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Posted by Moa Dickmark  |   1 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Founded by Ian Hall, Arkitrek works to the create socially and environmentally sustainable buildings in Malaysia. I have been following them for several years now, just looking for a reason to contact them other than to just say "Hi! I like what you do. Keep up the good work," and now I have one, so here we go.

Core77: Can you give us a short outline to what Arkitrek is about?

Ian Hall: We are architects and we're motivated use design to solve environmental problems. Problems, like resource consumption, pollution and energy use. To solve these problems usually involves working with people, so we are highly socially minded in the way that we work, but I'm a nature lover foremost and love of wild places and nature is what inspires me

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What lead you to start Arkitrek?

Haha. Long story...

One thing led to another. I always knew that I did not want to follow a 'conventional' architecture career. After completing my Part III and getting solid commercial experience, I decided to look for alternatives and I joined an expedition with Raleigh International to Borneo. They asked me to lead a team of young volunteers to do a feasibility study for a jungle research station in Borneo. That was a dream job. I swapped designing shiny urban hotels and started work on primitive huts in the jungle. I joke that 'the people I worked with were primitive too': gap year students mostly. The Raleigh ethos is empowering young people by giving them responsibility for delivering project work in challenging places. After some initial resistance, I embraced this philosophy.

After my Raleigh expedition in 2004, I volunteered to work for The Sabah Foundation, Raleigh's local partner in Sabah, Borneo. The Sabah Foundation manages three rainforest conservation areas and I went on to volunteer for them as an architect, designing jungle camps, staff quarters and research facilities on and off for two years.

I funded this with contract work in London. Six months in London would fund four months in Sabah. During this time, I met the people who would become my first paying clients in Sabah. That's how Arkitrek started.

The name, Arkitrek, was coined by my mate Andy Lo. Andy is a Londoner whose parents are from Sabah. We worked together in London and he came out to visit his family in Sabah and then joined me for a month long design and trekking stint in Sabah's Maliau Basin Conservation Area.

I worked in the most awesome and wild and beautiful places.

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What was the main foundation when you started Arkitrek?

During that time with Sabah Foundation I was very concerned with two questions:
1. Should we build anything here? [in this wild and beautiful place]
2. If we do build, what kind of building is appropriate?

A little later, when I was no longer supported by high paying London contract work a third question came into play...
3. How can I keep saying yes to designing small buildings in beautiful places for worthy clients, who can't pay professional fees?

I think that my 'ground pillars' are those three questions.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  30 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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This is a fascinating idea that was developed by a research group at Japan's Keio University. By applying optical camouflage technology and using recursive reflectors, which "[reflect] light back in the direction of incidence," the researchers were essentially able to render the back of a Toyota Prius invisible, at least from the driver's point of view. Take a look:

What we found fascinating is their proposal that this could be applied to all 360 degrees. And aside from average motorists trying to back passenger cars into parking spaces, imagine what a boon this would be to folks driving delivery trucks, tractor-trailers, construction machinery and other bulky, blind-spot-laden vehicles.

Unfortunately, the technology may never come to pass. The concept was put forth in 2011, and there's been no word on an update since the video above was released in 2012. But tell me this thing wouldn't get Kickstarted in a heartbeat.

Via DigInfo TV

Posted by Sam Dunne  |  30 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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'Design Week' season is very much upon us here in Europe. As things wrap in London, we've jetted over to the slightly more sedate and astonishingly grandiose (seriously, Paris ain't got nothing) Vienna—capital of Austria—to hit the trail of Vienna Design Week, running from September 26 to October 5.

We're delighted to see the return of the awesome 'Passionswege' platform—the program in which the city's design department pair traditional manufacturing companies still surviving in the region with emerging international design talent, the partnerships sharing skills and often creating some truly inspiring objects and interventions.

First stop in Vienna this year, world -eknowned crystal manufacturer Lobmeyr—who took part in the Passionswege last year— invited the public to their showroom and workshop to see the fruits of their pairing with design duo BCXSY.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  30 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Editor: This design school story comes to us from Eddie L., who along with two fellow ID students had an eight-week assignment to design a commuter bike. The project started off with a bang....


Crashing your bike at night totally sucks. It sucks a little more when your laptop flies out of your bag during the crash and smashes into the pavement. And it sucks the most when that laptop turns out to be so badly damaged that the data on the hard drive is unrecoverable, and what was on the hard drive are the only existing CAD files for a project that you and two of your fellow design students have been slaving over.

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Ironically we were designing a bike, so in that one calamitous moment both a real-world bicycle and the designs for what was supposed to be a sweet future bicycle both got trashed.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  30 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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I'm not looking forward to winter, because the ex-manufacturing space I moved into last year is brutally cold and drafty. I spent last winter making futile attempts to caulk this and shrink-wrap that, only to achieve zero perceptible gains in thermal efficiency; the space is simply too deteriorated on all six sides for me to determine where I can best make a dent.

What I need is a focused plan, a way of determining where the largest heat leaks are so I can tackle those first. And I think I've found my solution in this awesome-looking Seek Thermal Smartphone Infrared Camera.

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The tiny, three-inch, half-ounce, $199 device brings something close to military- or industrial-grade thermal imaging to the common man with the common paycheck. (A commercial infrared camera would run you four figures.) You plug it into the bottom of your smartphone and bang, you've got an image on your screen that can accurately display a range of temperatures from -40° Celsius (-40° Fahrenheit) up to 330° C (626° F).

Here's a demo of it in action from Android Police's David Ruddock, and you can skip the first 30 seconds of pitch-blackness:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  30 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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We've seen drones used or proposed for package delivery, elaborate selfies, action sports capture, movie promotion, and even weather control. But a recent creative collaboration points to the possibility of a more domestic usage that we think could be the killer drone app of the future: How about floating lamps? Which is to say, just the lampshade and a light source, no stem, no cable, hovering in mid-air, able to follow you around the room if need be.

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In the video below you'll see what it would look like, but before it becomes domesticated, there are just a few (completely solveable) technological hurdles to clear:

Noise. To cancel out the incessant whining of a hovering drone, a small on-board speaker could project a noise cancellation frequency.

Power. During the daytime, the drone could dock itself, perhaps to something attached to the ceiling, where it would recharge the batteries required for both the light and its own sustained flight. (Ideally the power would come from solar, so you're not wasting a bunch of coal-fired juice on an admittedly frivolous technology.)

User Interaction. Remote control, gesture control or voice activation could turn it on and off, adjust the brightness and hue, and ask the lamp to follow you around or focus light on a particular area.

At any rate, a floating lamp would give you one less thing to vacuum around, if replacing a floor lamp, and free up some table space if replacing a desk lamp.

Maybe it sounds silly but it looks beautiful in practice. Check out this sweet video created in a collaboration between performance group Cirque du Soleil, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and drone developer Verity Studios:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  30 Sep 2014  |  Comments (2)

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With the cheeky tagline "Our competitors are giants," the confident development team behind Chargerito introduces their new object. Billed as the world's smallest phone charger, the diminutive device is just 53mm × 33mm × 18mm (2.1" × 1.3" × 0.7"), featuring flip-out power prongs and your choice of a micro-USB or Apple Lightning plug. And it's an exercise in minimalism, with just barely enough meat to get your mitts onto.

Developers Alex Andon, Nick Velander and Drew Hauck set the Chargerito up through crowdfunding—Tilt, not Kickstarter, for a change—offering it at a pre-order price of $19 a pop (it's expected to retail for $39). The sharp-discount strategy worked, as they've exceeded their $50,000 target with $76,716 in backing. At press time there was just one day left to get in on the pre-order price, so if you want one, hurry!

Posted by core jr  |  30 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Necessity is the mother of invention, or in this case, authorship. We at Core77 believe that everyone who loves design, regardless of experience or background, shares a bond of appreciation and curiosity that leads them to seek out what's new, different and surprising. Too often, however, we find "design books" that cater exclusively to one view of practice or theory, ignoring the global perspective, and, more unfortunately, the common spark of excitement that drives us all to bring creative projects to life. With this in mind, we created Designing Here/Now, a powerfully inspirational anthology of the most interesting projects happening today, rendered with insight and depth that makes it simultaneously a perfect snapshot of contemporary design trends and a permanent reference of their impact. It is a singular resource that honors the intention behind great design and presents it in a manner that everyone can appreciate.

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Like the Core77 Design Awards competition from which the book originated, Designing Here/Now documents the contemporary practice of design providing a reference point to both casual observer and seasoned pro. It documents an organic and shifting profession by showcasing a broad range of the application of design; by including projects by the next generation of designers, students; and by distributing the editorial process of inclusion across independently organized groups of professionals from around the globe.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  29 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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What's more fascinating than watching the progression of a talented artist or designer's work? Also, Creative Dads is becoming a thing. First we saw Michael Chou devising a better way to serve up ice cream to his kids. Now we see Nathan Shields, father of toddlers Gryphon and Alice, devising increasingly sophisticated methods of creating pancakes with aesthetic and representational value.

Using a plastic squirt bottle filled with pancake batter, in early 2012 Shields was drawing primitive forms to amuse his kids, with a hot non-stick pan as his canvas:

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However, at some point he discovered that whatever streams of batter were "drawn" first would of course cook for longer, meaning they'd be darker brown upon flipping.

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With this understanding of how to create tonality, Shields' drawings swiftly grew more sophisticated and defined:

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This technique led to his popular Beatles Pancakes YouTube video:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  29 Sep 2014  |  Comments (5)

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The currently fashionable way to "debate" is to start with your conclusion, then seek only facts that support your conclusion, and ignore everything else. (See the commenters on our first phone-bending post who single out Apple while ignoring the bent phones from other manufacturers.) It is essentially the opposite of the Scientific Method. Thankfully, the first item in our update on the overblown "Bendgate" brings a little much-needed science into the discussion.

1. Consumer Reports' Stress-Testing Comparison of Six Models of Smartphone

Consumer Reports subjected the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, LG G3, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, HTC One, and iPhone 5 to a three-point flexural test:

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And there you have it. One could argue that the point of contact of the Instron testing machine ought be shaped more like a human butt cheek rather than a focused line, but at the very least this will hopefully inspire others to conduct similarly scientific tests.

2. Veracity of Original Bendgate Video Called Into Question

Redditors took a close look at Lewis Hilsenteger's original Bendgate video, which is now up to some 45 million hits, and found a disturbing discrepancy: The clock times displayed on the phone during the "test" do not jive with the sequence of events as portrayed in the video.

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Detractors have suggested that the video is cooked. One claims that Hilsenteger is profiting from the millions of hits and another goes so far as to hint that he is actively manipulating Apple's stock price. Defenders suggest that the time discrepancy is merely to do with video editing, and one suggests that he began shooting the video at 2:26am and again at 1:58pm the next day.

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