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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  18 Sep 2014  |  Comments (1)

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When it comes to week long festivals of design, it is often off the beaten track and around the fringes—at a safe distance from the frantic hype and clamouring furniture brands—that you find the most interesting things going on.

North from the thriving creative district of Shoreditch, photographer Dan Tobin Smith—famous for his work with everyday objects, perhaps most recognizably as the cover artwork of Jay-Z's Blueprint 3—has opened up his studio in Haggerston (a recently established haunt for the creative classes, with a few notable IDers amongst them) exhibiting a spectacular installation that is perhaps the most critical contemplation of consumer culture we're likely to see all week.

"No one can win against kipple, he said, except temporarily and maybe in one spot."

Entitled 'The First Law of Kipple' in reference to Phillip K Dick's 1968 novel 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep'—that later went on to inspire Blade Runner—the installation features thousands upon thousands of objects swamping the studio on every flat surface, arranged (with great appeal to the OCD-inclined) in a stunning spectrum of colours. Much like the fictional post-apocalyptic world that is haunted by plastic 'kipple,' the objects swarm all throughout the exhibition space—following viewers up stairs and into the toilet cubicle.

Apparently the accumulation of months upon months of collecting in thrift shops and carboot sales, the objects collected were first used for a series of photographps of spectral seas of objects. Tobin Smith and his team report then spending around a month to lay out the objects perfectly for this week's incredible installation.

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Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  18 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Design students face the same challenge as many other students and professionals: how to best carry the materials and tools needed on a day-to-day basis. Two students have created designs to meet that need.

Nitesh Baviskar decided to design a bag specifically for industrial designers.

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While some of the bags Baviskar looked at during his research were backpacks, his design is a shoulder bag.

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The bag is designed to hold the things designers need: a laptop, a sketchbook, drawing implements and a few tools.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  18 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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We previously covered industrial designer Robb Godshaw's work here and here, and now the self-described "interactive artist, tinkerer and designer" has created something blogworthy yet again. Masquerading as a health-promoting piece of work furniture, Godshaw's latest creation is a commentary on our working lives: It's a standing-desk treadmill—except the treadmill has been turned inside out to place the user on the inside. Like a hamster wheel.

Godshaw created it as part of his artist-in-residence term over at Autodesk's Pier 9 fabrication facility, teaming up with a fellow tinkerer going by the handle wrdwise. With assistance from Vanessa Sigurdson, Gabe Patin, Oliver Kreitman, and Bilal Ghalib, the duo designed and built the thing and posted an Instructable on it for like-minded hamsterfolk.

Rise up, sedentary sentients, and unleash that untapped potential within by marching endlessly towards a brilliant future of focused work. Step forward into a world of infinite potential, bounded only by the smooth arcs of a wheel. Step forward into the Hamster Wheel Standing Desk that will usher in a new era of unprecedented productivity.

Here it is in action:

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Posted by erika rae  |  18 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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It's always interesting to revisit past Core77 Design Awards honorees and learn what they've been up to since then—while we'd certainly be flattered if a C77DA honor was a designer's greatest accomplishment, we hope that they continue to grow and explore. Leyla Acaroglu took home a trophy in 2013 for her hand in the Design Play Cards: Designing for Sustainability, and has since made her mark as a disruptive designer, sustainability provocateur and educator. The jury team recognized the project as an award-worthy attempt to teach a much-debated skill: design thinking. Now, her latest project takes a less obvious—yet just as intriguing—stab at doing the same thing, in a more social atmosphere.

Acaroglu has launched the Un-School of Disruptive Design with social entrepreneur Heidi Sloane and artist Yvette King. While the actual space won't open its doors until 2015, the school is off the ground and running with a series of events to take place this fall in New York City.

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The Un-school recently hosted a launch party at the AIGA National Design Center where they introduced teasers to their fall activities. The school seems to have launched very recently, making their event planning and party success quite impressive; here's the group's mission statement, to give you a better idea of what they're all about:

Design is the silent social influencer that shapes and scripts the way we live in the world—at the Un-School, we are disrupting the way in which design is viewed and used. We work with designers, artists and innovators on provocative and fun activations and events for positive social and environmental change. We invite you to come un-learn and un-do at the un-school.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  18 Sep 2014  |  Comments (1)

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Part 1: Ignoring War and Sabotaging Nazis on Their Way to Producing Funky, Iconic Cars

Do you think it was harder, or easier to design cars when your main competition was horses and carriages? Whichever you believe, imagine you're a car designer or engineer and this is the brief you receive:

We need you to design something that's going to remain in production for over four decades.

- It has to be cheap.
- It has to be easy-to-maintain.
- It has to be easy to manufacture.
- It has to get good mileage, let's say 78 miles per gallon.

Maybe you'd stall by asking who the target buyer is and what the car's performance needs are. So they come back to you with

It needs to be able to carry four farmers and over 100 pounds of their goods and harvested crops to market over unpaved roads. And they might be carrying eggs. Yeah, so make sure the car can drive across a ploughed field while it's loaded up with eggs, and that the eggs won't break. Also, sometimes they might need to carry big stuff like furniture, so make sure you design in a solution for that.

As impossible as all that sounds, that was what the development team at Citröen was facing in the mid-1930s, when France was still largely rural farmland. It didn't take long to figure out the car would have to be small to meet the first set of criteria, and the project was dubbed TPV for Toute Petite Voiture, or "very small car."

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It took 47 prototypes, but by 1939 the TPV was deemed ready. To achieve the light weight the car was made using a lot of aluminum (which back then was so cheap that over in America Singer had begun building their Featherweight sewing machines out of the stuff). The car's seats were even lighter--they were pieces of fabric slung from the roof by wires, like a hammock. The roof was canvas and could be rolled back like the top of a sardine can, from the front windshield almost all the way down the back to the rear bumper. It only had one headlight and one taillight. But it worked, and it satisfied the brief, so the company came up with a snazzier name—the 2CV, for Deux Chevaux-Vapeur or "two steam horses," and prepared to try a first production batch of 250 cars.

Then World War II broke out.

As the Nazis invaded France, Citröen probably realized that their factory would soon be building Wehrmacht trucks. So under the direction of company president Pierre-Jules Boulanger a/k/a PJB, they started hiding the 2CV plans and destroying all of the prototypes. A few prototypes needed to be saved, however, presumably because they contained some winning formula of engineering that would be difficult to recall, so those were buried underground or hidden in barns. And one prototype was modified to look like a pickup truck so it could hide in plain sight.

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Amazingly, in 1995, three of the original TPV prototypes, the ones that PJB had ordered hidden during World War II, were found in a French barn.

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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 (2)

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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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