For butterfingered woodworkers, dropping a project on the shop floor can be bad. But just imagine if your materials of choice were crystal and glass.
Since 2004, California-based artist Jack Storms has been producing these rare "optic sculptures." Created by precision-machining lead crystal and dichroic glass, a single piece can take up to 18 weeks to produce.
While Storms has advanced the art by inventing a lathe that allows him to turn glass like wood, he first learned the "cold-glass" process of joining lead crystal and dichroic glass from a glass artist in New Hampshire. "Working side by side with the artisan for over a year, Jack learned every component and facet of this incredibly challenging and rare art form and eventually was a strong enough sculptor to branch out on his own in 2004 and open StormWorks Studio," reads the bio on his website.
I thought this was a gag, but the website appears to market it in earnest. (At least when translated into English from its original French.) Ram & Row is an endtable that unfolds into...a rowing machine.
Posted by Jeri Dansky
| 29 Jan 2015
Many users will be fine with standard shoe storage products: basic shoe racks, plastic shoe boxes, shoe cubbies or shelves in a closet, over-the-door shoe pockets, etc. But shoe storage can also involve creative designs which some users will appreciate.
The wall-mounted horizontal shoe racks from J-Me (above) come in two styles; one is designed specifically for stilettos and one for shoes in general. The non-stiletto version also comes in two lengths, holding either three or six pairs of shoes. These racks could be used in many different places: an entranceway for shoes-off homes, a bedroom, a closet, etc. Many users have chosen to stack two or more of them, one above the other. The standard racks take up as little room as shoe racks possibly could, so they're going to work well in small spaces. But they won't work in homes with dogs or children who will grab the shoes, unless the racks are placed above their reach (which wouldn't be the normal location).
The ZJUP shoe holder from LoCa, designed by Harrit-Sørensen, was designed to accommodate shoes of all shapes and sizes—and Nicolai Sørensen says it should indeed work for about 95 percent of shoe types. KJUP was also designed to protect the walls from muddy or wet shoes. (Any shoe rack accommodating wet shoes would need to be placed over appropriate flooring, obviously.) The plastic bar holding the shoes in place is a non-spring loaded bar, so it exerts no pressure on the shoes. Because each ZJUP holds just one pair of shoes, it can fit in places where a multi-shoe rack could not.
The Shrine shoe rack goes with a vertical orientation, so it will fit into spaces where a horizontal rack would not. This one won't work if the shoes are wet, though, since the top ones could drip onto the lower ones. The shoes are more on display here than with the previous racks, which will appeal to some users.
We've mentioned the Rakku shoe wheel before. But having seen one of these in person recently, I noted that it's actually somewhat awkward to get the shoes in and out, so it's not a product I would recommend.
Posted by core jr
| 29 Jan 2015
Photography by Ray Hu for Core77
Now officially in its fourth year, Beijing Design Week has, like its host country, seen remarkable transformation even during that short timeframe. Even as the homegrown design community explored novel ways of engaging locals, freshly forged partnerships and newly launched initiatives pointed to the commercial potential of the eight-day event, perennially scheduled to coincide with the October 1 National Holiday.
Meanwhile, the neighborhood of Dashilar has taken to the world stage the ongoing urban renewal case study: The ad hoc patchwork of Old Beijing—long a domestic tourist destination, opposite Tiananmen Square—was the subject of an exhibition at the Venice Biennale during the summer leading up to Beijing Design Week. With the grand reopening of the historic Quanyechang department store and Dashilar Guild House within it, event organizers had a new nexus for programming and exhibitions. An elegant three-story outpost bordering the massive construction site across the way from Dashilar, the renovation of the marketplace marks a major step in the development of the neighborhood, which may well look very different next year.
View Gallery →
Beijing Design Week 2014:
» Long Time No See
» Scenes from CCD, Curated by Ben Hughes
» Naihan Li Presents 'I AM A MONUMENT' at Gallery All in 751 D.Park
» CAFA Industrial Design Addresses Everyday Issues
Posted by Sam Dunne
| 29 Jan 2015
Late last year, Jony Ive stirred up perennial debates surrounding the failings of contemporary design education to turn out students ready to take up gainful employment. Speaking at an event at London's Design Museum, Ive used the word 'tragic' to describe the many (presumedly Western) design schools' inability to teach students how to make physical products and relying too heavily on "cheap" computers.
If current models of industrial design education have indeed been floundering, perhaps educators should be looking at developments in education in designs newer fields (though, I guess we could probably draw some correlation between the rise of one and the fall of the other...but let's leave that for another day). Founded in Sweden, Hyper Island has been carrying the torch for the progressive creative education in recent years, with diversely experienced students educated in teams at the deep-end of live projects with big clients, taught by practitioners at the cutting edge.
Perhaps testament to the model's success (and quite unusually for a higher education establishment) Hyper Island has been expanding like wild-fire with satellites already popping up in the likes of NYC, Singapore and Sao Paolo. In 2012 the school opened up its most recent hub in the happening Northern Quarter of Manchester, England. Just over two years on, the school is now set to launch a Masters degree dedicated to Experience Design in a bid to further shake up design education and meet the needs of an increasing disgruntled industry.
With the course currently accepting applications for its inaugural intake later this year, we caught up with the guardian of the course and Scottish service design mover and shaker Program Manager Lauren Currie to hear more about her vision for design education.
Posted by Kill Screen
| 29 Jan 2015
This post originally appeared on Kill Screen, a videogame arts and culture website.
Story by Gareth Damian Martin for Kill Screen
George Trevor is perhaps the most unassuming character of Resident Evil's long history. Among the videogame series' absurd cast of bio-engineered mercenaries and steroid pumped special forces agents he is little more than a whisper on the wind, a faded echo of a faceless man. His relative obscurity is for good reason: Shinji Mikami, Resident Evil's lead designer, cut Trevor's storyline as the original game neared its 1996 release, citing a lack of time to fully develop the story. Apart from a few notes published in a Japanese-only book on the making of the game, Trevor's narrative only reappeared 5 years later, in the 2002 Nintendo Gamecube remake. Expanded into a second story, with its own haunting boss fights and concealed passages, it was an important addition to the classic survival horror.
George Trevor's importance lies in his role—he is the architect of the Spencer Mansion, that decaying piece of mock-victorian masonry on the outskirts of Raccoon City in which the entirety of Resident Evil is set. He is the man who orchestrated the mansion's ornate puzzles, hidden passages and twisted corridors. In the fiction of the game, he is its designer, a cipher constructed to explain away why this so-called house is more like a maze, a dark labyrinth of yellowing wallpaper and dust-choked chandeliers. In a game where character confrontations are confined to passing exposition spaced liberally among hour upon hour of empty corridor stalking, Trevor is also the character with whom the player has the most significant, if indirect, interaction. His whimsical ground plan for the mansion is the ultimate object of mastery for the player—once it is mapped, understood and exploited, the game becomes distinctly easier. That is the duplicity of Resident Evil: the feeling of both observing the game's ornate architecture and the experience of forging a path through it first hand.
Maze-treaders, whose vision ahead and behind is severely constricted and fragmented, suffer confusion, whereas maze-viewers who see the pattern whole, from above or in diagram, are dazzled by its complex artistry. What you see depends on where you stand, and thus, at one and the same time, labyrinths are single (there is one physical structure) and double: they simultaneously incorporate order and disorder, clarity and confusion, unity and multiplicity, artistry and chaos. They may be perceived as a path (a linear but circuitous path to a goal) or as a pattern (a complete symmetrical design) [...] Our perception of labyrinths is thus intrinsically unstable: change your perspective and the labyrinth seems to change. - Penelope Reed Doob, the Idea of the Labyrinth
The duplicity of Resident Evil's design is the same duplicity as that of the labyrinth. To use Mary Reed Doob's terms, the game casts the player as both "maze-viewer" and "maze-treader." The Spencer Mansion is a maze you can plan a route through, room by room, from the confines of your map. In this phase the game offers order, clarity. But step outside of a safe room and confusion sets in, fear and disorder picking at your self-consciousness. This is a piece of architecture that satisfies as both path and pattern, but, as with any two-faced entity, the game's labyrinth is not to be trusted.
Posted by Coroflot
| 29 Jan 2015
CAR-FRESHNER is the leading automotive air freshener company in the world. With a team of world class product, brand and sales experts, CAR-FRESHNER's products can be found from London to Rio de Janeiro. How would you like to join the company behind those iconic little trees, as well as the SILLY STRING brand? This is your chance to join as an Industrial Designer at their headquarters in Watertown, NY.
With 3 - 5 years of experience in developing consumer products and demonstrated project management experience with practical budgeting and organizational skills, you'll be a great addition to this team. In this role, you will have the creative latitude to champion new ideas and the resources available to prototype them, as not all great products are the result of "standard" processes. If this sounds like the opportunity you've been waiting for, Apply Now.
Photo by J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester
Hitting metals with a laser to make the metals turn black doesn't sound very sexy. But for Dr. Chunlei Guo, a professor of optics at the University of Rochester, it's normal research. The ability to turn something dead black, which will thus absorb all light, is of optical interest.
However, Guo discovered something else could be done with these tools. By using a laser to etch microscopic patterns into the surface of the metal, he found that water was super-attracted to the surface—it just gets sucked onto it, as you'll see in the video below. Curious to see if he could create an opposite effect, Guo then managed to laser-etch the metal such that water could not stick to it. "The material is so strongly water-repellent, the water actually gets bounced off. Then it lands on the surface again, gets bounced off again, and then it will just roll off from the surface," Guo explains.
Unlike a Teflon coating, Guo's technique means the metal itself is actually rendered super-hydrophobic, no coating required. This means Guo's treatment cannot be rubbed or worn off. And while dust and dirt can still stick to the surface, a droplet of water rolling across it will pick it all up, like the ball in Katamari Damacy. The result is super-easy-to-clean surfaces.
Holy COW this is cool, or at least, looks it. A California-based company called WayTools has developed the TextBlade, a diminutive, minimalist keyboard that nevertheless provides the same key spacing (19mm on center) as you'd get on a desktop or laptop, and 2mm of travel, which they claim "outperform[s] a Macbook Pro." And check out how this thing breaks down for storage and comes together for usage:
What you can't see in the video is that the TextBlade components apparently have some type of material or texture on the bottom that provides "rock-solid grip that hugs the table closer than a MacBook Air." It seems that that, in concert with the magnets, is enough to keep the thing from sliding around and/or disassembling, but to be fair I haven't actually touched one IRL.
As my Auto Shop teacher explained to us in high school, cars from the 1950s had powerful motors for two reasons: Highways and people socializing. A 1955 Chevy Bel Air might hold three couples on an outing, six adults—three across the bench in the front, three in the back—and when merging onto a highway, had to be able to quickly get all that weight up to 55 miles per hour.
To a 1950s engineer, that kind of torque required lots of iron: V-8 engines, four-barrel carburetors and tons of gas. And back then a 13-second 0-60 time was reckoned respectable. But nowadays a Tesla with an electric engine—or say, two electric engines—has cut the acceleration time by some 75%.
Yes, folks, Tesla's Model S P85D ("D" for "dual engine") can do 0-60 in a blistering 3.2 seconds, subjecting the occupants to 1G in the process. It's called "Insane Mode" and here are unsuspecting passengers' reactions (Warning, NSFW):
Here's what veteran auto journalist Damon Lavrinc wrote on Jalopnik after receiving a ride in one: