As I was marched over to an unfamiliar bank of elevators towards the back of the building, I realized I was the prime suspect.
An unreleased design that I had access to, and had done dozens of renderings of, had suddenly appeared on the market—produced by a prime competitor of ours. I was in the elevator with my boss, who was the Head of Global Industrial Design at this particular corporation, where I'd been working as a CAD and rendering jockey for many years. But I was still a contract employee, not staff. And I had access to this design that few people in the design group had even seen.
The elevator doors opened at a high floor I'd never been to, and I got my first glimpse of the Legal Department. We walked a maze of cubicles and I was finally sat at the desk of a lawyer. She was pleasant, even friendly. I was shown a bunch of my renderings, and then the competitor's product. There was no denying the similarities, and the small design details were way too dead-on to be a coincidence. And even though I knew I wasn't the source of the leak, I couldn't help but be nervous as they questioned me.
After I'd answered all of their questions—honestly and, it appeared, to their satisfaction—I was made to sign some documents and my boss walked me back down to our floor.
If I was my boss, I'd have definitely thought I was the leak. There were only two other designers besides me and my boss who'd worked on this and they were both company men with kids, guys who'd never risk something like this. And we hadn't sent the drawings out to a model shop yet. To this day, I never found out how the design got leaked or who did it.
One company that's recently experienced a design leak, however, feels certain they've found the source. According to a Cincinnati local newspaper, consumer giant Procter & Gamble filed a lawsuit last week against four former members of their Gillette design team. The Section Head of Industrial Design, a Product Design & Development Group Mechanical Engineer, a Senior Mechanical Design Engineer and a high-level Research & Design employee were all named. It seems all four quit Gillette to work for a competitor, Texas-based ShaveLogic, and the quartet allegedly brought more with them than framed photos of their families:
Posted by Sam Dunne
| 22 Jan 2015
Maker Speed Dater is the brain child of the folks at Scottish maker-movement movers and shakers Make Works. As part of their mission to reignite local manufacturing, the design-grad run start-up has been trying to make it easier for designers to engage with industry—not least by building their breathtakingly gorgeous directory of Scottish factories and maker workshops captured in image, text and film. Aware of the limits of their online endeavours, Maker Speed Dater was born out of desire to break down barriers by getting face-to-face—20 designers, 20 makers/manufacturers in a room taking turns to figure out where the hell the others are coming from and whether there might be a chance to 'make work' together. The inaugural Maker Speed Dater took place in Glasgow—fittingly held in a local brewery converted from an old carpet factory—and the guys at Make Works invited us along to take a peek at the action.
Posted by Sam Dunne
| 21 Jan 2015
Having witnessed a few of my nearest and dearest succumb to the mediative delights of knitting, I'm beginning to cultivate an appreciation—for the materiality and intricate skills of the art—that I might have normally reserved for wood or metal work. As with any craft, there are whole supporting industries attached that often remain hidden to the unindoctrinated—and any number of innovators tinkering on the peripheries—that can often be fascinating upon first exposure.
One such novelty that an education in needle work has revealed is the remarkable (if incredibly simple) textile innovation that is Woolfiller—the invention of Netherlands product designer Heleen Klopper, who was inspired after developing a fascination for wool and felt. In a similar vein to Sugru in the world of hard materials, Woolfiller is a product dedicated to fixing and repairing in the world of knitting and woolwear.
We know that both Coney Island and Atlantic City used valuable Ipe (and in AC's case, later, Ipe-like Cumaru) to make their boardwalks, starting in the 1960s. With a 25-year lifespan, the lumber in those boardwalks was completely replaced once or possibly even twice. So what happened to all of the old wood? Just because it was no longer suitable as decking didn't mean the wood was completely rotted through, as the planks could always be machined down and cut into smaller pieces to be reworked.
Well, it seems the traditional thing to do with that still-valuable wood...was to throw it out. According to an article in an Atlantic City local paper from 2013,
In the past, all of the wood removed from the Boardwalk through repairs and maintenance by the city's internal carpentry division was thrown out, [said Atlantic City Public Works Director Paul Jerkins.]
Thankfully, that same article points out that the latest batch of wood to be removed was auctioned off. "Designers...turned [the old planks] into custom-built tabletops, theater floorboards and outdoor benches." As people have gotten hip to the fact that huge lots of Ipe and Cumaru are becoming available, the city now expects construction companies bidding on Boardwalk renovation projects to adjust their bids accordingly; the thinking goes that construction crews can make extra money by saving the wood that they remove from the structure and re-selling it.
Maybe you've already read our five-part series on the history of Braun design, which covered Electric Shavers, Timepieces, Audio Products, Kitchen Appliances and Haircare Products. And those of you lucky enough to be in Paris will soon get to see an exciting spin on some of these designs, albeit in 2D form; "Systems," the Das-Programm-curated exhibition of Braun design that first launched in London, is coming to Paris' Moda International gallery on January 29th. [Note: Moda's website had crashed at press time.]
While the exhibition will feature some of Braun's original commercial art, the eye-catching bulk of it are homage posters commissioned from modern-day graphic designers.
I'm skeptical, but very curious to see how these Enko shock-absorbing, energy-storing, foot-boosting running kicks come out. Skeptical because of...well, watch the quick video below:
The camera doesn't go down below the waist, does it? But if they do actually work, well, who wouldn't like to get better mileage on less gas?
The developed is France-based Christian Freschi, a longtime runner who's been working on the design for 12 years and who is referred to as possessing "genius" on the Enko website. As for how the shoe is meant to work:
The shoe adjusts to the weight of the runner, to his running style, and to whether he is a pronator or a supinator. With its double sole and a design aimed at avoiding injuries, it provides total comfort.
Maybe I've been brainwashed by Nike and Adidas into thinking that only large corporations have the scientists on tap to create new types of footwear, but I want to see, like, CG video of X-ray skeletons running around in these, with little blinky arrows indicating forces on the the tendons, ligaments and joints. Failing that I'd settle for video of the actual shoe being used.
It's possible Freschi will release more information later—the Enko is slated to go up for funding on Indiegogo come February.
There's a reason "The Walking Dead" is set in the South; because watching a bunch of us Yankees trying to load 9mm rounds into a .45 or accidentally ejecting the magazine every time we try to turn the safety off would probably not be that compelling to watch.
Gun culture varies widely in the United States, depending on everything from local laws to regional history to personal upbringing. In NYC most firearms are illegal, thus law-abiding citizens here grow up with no familiarity with them; but I've met folks down South for whom owning and carrying multiple guns at all times is natural, and for whom firearms instructions was a part of their childhood.
The unnamed vet (that's veterinarian, not veteran) behind YouTube channel Demolition Ranch clearly falls into this latter category. His vehicle-based "everyday carry," or EDC video below skirts the line between dead-serious and tongue-in-cheek and packs several surprises. Regional differences being what they are, I'm sure Northerners will find it eye-opening while Southerners will think it old hat:
Posted by Coroflot
| 21 Jan 2015
A division of Western Power Sports and backed by 55 years of experience, Fly Racing has become one of the fastest growing brands in the power sports industry. They are dedicated to creating high-quality, high-performance apparel, protective equipment and hard parts. Creativity and innovation are their passion, which is just one reason why Fly Racing continues to experience such explosive growth. Want to join their team?
Fly Racing is currently seeking a talented, motivated Product Designer with ambition to design power sports apparel and equipment. The ideal candidate is knowledgeable and experienced with the design, development, and manufacturing processes. Having 4-6 years industry experience or Bachelor's degree with 3-5 years industry experience is desired. Apply Now.
Remember last year, when the Chinese engineering firm WinSun 3D printed a bunch of houses? It made the news because they printed them so quickly—ten structures in less than 24 hours.
The structures themselves weren't huge, just 200-square-meter, one-story bungalows. But now WinSun's set their goals higher, literally. They've 3D printed the structures you see here, which include a freaking five-story apartment building and a 1,100-square-meter (roughly 12,000-square-foot) villa.
To be clear, they didn't print the structures out in one shot. As with the earlier 10-house batch, they printed out individual panels which were then knocked together by conventional construction workers, and in this case they didn't even print on-site, but back at the factory.
Posted by core jr
| 20 Jan 2015
This is the latest installment of our Core77 Questionnaire. Previously, we talked to Sebastian Wrong.
Name: Tanya Aguiñiga
Occupation: Designer and artist—although I think I'm different things to different people. Sometimes I'm a furniture designer, sometimes a textile designer or an accessories designer. Some people consider me a community activist or a teacher. Different disciplines claim me at different times.
Location: Los Angeles
Current projects: At the moment I'm working on a solo show for Volume Gallery in Chicago. It's all new work involving, like, weird notes on mothering and nurturing. So it's all about caring for beings and having a hand in the development of a person—and using craft as a really specific metaphor for doing so.
Mission: It's constantly evolving, but a lot of it is about making community and being a responsible human being—using craft and art as a way to diversify conversations in society, and to bring attention to social issues that are in need of attention.
Left: Aguiñiga being wrapped in raw wool for the 2012 project Felt Me (video here). Right: her Paper Clip chair
Above and top images: One of Aguiñiga's newest pieces, called Support, was inspired by the experience of being a first-time mother.
When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer? I started furniture design in 1997, at the beginning of my undergraduate career. At the same time I was also doing installation art and human rights projects through art. So from the very beginning I had this two-pronged approach.
Posted by Kill Screen
| 20 Jan 2015
This post originally appeared on Kill Screen, a videogame arts and culture website.
Story by Jess Joho for Kill Screen
Tale of Tale's upcoming game Sunset has beguiled us since we first saw it—a vision altogether more assured, colorful and inviting than the vast majority of games we come across. Last week, when the first real look at the game arrived in the form of screenshots, we took the opportunity to discuss the game a little further with the creators.
Gaming's favorite (and only) Belgian power-couple, Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn, first began thinking of what would eventually become Sunset years ago. Inspired by films like Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express, they envisioned an exploration of romance through space, in a relationship between a cleaning lady and the apartment's inhabitant. But as time went on and the game evolved, their focus turned from pure romance to a more pressing issue.
"How do you get on with your day-to-day while living in a world or atmosphere filled with violence?" Auriea asks. "I think we're all experiencing that to some degree now, with the constant wars, terrorism, everyday another bombing, another shooting. Michaël and I at least feel this need to step back, to think about what it all means and how to deal with it. We thought if we needed an experience like that, maybe other people did too. And since games can be such a great tool for examining the world around us, maybe something like Sunset could be an opportunity to explore that atmosphere in a controlled environment."
Sunset follows the story of Angela Burnes, who emigrates from the revolutionary climate of 1970's America and into the revolution of a war-torn South American country. As the housekeeper of the highly cultured (perhaps even pretentious) native to the country, Gabriel Ortega, your relationship to both your employer and his country develops through how you choose to interact with his apartment.
"A lot of Tale of Tales games has ourselves in it," Auriea explains. "In this case, my experience of being an American expatriate is definitely part of Sunset. I want to give people that experience: of at first feeling completely alien to a city, and then eventually developing a sense of place there, a real stake in your new country."
When we last looked in on the Phoneblok modular smartphone, it was just a concept video. Fast-forward to 2015 and it's...a new concept video.
But the project is in fact moving forward, and with a lot more juice than before. "Phonebloks" has been re-dubbed "Project Ara" under the auspices of its new master, Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group, who have released a Module Developers Kit for those looking to design components that will plug into the phone's endoskeleton.
With a modular platform, you can pick the camera you want for your phone rather than picking your phone for the camera. You could have a sensor to test if water is clean. You could have a battery that lasts for days. A really awesome speaker. A gamer phone. Or it could even be your car key. The possibilities are limitless.
You can upgrade different parts of your phone when you need too. Replace a broken display. Save up for a high-end camera. Share a module with your family, or swap one with your friends. Now you don't have to throw your phone away every few years.
GATP expects to launch a pilot program this year. And for interested parties, tomorrow the Project Ara team will be livestreaming their Singapore-based developer's conference. You can sign up to watch it here.
Posted by core jr
| 20 Jan 2015
Advertorial content sponsored by Design Indaba
"Ma¨mouna-Ma¨mouno" caps and hats made of palm fiber by product designer Antoine Boudin and palm weaver MaÃ¯mouna Traoré. Photo courtesy of Emile Barret, Hors Pistes 2014.
Three cross-cultural projects that tread the tricky path between collaborating with and co-opting the work of African artisans
When North meets South and designers schooled in Western modes of thinking work with local craftspeople on the African continent, finding common ground can be difficult. Familiar terrain shifts, becoming rife with the possibility for misunderstanding.
How do you convey ideas when one person measures in inches and the other by the thickness of woven fiber? How do you encourage an artisan to try something new without seeming to instruct them? What is lost in translation? And who is learning from whom?
The process of exchange is unpredictable but designer and craftsman need to establish the terms together to fuse their creative visions. A huge determining factor is clarifying the end goal: who needs to broaden their vision? Is the object to be used in a local or a Western context?
Matali Crasset led a basket-making workshop with Bulawayo Home Industries in Zimbabwe. Photo courtesy of Eric Gauss/Dogs on the Run.
"Working within high social impact contexts requires amplified awareness, forcing us to fully understand our reason for being present and how we are approaching the jointly created project," says French product designer Matali Crasset.
In the spring of 2014, Crasset ran a workshop with the Bulawayo basket-making community of women in Zimbabwe to create a collection of woven vessels based on the iconic shape of the gourd. The result was an unprecedented group of objects produced collectively by the women, a radical departure from their usual domestic designs.
Zimbabwean weavers translated Crasset's experiments with the gourd shape into a multitude of new pieces. Photo courtesy of Eric Gauss/Dogs on the Run.
"It was a very humanly inspiring experience," Crasset reflects in her account of the workshop. As she shared with Design Indaba, the project's impact will be determined by how the weavers will incorporate the new collaborative design ideas in future productions.
Posted by Coroflot
| 20 Jan 2015
Southern Telecom Inc. (STI) is a leading manufacturer of quality consumer products. Their commitment is to offer the latest technology and the highest quality products which are affordable to everyone, everywhere. Since its founding in 1988, STI has consistently delivered to market a full line of products that incorporate unique styling, high quality, and new technology.
They are looking for an Industrial Designer to join their Brooklyn, NY team who is passionate about design, creative, detail-oriented with strong conceptual as well as technical skills. With great taste in design, the ability to multitask, and a tendency to thrive on learning and delivering excellent design, you could be the perfect hire! Apply Now.
Southern Siberia's Lake Baikal has a lot of distinctions. By volume it's the largest freshwater lake in the world. It's also the deepest. And according to biologists who study zooplankton and how light penetration affects their activity, Lake Baikal is one of the clearest lakes in the world.
The clarity of the water may not sound exciting for those not engaged with zooplankton, but it does mean that when the lake freezes, the visual effect is stunning:
Choosing the material to build a boardwalk out of can be tricky. Never mind the amount of people traipsing over the thing; being located on the shore, it is subject to salt spray. And in a place with four seasons, the wood is subjected to brutally humid summers and freezing cold winters.
So what did people make boardwalks out of, in the days before pressure-treated lumber? In the late 1800s Atlantic City put up the first large-scale public boardwalk in the United States. For material they used Atlantic White Cedar, conveniently harvested from New Jersey's nearby forests. Technically not a cedar at all, but a cypress, the tree grew well in wet areas and was naturally rot-resistant.
Ironically, these excellent properties are what made the wood an unsustainable choice. In a 1934 book called "Trees You Want to Know," American botanist Donald Culross Peattie wrote that Atlantic White Cedar would "endure moisture indefinitely," and wood that weathered well was in demand; lots of folks began using it for fencing and roof shingles. As it became popular, we started overlogging it, and soon it became both expensive and scarce.
Atlantic City thus had to find a different wood to maintain, repair and update their boardwalk, and they switched over to Western Red Cedar. The stuff was also pricey because it had to be shipped in from the Pacific Northwest, but it was easier to get than Atlantic White Cedar; and being a rainforest wood, it dealt well with moisture.
The rise of pesticides changed the wood game after World War II. By the 1950s Atlantic City had switched materials once again, this time going with chemically-treated Southern Yellow Pine. Relatively affordable, this is the same stuff that wooden roller coasters, like Coney Island's famous Cyclone, were made of.
John Edmark is one of those guys whose fields of interest would be impossible to fit on a single business card. While he's officially a design lecturer at Stanford, the inventor/designer/artist pursues everything from photography to motion graphics to geometry, and his courses cover "design fundamentals, product design, chair design, paper as a sculptural medium, color, and animation."
During his time as an artist-in-residence at Autodesk's Pier 9 program, Edmark combined several of his interests to create these 3D-printed Fibonacci Zoetrope Sculptures. By designing the Fibonacci sequence into the forms, then placing them on a turntable and synching his camera's shutter speed with the rotation rate, he's managed to create some stunning, slightly vertigo-inducing animations:
Posted by Sam Dunne
| 19 Jan 2015
Crossrail is the massively ambitious £15 Billion railway project in the south of England cutting new tunnels under London to connect towns in the east and west with the ever growing metropolis. For anyone with even the slightest interest in architecture and engineering, the progress of the project—begun in 2009 after years of negotiations—has been a jaw-dropping (and at times nail biting) spectacle to behold. With what must be the biggest PR success in UK infrastructure building ever, the British public have been kept well up to speed with events going on under Londoners' feet—all happening with remarkable punctuality—with plenty of pictures of cavernous completed tunnels and smiling workers in orange overalls. With the service set to start in 2017, we're also eagerly awaiting the upcoming design for the trains, both interior and exterior, by Barber Osgerby.
It wasn't really until I watched the BBC's four-part documentary showing the work going on behind (or perhaps, before) the glossy press pics, that I began to fully appreciate what a masterpiece of engineering and detailed planning this development represents. The first episode follows engineers undertaking one of the toughest challenges of the project codenamed 'threading the needle.' Unfathomably, the Crossrail tunnels intersect with the busy Tottenham Court Road station by worming through a mess of cables, pipes and sewers to pass only 85cm above the crowded and fully functioning Northern Line platforms and 35cm below the station's escalators. Needless to say, the engineers were successful in their mission—threading the needle without crushing unwitting commuters or pulling down the Centrepoint building.
Posted by Carly Ayres
| 16 Jan 2015
Patrick Paul and Adam Leeb were frequenting the same co-working space in Michigan in early 2014 when they first began discussing the pros and cons of various distraction-free writing software. Paul, a software developer, was telling Leeb all about programs that don't allow the user to backspace, or that begin to delete what's been written if the user pauses for more than 30 seconds. From these discussions came the idea for the Hemingwrite.
"If someone's going to that extreme to help them write, I figured, okay, maybe there's something to this," says Leeb, a mechanical designer. "So we came up with this idea to make a writing-dedicated hardware device and take that distraction-free software one step further." Together, Paul and Leeb designed and built the Hemingwrite, essentially an update of the standalone word-processor machines of yesterday, with an e-paper screen and cloud storage for documents. As of this writing, the device has surpassed its Kickstarter goal of $250,000 by almost a hundred grand.
Despite diverse backgrounds that span everything from investment banking to political science, Paul and Leeb's respective focuses on software development and mechanical engineering were the driving force behind the creation of the Hemingwrite. With Paul handling the on-board software as well as Postbox, Hemingwrite's unique web application for saving and syncing documents across platforms, Leeb tackled the physical product side of things, from initial rough sketches to final 3D models and production.
No, it ain't real, but we'd love to see it if it were. German website CURVED/labs worked up this concept design for an anniversary edition of the original Macintosh, echoing that machine's shape while flaunting the thinness possible with 2015 technology. Of course some of the design elements make no sense—if you can even find a physical disk to stick into that slot, does it just fall out of the back?—but it's still pretty cool to see.