360-degree studio set, as Florida-based Innovative Show Design recently had to do for NBA TV.

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The basketball-based network's design requirements called for a set where they could shoot multiple shows in the same day, with each area remaining visually distinct, while still retaining the overall look of the NBA. In addition, a regulation-sized half-court would be integrated into the set, allowing analysts and/or actual players to "illustrate scale and perspective on air."

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ISD whipped up renderings, beginning with the constraints of the basketball court and the studio's dimensions—the fixed numbers, in other words—then designed the rest of the wraparound set to fit. The color scheme was predetermined by the NBA, and the design team chose "motion" as the overarching theme. "We looked at the game itself, and considering the game is constantly moving, we wanted a set to have that energy. We looked at the arcs created by the ball as a player shoots," said ISD designer Mark Dowling.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  16 Jan 2013  |  Comments (0)

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Photo courtesy of Perkins + Will

You'd probably never guess what the inside of that building above looks like.

As it says on the side, that's the Fulton Market Cold Storage Company, essentially a ten-storey freezer that opened in Chicago's Meatpacking district in the 1920s. The company recently picked up stakes for a new facility out in the 'burbs, and the Meatpacking space has been sold for development.

Architecture firm Perkins + Will, who are turning two of the storeys into a velodrome, machine shop and workspace for bicycle component manufacturer SRAM, have posted some astonishing photographs of the interior. "Before work could start on the makeover," writes Edible Geography, "the building had to be defrosted. Nine decades of cold storage, combined with a lack of maintenance as the building ran at one-third capacity over the last five years, had left its interior encrusted with ice."

As the developers brought in a series of propane heaters and began cranking them up, here's what happened:

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Photo by Gary Robert

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Photo by Gary Robert

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Posted by Ray  |  16 Jan 2013  |  Comments (1)

If you were to hear the phrase "glass floor," you'd probably picture something like this, right? Like a glass-bottomed boat, except that you're actually inside, and you're not sitting next to someone's seasick cousin, and you mostly just have a view of your downstairs neighbor's mismatched furniture and it's kind of awkward to see them hanging out all of the time, especially when you catch them looking at the bottoms of your feet and couch and the ugly electrical conduits that run right through the middle of the floor. In fact, it sounded cool at first but now it doesn't seem like a very good idea at all... and that's not even considering the corollary that "one man's glass floor is another man's glass ceiling," which seems vaguely related to the fact that skirts and dresses wouldn't be options for women who live in houses with glass floors.

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But wait: you assumed that by "glass floor," I meant "clear floor," which isn't necessarily the case. Indeed, a new flooring product from Germany's ASB Systembau GMBH boasts a semi-opaque ceramic finish to the effect that "the floor does not reflect too much to be a distraction but still gives a slight reflection which compares to the effect marble has on the eye." Billed as "the most advanced flooring system in the world," the ASB GlassFloor is a system in which reinforced glass panels are set on an aluminum substructure that can be embedded with lighting elements.

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Originally designed for squash courts, the surface is designed to emulate hardwood courts with the advantage of flexible lane lines and markings for multipurpose gymnasiums, meeting European regulations for a variety of indoor sports, from badminton to volleyball. However, I was most interested to learn that the ASB GlassFloor can display video as well. "Video messages or scoreboards under the floor are only the beginning. The whole surface can be turned into one big screen. The possibilities for presentation and advertising are as versatile and innovative as ever seen before."

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But the visual aspect isn't the only selling point of the flooring system: the company duly notes the durability of the panels, developed by longtime glass manufacturer Kinon Porz.

The floor is made from tempered security glass and can withstand enormous impact. The panels are made from two specially-treated glass plates held together by a 2mm PVB safety layer. The glass panels can be produced to a size larger than 2×2 metres and make the floor longer lasting than any conventional floor. This is why in 2007 we have been able to install the first open air squash court on a cruise ship, withstanding the impact of sea water and perpetual movement over years.

The surface of the glass undergoes several special treatments to achieve ideal elasticity, friction and reflection of light. After years of extensive testing we have reached a result where the floor does not reflect too much to be a distraction but still gives a slight reflection which compares to the effect marble has on the eye. Also deflection and friction of the floor achieve equal or better results than conventional sport floors. The floor is ISO and EN certified. The same treatment that ensures the dim reflection also causes scratches to remain invisible. The surface can be in almost any colour you like. The colour of the floor is determined by special foil coat applied to the bottom of the floor and can be changed even after years.


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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   9 Jan 2013  |  Comments (0)

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For exhibit designers, it's tough to cut across the visual clutter clogging the floor at monster events like CES. Eventgoers' peripheral vision is basically rendered useless, as colors, shapes, text, and screens all scream for their attention.

However, whatever firm Audi hired to handle their exhibit design found an effective way to stand out. They erected a large rectilinear tunnel, paneled entirely with white plexi covering what appear to be daylight-rated bulbs. After all the visual junk you've waded through to get there, Audi's area looks so clean, so pure and so awesome that your feet automatically start taking you towards this visual oasis.

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Inside there were no adornments, signage, built-ins or displays; just a few letters on the floor denoting the two cars they were showing off, the RS5 and R-18 E-Tron Quattro racecar.

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I realize not everyone's got the scratch to pull this off, nor has just two objects they're trying to display, but this was the one exhibit design out of the entire scrum that really had a remarkable design.

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

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As an industrial designer, it's gratifying to see something you worked on sitting on a store shelf or showroom floor. Conversely it's depressing when a project you toiled over gets axed and never sees the light of day. But it is set designers who must experience the most mixed emotions of all: They will spend months creating props or environments that will definitely get made--but that will then be destroyed after filming, to make room in the studio for the next project.

One grand exception of this occurred not in Hollywood, but in Leavesden, England. Bear with us while we break this down:

The L.A.-based Thinkwell Group is an "experiential design firm" that designs, among other things, amusement parks. Towards the tail end of the filming of the Harry Potter series of movies, Warner Brothers tasked Thinkwell with creating a post-film-franchise attraction, to keep the money coming in after the series' conclusion. Thinkwell headed out to Warner Brothers' Leavesden Studios in the UK, where all of the Potter films were produced and where the sixth was then being shot, and made a startling discovery: The filmmakers had saved nearly everything. Props, sets, models, and elaborate constructions dating all the way back to the first film had been stored in a massive airplane hanger and spilled over into a further 200 shipping containers.

As one example, check out the sick "Snake Door" from movie #2, The Chamber of Secrets. I saw it years ago, and blithely dismissed it as CG, but it's a working motorized prop:

Nutty, no? And while the video can give you the misimpression that the door is small, check out this photo showing the scale of it:

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Another thing I'd seen in the movie and assumed was CG was the Hogwarts castle:

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted by Perrin Drumm  |  19 Nov 2012  |  Comments (4)

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The Bavarian Forest National Park recently built a towering, egg-shaped vantage point called the Tree Top Walk, a 150 foot high open air lookout built around three massive fir trees each measuring 125 feet around. From the top, visitors can take in sweeping views of the surrounding mountain ranges, including the northern Alps on a clear day, but the really significant part of the structure is its accessibility. Yes, there's an elevator to shoot children and those with disabilities straight up, but because the circular walkway winds at a steady, smooth incline like the Guggenheim's rotunda, everyone can amble around the 4,250 foot long path to the platform that sits above the tops of the fir trees.

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For those craving a little more adventure, there are three stations with unprotected, unscreened wooden bridges, rope bridges and other challenges. And because this is in Germany, there's a restaurant and beer garden at the top where you can wash down a plate of wiener schnitzel with a pint or warm up on a winter's day with a cup of a tea with rum. A scenic treetop walk followed by a crisp beer in the middle of the woods - Germans do hiking right. Good thing there's an elevator for the way down.

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Posted by Mark Vanderbeeken  |   5 Oct 2012  |  Comments (0)

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The 2012 edition of Interieur—the European Design Biennale taking place in Kortrijk, Belgium, October 20–28—is bound to become one of the top global design destinations this year.

Curator and Interieur President Lowie Vermeersch (former head of design at Pininfarina and now CEO of the Turin-based GranStudio), set out to reconnect with Interieur's avant-garde roots through a selection of 300 carefully picked international exhibitors and an extensive cultural program, 'Future Primitives' installations, custom-designed bars and a pop-up 'bistro.'

Crucial this year is the expansion beyond the Xpo fairgrounds, into the city center and particularly the Buda Island.

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Together these expanded locations will establish a new DesignCity with a continuum of lanes, diagonals, piazzas and unexpected places where installations, actions and encounters unfold.

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Seven specially commissioned Future Primitives project rooms by Nendo (JP), Troika (UK), Makkink & Bey (NL), David Bowen (US), Ross Lovegrove (UK), Greg Lynn (US) and Muller Van Severen (BE), will offer different investigations into our future living environment.

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Posted by Kai Perez  |   1 Oct 2012  |  Comments (9)

William Root constructed and completed this Tiny House project after his freshman year at Pratt.

The thought of summer vacations evoke thoughts of flings, new friends and the occasional awkward family vacation. For me this is what I thought was the general consensus for myself and my peers' summer vacations until I met William Root.

Hailing from Albuquerque, NM, Will Root is a fellow sophomore at Pratt Institute for Industrial Design. Will is one of the characters that can only be found in an art school, attracting a veritable cult following on campus with his iconic structuralist book bag, which he designed and made several versions of the bag during foundation year. In one of our many all-nighters together, we inquired about each others lives and in turn this past summer.

For most students, the reality of the summer is working to pay off their debts. Will realized that working a minimum wage job would pay for a mere two weeks at Pratt. Not content to rely on tips, he opted to think big—big enough to cover an entire year at school. With an entrepreneurial mindset that only the school of hard knocks could teach, he set out to build (and sell) in his words "The best Tiny House ever made."

In the time it usually takes to adjust to being back home, Will finalized his design for a Tiny House and set out on construction within the week. In a rented lot near the lumber yard, he set out creating the project that would consume his entire summer. Tiny Houses, all though not definitively defined, do tend to have some common characteristics, mainly that their proportions and size are constrained to the size of a trailer.

Still, one of Will's goals was to make a no compromise Tiny House. Where many other designs made the house as small as possible, he made his as large as state laws would permit. Thus, he was able to incorporate a full-size kitchen, tiled bathroom, and a 9×13 sized deck. In total the house encompasses a mere 160 sq. ft, which is small even by NYC standards, where the legal minimum is 400 sq. ft.

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