The 'clever material swap' gets to be a bit trendy in the industrial design game after awhile. We usually have trouble to finding projects that both employ a new material intelligently (and with good intent) but don't immediately fall into 'can't-believe-its-a-cement-lamp' category. Likewise, as far as bandwagons go, 3D printing doesn't seem to be slowing down in the slightest with projects like the 3Doodle pen and 3D photo booths. But while we all wait for either 3D printed houses or organs, we have to ask: when are all the innovative 3D printed consumer products going to catch up?
Upon perusing our sister portfolio site Coroflot, we came across the portfolio of Marc Levinson, the chief executive officer of Protos Eyewear. Protos boasts that their line of 3D printed eyewear is both consumer grade and yields "striking designs that are impossible to make through standard manufacturing methods."
Levinson deals with some pretty solid applications for 3D printing market-ready products. Originally considered to be a technique primarily for prototyping, many companies are looking to 3D print directly to market. Levinson's 3D printed frames for San Francisco-based Protos Eyewear are a great example of manufacturing process informing aesthetics. We're particularly fond of the Hal Pixel frames, perhaps a not-so-subtle nod to the digital age.
The hybrid fashion label/experimental design lab, Continuum Fashion, was first on our radar for their 3D printed bikini manufactured with Shapeways in 2011. Since the initial buzz, the design duo Jenna Fizel and Mary Huang have expanded into software, giving design power directly to the user to create their own garment.
With projects like the Diatom's SketchChair floating around, made-to-order furniture and fashion seem to be carving out their own unique—and maybe even affordable—place in the design world. Continuum's CONSTRVCT and D.dress software gives pretty much anyone a creative platform and foolproof software to act as their own fashion designer with no assembly (or drawing skills) required.
The fashion industry, like ID, is no stranger to digital fabrication—particularly with the rising fame of Iris van Herpen, the 3D printing hype is flowing directly onto the runway. With the D.Dress software, the guesswork is taken out of the avant-garde dress making completely. The CAD-savvy might recognize the D.dress's triangulated surface structure as a consideration more for ease of outputting quick .stl files than either aesthetics or sewing. To Continuum's credit,however, they make a good case that "the triangulation also ensures that almost any drawing will produce an interesting form, and in fact produces good meshes from mere scribbles."
Dana Ramler is a Vancouver-based designer with a knack for unconventional design combinations. Speaking the language of industrial, fashion, interactive and media design simultaneously; her projects and collaborations hit that sweet spot between thought-provoking conceptual design and the intelligent products for market.
Bio Circuit is a vest that provides a form of bio feedback using data from the wearer's heart rate to determine what "sounds" they hear through the speaker embedded in the collar of the garment. The wearer places the heart rate monitor around the ribcage, resting against the skin and close to the heart. An MP3 audio player embedded in the vest plays the audio track related to that specific heart rate. The audio tracks are soundscapes mixed from a range of ambient sounds.
Bio Circuit was created at Emily Carr University by Industrial Design student Dana Ramler, and MAA student Holly Schmidt.
While the Biocircuit probably won't be hitting the market anytime soon, Ramler's work in technical running accessories for lulumon athletica definitely deserves a look as well. They almost make running in sub-zero temperatures sound appealing... almost.
Well folks, looks like 2013 is shaping up to be the year gesture control finally becomes available to the masses.
First up, the Leap motion controller that caused such a blog stir (we covered it here and here) will start shipping on May 13th, just about a year after they began taking pre-orders.
Hot on their heels—or forearms, I should say—is the Myo controller pictured above, an arm bracelet that you wear well above your wrist but below the elbow. Why the weird position? The Myo actually reads the electrical activity in your muscles, rather than relying on a camera.
This seems like a pretty smart approach, as the Myo can decipher complex finger gestures, flicks and rotations without requiring line-of-sight. That suddenly opens up a new world of interactivity that doesn't require the user be sitting in front of a camera-equipped computer, or dancing around in front of a Kinect. Peep this:
Looks amazing, no? If it works as advertised, it will have a much broader range of applications than the stationary Leap, and the Myo's price reflects that: The Leap's going for $80, while the Myo will run you $150. It's up for pre-order now and they're claiming it will ship later this year.
Sputnik Zurich isn't your average a mobile repurposed apparel and accessories outfit: much as Joshua Zisson did with his retroreflective bicycle, they've developed a stylish visibility solution for urban environments; however, Sputnik Zurich has a decidedly more DIY, scalable approach to elevating safety into an aesthetic. From simply sewing vests into totes to actually retailoring the source materials into articles of clothing, founders Stefanie Sixt and Chelsea Rose Morrissey "[draw] from the city's urban development for its inspiration, material and production."
I was curious to learn that the "design and production of the products take place in containers at construction sites throughout the city, [which are] open to the public for new ideas." In other words, the designs are implemented and "produced at the building sites where they originated." Thus, the small-scale operation has 'exported' the concept from their headquarters in Zurich to satellite sites throughout the Europe and the States, with workshops as far-flung as Buenos Aires and Tokyo.
I loves me some patent artwork, and so does a company called PatentWear. The California-based company, which has quietly been around for nearly 20 years but has just started selling online, takes some of history's more interesting product design patent drawings—bike derailleurs, climbing gear, firearms, tools, toys, musical instruments, you name it—and prints them up on T-shirts.
Each of our designs takes as many as forty hours to produce, from initial research through the design and art production phases, and finally, to printing. We use an eco-friendly water-based ink process that is long-wearing and, with a with a slightly muted tone, it perfectly captures the essence of our vintage patent art designs—some of which are based on patents that date as far back as the early 1800s.
As you can see the linework has been gussied up with color to give it some pop, and the results are pretty catchy. Funny to think that at one point in the products' development process these drawings were jealously guarded secrets, and now you can parade around with them plastered all over your torso for 22 bucks.
Woke up this morning and this video had a million more hits than it did yesterday, so I had to find out more. Just a few days ago, a gent from Brisbane named Ray Liehm posted this:
Liehm was a bystander at Australia's Supanova Pop Culture Expo, and the brilliant costume above delighted YouTube viewers and used car salesmen alike, to the tune of three million plus at press time.
So what's the story behind it? Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tubeman, as he's officially known, is actually one half of a couple; together with his blue companion, they are the official mascots of the Gold Coast Roller Derby League, a bunch of bad-ass broads with names like Nikki Nitro who "hit hard, skate harder, turn left & do it again" at tracks in the Queensland area.
I thought for sure this was a joke, but it appears to be real: A company called UD Replicas is selling a protective motorcycle suit modeled after a Star Wars Stormtrooper's armor. Made from leather molded in forms and some type of unspecified protective plating, "each rounded segment, every chiselled and bevelled edge perfectly replicates the look of the on-screen armor," the company claims.
Folks, I don't doubt that there's some overlap between the motorcycle-riding and Star-Wars-watching subcultures, but isn't this kind of asking for an ass-kicking? Maybe I've been watching too much Sons of Anarchy, but would you not be worried about a gang of thugs pushing each other out of the way in their haste to get to you, eager to win first boasting rights of "I beat the crap out of a Stormtrooper?"
The real rub is that the helmet isn't an actual motorcycle safety helmet. But I can't say what would be more dangerous—riding around with no helmet, or wearing this get-up to Sturgis.
Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting award-winning projects and ideas from this year's Core77 Design Awards 2012! For full details on the project, jury commenting and more information about the awards program, go to Core77DesignAwards.com
Designer: Maxime Dubreucq
School: Umeå Institute of Design
Award: Student Winner
EG is the first helmet truly dedicated to mining. This will bring a new standard to head protection and comfort for miners. The ergonomic layered architecture and enhanced weight distribution reduces stress, load and fatigue for users carrying the helmet. This design solution will prevent work-related injuries and irreversible damages. As the jury team notes:
It's quite an innovation in the mining helmet industry with a breakthrough in ergonomics and material application. It shows another way to fix a current problem.
How did you learn that you had been recognized by the jury?
Social networking is one of the best way's to discover that you have been granted a prize. I was in France, back from Sweden and ready to fly to San Francisco. Meanwhile, friends of mine where flooding Facebook and Twitter with the great news. Their congratulatory messages were my first indication that my project had been selected amongst the other strong entries.
What's the latest news or development with your project?
Trying to increase safety and ergonomic for miners was not a simple task. When it comes to extreme environments, every single aspect of the project has to be taken seriously. EG shows another way to fix current problems. Like human skin, EG is a bio-inspired concept, taking its reference in nature's protection. It take into consideration miners' safety, ergonomics, image and hygiene by exploring new material combinations, function, architecture, comfort and style based on research on miners.
What is one quick anecdote about your project?
Sometimes ethics and economics don't really match... Since mining companies aim to dig faster and lead to irreversible damages to our ecosystem, I was frustrated to work for such an organization. Nevertheless, as a student and future designer, I had to fulfill our client wishes. I decided to tackle the project through my point of view: Solve a problem that miners directly encounter without influencing the mining activity. In this project, I have learned to satisfy both, clients and personal values. It was a rich experience to work with and for miners.
What was an "a-ha" moment from this project?
Thomas Degn is the Director of the Advanced Product Design program, at Umea Institute of Design (Sweden). He introduced my class to this project, our client Boliden AB and our collaborator, Atlas Copco AB. Thomas followed us until the end of the project and gave us an external point of view. I asked him to answer this last question.
Here is his response:
The biggest "a-ha" moment in this and other design projects that has a user-centered design approach in combination with on-site participatory ethnography research, is the insight that many of the everyday problems have not been solved yet. This, together with genuine empathy from the designer and his or her vision that it is possible to make something better than what already exists, gives the potential for us designers to creative new and innovative solutions and products. The work of Maxime and his classmates at the APD programme is to me a clear example of this.
--Thomas Degn, Programme Director, APD programme
From my point of view, the project was on a good track when I realized that miners could wear a part of their underground life outside. Showcasing their dangerous work through the soft part of the helmet and increase their image, which was till now, victim of a bad reputation. It is for me one of my first project that goes beyond simple problem solving.
Icelandic product designer Thorunn Arnadottir must have made a pit stop in Africa on her way to London, where she received her MA in Design Products from the Royal College of Art last year. Africa's influence can be seen even in her most minimal and characteristically Icelandic pieces. The strongest of these is the Sasa Clock, which "aims to bring the benefits of ancient African concepts of time to our modern lives." In African Kiswahili culture, Sasa means What is now.
The Sasa Clock asks the user to relax and slow down, to become the master of your own time lest time become the master of you. The clock actually forces you to slow your pace as there is no quick way to read it. The long beaded cord revolves around a rotating mirror face, dropping beads along the cord at five minute intervals. Orange beads are for hours and gold and silver beads signify noon and midnight. To tell the time, find the gold or silver beads, count the orange hour bead and then the minute beads hanging on the cord. You can always stop time completely by lifting the cord off the clock "and wear it proudly as a statement that you are in control of your own minutes."
At the time Arnadottir released the Sasa Clock it was one of very few conceptual time-keeping products - not that the market for telling time in slow motion has exactly taken off, but in the last few months it's been eclipsed by Scott Thrift's magnificent annual clock, The Present. With a face that reads like a 360-degree rainbow, Scott's clock, like Arnadottir's, asks us to slow down, but unlike the Sasa Clock you couldn't tell time with The Present even if you were willing to count it out on beads - and that's the whole point.
In late 2011, Scott raised over $100,000 on Kickstarter for The Present. Since then he's been working with manufacturers to perfect the annual clock mechanism and the rainbow paint job, which, as you might guess, is extremely difficult to do. They should be ready any day now, and if you haven't ordered one yet get moving - or don't. Take your time and think it over. Meanwhile, watch this video that explains why Scott wants us all to be Present.
How are technological advancements shaping or informing the design of Soft Goods? Michael DiTullo, our Jury Captain for this field and Creative Director at frog in San Francisco, shares his observations and predictions on the paths that soft goods designers and manufacturers are taking plus tells us why he picked his jury.
Core77: Tell us a bit about your jury and why you chose these individuals.
Michael DiTullo: All four of us, Greg McNamara, M. Coleman Horn, Chris Gadway and myself, are very experienced in bringing a variety of soft goods, footwear and accessories to production for large corporate brands as well as start-up lifestyle brands. I looked for partners on my jury who are excellent designers, have a firm understanding of brand, a deep passion for craft and experience in factory development.
What qualities will you be considering when evaluating each entry?
We will be looking for products that really represent the full package. Winning entries will have a desirable and unique brand position. They will be meticulously crafted and executed. They will be striking and iconic in their own right. On top of all of that, they will have brought an innovative twist to the industry. One of the amazing things about working in soft goods is that you are building on literally centuries of craft. To be able to pioneer a new technique or put a twist on an old one is an achievement. We are going to be looking for that twist.
What are you most excited about discovering while judging the entries?
There are a couple of global trends occurring right now in soft goods, which, on their surface, seem very disparate. The first is a return to old world craft. We are seeing products made again in the old world traditions with painstakingly hand tanned and tooled leathers, cut and stitched by hand. In some cases, these products are being made in places like the United States. It is exciting to see a broader acceptance of this type of work again!
On the flip side, we continue to see the mass implementation of high tech innovations like laser cutting, stitch less seam welding, and the integration of molded hard and semi-rigid components within soft goods. It is exciting that both of these trends exist at the same time, and are both at their core rooted in craftsmanship. I'm looking forward to see where the bulk of this year's entries land, and if a few of them even blend those trends.
Where do you see the future of the Soft Goods field heading?
An exciting future lies ahead. Some of the most exciting possible innovations have to do with advances outside of the soft good industry. Just-in-time manufacturing technologies and order management are leading to more and more factory side customization that is initiated and determined by the end user. The ever-cheapening and dispersal of processing power is leading to digital components integrating into soft-goods. A digital component in a shoe was almost unimaginable a decade ago, and now every Nike running shoe is compatible with Nike+. The opportunity to integrate technologies that relate to quantifying our actions the way the Philips fitBit does or acting like an input to our other devices, such as some of the Burton coats that have stitched in smartphone controls is amazing.
The challenge for designers in this category will be coming up to speed with all of these new technologies while remaining versed in the techniques of the industry to create soft goods that are innovative and desirable.
Learn more about the Soft Goods category and jury. The deadline for entries is Tuesday April 10.
Hopson Kinetic Jewelry founders, husband and wife team Ben and Emma Hopson, have unveiled their first collection of their kinetic accessories. Aptly called "Scissor," the pieces are as riveting to watch as to wear. Composed of tiny moving parts that glide together in effortless unison, HKJ's collection of rings, necklaces and bracelets are as remarkable as the delicate innards of an antique clock.
Thin silver bands expand and collapse, held together by tiny golden rivets, changing shape dependent on the mood and styling of the wearer. Situated on narrow chains, the jewelry is the perfect marriage of form and function: utterly delicate and mechanically impeccable. The same, of course, could be said of industrial designer Ben Hopson and his photographer and jewelry aficionado wife, Emma. While Ben's design and mechanical know-how inspired kinetics it was Emma's appreciation for bling that provided the pair with their medium. See their stop-motion demonstration of the "Scissor" earrings!
This DIY Halloween costume has been making blog rounds since Tyler posted it a couple days ago, but it's too good not to share here. The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based designer—a photographer by trade—has designed exactly what it sounds like: a fully functional Nikon camera costume.
Tyler would also like to thank the "awesome beard behind the sign" Card, Adam Barr, who documented the project in a similarly DIY making-of video:
A beautiful trailer for the upcoming NOISIA VISION film, dedicated to the sport of Wakeskating. Although there are a small handful of options on the market, it'd be great to think about footwear/material innovations for the athletes.
Carrier pigeons haven't been considered as a practical, efficient mode of communication since World War II, yet eco-conscious shoe company Jojo has found a way to use them for deliveries, physically and digitally. Based on the video below, the Brussels-based brand's flock is meant to deliver at least as much web traffic as they do shoes.
Quote of the day at 2:23...
The bit about having customers submit images of their neighborhoods (for the pigeons' benefit) is pretty neat, though I'm curious as to how reliably the pigeons can find their destinations based on Google Streetview...
Still, the strange thing about the video is that they don't mention the project—half of the proceeds go towards one of two "actions": providing clean water or planting trees in Africa—at any point during the clip. Thankfully, it's a straightforward metaphor:
...this shoe (or should we say this ribbon) conforms to the shape of the foot, just like a bandage meant to heal it, [which has] become the distinctive sign of our brand, directly linked to our eco-responsible philosophy...
For what it's worth, the design ain't bad... though I'm not seeing the "pigeon" option under shipping (for U.S. or Belgian addresses).