Hooks are one of my favorite organizing products—and my clients love them, too. It's just easier to throw a coat over a hook than it is to put it on a hanger—and easy is good, since it increases the chance that the coat (or whatever) isn't going to just get tossed on the floor. So hooks are worth considering for your own work spaces, as well as for end-users who may find them handy.
When I say "hook," you may think of classic hook designs, such as this double hook and robe hook—which are both perfectly good and useful, but there's no need to stop there. The opportunities for innovation within this basic form are nearly endless.
Some hooks are designed for easy installation, without the need for sheetrock anchors, etc. (More on installation issues later.) Unihook from Pat Kim installs with a single nail—but due to its clever design, which spreads the load downwards along the wall from that one nail, it can hold an amazing 10 kilograms of weight (about 22 pounds).
That crusty industrial building may not look like much, but it's special for two reasons. One, it's located in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, a city with little history of industry, meaning buildings like that are not commonplace. And two, it's going to become a creative incubation hub to the tune of some CAD $30 million in funding.
The Bayview Yards Innovation Centre, as it's called, is nearly 46,000 square feet of raw space that will house a rentable digital media and animation lab, meeting and presentation spaces, design studios and a makerspace dedicated to "industrial design, prototyping, fabricating and additive and subtractive manufacturing."
The aforementioned $30 mil in funding, half of which is from the city and half from the province, isn't a mere gesture of largesse; the bread is intended to provide "a big boost to the creative sector that has been waiting to emerge in this city for decades." The local talent-drain problem is well known, with creative types easily lured to cities like Toronto or New York; by giving, say, the industrial design grads at Ottawa's Carleton University a cool place to make stuff, the government bodies reckon they can hang on to their citizens while creating jobs and wealth.
On Tuesday, you got to know a bit more about MIOS and what the designers behind the project have been up to since winning. Continuing the 2014 Design Awards spirit, we bring you an in-depth look at Liminal Spaces, a 2012 Interiors & Exhibitions Student winner. Entering and winning earned them the validation and confidence to keep moving forward with their work. If you'd like to earn the same, get busy and submit your entry, because there's only two weeks left to enter the 2014 program.
Core77: How has Liminal Spaces grown since winning a Core77 Design Award? How has your professional life advanced since winning?
Liminal Spaces: Since winning the award, the next major hurdle for the three of us was graduating from the Royal College of Art—which we all managed successfully! We haven't continued to develop Liminal Spaces, but the thinking behind the project has been extremely influential for all of us in shaping our work.
Professionally Alicja, amongst other things, has been working with Bare Conductive and developing her own work.
Hal and Ben, working with Textile designer Kirsty Emery, have set up their own research and development studio Searu which is focused on the potential of digitized manufacturing. They are proud to count Google Creative Lab amongst their clients and are currently developing their own novel manufacturing system they hope to launch by the end of the year—watch this space!
For those of us who were a bit groggy from that killer combination of jetlag and one nightcap too many, the first speaker on Day Two of the 2014 Design Indaba Conference was a trip, as though he'd clicked the metaphorical spurs of his boots to transport us not to Kansas but a nearby state. Indeed, DJ (née Doyle Jr.) Stout's talk was vaguely dream-like, featuring sobering statistics about the 2011 Texas wildfires, footage of a cattle drive, a Pecos League baseball team... and, of course, cowboy poetry. Somehow, it was the last bit that tied it all together—and to Stout's personal and professional history: A third-generation Texan, he made his name at Texas Monthly—you can see some of his work in their archive—and has been a partner at Pentagram since 2000. Stout has been based in Austin for most of the 30+ years that he's been working as a designer and he's met some interesting people along the way, including musician Graham Reynolds, who kept him company on stage, performing original piano compositions during the moving video interludes.
If Stout's presentation was as earnest as they come, the final speaker of the conference was rather more tongue-in-cheek with his delivery of what might be described as a well-practiced presentation to a full house last Friday. Stefan Sagmeister should need no introduction (at least not according to MC Michael Bierut) and—even if a refresher would have been nice—he did not provide one, instead commenting on an infinitesimally subtle heat pattern on the projector screen before launching into his popular 'Happy Talk.' Sagmeister has apparently been evangelizing (for lack of a better term) on the topic for at least a few years now, and I heard mixed feedback from conference-circuit veterans who knew better than to expect anything new. He acknowledged as much with a wink and a nod during the climactic sing-along portion of the talk, leading the audience in belting out the line "seen it all on TED.com."
In short, the presentations were polar opposites. Stout shared an honest exploration of heritage and the pride of place; Sagmeister's pseudo-science project is both the product of and the premise for his various modes of self-expression. Stout is certainly more worldly than he let on in his presentation—he lightened the mood with a few one-liners throughout—but the fact that he spoke in his natural voice, which lacks a discernible Texan accent, only underscored the candidness of his talk. Sagmeister, on the other hand, limited the scope of his presentation to the work in the Happy Show—clever, often quotable, and always beautiful, but somewhat lacking in substance: a dose of visual culture for the here and now.
OXX is an exciting new brand in the outdoor industry and they're pioneering a new category of consumer electronics for the outdoor market. The company was recently founded by an entrepreneur and is backed by venture capital, this Grand Rapids, MI company is preparing to launch the first of several new OXX product lines into the market this year. How would you like to join this brand new company as their Industrial Designer?
This isn't a corporate job with the corporate BS. This is an opportunity to develop great products, get them into the market and be part of building a great business. If you're a talented product designer who has the skills to develop world class products and the ambition to be part of a quickly growing business, Apply Right Now.
This year's Design Shanghai was absolutely packed with visitors, to say the least, as the mixed international and local Chinese audience managed to fill the vast Shanghai Exhibition Centre. Compared to many other design fairs and exhibitions, Design Shanghai was extremely well advertised to the Shanghai public—the lines for general entrance and the Collectibles were astronomically long, but this was quite a welcome sight, showing the general public's growing interest in design and design culture.
Design Shanghai featured exhibits featuring over 40,000 designers. Because the event is planned by predominantly foreign organizers, there were unfortunately not as many homegrown designers, but there were a couple of gems we still managed to pick out.
In terms of emerging designers, the CIID Awards were the highlight, recognizing 120 interior designers with the "Outstanding Young Interior Designers of China" Award based on several criteria: performance during 2011 and 2012 in terms of impact, design programs, work experience and participation in competitions. The organization did a fantastic job of identifying and curating a diverse range of interior designers, from those who sparkle a room with traditional elements to designers with who create with entire futuristic ensembles.
Powerhouse design duo Neri&Hu and rebel designer Naihan Li both had fantastic exhibits with their latest products. Naihan prominently featured her Skyscraper Candles, which has expanded in the number of countries and cities. Neri&Hu collaborated with Jaguar, the exhibition's key sponsor, and Wallpaper Magazine to re-engineer the distinctively British picnic basket with a Chinese perspective and carbon fiber.
Now that the digital era is upon us, the trope of mechanical reproduction has become a condition of contemporary culture, and machines in themselves are embedded at an even deeper level. Meanwhile, artists and designers increasingly incorporate maker/hacker/DIY approaches into their multi-disciplinary practice; together, these trends point to generative design as the logical progression of production. If digital fabrication offers a horizon of possiibilities beyond art-school experimentation—we've seen at least a couple of permutationalprojects of late—so too do everyday machines hold a kind of primitive potential of their own. From an alarm clock to a electric razor to a Walkman, Echo Yang's 2013 Thesis Project, "Autonomous Machines," at the Design Academy Eindhoven explored the creative capacity of commonplace household items.
When working with digital tools, the value of generative design is in its ability to deal with complexity; as with analog tools, the value will be in an object or a behavior possessing internal algorithm itself. It does not deal with complexity because its internal algorithm has already handled it.
I see the mechanical system inside the machines as a unique language. Machines are produced, as they are demanded and required in particular circumstance or era, they act as a witness to history. By making use of the specific mechanical movement of particular machine, I attempt to transform them into a drawing machines in the simplest way. Base on this process, only few machines can work really well and produce beautiful outcomes.
This design proposal is not meant for creating a new tool to achieve a particular purpose. Instead, by showing how machines speak in their own language, based on their internal logics, the proposal is about bringing more awareness to the algorithm inside the ordinary objects around us. It is an inspirational way that helps broaden the notion of information design.
In other words, even the simplest machine contains an internal logic that can be expressed visually, even if its signature is abstracted from its mechanism. It's something like a cross between Rickard Dahlstrand's 3D-printer tunes and Eske Rex's Drawingmachine: The process is systematic only to the degree that the motors generate cyclical movements, but the results vary greatly.
Over the last five years brain research has rapidly developed technologies for influencing and changing our thoughts, perceptions and feelings. The new field of optogenetics, for example, has proven that light delivered via fiber optics into the brain can change the behavior of individual neurons and may one day help those suffering from Parkinson's, depression or other brain disorders. And most recently, researchers have used brain stimulation to increase one's appreciation and enjoyment of art.
Neuroscientists at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy had subjects study and rate 70 abstract paintings and drawings, and 80 realistic paintings and photographs. Then they received transcranial direct-current stimulation to specific parts of their brain. This technique sends small electrical impulses to the brain via electrodes placed on top of the head (no drilling needed!) I know it sounds medieval but it's quite modern, non-invasive and delivers zero feeling, no pain, no tickle, nothing. In fact the subjects had no awareness of the electrical impulses. Scientists aimed the current at what is called the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a brain area responsible for emotional processing.
You heard it here first: "3D printing is having its 'Macintosh moment.'" So says the team behind a new full-length documentary on the subject, directors Luis Lopez and Clay Tweel and producer Steven Klein. Hollywood Reporter fills in the blank: Pettis is the Steve Jobs of the movement, a shorthand for an upstart who will bring us a product that we never knew we needed through sheer force of will. (Meanwhile, the colossal quarter that he has rendered for the website and poster features his face instead of one of our founding fathers, casting Jobs as none other than God.)
Print the Legend will premiere at SXSW Film Festival this weekend with a handful of screenings in Austin, and if the forthcoming dates are TBD, at least the press materials include a selective history of 3D printing. Between the trailer and milestones listed below, it looks like there's definitely a narrative arc to the documentary...
Don't you hate it when the view through your rearview mirror is obscured by the rear seat headrests, or that hitchhiking drifter that you picked up? Back when I still owned a car, I pulled the rear headrests out of my '01 Golf just so I could get a clear view. Then there's this ridiculous design trend we have now for absurdly chunky C-pillars, which completely obscure your view of whatever's behind your car's rear quarters.
Nissan is addressing this with their forthcoming Smart Rearview Mirror, which they're unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show:
During the 2012–13 Biomimicry Student Design Challenge (BSDC) competition, I discovered that solving humanity's biggest design challenges requires new skills applied within a comprehensive framework that integrates sustainability. I gained a deeper understanding of the Buckminster Fuller Institute's tenet of what Fuller described as "comprehensive anticipatory design scientists." (Fuller, 1999)
Learning from nature
Biomimicry, the practice of emulating models and strategies found in nature, provides designers with tools for seeing and learning from nature in new ways (Biomimicry 3.8 Institute), serving to both embed an ethos of sustainability and potentially inspire radical thinking.
For the competition, I explored the use of biomimicry as a process for creating a sustainable product as well as a scalable social enterprise idea. Under the inspirational guidance of Denise Deluca, co-founder and director of Biomimicry for Creative Innovation (BCI), this work ultimately grew from my Master's thesis project.
My design concept was a water treatment system called SolDrop. My team went on to become the only US finalists in the global 2013 BSDC and I had the honor of presenting at the Biomimicry Education Summit and Global Conference in Boston that year.
SolDrop Solar Still concept by Stefanie Koehler (competition entry for the Biomimicry Student Design Challenge)
Can something go viral when you intend it to go viral? Apparently so, particularly as we become more gullible as a society. While Jimmy Kimmel's twerking fire and hotel wolf videos at least had an element of believability to them, this latest makes me despair for people's reality filter: Since its launch yesterday, Facebookers have been eagerly promoting this video purporting that Back to the Future 2's hoverboards now exist.
There were just a couple of hints that Thomas Heatherwick would be making major headlines with his presentation at Design Indaba last week, but it would prove to be the highlight of the conference. Nevertheless, the unassuming Londoner scarcely betrayed his nerves as he presented a handful of completed projects and works in progress in the lead-up to the reveal.
His work, for the uninitiated, sounds farfetched or fanciful, even Borgesian at times: A corridor-less, corner-less Learning Hub in Singapore. A flaming floriform sculpture that perfectly symbolizes "E pluribus unum" (made of copper no less), which might just be the coolest Olympic cauldron design ever. A fleet of two-story buildings on wheels, from which "you can't get a better view of London"—a.k.a. the double-decker bus. The Seed Cathedral, which looks like a giant sea creature or koosh ball or a universe that's exploding and imploding at the same time... for which Heatherwick revealed his original inspiration.
The mission of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University is to transform human healthcare and the environment by emulating the way nature builds. They are currently seeking a talented and creative individual to contribute to the design and construction of structured, functional textiles for wearable robotic applications.
That's right. Wearable robotic applications.
If you land this role, you'll be in charge of taking functional and technical requirements from an engineering and biomechanics team and interpret these into a broad range of prototyped garments. This requires a minimum of 2 years of experience with technically sophisticated apparel projects, so if you got it, Apply Now.
HeliGraphix is the name of a Germany-based collective of RC helicopter enthusiasts who document their stunts online. The group's latest project, H.U.L.C.—that's "Heavy Ultra-Lifter Crane"F—sought to achieve what no one yet had: The ability to lift and carry a human being around using two small RC copters. I am so deathly afraid of heights that just watching this video made me want to get off of my office chair and lie down on the floor to feel safe.
While they make it look simple, it's hard to overstate how complicated it is to pull something like this off. The 'copters have to be strong enough to carry the woman (not to mention those crazy boots), and it's not like they're just lifting straight up; since there's two of them, they've got to pull sideways as well. Not to mention the pilots have to be precise enough to avoid dropping or jerking their payload. You'd think they'd try this over a body of water or something soft, so it's a testament to their skills and preparation that they did this over a concrete patio.
The group isn't shy about their accomplishment, having spent four months and "several thousand Euros" in preparation: They're touting it as "Clearly a world-record and one of the most monumental actions in the history of R/C model aviation: THE WORLD'S FIRST MANNED R/C FLIGHT!"
For tech geeks who are interested in the hardware, it's all documented in painstaking detail right here; for those with a passing interest in how they pulled this off, hit the jump to see the explanatory video.
As cool as it is to see birds using manmade objects to decorate their lovenests, it's a little heartbreaking. But the reality is that the wilderness is strewn with refuse, hence bottlecaps and Bics go onto the B.O.M.
[While building nests, the bee species] Megachile rotundata was discovered using pieces of polyethylene-based plastic shopping bags and M. campanulae used a polyurethane-based exterior house sealant...
...Furthermore, since plastic pieces were found in combination with leaves in brood cells, and found only near the end of the cell series, bee naivete does not appear to be the cause for the use of plastic... It is interesting to note that in both bee species, the type of plastic used structurally reflects the native nesting material, suggesting that nesting material structure is more important than chemical or other innate traits of the material.
Interestingly enough, the usage of plastic as a nest component has both positive and negative effects on the hatching of brood. The parts of the nest made up of plastic tend to store moisture, and mold building up in those areas killed up to 90% of the brood; but on the plus side, the plastic kept parasites away from the brood, as the pests "were unable to sting through the plastic wall."
MacIvor points out a similar finding to that latter part, concerning house finches. When these birds use discarded cigarette butts to build their nests—gross, I know—the nicotine inside them tends to keep parasites away.
I can't decide if it's sad or exciting that animals and insects are finding ways to repurpose human garbage. But it will presumably continue, and at the very least, this puts quite a different spin on parents teaching their kids about the birds and the bees.
Current projects: I just launched a radio for Lexon named Hybrid, and I'm working on new meeting spaces for Pullman Hotels. I recently won a competition for the interior design of the Grand Palais in Paris; that will be a project of maybe ten years in the works. I'm also working on new spaces for the luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet during Miami Art Basel. And I'm working on a project that will be launched next July in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It will be a place named Le Laboratoire that includes a cafe, a restaurant, a store, an auditorium and an art gallery. It will be just between Harvard University and MIT.
Mission: To be as close as I can to the human beings I work for, and not to consider them as "targets" or "consumers" or "clients" but as very complex machines—as human beings are—and try to find the best way to serve them.
Above and top right image: Lehanneur's Business Playground for Pullman Hotels. Portrait by Jean-Luc Luyssen / Madame Figaro
Wiser, a collection of devices that measure and manage household energy consumption
When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer? When I was probably 15 or 16. Basically, I wanted to be an artist, and my father was an engineer, so I decided to combine both visions.
Education: I went to design school in Paris, at École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI Les Ateliers). I was supposed to stay for five years but I ended up spending seven years there.
First design job: Actually, the day after I graduated, I decided to work without any boss, because it's not easy to share vision. So my first job was as a freelancer for the Palais de la Découverte, a science museum in Paris. I was commissioned to design all of the interactive devices for explaining astrophysical phenomena to the public.
Who is your design hero? Probably Buckminster Fuller. He was a thinker, a scientist, an architect, an engineer—a designer, basically.
One of Lehanneur's employees in the designer's Paris studio
Practicing sustainability-focused design, like any art form, is a skill that requires craft and sensitivity. As designers, we are tasked to skillfully create consumable goods, services and systems that inevitably make an impact on many levels, many of which are not well understood or even measurable. By learning and then practicing various approaches, I have begun to understand design from a whole-systems perspective, considering both the micro and macro scale. This way of thinking has led me to consider the trade-offs—from materials to process to business strategy—that I make with every design decision.
Doing is Believing
Many people think that sustainability-focused design is a burden—futile, depressing and difficult. Some don't even believe it is possible. Designing with sustainable outcomes in mind may have these pitfalls but I have been able to debunk these negative opinions by studying sustainability theory and putting it into practice.
To become efficient and ultimately more effective at anything, one needs to practice—a lot—and sustainability-focused design is no exception. By applying comprehensive sustainability approaches to different design challenges, I have not only learned that sustainable outcomes are achievable but also that it is rewarding, both personally and professionally.
In Jeremy Faludi's Collaborative Product Design course, offered by the fully online Sustainable Design graduate program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), I was able to practice sustainability-focused approaches such as energy effectiveness, design for appropriate lifetime, biomimicry and responsible materials, to name a few. We directly applied these solutions to new solutions for existing products with real companies; I had the pleasure of practicing a collaborative redesign for Steelcase's Circa Chair.
With a little under three weeks left until the March 20th Core77 Design Awards deadline, we know you might need a little kick of motivation to enter, which you can do right here. Last week, we caught up with 2011 program winner Load Carrier for Labor to see how life was going post-Awards. This time around, we talked with 2013 Service Winners Museum In Our Street (MIOS). Make sure to submit your design before March 20!
The fact that Jake Barton's work has been woefully absent from these pages—just a couple of mentions in 2008 and a 2011 Core77 Design Awards Notable (and the BIG Heart)—simply means that his presentation at the 2014 Design Indaba Conference is a felicitous occasion to cover the latest from his media design practice, Local Projects.
Barton is a natural presenter—no surprise, given his background in theater—who speaks with a confident, clear cadence on and off the stage. He worked as an exhibition designer prior to attending NYU ITP, where he has taught since he graduated in 2003, and has spent the past decade or so establishing Local Projects (which he founded in 2002) as the premier shop of its kind. While they're billed as a "media design firm for museums and public spaces, Local Projects makes cutting-edge technology accessible and meaningful to a broad audience. Specifically, Barton and his team of designers, technologists, filmmakers and developers create media-enabled experiences at the intersection of design and storytelling—from rich oral histories to simple, intuitive interactions.
The site- and exhibition-specific multimedia elements that the National Design Award-winning firm has designed go far beyond the ho-hum audio guide, offering glimpses of the potential of augmented reality, where the content is seamlessly integrated into the (largely screen-based) media. Most of us have witnessed (or at least heard an account of) a young child attempting to 'swipe' or otherwise manipulate a television as though it is a touchscreen; with Local Projects' displays for the Cleveland Museum of Art, you actually can.