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Posted by Mason Currey  |  31 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


Core77 2014 Year in Review: Top 15 Posts · Year in Photos · Drones · Transportation Design · Food & Drink · Wearable Technology · Power Tools and Hand Tools · Tool Storage · Organizational Solutions · Material News · Design Thinking · Architecture and Design GIFs

In 2014, the animated GIF continued to prove itself a remarkably durable vehicle for capturing the full range of human experience, from the triumph against adversity to the realization of the ephemerality of existence. Even the relatively niche world of architecture and design saw a number of stellar examples. Here are our 14 favorites.

14. (Tie) Pasta-Making Machine / Paper Clip Manufacturing
Two of our top picks from the always hypnotic things-being-manufactured genre. (Honorable mention: Pop-Tarts assembly line)



13. Relics of Technology by Jim Golden
From a collection of beautiful animations of obsolete tech by the Portland-based photographer


12. Household Objects vs. Block of Ice
No additional explanation required




11. Bendgate
The news that the iPhone 6 is bendable set off a firestorm of Internet commentary (and GIF spoofery)—but ultimately didn't seem to hurt sales of the new smartphone.


10. Nike Power Laces
This Back to the Future II clip dates back to 1989, but it gained new relevancy this year when Nike designer Tinker Hatfield said at an industry event that power laces are coming in 2015.



Posted by core jr  |  18 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


Michael Bierut, certainly one of the most insightful and entertaining design lecturers there are, visited the MFA Products of Design department at SVA last month with a talk that was unprecedented for him: No slides. It turns out that "since his daughter's wedding" he has never given a design lecture without the use of visuals, and in this unbelievably personal talk he delivers something very special.

(The start of the video shows MFA chair and Core77 partner Allan Chochinov introducing Michael, referencing a little-known story about the genesis of Bierut's forever-fantastic 2009 Core77's Hack2Work feature article "How to Make your Client's Logo Bigger Without Actually Making Their Logo Bigger.")



Posted by Sam Dunne  |  20 Nov 2014  |  Comments (0)


During the holiday season, there's something about being a creative industry professional that makes you a prime target for delegation of certain tasks requiring an appreciation for the visual and delicate hand-eye coordination. But every year it's the same humiliation, OCD irritability and disappointment of small children everywhere when we reach the annual realization that sick Adobe technique, awesome CAD modelling skills or even decades of workshop experience doesn't always translate to graceful arrangement of tinsel or prim and proper present wrapping.

Icing biscuits—of course a prime and reoccurring example of this phenomenon of holiday ham-fistedness (what is it about coloured liquid sugar that can look so appalling despite being spread with the upmost care!)—has fallen into the sights of home-making bloggers and entrepreneurs this year with (an industry already well into it's cycle) videos and new products aimed at the icing-incompetent.

In a lengthy video tutorial, Amber of SweetAmbs—YouTube cookie decoration sorceress—gives an highly informative if insanely detail breakdown of the process to iced cookie perfection. It seems we've been destined to failure with attempts to spread on the sugar coating—only a piping technique will suffice, not forgetting a dry time of 8 hours for the base layer. Jokes aside, you got to give her credit for her use of a scribe manipulating the sugar to form the delicate patterns.


Posted by Sam Dunne  |  17 Nov 2014  |  Comments (1)


For anyone who knows the serenity of woodworking, this video hailing from northern Japan of mastercraftsman Yasuo Ozakazaki at work in his shop, could be the most relaxing thing you're likely to see today.

Kokeshi dolls are a traditional of Japanese handcraft—a simple limbless doll made from two pieces of wood, and apparently the inspiration behind the design of 'Mii' characters for the Nintendo Wii. (The figures have also risen to prominence in the global design world in recent weeks with the news that the Boureullec brothers have reinterpreted the doll's design as part of an initiative to get local craftspeople back on their feet, following the devastation caused by the Fukushima disaster.)


Posted by Sam Dunne  |  17 Nov 2014  |  Comments (0)


If we are to believe the 'Ad-land' hype, the border between design and advertising are blurring—Cannes Lions 'creative communications' awards now featuring of course a 'Product Design' category amongst their accolades and marketing in some organizations finding increasing foothold in the innovation processes (something we heard a stark warning about recently).

If this unholy alliance is the destiny of design and designers—I'm imagining all manner of manufactured demand horrors—what are we to make of the videos coming out of advertising agencies in recent weeks? Firstly, at the end of last month, Toronto-based John St. (already well known for their Catvertising stunt, below, from a couple of years back) released a hilarious, if all too believably dystopian mock marketing (mock-eting?) video announcing a 'new agency model'—Reactveritsing™. Then only a day later, local competitor 'lit up' social media with a similarly self-deprecating video celebrating the agency's supposed "Employee Appreciation Day"—showing weary creatives being released momentarily from the desks to be reunited with long-forgotten families.


Posted by Ray  |  27 Oct 2014  |  Comments (1)


In Casey Neistat's review of Google Glass, the filmmaker likens the wearable device to another much-lampooned gadget of a previous generation. Indeed, the Segway endures in pop culture, if only as a cautionary tale. Dean Kamen's much-hyped invention effectively poisoned the well for the personal mobility industry as a whole; short of the comfort and convenience of, say, the hoverchairs in Wall-E, this category will likely remain stigmatized as solutions looking for a problem. (Although a recent Kickstarter project may portend Disney/Pixar's rotund prognostication for the human race, task-oriented assistive devices may be the growth area for the time being.)


The use case that we didn't foresee: the ever-popular music video. Today sees the debut of yet another carefully choreographed performance from none other than OK Go, who have long since made the transition from run-of-the-(tread)mill rock band to viral video soundtrackers, writing generically catchy power-pop earworms as vehicles for their increasingly over-the-top cinematic efforts. More impressive than OK Go's songcraft is their clever use of props and optical illusions; for their latest effort, "I Won't Let You Down"—the second single from their new full-length, Hungry Ghosts, following the forced-perspective trompe l'oeils of "The Writing's On the Wall"—the foursome saddle up on Honda UNI-CUBs, a stool-sized monowheel vehicle (more on that below).

I won't reveal the grand finale, but quasi-spoiler alert: At about 1:03, it becomes apparent that the entire video—a continuously shot long take as in their previous vids—was filmed with a UAV, which is also pretty impressive in itself ('props' to Multi-Copter Pilot Kenji Yasuda). It also appears to be slightly sped up, perhaps in service of the umbrella-as-pixel visual effect [Update: here is a real-time version at 50% speed—trippy]. Let's just say they've come a long way from the treadmills...


Posted by Ray  |  24 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)


Among other things, the Internet transcends the regional borders of advertising campaigns, which have historically been geo-targeted out of necessity; these days, YouTube affords access to commercials old and new—ironic though it may be that we find ourselves revisiting or discovering ads as content, so too is viralness increasingly a mandate for agencies the world over. We've seen IKEA's regional campaigns before, including BBH Asia Pacific's Apple-spoof 'bookbook' catalog ad for IKEA Singapore; here's their latest work, inspired by The Shining (on the occasion of Halloween):

The transposition of "play" into "pay" may well be the scariest part...

It's very well done, save for the fact that instead of fixing the camera on Danny's body (the Big Wheel is lacking a backrest, as in the source material, but it's close enough), the shot follows his path, which means that he veers to the edge of the frame when cornering—details, people. That said, we'll take any reason to post the classic Steadicam long take:

It would be interesting to see it charted on a map of the IKEA where it was filmed (assuming that they didn't build a faux-showroom set; that would be something else), as in this treatment [exegetical spoiler alert] of the original.


Posted by Ray  |  17 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

AerialBold-NOAA.jpgL: ABC Dataset Samples; R: Photo credit: NOAA, Vancouver Aquarium.

We've long been enamored with the Eames' Powers of Ten short film, which is as much an introduction to aerial photography as it is to the math behind astronomy and biology. Just as everyone now takes beautiful images (and the retina displays to view them on) for granted, there is also a sense in which we are collectively GPS-enabled: After all, digital cartography is perhaps the most practical application of constant connectivity, and we can thank one company for the ability to zoom out to god's-(or satellites'-)eye view with a pinch of the fingers.


Benedikt Groß & Joey Lee take it even further with Aerial Bold, the "first map and typeface of the earth."

The project is literally about "reading" the earth for letterforms, or alphabet shapes, "written" into the topology of buildings, roads, rivers, trees, and lakes. To do this, we will traverse the entire planet's worth of satellite imagery and develop the tools and methods necessary to map these features hiding in plain sight.
The entire letterform database will be made available as a "usable" dataset for any of your art/design/science/textual projects and selected letterforms will be made into a truetype/opentype font format that can be imported to your favorite word processor.


Posted by core jr  |   9 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

Sebastian-CMOA.jpgLook Again, on view until January 19, 2015, at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Photo by Bryan Conley

Our friend Sebastian Errazuriz is out in full force this fall, with not one, not two, but three exhibitions on view at this very moment. He's doubled down with shows here in New York City, where he's based—alas, the uptown half of the bifurcated exhibit Functional Sculpture / Sculptural Furniture closes tomorrow; the other half will remain on view at Cristina Grajales until the 24th—while Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Art is hosting a proper retrospective, Look Again, which will be on view until January 19, 2015. (As we noted over the summer, his latest project, the "Explosion Cabinet," debuted in Pittsburgh; versions of it are on view at both the museum there and at the gallery here in New York.)

Sebastian-CGG.jpgFunctional Sculpture / Sculptural Furniture at Cristina Grajales Gallery. Photo by Ari Espai

On August 19, just a few short weeks before the opening of the three shows, the Chilean-born designer took the stage at TEDx Martha's Vineyard, where he presented his general outlook on life and his craft in the form of a primer to his clever—and often outright cheeky—oeuvre. You can almost get away with listening to it in the background, but the slides of his work go a long way:


Posted by erika rae  |  16 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

, a high-speed optical Internet service provider in Japan, has created what may be the best commercial I've ever seen.

I've always been a fan of Rube Goldberg machines—I was even in a club in elementary school whose sole purpose was to create one to compete against other schools in the state. Now, we've covered plenty of Goldbergian machines that are purportedly the best of the best—all awesome machines that are worth revisiting—but au Hikari has a new twist on the contraption. A commercial for the Japanese high-speed optical ISP features a Rube Goldberg machine that is 'powered' by a single beam of light as it is reflected, refracted and magnified by various lenses and glasses throughout the two-minute sequence.

In keeping with the solemn, tenebrist ambiance of the mechanism, the commercial features naturalistic sound; an American company would probably have opted for non-diegetic audio—listen to OK Go in the background if you must. Check it out for yourself:


Posted by erika rae  |  12 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)


We're pretty big on process here at Core77—where other publications usually stick to pristine product shots, we like to show what goes on behind the scenes, not least because you, faithful readers, are often the ones behind those scenes. And with the advent of inexpensive digital photography and videography tools—namely smartphones—it's easier than ever to document your process. Case in point, architect-turned-master-woodworker Frank Howarth demonstrates both his woodshop chops and his cinematography skills in his stop-motion videos.

The Portland, OR-based craftsman has been posting making-of videos YouTube channel for years, and they go beyond a superficial treatment to actually illustrate each step of the process—some of these mini films push ten minutes (and some are even longer). Most of them include Howarth walking you through each design decision. But my favorite one takes an anthropomorphic tack. It doesn't have a voiceover or even human presence at all—rather, each element and tool becomes a character in a production of sorts. Check it out:


Posted by erika rae  |  25 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)


Although the trophy itself is but a symbol for the prestige of the award, the statuette certainly provides a covetable physical artifact for those in the television industry. While you may not be interested in actually watching the broadcast tonight, you might appreciate the craft that goes into making the trophies everyone seems to gush over for a few days each year. After seeing the handiwork that goes into them, you might find yourself gushing, too.


Maybe it's the exclusivity that comes with winning one of the golden gals, but I've always had this image that includes a super secret lab and the rarest of materials when it comes to the trophies. So it's refreshing to see the number of people involved in the process. While only one person gets to take home the statuette for good, there sure are a lot of hands that are put to work on each trophy, from ladling molten metal into the molds to final assembly and quality assurance.



Posted by Ray  |  19 Aug 2014  |  Comments (1)


Nike has recently launched its "Genealogy of Innovation" campaign, and the promo video by Golden Wolf is an impressive piece of footwear-centric eye candy, featuring some 200 shoes in all, including signature styles by the Hatfield brothers, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Mark Parker et al. Check it out:



Posted by erika rae  |   9 Jul 2014  |  Comments (1)

MuranoGlassHorse-bySaffronBlaze_viaWikimediaCommons.jpgPhoto by Saffron Blaze via Wikimedia Commons

Anyone who has witnessed a glassmaking demonstration can surely appreciate the skill that goes into a craft that dates back to 2,000 BC. Named after the island from which it originates, Murano glass has been among the very best since the Renaissance, though the market has declined precipitously over the past few decades: according to The Guardian, the number of Murano sculptors has melted from "6,000 in 1990 to less than 1,000 [in 2012]."

Even so, it's hard not to be impressed by the practiced hands that churn out the souvenirs, kitschy though they may be, and at least one maestro has added a little flourish to the predictably well-documented process of sculpting a glass horse. This one is well worth watching in full:


Posted by Ray  |   2 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)


This short, wordless documentary about 'putter'—short for scissor putter-togetherer—Cliff Denton has been making rounds today and it's easy to see why. Filmmaker Shaun Bloodworth does a nice job of capturing Denton's attention to detail with this visually poetic treatment of the dying art—founded over a century ago in 1902, Ernest Wright & Sons has been producing handcrafted shears for five generations and is among the last scissors-makers of its kind.


Posted by erika rae  |  15 May 2014  |  Comments (0)


Back in February, we livestreamed Made in Brunel's 24-hour design challenge, in which over 150 design student participants collaborated in small groups to respond to one of eight project briefs provided by brands like LEGO, Rolls Royce, IDEO and Seymour Powell. Each team had three hours to answer their brief—including designing, communicating and delivering their ideas.


The event footage is available for those who may have missed the maiden viewing—or, if you've only got a few minutes, check out this quick recap video of the event:


Posted by erika rae  |   1 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


Machines have more than proven their self-worth among manufacturers of the modern age. While I may not be old enough to remember a time where computers were large enough to fill a room—much less when a lifetime of manual labor was more common than desk-bound day jobs—I've been reminded time and time again about my parents' take on the good old days. You know, the ones where employees were forced to get really good (and über efficient) at the jobs they held instead of relying on machines to do the quick work. There are still a few gems in the mix of people who continue to smash the tortoise-hare logic of "slow and steady wins the race" into microscopic bits, whether or not there's a machine available to do the work for them. Here are a few videos of people doing just that for your afternoon viewing pleasure:


Posted by erika rae  |  27 Mar 2014  |  Comments (0)


Today, creating a data visualization that'll grab (and hold) the attention of thousands is a cinch, considering that even the smallest of screens comes equipped with state-of-the-art software and editing capabilities. In the '60s and '70s, not so much. John Whitney, the late founder of Motion Graphics Incorporated, was a man against the technological odds. Even constrained by less-than-desirable computer systems (by today's standards), he created what could be considered an improvement on today's iTunes visualizers.


Whitney's work has been compiled into multiple demo reels of sorts. Best to full-screen these, even with the grainy quality—it just adds an extra layer of trippy texture:


Posted by Ray  |  21 Feb 2014  |  Comments (2)


Not sure how I missed this when Oli Firth first posted it to our discussion boards three months ago (when it first hit the web), but "Road Bike Party 2"—great title for bike porn, as far as I'm concerned—is just insane. We've seen similar feats from Tim Knoll on BMX and Ines Brunn's fixed-gear track-robatics, but, as the saying goes, steel is real. Non-cyclists might enjoy the general outlandishness of the stunts, but fellow riders will appreciate the technical difficulty (and cojones) of Danny Macaskill (pulling some of his signature moves), Martyn Ashton and Chris Akrigg as they endo, bunnyhop and generally thrash on a £15,000 Colnago C59 Disc like it's a 26er.



Posted by Ray  |  18 Feb 2014  |  Comments (2)


The jury is out on the practice of raising the windshield wipers during snowy/icy conditions: it's intended to prevent the blades from freezing to the glass, but some say that it's not worth the trouble. Raised like antennae, they could well be sensors activated by atmospheric conditions, or insect legs, a gesture of beseeching the firmament for respite or simply resigning to a snowy fate.

It's been a rough winter by any measure, what with the salt shortages and architecture fails, but I only recently learned that the entire country of Slovenia was essentially covered in ice for several days. The freak storm struck two weeks ago and lasted three days, blanketing the some 8,000 square miles (20,000 km2) with 10cm of ice, causing upwards of €66 milliion in damage, including widespread power outages and ravaging half of the alpine nation's forests.

"Extreme weather chaser" Marko Korosec documented the havoc, as did Reuters' Srdjan Zivulovic; here's a drones's-eye view of Postojna, which was devastated by the storm:


Posted by Ray  |  14 Feb 2014  |  Comments (2)


As a first generation Chinese-American living in NYC (the fabled Greater New York Combined Statistical Area has the largest concentration in the States), I have no excuse for not celebrating my cultural heritage during the most important holiday of the year. A low-key Chinese New Year party fit the bill for me, but a pair of Russian "sky-walkers" took it to the next level and then some. It turns out that the major holiday was the perfect window to infiltrate and summit the tallest building in China—and, of course, to document it with photos and GoPros.

ShanghaiTower-COMP-1.jpgL: Rendering of the finished tower; R: Photo by Vitaliy Raskalov

Currently under construction, the Gensler-designed Shanghai Tower was topped out at 2,073 ft (632m) just six months ago and is on track to open in 2015. Along with the Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center (a.k.a. the Bottle Opener), the new supertall will anchor the city's Pudong business district—which was farmland 25 years ago, when it was declared a "Special Economic Zone" in 1993—and is second to only the Burj Khalifa in the international playing field.

ShanghaiTower-Raskalov.jpgShanghaiTower-Raskalov-COMP.jpgPhotos by Vitaliy Raskalov; both he and Makhorov have more posted photos

It reportedly took Vitaliy Raskalov, 20, of Novosibirsk, and his Moscow-based buddy Vadim Makhorov, 24, about two hours to climb the 121 stories of the edifice itself; they spent 18 hours there, waiting for the skies to clear before free-climbing the crane to its apex of 2,132 ft (650m). Makhorov told the Telegraph that "we didn't get any sleep for over 24 hours, it was physically and mentally challenging for the both of us."

We had to wait for hours for the clouds to part, but it was well worth the wait, the view was like something from an aircraft window. As soon as we saw a gap in the clouds were climbed right to the top of the crane and were able to get some great shots of the city below. We were not afraid at all and we have never had any injuries as a result of our sky walking.
As a result of our 'mission,' Our target was to climb the highest tower in China and the seconds highest in the world, it felt amazing to accomplish it, the sky is the limit.

Wow. Such great heights. Very vertiginous. Much machismo. So epic.


Posted by erika rae  |  12 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

GoProPig-Lead.jpgA lost GoPro's unfortunate view for eight months

GoPro has done it before—survived a plane jump, that is. Now the gamechanging extreme-sports-cam can claim another feat of strength: Following a similar freefall, a GoPro has successfully endured months lost in the muck of a pig pen and the occasional curious chewing and gnawing from its porcine occupant—probably the last place the GoPro tossers expected it to end up. Mia Munselle of Cloverdale, California, found the camera on her property eight months after its crash landing. Take a look at the footage (and be glad it's from a GoPro and not one of these):


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

Sony-BeMoved-1.jpgSony-BeMoved-2.jpgImages via Sony

Most of you (or at least the blue-blooded Americans among you) know that the so-called Mass Transit Super Bowl is just around the corner. Sane New Yorkers such as myself will also be forgoing the trip across the Hudson, where attendees—who are paying at least a G for the privilege—will brave the ebbing but still formidable polar vortex for 3–6 hours, give or take, and will instead be enjoying the spectacle from the comfort and convenience of their homes or local watering holes. Which is a very long way of introducing the topic at hand: television commercials, as much a draw of the big game as the showdown in the Meadowlands itself. Last Friday, of course, marked the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh, its impact foreshadowed by arguably the greatest commercial of all time, Super Bowl or otherwise; 30 years later and Cupertino is quoting an 18th-century poem via a 25-year-old film (Orwell's book, by the way, dates back to 1949).

Meanwhile, the folks at Wieden + Kennedy have recently unveiled their latest work for Sony, including an ad that has attracted a bit of attention on our discussion boards. The "Be Moved" campaign—the de rigueur interactive microsite is the source of the screengrabs at top—is anchored by a 90-second spot called "Join Together," which was met with a mixed response from forumites:


Posted by erika rae  |  23 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)


No, you're not on drugs (or at least we should hope not, on a schoolnight)—you're just seeing the flight pattern of a traveling group of starlings. Recently, we've seen a lot of ways that nature is making a power-play in the design world—whether it's worm secretion making a debut in the medical industry or the hidden design in sand crystals, there's always something surprising about the make-up of the natural world around us.


Dennis Hlynsky has been bringing us footage of animals' transit paths since 2005, but the Internet has recently caught on to just how cool they are. What started with a Flip video recorder and an interest in the flight patterns of birds, has become beautiful compiled footage following the habits of avians aloft. Dennis Hlynsky has since upgraded to a much more detail-oriented camera and mastered his hand at editing with programs like After Effects to create his timelapse-esque films. The end result is not unlike this time-lapse video of 4.5 hours worth of airplanes flying into San Diego International. Check out a few of his films:


Posted by Ray  |  15 Jan 2014  |  Comments (1)

Apple-YourVerse.jpgImage via Apple

This past weekend saw the debut of Apple's latest TV ad, "Your Verse Anthem," a kind of creative use-case montage set to a Robin Williams voiceover from Dead Poets Society. Specifically, it's his measured delivery of an abridged version of Walt Whitman's "O Me! O Life!":


Posted by erika rae  |  13 Jan 2014  |  Comments (1)

Yates-Lead.jpgPhotos via Dark Rye magazine

If there's one kind of design that no one enjoys, it's coffin design. However morbid it may be, it's completely true. Austin-based furniture designer Michael Yates quickly learned this after being faced with a tough request. His aging grandmother—who was perfectly healthy at the time—wanted him to build her casket. Such a request from a lively friend or family member is enough to throw anyone off. Yates, who was also a professional notable in our 2013 Core77 Design Awards, eventually agreed after taking some time to mull over and come to terms with the inquiry.


The impending death of a family member or friend is nothing anyone wants to think about—let alone obsess over in the way a designer engrosses themselves in a project. In a tear-jerking mini documentary from Dark Rye magazine, Yates battles with the idea of death and its role among the functionality and customization of design—and he manages to do so gracefully, if that's even possible.

Check it out: