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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  18 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Lee Broom opened doors at his Shoreditch studio last night to launch an opulent new collection of lighting and objects under the tongue in cheek title, 'Nouveau Rebel.' Recognized on the design scene for his contemporary twists on classics and high-end finishes (see his Crystal Bulbs from 2012) Broom's collection this year shows some creative and incredibly crafted use of marble—thin tubes of the stuff, for example, making even strip lighting look swanky.

Moving away from generic studio opening format or indeed the mock shop of previous LDF's, last night's dramatic exhibition ushered visitors down monochromatic corridors of curtains with only the collection to dramatically lighting the corners and crevices.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  17 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Tomorrow Scotland will hold a historic vote on whether to break away from the United Kingdom or not. Never mind the social, political, economic ramifications of secession—if the Scots bail out, there will be a bit of a graphic design problem to address.

That's because the Union Jack, the flag of the United Kingdom, is in fact a 19th-Century mashup of three different flags: The English's St. George's Cross blazon...

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...Northern Ireland's Saint Patrick's Saltire (a "saltire" being a diagonal cross)...

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...and Scotland's Saint Andrew's Cross, which is technically a saltire.

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Put them all together, and you've got three great tastes that (perhaps used to) taste great together:

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Posted by Christie Nicholson  |  17 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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If you are a fresh industrial design student, you'll most likely have your first try at 3D printing this semester or this year. And while a lot of focus has been on the printers themselves, it's equally important and fascinating to look at the materials we can use.

There are surprisingly few limitations placed on the kinds of materials used to print 3D objects. As additive manufacturing develops into a widespread practice it's important to focus on the potential of the ingredients used. Here's a rundown of the popular and the strange.

The most commonly used materials today are the thermoplastics (polymers.) Typically the polymers are in the form of filament made from resins.

- Acrylonitile butadiene styrene (ABS) also known as lego plastic, is perhaps one of the most commonly used plastics in 3D printing.
- Polylactic acid (PLA) has the flexibility to be hard or soft and is starting to gain popularity. There is also a soft form of PLA that is rubbery and flexible.
- Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) is a dissolvable material that is used as a support, that then gets washed away once the object is created.
- Polycarbonate requires high-temperature nozzle design and is in the proof-of-concept stage.

Plastics can be mixed with carbon fiber to make them stronger without adding weight.

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There are also several metals that can be used for additive manufacturing:

- Steel
- Stainless steel
- Titanium
- Gold
- Silver

Several types of processes work with metals and metal alloys. These are direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), electron-beam melting, selective laser melting (SLM). SLM can worth with plastics, ceramics abut also metal powders, and can produce metal objects that have strikingly similar properties as those of traditionally manufactured metals. (We previously posted videos of each of the methods listed above.)

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  17 Sep 2014  |  Comments (1)

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The key characteristic of a Military-Industrial Complex is that armaments manufacturers want wars to keep going, so that they can keep making profits. Thankfully for the human race, not all industrialists are willing to propagate this system. France's Andre Citröen, an engineer by training, was one such enlightened individual.

See, Citröen was responsible for mass-producing armaments for France during World War I. But he realized the war wouldn't last forever, and knew that the factory he was running was going to be shut down unless there was something else to mass produce afterwards. With six years of pre-war experience working for the early French automobile manufacturer Mors, Citröen decided he'd produce a car—and he started working on it as early as 1916, two years before the war even ended.

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That's why, when Allied victory came in late 1918, Citröen was ready to roll out a car just four months later. The lightweight, relatively affordable 18-horsepower Citröen Type A was a success, and by 1920 the Parisian factory was producing 100 per day.

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They cranked out some 24,000 units before Citröen succeeded the Type A with the Type B2.

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

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With festivities now in full swing, first stop for many (us included) on the London Design Festival trail is a whiz 'round the various goings-on at the illustrious Victoria & Albert Museum in the city's Brompton district. As the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design (housing an estimated 4.5 million objects in the permanent collection), the grand Victorian edifice has become a fitting hub for the design festival in recent years. As in previous years, the V&A hosts a number of LDF exhibits dotted around the maze-like galleries and corridors of the museum, as well as an impressive program of talks and debates.

Amongst the highlights, new trio Felix de Pass (product and interior designer), Michael Montgomery (graphic designer) and Ian McIntyre (ceramist) have taken over the dimly lit climate controlled tapestry galleries with a spellbinding installation entitled "Candela.' A large rotating disc floating above the gallery floor rotates to display evolving glowing partterns—a light fixture at the bottom of the piece effectively 'printing' light onto the discs phosphorescent surface (similar, apparently, to that used by the sponsoring watch brand). As the disc turns and the printed pattern evolves, a pleasing depth is created as previous rotations slowly fade.

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Posted by core jr  |  17 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

DSchoolFutures-Conclusion-1.jpgThe more things change, the more they stay the same. Photos by Kyle Oldfield, winner of our design school photo contest

Yesterday we published the last installment of our D-School Futures series, in which we interviewed the chairs of 11 leading industrial design programs about the evolution of ID education. Along the way, we gleaned quite a few insights into what it's like to be an ID student today, how schools are reacting to rapid changes in the industry, and what all of this means for incoming students and recent graduates. For those of you who haven't had time to read the full series—or who just love a good listicle—here's our shortlist of five essential takeaways.

1. Now Is a Really Good Time to Launch a Design Career
OK, so you would expect the chairs of design programs to be bullish about the profession; they couldn't very well tell us that now is a crummy time to get a degree from one of their programs. Even so, our interviewees gave us the distinct impression that now actually is a really good time to be getting into industrial design, or any design field for that matter. With the economy looking increasingly healthy, design firms are hiring new graduates at a steady clip—and, more importantly, businesses of all stripes are continuing to recognize the importance of design to their bottom lines.

2. Designing Physical Stuff Is Not Becoming Less Important—If Anything, the Opposite Is True
Worried that designers of actual, physical stuff are going to become obsolete in the coming decades, as more and more of our daily tasks are handled by digital tools? Don't be. As several of our interviewees noted, physical objects are not going away anytime soon—and, besides, as digital tools become more advanced, people will expect richer and more nuanced experiences in ye olde three-dimensional world. "While our tools and experiences are moving toward digital interactions, there will always be physical, visual or multi-sensorial manifestations that are part of the input and output of those interactions," Art Center's Karen Hofmann told us. "Design will be the differentiator in how successful or meaningful those product experiences will be."

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  17 Sep 2014  |  Comments (3)

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As someone recently introduced to regular bicycling by Citi Bike, New York's bicycle share program, I love bike lanes. I just wish there were more of them; their relative Manhattan scarcity, and my unwillingness to brave the laneless streets with the battle-hardened bike pros, mean I must often choose circuitous routes in order to safely remain a wussy.

I assumed NYC won't add more bike lanes because of the added cost and the resultant auto traffic congestion (more room for bikes means less room for cars). So I was very surprised to read a NYC Department of Transportation study [PDF] released this month that found that adding bike lanes actually increased the flow of auto traffic.

How is this possible? In two words, clever design. But before we get into the details, for those of you not familiar with the style of NYC's newest bike lanes, let's have a look at the old system:

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As you can see, placing the bike lane there leaves the cyclist in danger of getting "doored" by someone getting out of a parked car without bothering to look first. And the painted buffer between the cyclist and moving traffic offers zero protection from a car that veers out of control. So in 2007 they started shuffling things around like this:

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With this improved design, the cyclist now rides adjacent to the sidewalk. The painted five-foot buffer prevents the cyclist from getting doored by a parked car, which now resides in a parking lane that provides a solid physical barrier protecting a cyclist from colliding with a moving auto. And if you look at the dimensions listed, you'll see the buffer can now safely be reduced by two feet in width, while the bike lane got wider by the same amount.

So right off the bat this second design is smarter than the first, and the numbers bear that out: In 2001, the old-style lanes were in effect. In 2013, the new-style lanes were in existence. And there has been a "75% decrease in average risk of a serious injury to cyclists" in that time period.

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Posted by Coroflot  |  17 Sep 2014

Work for The Rockport Company!

The Rockport Company is seeking a Men's Footwear Designer with a global perspective on fashion, performance and lifestyle trends who will be responsible for the ideation of new concepts and the creation of compelling footwear designs that reflect Rockport's unique heritage of product innovation, style and comfort. The Rockport Design Team in Canton, MA carries on the Rockport tradition of improving their customer's lives by introducing advanced technologies into casual shoes.

Working at Rockport will require you to stay current with relevant trends, and apply this understanding into designs to ensure products are contemporary, on trend and market relevant. You'll also need to be able to present designs to the Head of Design, VP and other team members, as needed, in addition to providing product conceptualization, illustration and technical detailing of product, graphics, technical specifications. Apply Now.

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

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, 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:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  16 Sep 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Editor: In the previous entry of this Automoblox origin story, the plucky Pat Calello had put together a sweet distribution deal with BRIO. Which would have been great news—if the factory hadn't screwed up on the tooling. How can Calello meet the order and save his start-up?


Despite my clear specifications and a detailed evaluation of all molded samples along with detailed engineering analysis, my manufacturer, Swift Tread, never was able to achieve the standard with respect to functionality. After the disappointing trip to China in March 2004, I was forced to accept defeat; my manufacturing partners in Swift Tread weren't going to provide the quality I required.

By this time the expiration date was looming for BRIO's Letter of Credit, and 10,000-piece order was quickly slipping away. Because of the production delays, BRIO missed out on the spring selling season, and by their own estimation would not even be able to sell 10,000 in 2004. They were now seeking a lower price because of lost sales, and were considering other changes to the distribution strategy. I couldn't swing a lower margin, and concluded that I would be better off financially if I managed distribution in North America myself for the first year. As a consequence, I reluctantly cut ties with BRIO.

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I had a new problem though. I no longer had the 10,000-piece BRIO order, but Swift Tread had already begun production of 15,000 parts—of which only 5,000 were spoken for by my international customers. Ultimately, Swift Tread was able to assemble only 13,000 pieces. I ordered an inspection by an independent company to evaluate the quality; the shipment failed inspection. A second inspection requested by Swift Tread also failed. My options were limited, to say the least. I had 13,000 products sitting in China that failed to meet my quality standards... so much for a brand strategy and four years of blood, sweat and tears. To me, releasing products that did not measure up to my own standards made me feel like I was selling out on my dream—and that was not acceptable.

I was in a tough situation. If I refused the goods, Vinnie from Swift Tread informed me the factory would simply sell the goods to a broker or distributor to regain their investment. (Despite the fact that each product embodied my global patents and trademarks, Vinnie had no qualms about breaking international intellectual properties laws and selling them on the open market.) In this scenario, it was likely that Automoblox would be on sale somewhere in the world and I would not get one thin dime of the revenue. I had to make a difficult decision. I felt a fervent need to protect the carefully crafted Automoblox brand, and decided to accept the goods at a discount. My plan was to distribute them in the US, Japan and UK, and to respond to consumer quality claims as they came in. By the time the dust cleared and the freight company actually delivered the goods to my warehouse, it was mid-July.

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