Transportation Design is undoubtedly one of the more glamorous subsets of Industrial Design. But the sheer complexity of designing a performance vehicle that must be safe, attractive, durable, and affordably mass-produced must present terrific restrictions. So this recently-unveiled, blue-sky project undertaken by GM's Advanced Design Studio must have been exhilirating to work on.
"[The Chaparral 2X VGT is] an example of what our designers are capable of when they are cut loose, no holds barred," said Ed Welburn, Vice President of GM Global Design. "A fantasy car in every sense of the word." That's because VGT stands for Vision Gran Turismo, the 15th-anniversary edition of the PlayStation videogame.
The game is where the Chaparral concept will "live," but despite it being a virtual project, it's cool to see GM's design staff--and members of longtime collaborator Chaparral Cars--speaking with such passion about the project. And the footage of it is pretty nuts:
Posted by Sam Dunne
| 28 Nov 2014
To Brits, the frenzied shop-fest of Black Friday (a phenomenon slowly spreading to our shore) seems like an odd tradition to follow on from a day of giving thanks—a sentiment shared by counter movements such as Buy Nothing Day and, I dare say, by a number of our American readers. The absurdity of the custom is illustrated eloquently by British comedian turned political activist Russell Brand in a video lampooning Fox News coverage of the "pilgrimage of capitalism that has found its way to the forefront of American cultural life" in the light of planned Black Friday strike action of Walmart staff for the third year in a row.
If scenes of consumers and striking shop assistants staking out retail centers in the early hours of a winter morning wasn't distressing enough, a Brazilian clothing brand has taken it upon themselves to envisage a future where Black Friday deals are inescapable. The video campaign by Brazilian creative director Antonio Correa for Colombo expounds the problem of high flying executives simply too busy to step out of the office to take advantage of Black Friday savings (ah, Capitalism eh?). The solution to this troubling situation? Fill the skies of Sao Paola's Business District with the apocalyptic sight of headless, poorly articulating human figures hanging limp from whirring drones, of course—completing the picture with price tags on their clothing for our deprived protagonists to glimpse through the windows of their corporate prisons.
Posted by Jeri Dansky
| 27 Nov 2014
We've written about controlling cable clutter on the desktop—but what about controlling the earbud cords that end-users carry around?
One of the simplest ways to keep the cords from becoming a tangled mess is a simple wrap for the cord, like the Cord Taco from This Is Ground. The end users can create neat bundles by wrapping the cords around their fingers and then using the Cord Taco to keep everything in place.
When Mike Macadaan created the Cord Taco, he feared it might be too simple: a simple leather disk with a metallic snap closure. But many end-users don't have the skill, tools or time to create a product like this for themselves.
The *cordctrl, made from high-grade liquid injection silicone, is another simple answer to the earbud cord control challenge. End-users just wrap the cord around the *cordctrl, locking the cord in place by running it through the notches at either end. This is the same approach used by the Sumajin SmartWrap, which we wrote about previously.
Both of the items listed above are fine for end users who just want an organized way to carry the cords in their pockets, computer bags, etc. But adding a clip to the products, as Dotz did with its Earbud Wrap, gives the end user the option of attaching it to a bag strap, a shirt, etc. Since not all end-users have clothes with pockets, this could be handy. But the clip does add a bit more bulk to the product—there are always trade-offs!
One could argue that luggage design hasn't kept pace with modern-day travel needs. Thus entrepreneurs Gaston Blanchet and Jesse Potash, both of whom travel a lot and were dissatisfied with current luggage offerings, set out to produce a contemporary, aluminum-and-polycarbonate carry-on and full-sized suitcase called the Trunkster line. Here's how they approached it:
Problem: Your phone battery's dying, leading you on one of those where's-a-free-power-outlet search across the airport.
Solution: On-board battery with enough juice to charge your phone nine times over.
Problem: You packed too much weight and got hit with overage fees by the airline.
Solution: Digital scale (both Imperial and Metric) embedded in the handle. Pick it up and the readout tells you the exact weight.
Problem: The airline lost your bag. They're not sure where it is.
Solution: Built-in GPS means you can see whether your bag is somewhere in the terminal and worth waiting for, or if it's back at Dallas-Fort-Worth and you should just expect it later.
Problem: Unzipping both sides of the front flap on the typical carry-on, then swinging the flap open, can be an awkward operation in tight spaces.
Solution: The Trunkster has a roll-top front that opens like a secretary desk.
I'm not totally sold on that last one, as the flap on a carry-on provides me with useful storage space, both on the inside and out of it. The outside pockets on the flap are where I dump the contents of my pockets during the TSA screening, and the inside pockets are where I sort my toiletries.
Another Trunkster feature I'm not 100% on is that they've moved the handle supports to the side of the suitcase, citing the following:
We can think of few worse elements of luggage than flimsy telescopic handles. They break, get in the way of packing, and are nearly useless when moving heavy bags. Trunkster features a robust, side-to-side handle that gives you absolute control and enhanced balance through many grip positions. Plus, the handle's special design allows for an uninterrupted cargo space for optimum packing capacity.
In my eyes, the channel for the handle supports take up the same amount of interior volume on the sides as they do on the rear.
Posted by core jr
| 26 Nov 2014
Once again, we're pleased to present our annual gift guide for all of your gift-giving needs this holiday season. As with last year's guide, the list comprises 77 items—a lucky number if we say so ourselves—selected by our seven guest curators, each a luminary in his or her own right. The 2014 Ultimate Gift Guide is a collective effort from Randy Hunt, Creative Director of Etsy; Jill Singer & Monica Khemsurov, Founders/Editors of Sight Unseen; John Maeda, Design Partner at KPCB; Chris Wu, Associate at Project Projects; Richard Sachs, bicycle framebuilder; and Sam Vinz, co-founder/director of Volume Gallery.
From tasteful consumables and future heirlooms to ultra-contemporary apps and accessible art editions, our esteemed guest curators have compiled six lists of distinctive gift items, 77 in all.
Check out the 2014 Core77 Gift Guide, "Curators' Delight"→
Appleboxes are simple, sturdy plywood boxes that are mainstays of the photography and film production industries. And because they are durable and come in a variety of very specific sizes, I've found they can also come in quite handy in a small-shop setting:
Appleboxes are typically made the old-school way—with a table saw and router table rather than a CNC mill—but by walking you through how to make a full set of them on the ShopBot, it will give you an idea of how to execute a basic, practical project via CNC. We'll dive in next week!
Previously: Episode 7 - Desktop CNC Milling: The Point Cutting Roundover Bit // All Core77 ShopBot Series posts →
Flipping through architecture blogs, I'm used to seeing modernist houses with the de rigueur Le Corbusier chaise longue and the Eames chairs inside. But this particular one jumped out at me because it's owned by an industrial designer married to a mechanical engineer. San-Francisco-based ID'er Peter Russell-Clarke and mech-eng wife Jan Moolsintong contracted architect Craig Steely to design their house, with some input, and the resultant structure has some very unusual apertures.
First off the garage. You've seen bi-fold doors before, but none like this:
Photo by Ian Allen for Dwell
And yes, those shots are mid-opening, that's not how the door looks in its final closed position. Here's its full range of motion:
And a shot from the inside, where you can see the yellow webbing on either side attached to a crankshaft and the motor:
When shotguns fire "shot"—a multitude of small pellets as opposed to a singular slug—the wielder gets "a good spread" with a single pull of the trigger. Depending on what your priorities are, this may or may not make it a good weapon for home defense; in the words of comedian Bill Burr, "I don't want to have to do a bunch of drywall work [after repelling an invader]."
But that "spread" is what a particular type of shotgun—originally called a "fowling piece"—was designed to produce, and specifically for hunting birds. Beretta's updated 486 shotgun, designed by Marc Newson, pays homage to this with artsy patterns on the laser-engraved receiver.
The engraving is a clear homage to Asia as the homeland of the pheasant. This unique design is made possible by the high-tech laser technology used in the manufacturing process. This ensures the best texture wrap over the entire surface of the receiver and also allows for a deep contrast and sharp resolution in all the details of the engraving.
The receiver is edgeless, following the current trend in "round body" shotgun designs enabled by precision machinery. But in terms of original flair, the sexy opening lever is pretty Newsonesque:
Posted by core jr
| 25 Nov 2014
This is the latest installment of our Core77 Questionnaire. Previously, we talked to Brad Ascalon.
Name: Sam Jacob
Occupation: I'm the principal of Sam Jacob Studio, a design, architecture and urbanism practice based in London. At the same time, I'm a professor of architecture at Yale and at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Director of Night School at the Architectural Association; and a columnist for Art Review and Dezeen. And until recently I was a co-director of FAT Architecture, which closed this year in a blaze of high-profile projects at the Venice Architecture Biennale and a collaboration on a building with artist Grayson Perry.
I've always pursued an idea of design practice as a combination of criticism, research and speculation that all feed directly into the design studio. So that ideas cross-fertilize, find connections and directions that make the practice stronger, more agile and able to respond intelligently to the problem at hand.
After 20-odd years as co-director of FAT Architecture, it's been exciting to establish a new kind of practice, to work with new people, with new kinds of projects, with different angles of attack.
Location: London (mainly) / Chicago (sometimes)
Current projects: I'm really excited about some collaborative projects that are happening at the moment. The first is developing ways to reinvent the business park—taking the outmoded 1980s model and revitalizing it. The idea of work has changed so dramatically in recent times, so it seems right to be imagining new ways to spatialize and organize new kinds of work patterns. For me it's the perfect combination of research, speculation and design.
Secondly, a big master planning project that's trying to invent a new kind of community—one that's not urban, not rural but also non-suburban, a new kind of hybrid between the rural and the urban. A techno-eco idyll, in other words.
And lastly, designing my own house—the fantasy of any architect, but a daunting one too. Any architect designing his own house is inevitably also writing a manifesto.
Mission: To use design as a form of real-life science fiction—to invent new ways of being in the world, or new kinds of worlds to be in.
Above: Jacob and his drawing of Southwark for the 2014 10x10/Drawing London auction. Top image: A Clockwork Jerusalem, FAT Architecture and Crimson Architectural Historians' exhibition for the British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Photo by Cristiano Corte
The Hoogvliet Villa, a cultural center in Rotterdam designed by FAT. Photo by Rob Parrish
When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer? It just kind of happened... I think it was a real fascination with the idea that architecture could be a combination of many things—that it was artistic, sociological, technical and so on, and that it was all these things at the same time. It's a naïve idea perhaps, but one I still believe in. One lesson I've learnt from older generations is to try to remain as naïvely optimistic as possible in the face of the endless array of problems that beset any design project.
Education: I studied at the Mackintosh in Glasgow, then at the Bartlett in London. It was—totally accidentally—a great combination. First being embedded in the Glasgow School of Art, the serious Modernist tradition of the Mac, then the freedom of the Bartlett gave me a really broad exposure to different ideas of what architecture and design could be.
First design job: Straight from school into FAT. Actually, doing both while I was in my last year. In other words, I've never really had a proper job in design—which is both a blessing and a curse. Not having a model of what an office should be or how it should work has given me a real freedom to invent something that works for me. But at the same time, I'm sure there are a few shortcuts it would have been good to learn faster. Nothing like learning on the job, though.
Who is your design hero? For his ability to conjure arguments and propositions out of the thin air of everyday culture: the British critic from the '60s and '70s Reyner Banham
For the relentlessness of investigation: Rem Koolhaas
For his belief in the connection between politics and design: William Morris
For beauty in the face of the inevitable tragedy of design: Borromini
Above and below: Drawings from Sam Jacob Studio and Hawkins\Brown's master plan for an Eco Ruburb, a community hybrid of the rural and the urban
Posted by Sam Dunne
| 25 Nov 2014
It's about this time of year that you start to see stall owners gearing up for Christmas in the local high street markets in East London—every inch of wall and ceiling space weighed down with yet more shining dancing Psy action figures, Angry Bird backpacks and fluorescent loom-band kits. Although you have to admire some of the inventiveness (in design as well as IP-dodging), walking past these sellers never fails to give me a niggling feeling of waste in the depths of my stomach—what will have become of all this plastic and electronics by this time next year?
Samuel N. Bernier, Creative Director of leFabShop (and 2012 Core77 Design Award honoree and longtime DIYer/hacker extraordinaire) had the idea for Open Toys when he realized he could create toys from scraps of wood and cork he found in the workshop when combined with simple parts made on a 3D printer. Having gone on to design a small selection of pieces that could be used to make cars, planes, boats and helicopters, Samuel was later inspired whilst gardening to replace wood and cork (difficult to drill without tools) with fruits and vegetables.
Being pronounced as some as a "Mr. Potato Head for the era of digital fabrication," it's certainly interesting to see how the bulk of disposable toys plastic can be designed out whilst perhaps also encouraging a little creativity in our digitally addicted toddlers. The question remains however—should we be playing with our food?